Friday, November 25, 2011

70th anniversary of the first deportation to Theresienstadt

Theresienstadt was established as a 'model ghetto', "in order to save face in regards to the outside world" (Eichmann). The first deportation to the Terezin (Theresienstadt) ghetto too place Nov. 24, 1941.

While the Jews in Theresienstadt gave manifestation to the height of spiritual survival in the shadow of evil, it was, and was meant to be a hoax from the beginning.
The perversity of deception in the service of evil compounded into the dust of the extermination camps, but on the way, “to the East,” as the Nazis deceptively called the transports to the death camps, Theresienstadt served as a model of deception.

The Red Cross visited the 'town' in June 1944, prior to which the Nazis intensified deportations, and the ghetto was "beautified." Some inmates were dressed up and told to stand at strategic places along the carefully designated route. Shop windows along the route were filled with goods for the day, and the day's abundance in the candy shop window made life in Terezin seem sweet.

The day of the visit

Not the day of the visit

The Red Cross reported dryly that while war time conditions made all life difficult, life at Terezin was acceptable given all of the pressures. The Red Cross concluded that the Jews were being treated all right.

(Inmates in Theresienstadt - also not the day of the visit)

Approximately 158,000 Jews were brought to Theresienstadt. Approximately 90,000 were transported onwards to the extermination camps, of whom about 4,800 survived. About 35,500 died of hunger and illness in the ghetto (among them my great-grandmother).
Of the 12,121 children (born 1928 and later) brought to Theresienstadt, 9,001 were sent to the death camps. 325 survived.

When Helen Deutsch, the psychoanalyst who had left Vienna for the United States in 1935, wrote her important 1942 paper “Some forms of emotional disturbance and their relationship to schizophrenia,” introducing the concept of the as-if personality, the poet Leo Strauss wrote, in Theresienstadt, what in its subtle simplicity to me is one of the most spectacular poems, ‘Als-Ob,’ As-If. The English translation from the German is mine, from Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return:

I know a little tiny town
A city just so neat
I call it not by name
but call the town As-if

Not everyone may enter
Into this special place
You have to be selected
From among the As-if race

And there they live their life
As-if a life to live
Enjoying every rumor
As-if the truth it were

You lie down on the floor
As-if it was a bed
And think about your loved one
As if she weren’t yet dead

One bears the heavy fate
As-if without a sorrow
And talks about the future
As if there was – tomorrow

Erel Shalit's books (The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey; Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return; Enemy, Cripple & Beggar: Shadows in the Hero's Path; etc.) can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Fisher King Press.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Enemy, Cripple & Beggar

The cover image "Emerging" is a painting by Susan Bostrom Wong, an artist and analyst member of the San Francisco Jung Institute. Learn more about Susan and her artwork.

Now 40% off at Fisher King Press
Enemy, Cripple & Beggar: Shadows in the Hero's Path 
By Erel Shalit

In Enemy, Cripple, Beggar, Erel Shalit provides new thoughts and views on the concepts of Hero and Shadow. This Fisher King Press publication elaborates on mythological and psychological images. Myths and fairy tales explored include Perseus and Andersen’s ‘The Cripple.’ You’ll also enjoy the psychological deciphering of Biblical stories such as Amalek—The Wicked Warrior, Samson—The Impoverished Sun, and Jacob & the Divine Adversary. With the recent discovery of The Gospel of Judas, Erel. Shalit also delves into the symbolic relationship between Jesus and Judas Iscariot to illustrate the hero-function’s inevitable need of a shadow.

The Hero dares to venture into the unknown, into the shadow of the unconscious, bringing us in touch with the darker aspects in our soul and in the world. In fact, it is the hero whom we send each night into the land of dreams to bring home the treasures of the unconscious. He, or no less she, will have to struggle with the Enemy that so often is mis-projected onto the detested Other, learn to care and attend to the Cripple who carries our crippling complexes and weaknesses, and develop respect for the shabby Beggar to whom we so often turn our backs—for it is the ‘beggar in need’ who holds the key to our inner Self.

Enemy, Cripple, Beggar can be comfortably read by an informed lay public interested in Analytical Psychology and by those interested in the interface between psychology and mythology, folklore, and religion.

Enemy, Cripple, Beggar was a 2009 Gradiva Award Nominee for best theoretical book.

"Enemy, Cripple, Beggar is an intensely moving book that speaks deeply to the psyche."

The following review by Ann Walker, Ph.D., appeared in Psychological Perspectives, volume 53, issue 2, 2010. Ann Walker, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst and psychologist in Santa Monica and book review editor of Psychological Perspectives.

Enemy, Cripple, Beggar is an intensely moving book that speaks deeply to the psyche. Every time I read Enemy, Cripple and Beggar my psyche responds with wonderful dreams. There are so many important concepts in this book. I would like to discuss a few that I found particularly salient. Read review

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 9, The Night of Shattered Delusions

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its report on Iran, November 8, 2011.
Diplomatic sources have described it as "the most damning report ever published by the IAEA and the conclusion arising from it is one: Iran is working to acquire a nuclear weapon."

It expressed particular concern that Iran had carried out computer modeling studies linked to nuclear weapons. "The application of such studies to anything other than a nuclear explosive is unclear to the agency," the IAEA said.

The information also indicated that Iran had built a large explosives vessel in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments, which are "strong indicators of possible weapon development."
The report undermines those previously produced under the agency's past Director General, Dr. Mohamed El Baradei.

In the past, under the leadership of Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA reports created the false impression that the Iranian regime did not develop nuclear weapons.

The night between November 9 and 10, the Night of Shattered Glass, is often viewed as the beginning of the Final Solution.

From Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return:

… Had not the ordinary German, covering the gamut from willing collaborator to frightened compliant, been infected by years of indoctrination and selective information? “When I myself look into the mirror,” he said to himself, “it is somewhat embarrassing to admit that, perhaps, I may have wished Chamberlain success in his mission of appeasement. I have always had a soft spot for Neville Chamberlain. He pronounced himself to be ‘a man of peace to the depths of my soul,’ and I believed him, and I like to see myself as a man of peace to the depth of my soul.”

With the Nazis five years into power, and aware of the danger that Hitler would drag all of Europe into a terrible war, Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement seemed so sensible for a cultured nation. I can truly understand him, Shimeoni said to himself, when he rhetorically asked why the British should be “trying on gas-masks because of a quarrel in a far away country, Czechoslovakia, between people of whom we know nothing.”

“It sounds at least as civilized as that recent question,” Eli thought, posed not so long ago by French ambassador Bernard, who asked why the world should be in danger of a third World War because of, as he said, “that shitty little country?”

You may not need to be reminded, but September 1938 he signed the pact with Hitler. To bolster the conviction that Europe would be saved by the appeasement agreement, French PM Daladier hailed Goering as “a man one can do politics with.” Why not a nice dinner, as well, and perhaps un cigar, monsieur? October 1, 1938, The Times praised the “Declaration of Peace in Munich,” concluding that the Munich conference “has not only banished the danger of war over the future of Czechoslovakia,” but it “has speeded up a new and a better era in European relationships.” Thank God for The Grace of Times! Upon his return, proud and popular Chamberlain waved the paper he signed with Hitler and declared he had brought “peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.”

And Professor Shimeoni, for one, would have made his way to Heston Airport and applauded him upon his return, because he is a man of hope and peace.

Thus, he told himself, “I cannot blame the passively collaborating German, and can only admire and feel a deep love for those who dared to see and those that dared to act.” Particularly he thought of Wickard von Bredow, as the example of exceptional heroism: As County Officer (Landrat), he received the order, November 9, 1938, to burn down the synagogue in the East Prussian town of Shirwindt, just like all the synagogues in Germany that were to be destroyed during the next few hours. Von Bredow put on his German Army uniform, said goodbye to his wife, and, as Martin Gilbert reports, declared: “I am going to the synagogue to prevent one of the greatest crimes in my district.” He knew he risked his life and that he could be sent to a concentration camp, but added, “I have to do this.”

When the SA, SS and Party members arrived to set the synagogue on fire, he stood in front of the synagogue, loaded his revolver in front of the group, showing them that they could only get into the building over the dead body of the Landrat. The synagogue in Shirwindt was the only one in the district not destroyed.
Eli Shimeoni wondered, “Would I have dared to trespass the prohibitions, would I have dared to buy from a Jewish store? I hope so, but the honesty that fears evoke, makes me wonder. If I would have been a 1938 German, may I not have looked the other way, avoiding the shame and the guilt gazing back at me in the store owner’s eyes of shattered glass.” …

Besides his calls to wipe Israel off the map, the following are some of Ahmadinejad's statements, reflecting the views and intentions of the present regime in Iran:

At a Holocaust conference [!] in Tehran, January 2009, he stated,

"The illegitimate Zionist regime is an outcome of the Holocaust... a political and power-seeking network … Today the Zionists dominate many of the world's centers of power, wealth, and media. Unfortunately, they have ensnared many politicians and parties, and they are plundering the wealth and assets of nations in this way, depriving peoples of their freedoms and destroying their cultures and human values by spreading their nexus of corruption."

In May, 2011:

"... Like a cancer cell that spreads through the body, this regime infects any region. It must be removed from the body."

From Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return:

It seemed Ahmadinejad was biding his time. Intelligence confirmed that Iran had the bomb, or at least was very close. Having learned from the Israelis, the Iranians enforced a policy of deliberate ambiguity as regards their weapons capacity, maintaining they had already reached nuclear capability for peaceful means. Both Iran and Syria had greatly expanded their stocks of chemical missile warheads. Russia and China warned Israel of severe sanctions if it would attack, and the government had realized that an attack most likely would miss the target(s), and serve as pretext for counter-attacks on all fronts. There was a widespread feeling that the day of the bomb was coming closer.

Tel Aviv, known for its vibrant night-life, now saw hedonistic farewell parties for friends leaving, and parties celebrating “Gog and Magog,” “Doomsday,” and “Who will close the light at the airport?” ...

This slim but incisive novella is a philosophical but completely comprehensible take on contemporary Israel. From a "litany of lamentations" …, the thoughtful narrator Eli Shimeoni recounts his overriding despair - but eventually concludes with hope.
Elegantly and thoughtfully mourning today's saga of Israeli disillusion without hope, bitter alienation, and collapse of Zionist ideals, … but relying on the consistency of past Jewish history and the "triumphalism of hope" the reader reluctantly puts the book down - and smiles! [Edith Sobel]

What Erel Shalit has accomplished in this very brief but intoxicating book is to provide a path for each of us to follow, wisely using the plight of the Jews during the last century as a matrix from which to judge our own individual exile and return. He is an accomplished thinker and he is also a very brilliant writer. [Grady Harp]