Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist by Pierre Birnbaum book cover

Book Review // Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist

In November 1938, as Hitler was preaching his gospel of hate, French Prime Minister Léon Blum delivered a speech to the International League Against Anti-Semitism about “the tragic Jewish question.” Urging European nations to open their doors to the growing number of Jewish refugees who had been condemned “to a bitter and unfortunate fate,” he left no doubt about his identity…

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The Pawnbroker's Daughter: A Memoir by Maxine Kumin book cover

Book Review // The Pawnbroker’s Daughter: A Memoir

The recently published posthumous publication, The Pawnbroker’s Daughter: A Memoir, draws attention to the powers of endurance of the American Jewish poet Maxine Kumin (1925-2014). The Yiddish word for strength, koyach, might have been the middle name of Kumin, a skilled swimmer and horsewoman who battled back after a near-fatal carriage-driving accident at age 73

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Adele Bloch-Bauer II by Gustav Klimt

The Other “Woman in Gold”

In August 1903, a 22-year-old Viennese Jewish socialite by the name of Adele Bloch-Bauer wrote to a friend that the renowned Austrian painter Gustav Klimt had agreed to paint her portrait. It was to be a commission from her husband, sugar industrialist Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. The cost, according to Anne-Marie O’Connor’s book The Lady in Gold, was considerable—4,000 crowns at the time, or about a “quarter of the price of a well-appointed country villa.” Klimt could not start the portrait until winter, so it wasn’t until December that the young Adele ventured to his studio to sit for the portrait.

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