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Traces: Representations of the Holocaust and Antisemitism in British Film and Television

Research, Educate, Engage

Traces: Representations of the Holocaust and Antisemitism in British Film and Television

In collaboration with the British Jewish Contemporary Cultures Network and supported by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image

Speakers: Nathan Abrams, Bangor University; James Jordan, University of Southampton; Caroline Kaye, University of Manchester; Sue Vice, University of Sheffield.
Date: Wednesday 8 November 2017
Time: 12.00 noon – 5.00 pm
Venue: Birkbeck, University of London, Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1E 0PD.
Event open to all: Registration fee: £5.00 for students and unwaged and £10.00 for all other attendees. A light lunch will be provided. Book your place.
The representation of the Holocaust and antisemitism in British film and television has been relatively overlooked. This illustrated workshop attempts to address this gap by screening and discussing a range of texts that examine memories of the Holocaust and antisemitism in Britain in a variety of forms. Some of these texts are explicit in their representations, others are works that make no extant claim to represent it. They include the British television drama Twist of Fate (1989), the 1973 horror film, The Wicker Man and the work of director Stanley Kubrick. Taking these texts as a starting point for discussion, this workshop presents a timely intervention into current debates about the Holocaust and antisemitism within British media and culture.

 

Papers:

  • ‘Life Functions Terminated’: Stanley Kubrick, IBM and the Holocaust, Nathan Abrams, Bangor University
  • The Ghetto and the Camp: a consideration of BBC Television’s Representation of the Holocaust in the 1960s, James Jordan, University of Southampton
  • The Wicker Man (1973): Film Reflecting the Holocaust, Caroline Kaye, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Twist of Fate (BBC 1989): The Holocaust Survivor Who is Really a Perpetrator, Sue Vice, University of Sheffield

Click here for further information.

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Jew or Jewish Person

Mark Oppenheimer in the New York Times asks why people (including Jews) don’t or won’t use the word Jew, when they are quite comfortable talking about Christians and Moslems.  Check out the whole article.

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Amy Winehouse Statue

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Last Things by Marissa Moss

Last Things Marissa Moss Cover (2)Reblogged from Writing About Reading

An uncredited reviewer in Publishers Weekly writes: “Deeply affecting and harrowing… This is not a sentimental story of how suffering ennobles people.  Moss’s deliberately naive drawings effectively accompany her painfully direct text…The fact that the family does endure is impressive, and this book demonstrates how art can transmute suffering into literature.”

S/he is right on the mark.  Moss is a successful children’s author best known for the Amelia’s Notebook series has written and drawn the most grown-up of books.  When her husband, Harvey, is diagnosed with ALS, he becomes more and more distant from the family, and there is no easy resolution to their relationship or his illness.  This is not an illness story where everyone becomes a better person, but eventually, as Moss writes in her introduction  it is about the “strong bonds of family and how they can sustain us.”

Everything about the book brings home the situation they find themselves in. Like life, it has to be lived, and like life, there are ups and downs: many, many downs.  Moss is clear-eyed about what the disease is, what it does to Harvey, how she and the kids react.  In a way, this with the clear text and the expressive drawings and varied and inventive design of the pages to suit to the story would be enough.  But what makes this a great book is that alongside the story of the family and the illness,  There is more. Beyond the day to day, there is the life of the mind.  Of connecting to the thoughts and history of humanity. For Harvey, a professor of medieval art, this involves hanging on to his intellectual journey trying ever more desperately to finish his book Picturing Kingship on King Louis IX’s personal prayer book.  He cuts himself off to write his last work.  King Louis is christian, the family are Jews. And for the family it is Judaism and life-cycle events of a bar mitzvah and later on sitting shiva for Harvey when he dies that locate the mundane in a wider world. Human beings live, love, struggle and die, but our minds put this all in the context of humanity.

Book Trailer:

Review from The Forward
Washing Post article about the Jewish aspects of the book
Publishers Weekly review
Kirkus Review

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Cable Street Mural

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Bernard Kops pays tribute to Emanuel Litvinoff

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Immigration and Emigration:The world in a city–East End Jews

Soup kitchen for the Jewish poorEast End Jews

In the late-19th Century, the church at the corner of Brick Lane became a synagogue, as thousands of Jews moved into Spitalfields in the Huguenots’s wake. More than 2 million Jews left Eastern Europe between 1881 and 1914, prompted by economic hardship and increasingly ferocious persecution. Following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, the persecution of Jews in Russia became even fiercer, and a wave of pogroms swept across Russia and neighbouring countries.

Many Jews landing in England actually intended to go to America, but about 120,000 stayed in this country. Again attracted by the area’s reputation as a place for cheap living, and by the fact that it had been home to a Jewish population in previous centuries, large numbers settled in Spitalfields, often finding work in the ‘rag trade’. By 1900 Jews formed around 95% of the population in the Wentworth Street district of Spitalfields.

Read more…

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The Battle of Cable Street is brought up in response to Trump in @onthemedia For Antifa, Not All Speech Should Be Free via @WNYC

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R.I.P. Zygmunt Bauman

He’s not a literary author, but has been a enormous influence for critics and authors in the world of Anglo-Jewish writing (and far beyond–I just bought a book of his in Phoenix, AZ) that it is worth linking to him here.

Bauman Institute
Wikipedia Page (apparently there are issues with it.  Can you fix them?)  (Or tell me and I will make the chages.)

Obituaries:
Al Jazeera
The Guardian
Washington Post
BBC
Times Higher Education
The Times
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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The Infidel (film)

The Infidel (2010)

Director Josh Appignanesi

The Infidel (2010)

The Infidel (2010)

This is not only a very Jewish movie, it’s a very British and a very Islamic movie dealing with the matter of multiculturalism. Omid Djalili plays Mahmud, a Muslim who discovers not only that he’s been adopted but also that he’s Jewish. The script, written by comedian David Baddiel, delivers fistfuls of one-liners (Mahmud is escorted away by security guard and retorts “You find out you’re Jewish and suddenly some bloke in a uniform is leading you away?”).

When asked about the basis for the comedy in the subject matter, Baddiel explained: “These communities and cultures are seen as at war or polarised, or at opposite sides of the fence, which allows for a body swap sort of situation to arise.” It has recently been adapted as a stage musical.

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