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ASSAULT AND SURVIVAL ACROSS THE FORESTS OF WWII EUROPE

World War II

What My Son Learned at School: Antisemitism Comes Home

Rosa Moldovan, my great grandmother, teaches my aunt, Erika Goldberger, at home on a chalk board. Jewish students were barred from school during the Nazi regime.

The alarm has been sounding for a long time. And now, it won’t give me a moment’s peace. It sounds like dirty Jew and fucking Jew and kill all Jews. I hear my son sobbing, why does everybody hate me. I see the spider arms of a swastika, black on blood red. I hear, this isn’t going to go away no matter what we do. These words circle in my head. And the longer they do, the more determined I become to stop what I’ve been told will happen again, to stand up every time I’m told to sit down.

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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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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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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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