Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Isn't a vital background fact missing in this story?

An unbelievably asinine travel piece on ABC describes contemporary Europe's "rich Jewish culture", in cities like Prague, Paris, Krakow etc. I am left with a nagging feeling that a vital background fact is missing. Perhaps the travel writer doesn't want to disturb the air of seasonal bonhomie he is describing? Krakow's Jewish quarter was 'neglected for years' (why would that be??). Possibly that is connected to the events of the "tumultuous 20th century" whose artifacts are displayed in one of the Prague Jewish Museum's buildings? ("Tumultuous" - could be fun!)

It reminds me of the plaque that I saw years ago outside the shul in Worms, which described (in German) the history of the site - it ran something like: "Because of the crowded nature of the ghetto, it was subject throughout its history to town fires ('stadtbrennen') - on the last occasion in 1938". People were notoriously careless with their cigarette butts in 1938 (November was a particularly bad month.)


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