10/25/14

What’s it about: “The Nazi, the Painter and the Forgotten Story of the SS Road”?




Drawings dedicated by Arnold and Anna Daghani to Erich Dubowy



These two letters – Click here for the German transcription! – and the drawings above were sent by Arnold and Anna Daghani to Erich Dubowy between June and September 1976. They are reproduced by special courtesy of Erich’s son Daniel Dubowy from Canada. Concerning the relationship between Arnold Daghani and Erich Dubowy, we learn from Daniel: “…they knew each other from Czernowitz, (they were of the same age) but surely from Bucharest. In the early fifties in Bucharest there were quite a few Czernowitzer artists who socialized and met regularly, and my father who was an architect but also a decent piano player, must have intermingled with them. [...] They may not have been close friends but acquainted enough to be in some constant correspondence before and after.” Even more, one of the reasons these letters make compelling reading is their historical relevance, far beyond just personal considerations. 






Arnold Daghani shines a light on his artistic self-conception as well as on his relationship to the Romanian post WW2 artist community, such as to the Czernowitzer poet Alfred Kittner, the Romanian art reviewer Eugen Schileru, the Armenian businessman and art collector Krikor H. Zambaccian, the diplomat and art critic Oscar Walter Cisek, who authored short stories, novels, poems and essays in both German and Romanian. In addition we discover at the bottom of these letters a catalogue of Daghani’s works, which apparently were still in his possession before finally emigrating to England and settling in Hove, near Brighton, one year later in 1977. Daghani died in 1985, a deeply frustrated man, and his work is now held at Centre for German-Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex.


Dr Deborah Schultz comes straight to the point stating in her article “Pictorial Narrative, History and Memory in the Work of Arnold Daghani” as follows: “His frustrations were intensified by the lack of public interest in the camps in Ukraine, with all the attention focused on better-known camps such as Auschwitz, and he strongly believed that his account had to be heard. For Daghani writing and image making may have been the means of locating himself and of finding his way.” You will better comprehend this by reading the first paragraph of Daghani’s second letter: “As an ‘homage’, I received from the public prosecutors the entire investigation procedure file, since, according to the chief prosecutor [Fritz Bauer], it’s solely due to me, that they gained knowledge of the atrocities committed on the other side of the Bug River.” But it’s finally G. H. Bennett,  Associate Professor in History at the University of Plymouth, who – by his article “The Limits of West German Justice in the 1960s: The Post-War Investigation of Walter Gieseke” and his book “The Nazi, the Painter and the Forgotten Story of the SS Road” – is enlightening the historical dimension for us.




Well, the “Nazi” was Walter Gieseke, Oberstleutnant of the Gendarmerie and SS, the “Painter” was Arnold Daghani and the DG IV (Durchgangsstraße IV) was the “SS Road”, the road building project across the Ukraine which resulted in the murder of substantial numbers of Jewish forced labourers, among those many from Bukovina.


At my previous posting “The Stone Quarry on the Bug River at 8 Miles from N 48°40′ E 29°15′” you’ll find additional reports on the fate of the Jewish forced labourers including excerpts from Andrej Angrick’s article “Forced Labor along the ‘Straße der SS'” and Gerhard (Bobby) Schreiber’s memoirs “A Tale of Survival”. After getting numerous answers to our initial question, the final question concerns the moral condemnation and criminal conviction of the war criminals, but read by yourself G. H. Bennett’s conclusion:


“Gieseke was never brought to trial and Daghani would eventually conclude that the West German investigations into the crimes committed along DGIV were ‘merely a farce, a meaningless gesture’. [...] The investigation of Walter Gieseke highlights the problems in the 1950s and 1960s of securing justice for crimes committed during the war. The processes of investigating and prosecuting of German war criminals in the context of West German justice in the 1950s and 1960s were not likely to result in a conviction. Gieseke’s defensive strategies maximized the problems facing investigators which resulted from the set of legal, political, social and investigative contexts that made a trial difficult and, in the eyes of many West Germans, unwanted and unwarranted. [...] In the case of Walter Gieseke can be glimpsed many of thecomplexiti es that protected the guilty men and women of post-war Germany. Moreover, study of this case hopefully demonstrates the need to discount concerns about ‘practitioners’ trespassing onto the territory of historians. In studying post-war German justice, and indeed most aspects of legal history, there is ample scope for practitioners and historians to pool their skills and approaches to the mutual benefit of truly interdisciplinary scholarship.There is much to be learned from each other and little to be feared.

Additional Links:
“SS film links officer with war crimes” by BBC
“Lost film unearthed in Devon church…” by Daily Mail 
“Arnold Daghani. Who is he?” by Miha Ahronovitz
“The Art of Arnold Daghani” by The Art of Polemics


10/4/14

Selma Merbaum – Ich habe keine Zeit gehabt zuende zu schreiben

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Gabriele Weissmann: On Monday night the reading for Marion Tauschwitz’s new book “Selma Merbaum – Ich habe keine Zeit gehabt zuende zu schreiben” [I had no time to finish writing] took place at Berlin’s big book-store, Dussmann. Organized as a dialogue between Marion Tauschwitz and the well-known (and beautiful actress)  Iris Berben, introduced by the publisher. The room was packed, and the interest great. Selma’s poems are already quite well-known in Germany and often read in schools. They both read from the book, Marion Tauschwitz also giving a general view of her search for Selma’s background and  Iris  Berben spoke of her love for the poems. She was deeply impressed when she read them in Czernowitz, in the Chessed Shoshana hall, with Prof. Rychlo interpreting.  Berben then read “Poem”, in a personal, very moving manner, in which Selma’s  yearning for love, for life, her sensibility, her premonitions, are so well formulated.   At the end Iris Berben read part of her well-written introduction. Tauschwitz’ book is an insider’s view of Selma’s life and writing, with very accurate research into the family history. She has searched  family records,  read intensively documentation and literature on the subject, interviewed  persons in Europe and Israel, has corrected irregularities including Selma’s correct name. She describes Selma’s strong personality against the background of the social, cultural and political influences on the young girl’s spiritual development.  Her sensitive poetry, her hunger for life, her political views and her sight of the tragic events which took place in the last years of her life. The tragedy of the concentration camps… Selma, through Marion Tauschwitz’s book has become alive again. Her poems are world literature. A lot of applause at the end, and people literally rushed with the books for signature.

Marion Tauschwitz and Iris berben at Kulturkaufkaus Dussmann, Berlin, on 29.09.2014

Ein Radiobeitrag der ARD-Kulturkorrespondentin Maria Ossowski,

auf amazon die ersten Leserstimmen,

sensibel die Einschätzung auf haGalil von Ramona Ambs,

auch ein Literaturblogger hat Selma Merbaums Biografie schon gelesen,

und auch avivia – online magazin hat genau gelesen,

weiterhin eine Rezension von Christel Wollmann-Fiedler.

Read more on Marion’s (litera)tour guide for October/November 2014 at:
http://www.marion-tauschwitz.de/lesetermine/

Czernowitz-5-13 2782

07/3/14

Transnistria, Then and Now

The territory of Romanian-ruled Transnistria (1941-44, 42,000 km2 / 16,216 sq mi) is incongruent with and included present-day Transnistria (4,163 km2 / 1,607 sq mi). Learn more on that subject from the disambiguation effected by Daniel Katz by clicking here for a PDF download of Daniel’s presentation, including detailed maps and additional links.

Please remember, Fabius Ornstein’s testimony “The Suffering of the Deportees in Transnistria” is still available at our Blog! On Fabius Ornstein’s life-saving activity in Transnistria we learn from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency report dated July 26, 1943 as follows:

Thousands of Jews in Transnistria Have Not Seen Bread for Months, Hundreds Starving
Thousands of Jewish deportees confined in the various ghettos which the Rumanian occupation authorities have established in Transnistria, the Rumanian-administered section of the Russian Ukraine, have not seen any bread for months and the vast majority of them are threatened with starvation unless some assistance is forthcoming soon, according to private advices received here today. In the township of Copaigorod about 2,220 Jews are confined at present, the report discloses. Under the leadership of one of the deportees, Fabius Ornstein, the Jewish community has organized a free kitchen which has so far managed to distribute about 500 meals twice daily. These ‘meals,’ however, almost always consist of potatoes and nothing else. [...]

Maps of 2 territories named TransnistriaMaps of 2 territories named Transnistria1

03/5/14

Hitler’s Forgotten Ally – Ion Antonescu and His Regime, Romania 1940-1944

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http://us.macmillan.com/hitlersforgottenally/DennisDeletant

http://www.humanitas.ro/humanitas/aliatul-uitat-al-lui-hitler-ion-antonescu-si-regimul-sau-1940-1944

European History Quarterly 01/2009 (Lucian N. Leustean): “The prime merit of the book lies in its systematic investigation into the tumultuous evolution of the Antonescu regime and into his personal life. In addition, the combination of historical details with societal factors brings new facets to this analysis. Thus, examination of the Iron Guard leadership and of religious confessions in Romania helps to decipher the atmosphere of those times. In addition, Deletant’s writing style makes the book a gripping read, revealing the intimate connections between the personal life of the dictator and the political evolution of his regime. These points, coupled with the fact that most probably Antonescu remained the only leader who could publicly contradict the Führer, offer an incisive image of ‘Hitler’s Forgotten Ally’.”

02/15/14

She [Sonja Jaslowitz] did not survive to have her history recorded…

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During a lecture on “The Concept of Postmemory”, Marianne Hirsch raised the question to an intimate audience in Doheny Memorial Library in L. A. on April 25, 2013: “She [Sonja Jaslowitz] did not survive to have her history recorded, but we have her testimony in the form of her poems, but what are we to do with them?” – Click here for the full article at Daily Trojan.

In addition, Marianne Hirsch brought to us Judith Aistleitner’s and Marianne Windsperger’s (German) article on “Die Poesie der Sonja Jaslowitz” [Sonja Jaslowitz's Poetry], published in the December 2013 edition of Zwischenwelt (Click on the logo for the full article!).

Zwischenwelt_2013-02_Web_homepage
Marianne Hirsch: “Sadly, this article came out after the death of Harry Jarvis, I wish he could have seen it! At least he did get to see the four poems Florence published in French. I am still working on publishing her Romanian poems in Romania. I have also asked Marianne Windsperger to correct the facts here — Sonia and her parents were in Cariera de Piatra before they were relocated to Tiraspol.”