My cousin Yoske and I

Shlomo                                                                     Yoske (1924-2017)                                                                                                                                                 From Zdunska Wola via WW2 to L.A.


On 15/9/2012 at noon, randomly zapping trough the  channels, I filmed with my camera actual events screened on my TV and assembled them in my video clip “While you were dead in Zdunska Wola”, 1941-2012…

Using  “Zdunska Wola”, the Polish city of my dead Jewish family (ww2), as the video’s codename not exactly correlated with the accompanying audio track  performed by the Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert – reading his poem   Przesłanie Pana Cogito (The Envoy of Mr Cogito), were Herbert’s voice plays the role of the musical track remembering me the  polish musical intonation of my parents voices (and my dead grandparents in Zdunska Wola 1941). Herbert’s impressing voice is underlined by the “Kinderjohren yiddish song from Cracow” see here.

So… look below: “While you were dead in Zdunska Wola”, 1941-2012″

A Chat from the Past: Hi..


“A chat from the past” depict in my proper time, today: June 25 2011 Israel, events from another time in the year 1941, during WW2 in Zdunska Wola, Polin.

The pictures show my father mother and myself, who survived the holocaust, transferred to  Zdunska Wola of WW2, working as tailors.

All the pictures are clickable..

To see more pictures, download  “A Chat from the Past”    in PDF format.

‘Avatars’ of Awagne 1944, Belgium

The hard decision of Mr Willy Kelner in 1944.  General Patton’s tanks where not far from the Commognes.   Willy and Marie Antoinette Kelner persuaded the Wehrmacht soldiers to laid down their arms and reassembled them near the church to give them food and tea. In the evening the Waffen SS Soldiers evacuated the Wehrmacht and take their place, After a few days of hard fighting the Waffen SS  retreated. In the evening, I and all the people of Awagne rushed to the church to see Patton’s tanks entering Awagne. For me this was the end of the war. 

Awagne 1944: an avatar

Awagne the church

Marie Antoinette and Willy Kelner: an avatar.

!943, pres des Commognes

I and willy Kelner: an avatar


  Awagne, the church.


Nazi Propaganda in Misleading Paris Occupation Photos


Via my Internet subscription to the french newspaper “Le Figaro” I found an article named “Cette exposition est tout à fait légitime”. Seeking an English written article on the same subject I found one on “FRANCE24″ named “German occupation photo exhibit causes scandal” . The opening lines describes in a few words what it’s all about “A controversial new photography exhibit entitled, ‘Parisians Under Occupation’ shows scenes of daily life that contrast sharply with the reality of the German occupation from 1940 to 1945″. (Photography exhibition, “Parisians Under Occupation” at the City Hall Library in Paris features 250 color photographs by French photographer André Zucca taken for the Nazi propaganda daily).
Paris 1940-45
  Looking at the exhibition’s video clips reminded me of the same years in Brussels, where as a kid, I was living and hiding from the Nazis, with my family.The architectural resemblance between Paris and Brussels are striking; the same houses, streets., the same fashion, the false Idyllic look of a good living world. And all this, only a propaganda veil hiding the atrocities of the Nazi regime all over Europe.
What ignite the fire of scandal was , I quote, that… “These unedited images, taken by a 24/36 Leica, were taken between 1942 to 1945, the height of the German occupation. The absence of any explanation about the propaganda element in the exhibit is striking…
  ..Most of the photos contrast sharply with the history books recalling the Vel d’hiver roundup and deportation in July 1942. Where are the snaking lines outside food stores? Where are the witnesses of the occupation? Rare are the photos where a yellow star sewn on coat lapels is seen on passers-by. This unexpected take on “German France” does not leave one indifferent.”…see here.
Here are more photos:
I extracted the photos from  France 24″ here and from ”Le Figaro” here.
Meanwhile the scandal continue,  I quote,..”WIthout questioning their beauty, the photos are disturbing. Even worse, the very title of the exhibit is rather shocking, due to its inaccuracy. Christophe Girard, the Parisian deputy mayor in charge of culture, is quite clear.”… “We should stop this exhibit!” …”Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë says the incident was “badly managed”, and is trying to put things right. He preferred not to ban the exhibit to avoid accusations of censorship, but removed the posters advertising the show. Organisers are also planning a debate titled “Is the camera an objective witness?” in a last-minute attempt to correct their early mistakes”..see more.
 Well, I was a witness of those past days. What I remember are photos like these  from the “..’round-up’ or ‘raid’ of the Velodrome d’Hiver’,(see here), mirroring similar photos of Nazis raids in Brussels.

I published this story on NowPublic and add here the comments by  NowPublic editors and contributing members.




good stuff:For me, the only way to take those exhibited images beyond revisionism/propaganda would be to show them alongside documentary counterparts: the image and the reality… sort of like what you did in the story above!

jordan thanks for the comment and the GS.

The curators of the exhibition trayed to minimize their mistakes, “..A large excerpt from the preface to the exhibition catalogue (Ed Gallimard / Paris Library), prepared by Jean-Pierre Azema, a specialist historian of this period is included in the exhibition since its opening and also recalls the historical context in which these photographs were taken, for more see here ..

…A weak palliative for bad conscience.

good stuff:korzac, I like this story. It’s good stuff. Excellent story and coverage Korzac

Barry Artiste, thanks for the comment and the GS.

good stuff:One must always guard against revisionist history. 

Karen Hatter, the exhibition is a form of visual deceit under the decent patronage of ‘culture’. But the french living witnesses of those years denounced the fraud..

Thanks for the comment and the GS.

I think all governments contribute propeganda to their citizens.

History reveals many things, sometimes it takes a while to come out. Many Germans, I believe, had no idea what was happening far away.

Of course they would prfer to be thinking of good things happening from their nations actions, just as we all are wishing to belive good things are happening from current conflict zones.

Matte, about your..”Many Germans, I believe, had no idea what was happening far away”..

Look at this ..”In a seminal study published thirty-five years ago, The Destruction of the European Jews, Raul Hilberg observed that the perpetrators of the Nazi holocaust were “not different in their moral makeup from the rest of the population…. [T]he machinery of destruction was a remarkable cross-section of the German population.”..see here.

Or look at this ..”To think that the Germans were unaware of the genocide is ignorant and absurd. The Germans saw as well as the Jews did what was going on. Why do you think so many Jews fled the country? They knew that death awaited them in the hands of the Nazis. The Germans saw the Jews being humiliated, corralled through the city, loaded up in trains and sent off to die horrible deaths in the concentration camps.’.. see here.

And look at the link with the title ..’The Genocide Generals: secret recordings explode the myth they knew nothing about the Holocaust“…see here.

I think Matte perhaps is stating that German civilians and soldiers far away from the conflict of the cities, perhaps the countryside and soldiers stationed outside of Germany may not have known about the concentration camps. Though I am sure rumours circulated, and perhaps even the rumours were infathomable to believe that humans could do that to humans.

Propeganda means different things to different people, and people belive what they want to believe. A study after a war cannot accuratly deduce what was going on inside people’s heads at the time. Yes people were being taken away – but at the time I belive NO ONE knew to where or for what fate.

People belive until they know otherwise, as has happened with the Iraq situation – people are fed propeganda and lies, until the truth is finally revealed. There is no blame for this on the part of the population, they just belive what they are told.

Just as in the Seconf World War the Japanese being portrayed as devils….but they were only following their leaders and fighting their war the way they were told, as is the US military, the Chinese military etc.

Matte about your “Yes people were being taken away – but at the time I believe NO ONE knew to where or for what fate.” What I most liked in this sentence is the irrevocable absoluteness of “..NO One knew..”

 Well, by ‘my what I where told by myself’  I know that SOME know what where the fate of the people taken away…

For example, the Belgian Benedictine priest, Reverend Henry Reynders  who saved my life and the life of  many other children from deportation, he and the whole Belgian rescues organisations knew perfectly well what would be our fate..see here  So,It would be very comforting that you indulge yourself in upgrading your knowledge from ‘No One knew’ to Some knew. The remaining question  will then be: how many is some.. 



WW2 and looted art in Jerusalem exhibition

Looted Art Jerusalem
Seventy years after the second World War, there are still attempts to restitution of looted art to their legitimate Owners. In the  words of French Minister of Culture and Communication Christine Albanel…””What we expect from this exhibit is that a miracle will occur and someone will come here and say ‘that belongs to me,'”.
She speaks on Monday night (2/18/2008), in Jerusalem, at the opening of an Israel Museum exhibit called Looking For Owners: Custody, Research, and Restitution of Art Stolen in France during World War II, see here.
In the exhibit of art from France, nearly every painting has a story. Some were seized by the Nazis for inclusion in a museum of European art that Hitler planned to build in Linz, Austria.
One story attired my attention. The story of “Landscape, the Pink Wall,” an early Matisse.The painting was  owned by SS officer Dr. Kurt Gerstein. In the “Jerusalem Post”  is written..”The painting was found by Allied troops hidden in
an alcove behind a plaster wall in Gerstein’s house after the war.  The Nazi officer killed himself in July 1945, see here.
Landscape, the Pink Wall
Henri Matisse, French, 1869–1954
Landscape, the Pink Wall, 1898
Oil on canvas
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris.
We all know who was Henry Matisse, the painter of  “Dance”, ” Pink Nude” and”Luxe, Calme et Volupte”. But who is SS officer Dr. Kurt Gerstein?. Well he was not an anonymous figure in the gigantic death machinery of the Nazi regime. He volunteered for the Waffen-SS, and in 1941 was  assigned to its hygiene institute as a contamination expert. Early in 1942, Gerstein was appointed to head the Technical Disinfection  “Department within the Health Technology section. In this capacity he worked with Zyklon B (Hydrogen Cyanide) and was  responsible for transporting Zyklon B, the gas used for mass killing at the Nazi death camps, see here and here.

Dr. Kurt Gerstein Waffeh SS

Kurt Gerstein

The story of Kurt Gerstein is a special one in that after seeing what really was the use of Zyklon B he tried by all means to  …”ascertain the facts of the machinery of destruction and then shout them to the whole world. Gerstein’s first contact was with Baron Goran von Otter, a Swedish diplomat, whom Gerstein met by chance on the Warsaw-Berlin express train while “, returning from Belzec. Gerstein was also in contact with Bishop Otto Dibelius, of the Confessing Church; Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, the Papal Nuncio in  Berlin; and members of the Dutch underground. His efforts to make known the, facts of the mass murder had little success.”..see here, (search Kurt Gerstein).

The looted art exhibition in Museum Israel brings together Matisse’s painting “Landscape, the Pink Wall”, Waffen SS dr. Kurt Gerstein, the provider of the gas Zyklon B to the extermination camps, and the anonymous perhaps dead or living owner of Matisse’s painting.

Henri Matisse circa 1950

Henri Matisse circa 150.