It is a great tragedy that although Gilad Atzmon became revolted at what he saw in the Lebanon War of 1982, he accepted the basis premise of Zionism that it is indeed the sole representative of Jewish identity… But he also attacks those manifestations of past Jewish identity which don’t fit in with his schema. In particular the Bund, which as I pointed out last night and he accepted, represented 85% of the Jewish Council seats in Warsaw in 1938 are more detestable to Atzmon than Zionism.
Atzmon despicably attacks the Bund and that small remnant who weren’t wiped out by the Nazis who made their way to Israel in 1948. A film has been made about them, a very sad and tragic film. The Bund in Israel sought both to keep the memory of their fight in Poland alive and stay together to cherish their heritage. I doubt if there are many Palestinians who would resent or oppose these survivors of the holocaust settling in Palestine as it then was. Just as today Black Africans have formed a community in south Tel Aviv and been the victims of the most appalling pogroms and racist abuse. [see Xenophobia in Tel Aviv, ‘We must not let nationalism, threatened sense of identity turn us into old-time Europe’ Daniel Feldman]
The remnants of the Bund came as refugees not colonisers. The Zionists came as colonisers and used the Jewish refugees as a battering ram, actively campaigning against their admission to the USA and elsewhere in the world. Yet Atzmon attacks this tiny remnant who sought to preserve their socialism in the midst of a contradiction of being Jewish in a ‘Jewish’ state. In fact the Produce Eran Torbiner, a young late 40s Bundist is a supporter as he told me of the Boycott Within. Yet Atzmon seems to attack these of all people. Gilad Atzmon: The Bund- A Disturbing Jewish Political Exercise (must watch)
Atzmon cites Yaacov Belek, an elderly Bundist, that “The Bund was a unique Party. It wasn’t like any other party… it was an empire. A bund member was a different kind of person. … For years we grew bigger and bigger. Before the beginning of WWII it was the largest party in Poland. We possessed everything. We had the youth, future, SKIP, sport, so many schools, we were the new type, we were the new man’ This is an example of ‘Jewish Power’ The absurdity should be obvious to anyone. The Bund actively worked with the Polish Socialist Party. They led the Warsaw ghetto resistance. They campaigned against the Zionists and represented the Jewish oppressed which Atzmon terms a ‘Jews only’ party. Well yes, the oppressed do have the right to organise separately. Do we call the Black Panther movement in the USA ‘Blacks only’ as if it and not the KKK were the racists? Perhaps Atzmon could consult David Duke about all of this!
A very interesting post at Tony Greenstein’s blog on the Bundist past that “Zionists” have attempted to obliterate. I hope he won’t mind me using the images here, to entice you to read it.
Paul Robeson: Go Down Moses
Ofra Haza: Chad Gadya
Yehoram Gaon: ‘Un Kavretiko [Canción Sefaradí-Sephardic song]
Isaac Albeniz: Iberia No 6 “Triana”
Albeniz was a Catalan composer and this Triana is from his late years, written in exile in Paris. A Triana is actually an Andalucian flamenco songform, from the mainly Gitano (Gypsy/Roma) Triana neighbourhood of Seville.
This version is played in 1931 by Harvey Sachs Rubinstein, “the Latino from Lodz”.
Albeniz’s grave in Montjuic, Barcelona.
Continuing last week’s Yiddish theme…
Divina Gloria: “A Shoa Daine”
Argentine vocalist Divina Gloria, dancing by Schwee Miguel and Tango Ganas, courtesy of Yiddishkayt LA. The song, as sung by Shifra Lerer, appears on the album Yiddish Tango, as do some of the other songs I’m posting today.
Metropolitan Klezmer: “Yiddish celluloid closet”
This video interweaves Metropolitan Klezmer with Edgar Ullmer’s New York Yiddish film “An American Matchmaker”, and brings out the queer subtexts.
Jose Derasner: “La Cumparsita”
Jacob Sandler: “Tsvey Shvartsen Oygen”
This is a medley including some of the previous songs and others, setting them in chronological context from Buenos Aires to the Warsaw Ghetto to Auschwitz and beyond.
Chava Alberstein: “Zog nit keynmol”
Paul Robeson: “Zog nit keynmol”
The liner notes from the Paul Robeson version read as follows. I am curious about this. I hear what sounds like booing amongst the applause. This was the month, June 1949, when the greatest of Soviet Yiddish poets, among the greatest Yiddish poets, were arrested, to be murdered in 1952. I am curious about what Robeson knew about this, and if he knew what he thought. (more…)
Post by Bob From Brockley
Radical Archives continues its excavation of the influence of Nietzsche on the anarchist scene with a post on Rudolf Rocker, which led me to the Russian anarchist blogger Laplandian.
Via Laplandian, two YouTubes, the first on the Yiddish melody which forms the basis of the anti-fascist partisan anthem “Bella Ciao”. The song is “Koilen” or “Dus Zekele Koilen” (” A small bag of coal”) by non-Jewish Gypsy musician Mishka Ziganoff, born in Odessa in the late 19th century, who recorded this record in 1919 and moved to the US in 1921. You can listen to more of his music here.
Here is Chumbawamba’s version of “Bella Ciao”, for comparison.
And here, again from Laplandian, “Bella ciao, Iran”:
Some were saved by erstwhile German Communists who had hidden their party membership and were in the Wehrmacht. Many young Jews saved themselves by fleeing into the forests and joining Soviet partisans, not all of whom welcomed them but needed them, if only temporarily, to kill Germans and their allies. (Soviet anti-Semitism would flourish after the war) Some few managed to live to tell the tale but recognized that it was merely chance that allowed them to live. All came close to death. “Some of them thought it had been the work of God, but most knew better: the same God, if he existed, had failed to protect their loved ones.”
From an interview with Bauer:
MO: In the book, you use the term “amida” to signify defiance, was there defiance in the shtetl?
YB: There certainly was defiance in many shtetlach — there was also a total collapse of society and the lack of any kind of defiance in other shtetlach. I tried to find out why there should have been just widely different types of reaction in communities that were geographically and socially so near to each other.
MO: How did the partisans fare?
YB: There were many, probably thousands, of Jews that were murdered by Soviet partisans, and there were thousands who survived because they joined the partisans. It is far from being a black-and-white story, and I tried to explain why that should have been so. Most people who survived owed their lives to either the few people who hid them and fed them, or to Soviet partisans. At least one major partisan commander (Vassily Chernishev [“Platon”]) was recognized as a “Righteous.” Some of the murderers among the partisans are also known by their names.
From another review:
Here is how Bauer describes the phenomenon of Amidah in his earlier book, Rethinking the Holocaust:
“The Hebrew term amidah…means literally “standing up against,” but that does not capture the deeper sense of the word. When I speak of resistance, I mean amidah, and that includes both armed and unarmed actions and excludes passive resistance, although that term is almost a non sequitur, because one cannot really resist passively. When one refuses to budge in the face of brutal force, one does not resist passively; one resists without using force, and that is not the same thing.
What does amidah include? It includes smuggling food into ghettos; mutual self-sacrifice within the family to avoid starvation or worse; cultural, educational, religious and political activities taken to strengthen morale; the work of doctors, nurses and educators to consciously maintain health and moral fiber to enable individual and group survival; and, of course, armed rebellion or the use of force (with bare hands or with “cold” weapons) against the Germans and their collaborators.(Rethinking the Holocaust, p. 120.)
The discussion in this book notes that, “Unarmed Amidah in the Kresy was limited by the impossible external circumstances, although it did exist in some places and was expressed in ways that were specific to the areas discussed here.” (And note how in this later book he capitalizes Amidah.)
In ale gasn / Hey, hey, daloy politsey!–In every street / Hey, hey, down with the police
[Note, the youTube says “Yiddish anarchist song”, but I think it is a bit broader than that, and is included in the YIVO’s In Love and In Struggle: The Musical Legacy of the Jewish Labor Bund.]
From the Daily Bleed.
Typographer. He fled to Argentina in 1923 to escape Italian Fascism, where he joined the Anarchist Circle (Renzo Novatore) in Buenos Aires & printed & published the review “Culmine”.
He organizes a demonstration for the release of Sacco & Vanzetti, but when they are executed on August 23, 1927, Di Giovanni turns to violent actions with the Scarfo brothers (Alejandro & Paulino); many bombs are set off, especially aimed at North American interests. For example, on December 25, 1927, the National City Bank was bombed, & on May 3, 1928, the Italian consulate.
This spiral of violence is condemned by the anarchists of FORA (Fédération Ouvrière Régionale Argentine) & “La Protesta.” See Osvaldo Bayer, Severino Di Giovanni, the idealist of violencia (1970).
1935 — Canada: Emma Goldman‘s four lectures in Yiddish this month continue to be her most successful in Montreal, drawing an audience of 200 when Emma speaks on “the element of sex in unmarried people” today, & raising money for the first time in Montreal when she speaks again to the women’s branch of the Arbeiter Ring on Feb. 17.
During the month Emma decides to return to France in the spring after receiving further discouraging reports from friends who have met with Labor Department officials in Washington, D.C., about chances for readmission into the Land of Freedom.
As other possibilities close, she looks increasingly to her proposed book venture as a means of support; she also pursues the idea of a sustaining fund as she inquires about receiving an advance from a publisher.
Source: Emma Goldman Papers
1936 — México: Workers strike the Vidreria Monterrey.
Following on from my YIVO special, here are some more Yiddish archival treasures. Below the fold, the usual round up of newly available radical material.
Our focus today is the Yale Judaica collection. Below are some exhibitions. Clicking on the images enables you to see them in context.
And You Shall Tell Your Children, Passover Haggadah exhibition:
Illustrated Yiddish Books:
These illustrated books date from the post-revolutionary period, the golden age of Soviet Yiddish, when Russian plebian culture and Jewish folk culture, avante-garde graphics and radical politics, all worked together powerfully. -P.
Avant-garde Maquettes (1929):
Avant-garde maquettes for Jewish-Communist wall posters in Yiddish (1929): Leaf One
Ink and watercolor manuscript, possibly a mock up for publication, consisting of two leaves (28 x 19 cm.) mounted side-by-side in a contemporary mat. This poster contains the phrase “Proleṭarier fun ale lender, fareyniḳṭ aykh!” [Proletariat of all lands, unite!] and large lettering with the words “Arbeṭ un ḳulṭur” [Labor and culture] across an illustration of a hammer and sickle topped by a red star.