Hollywood honors a Nazi
I waited a week to write this.
I waited intentionally to see if there would be any apology, any second-guessing, any mea culpa from Hollywood.
A full week after the Academy Awards show that honored entertainment industry figures who died in 2003, including Adolf Hitler's filmmaker-propagandist Leni Riefenstahl, no one has expressed regrets or remorse to the American people or to the world's Jews. . .
In case you missed it, in a segment of the Oscars extravaganza last weekend, the Academy offered up its annual memorial to those entertainment industry figures who died last year. The list included Riefenstahl, Hitler's favorite filmmaker – the one who produced all of his epic propaganda works. . .
Although Riefenstahl later claimed she did not support the Nazis, when Hitler conquered Paris in 1940, she sent him a telegram declaring: "Your deeds exceed the power of human imagination. They are without equal in the history of mankind. How can we (the German people) ever thank you?" She produced Nazi documentaries during the 1930s and never apologized for her association with Hitler, claiming she didn't know about the mass murders.
War marriage ceremony with Maj. Peter Jacob in 1944
Yet, far from rethinking the decision, some top Academy officials have rationalized the inclusion of Riefenstahl.
"She had a greatness to her and she had amazing longevity," said Sid Gannis, a Hollywood producer and Academy vice president. "There was no special debate whatsoever in the decision to include her on the list, and I personally agree with it."
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer said: "I don't have a problem with it. She was a genius, and her movies were innovative and still copied today. ...
"Yes, Hitler was evil, but I think it was proper to have her name there," Elton John said. "She was a great filmmaker, and as an artist myself, I think she deserved to be there."
Hitler was evil, but ...
Does that "but" bother you as much as it bothers me?
RIEFENSTAHL, GIBSON, RICH AND DERSHOWITZ; SWASTIKAS ON SYNAGOGUES AND LOVINGWAY;
If you Google News, there is little about Riefenstahl being honored by the Academy. Recent articles segue right into the Gibson movie. Take for example, Frank Rich's Mel Gibson Forgives Us for His Sins
in the New York Times. Rich says, "As a director, Mr. Gibson is no Leni Riefenstahl. His movie is just too ponderous to spark a pogrom on its own — in America anyway." This leads him to the Lovingway United Pentecostal Church sign in Denver.
Is the press pulling all these elements together because it thrives on conflict? Or are we simply experiencing multiple symptoms of the cosmic plague that is antisemitism? Either way, Frank Rich is feeling "less secure as a Jew in America than ever before," and he is not alone - see also Alan Dershowitz
Oh yeah, and before I go to help set up the Kosher-for-Passover store at the JCC, did you hear about the swastikas painted on the BMH synagogue in Denver
this past Shabbos/Purim?
As it turns out, the Lovingway Pentecostal church got a dose of swastika graffiti on their sign
, discovered Sunday. This followed the resignation of Pastor Gordon on Saturday night.
Frodo: “I wish it need not have happened in my time.”
Gandalf: “So do I. And so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”