ASSAULT AND SURVIVAL ACROSS THE FORESTS OF WWII EUROPE

Posts by Johannah Knudson

Dedicated to Toronto

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…

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Meeting Magocsi

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

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…

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“Truth Prevails” and Other Exotic Ideals

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…

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

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…

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

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…

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Days of Awe: Perfection and Apology

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…

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Confusion, Disaster, and Empathy for the Invisible

As if the environment were reflecting the chaos and confusion resulting from reactionary extremism, natural disasters have thrown any sense of normality off its footing: multiple hurricanes tore into the southern coastline of the U.S., a massive earthquake shook Mexico, wildfires scorch the American West, and floods have devastated South Asia. The world is disorienting…

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Anger, Love, and Daring Acts of Compassion After Charlottesville

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, many are responding with anger toward those who tote the symbols and rhetoric of hate. Why I’m Angry Seeing swastikas and Nazis all over the internet makes me irate. It is deeply painful, and it’s exhausting. That alone feels like an assault. Seeing the confederate flag openly waved and other…

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