ASSAULT AND SURVIVAL ACROSS THE FORESTS OF WWII EUROPE

Antisemitism is a Tool of Tyrants

November 2, 2018

As uncomfortable as it may be, we must all face the horror of hate. No one is exempt from this responsibility. No matter how seemingly small the effort, we must stand against hate and stand up for one another.

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Grief and Celebration

October 30, 2018

Right now, we—or at least, I—need the gleaming memory of the First Czechoslovak Republic, a democracy founded and led by an idealistic, intelligent, and remarkably good human being. His power came from conviction, idealism, and, yes, love—the most enduring power there is.

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“Women Shall Be Placed On an Equal Footing With Men”

September 28, 2018

As we witness brazen disdain for human decency and contempt for the core values of democracy, where can we turn to sustain and support our spirits? As we watch institutionalized corruption, oppression, and persecution breed suffering and chaos, what do we hold onto?

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Dedicated to Toronto

April 23, 2018

Moments ago, I was about to sit down to write another installment about my trip to Toronto in February. But first, I checked the news. Only a few hours ago, a white van jumped the curb and struck a number of pedestrians near Yonge and Finch, in north Toronto. They don’t know yet how many are dead. I pictured the busy streets of the city, the gray pavement of the…

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Meeting Magocsi

March 12, 2018

Elation is the best word to describe my discovery of my great Uncle Stefan’s connection with renowned scholar Paul Robert Magocsi. I recently met Professor Magocsi at the University of Toronto. Learn more in my latest blog post about our conversation and about the biography I’m writing about Stefan, an epic of escape and survival before, during, and after the Holocaust.

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Constant Vigilance

January 26, 2018

Tomorrow is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. These are my handsome great uncles in 1951 Vienna with their 1934 BMW. Seven years earlier, they hid in holes in the ground left by uprooted trees while Nazis searched for them with bloodhounds.   The Nazis had put a bounty on both of their heads, determined to capture the brothers, who had cunningly escaped. The man who hid them in the woods, Ilya…

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“Truth Prevails” and Other Exotic Ideals

December 13, 2017

My great uncle Stefan Moldovan was born into nascent Czechoslovakia, a democracy founded on high ideals by a leader, T.G. Masaryk, known for his integrity, intelligence, and ethics. His country’s motto, “Truth Prevails,” reveals much about his aspirations for his nation and humanity as a whole. Meanwhile in Pittsburgh Two agreements key to the formation of the First Czechoslovak Republic were signed in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. The Pittsburgh Agreement of 1918…

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A Chaos of Intention: Social Media in an Era of Mass Manipulation

November 1, 2017

I cannot stop the weather machine! Luke Spencer shrieks as the Cassadine family’s evil plot to destroy his hometown of Port Charles, New York inexorably unfolds. He’s wrested the controls from his adversary, but can’t budge the lever that’s set all the way to total freeze, and now, everything and everyone he’s ever loved is going to be refrigerated into oblivion. I used to watch General Hospital, starting at age…

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The Czechoslovakian Dream: An Island of Democracy, 1918-1938

September 28, 2017

I suppose most of us associate Czechoslovakia with phrases like Eastern Block and Iron Curtain. But in reality, the country was conceived in the name of liberty. For two decades between the world wars, it was a democracy. President Masaryk was known as the “president liberator.” Here’s a newsreel from 1933 in which Czechoslovakia celebrates its independence with a military parade, while the threat of war bears down. “The little…

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Days of Awe: Perfection and Apology

September 18, 2017

The High Holy Days of the Jewish tradition are nearly here. During these days, we ask for the forgiveness of anyone we may have harmed. We look at ourselves deeply, examine our motives and actions, and atone for any negative effects, intentional or otherwise, we have caused. We do this to repair any harm we have created, and also to repair our own imperfections. It’s an opportunity to make the…

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My Great Uncle Stefan
My Great Uncle Stefan
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