Blatt: Sir Martin in the news    

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Strangers in a strange land

Photo: “Moses Showing the Tables of the Law to the People”, oil painting by Rembrandt, 1659 840 words/4 minute read God bless America, land that I love, Stand beside her, and guide her, Through the night with a light from above. Irving Berlin This month, Jews around the world are

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The “Roots” Trips

Photo: Sir Harry Solomon and Sir Martin This piece, presented by Martin’s dear friend Sir Harry Solomon, is taken from a talk he delivered at the Sir Martin Gilbert Learning Centre on 26 June 2020. Sir Harry is a founder of the Centre and Chair of the Trustees. 2500 words/13

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Why Maps? Why this Atlas?

Photo: Trenches memorialised on the battlefield at Beaumont-Hamel where the Royal Newfoundland Regiment fought; the only regiment in the First World War to be given the designation Royal, in recognition of its wartime contribution. From a 2008 talk Martin gave on his Atlases 590 words / 3 minute read In

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Memorials and Narratives from Esther Gilbert

Photo:  Two stamps on a postcard Martin sent from Ukraine.  Martin wrote:  “Hope you like my juxtaposition of Stefan Bandera – whose men killed tens of thousands of Jews in this region (Volhynia) – and dear old Shalom Aleichem.”  Bandera is now viewed as a Ukrainian national hero; Shalom Aleichem, also


Sir Martin’s Letters to Auntie Fori

OpenDor Media is producing a series of films being released on their YouTube channel, Unpacked, based on Sir Martin’s book Letters to Auntie Fori. The series will cover Jewish history in a similar way to how he presented it in his book. The launch was on June 29 and new

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The law of Stanislaus

Photo: Fanya Heller with Esther, 9 October 2005, New York 680 words/ 3 ½ minute read There’s a description in a Holocaust memoir that illustrates the chaos that can develop when it is encouraged and sanctioned. Fanya Gottesfeld Heller writes in Love in a Time of Sorrow that as an

Lodz Ghetto workers

What can we learn from History?

Photo: Jewish youngsters in the Lodz ghetto producing leather goods in one of the German-run factories. This colour photograph was taken by a German official in the ghetto. From Martin’s book Never Again  1115 words/6 minute read Back in 2019 BC (Before Covid-19), I used to wonder whether Holocaust education had

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Honouring the past in an uncertain present

Photo: Lucy Olphert’s photo of a bagpiper on Mount Maunganui beach at sunrise, 25 April 2020, Anzac Day, New Zealand. 515 words/2 minute read  New Zealand and Portugal came onto the UK and world news as nurses from countries were singled out in particular for having nursed Prime Minister Boris

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The “Catholic Churchill”

Photo: Pope Pius XII

300 words/1 1/2 minute read

Thank you to my careful readers who found the typo in the March newsletter – what Martin would have called “a howler”. Very early in our own correspondence, Martin would send his writing by fax machine to me in Canada and I would make corrections and notes and fax it back to him. I can see he would not have been impressed with me now! But I am grateful that so many of you read these newsletters carefully, even to the letter!

Interestingly, my “howler” was in the Web Citing having to do with recent news that the Vatican will be opening their archives to researchers. In Martin’s book The Righteous, in his chapter “Italy and the Vatican”, he quotes the German protest at the 1942 Christmas message of Pope Pius XII who the Germans claim is a “mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals” because “he is virtually accusing the German people of injustice towards the Jews.” Martin cites other instances of practical help the Vatican was able to give to the Jews of Rome.

It will be interesting to see what the archives illuminate about the Pope during those difficult years of the war. Martin may be right that the Pope was very helpful – and the articles quoting Martin will be vindicated. Maybe my typo about the “Catholic Churchill” was not so far off!

In 2007, Gary Krupp, from the Pave the Way Foundation, filmed an interview with Martin, which we have in an uncut unedited version on Martin’s filmography page. Gary’s videographer, Ardon Bar-Hama, found an edited version which captures all of Martin’s salient points on Pope Pius XII. I am grateful to both of them for making the effort to find this video and allowing us to post it.

It is well worth a listen.

The Righteous

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Holocaust Memorial Day events

Photo: News of a new film, A Holocaust Journey: Lessons from the Past, by American filmmaker Lisa Reznik Among the many thousands of Holocaust Memorial Day events taking place across the UK and elsewhere are these: Echo Eternal, a programme of the UK CORE Education Trust Schools to create art inspired by

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Heroic Holocaust secret

Photo: The Boys in Prague before their journey to the UK Filmmaker Herb Krosney on The Boys. Letter to the Editor, Jerusalem Post,10 November 2019 “Regarding ‘World War II pilot’s heroic Holocaust secret revealed’ (November 6) about the flight to England of 732 Holocaust orphans, your readers might be interested in

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Hatreds: Innate or Acquired?

Photo:“The shooter’s rampage” 555 words/2 ½ minute read Stephan Balliet has proven what most Jews already know: Anti-Semitism is not about Jews. Rather, it is about those who are filled with hate. And basically that means hate for anyone – Jews are just the “miner’s canaries”: when Jews are targetted,