Violinists and the Holocaust

April 16, 2008 at 02:28 AM · A friend sent me the following: "It is a matter of history that when Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps, he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead...

Eisenhower said at the time: 'Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses - because somewhere down the track of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.'

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. In amongst the 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic Priests murdered, massacred, raped, burned, and starved were musicians, including of course violinists.

Some of their stories can be found at - (Henry Rosner, violinist who survived) (Shony Braun, violinist and composer who survived) (Jacques Stroumsa, violinist who survived) (list of Polish violinists and musicians, most of whom did not survive)

I know there was a discussion about a violin maker who survived. Any additional thoughts?

Replies (62)

April 16, 2008 at 03:55 AM · I read the biography of Alma Rosé, daughter of Arnold Rosé and niece of Gustav Mahler, who led the Auschwitz women's orchestra, and found it very interesting. I would recommend it.

April 16, 2008 at 01:09 PM · The French documentation 'La Chaconne d'Auschwitz' (search for it on this site) tells the stories of 12 of the survivors of Alma Rose's orchestra in Auschwitz, on the right site on top of the site there's a little snippet of an interview with one of the victims. Very recommendable, moving documentation!

One of the musicians in Auschwitz was the cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch (the mother of cellist Raphael Wallfisch, who married Elizabeth Wallfisch). She and her sister Renate were prisoned as forced labourers in a paper factory, where both helped French prisoners of war to escape with faked passports. When they tried to escape themselves they were caught and tried to commit suicide with cyanide, a friend (a musician) had given them. Fortunately this friend had exchanged the cyanide with powdered sugar. 1943 both sisters were brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Since the orchestra needed a cellist she had to play in this orchestra, where she had to perform Schumann's Träumerei for Mengele. When Auschwitz had been evacuated, both sisters ended in Bergen-Belsen where they finally were rescued by the British Army. She was one of the witnesses in the first Nazi trial the Bergen-Belsen Trial, before she finally could immigrate in the UK where she started to study with William Pleeth and became a co-founder of the English Chamber Orchestra. Although she vowed not to enter Germany again, she started to visit schools in the 80's and published her autobiography Inherit The Truth. It's hard to describe which impression the book makes, it tells of the shame those young girls and women felt when they had to play during executions, the selections, parties. A book which can't be recommended enough, here's a little snippet in German.

Nowadays she is living in London, her sister is married with a famous German publisher, her son has a professorship in Mainz.

Francis Akos: worked (afaik) as Assoc. Konzertmeister of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he survived the KZ Neuengamme and the Kap Arcona tragedy.

Betty Francken was a student of Joseph Joachim.

Marc Neikrug wrote an interesting, experimental drama called "Through Roses", written for one actor and a chamber ensemble. Neikrug made a survey under holocaust survivor musicians and developed a monologue of the Jewish violinist Karl and his memories of his time in Auschwitz.

Finally, two online sources who are dedicated not to forget the names of musicians and their fates:

1.) The university of Hamburg publishes an online lexicon of prosecuted musicians in the NS-time, where they try to give biographies and sources of musicians. It will take decades to complete it, they just started a couple of years ago.

2.) is a site with names of victims, too, it's a good source for music from the NS-time, unfortunately currently the music links do not work.

April 16, 2008 at 01:12 PM · Thanks for the links, Sandy. Never Forget.

Two books I would like to recommend:

"The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich" by Michael Kater.

"The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany" by Martin Goldsmith. This is a terrific book. I also agree with Nicole about the Rose biography.

April 16, 2008 at 01:19 PM · I was just about to recommend the two books Anne recommended. Kater also wrote a book on jazz in the Third Reich called "A Different Drummer" which is very good. He also has a book on composers which I have never read but assume is good.

April 16, 2008 at 01:31 PM · This is a very powerful subject, one that I find so compelling, but I have to feed myself doses in small amounts. The Alma Rosé book always makes me cry just to see the cover, the pics inside.

Thanks for posting the story links, Sandy. I have cut/pasted this thread onto my personal files.

April 16, 2008 at 01:34 PM · I should add that this is, peripherally, the subject of my recently written novel #3, called Ghost Chaser. A middle aged adopted woman learns her birth mother was not the prim Catholic German immigrant she was introduced to once, but a mischling of some notoriety, a singer from the Weimar days, who perished in the Holocaust. Okay, not a violinist. A cabaret singer, in fact. But I did a lot of exploring of the plight of any performer, Jew or mischling alike, whose vocation/calling was crushed by that regime. Even the ones, like many of the mischlings, whose lives were ultimately spared, who were the "lucky ones" - it just chills me to think of what they lost, what the world lost. An artist deprived of his/her craft because of racial prejudice (or ANY reason) - that's just so heartbreaking.

(FYI - after I completed the first draft of this novel, six weeks ago, I put it on the shelf to marinate for a while. It's far too easy for me to get drawn into the emotional nature of this subject, and it's far too important an issue to rush the writing. So, it may be a matter of years, not months, before the novel is complete, but hey, worth the wait to do it right.)

April 16, 2008 at 01:53 PM · Thanks also for posting this Sandy and the others. Like Terez, I must visit this subject in small doses just because of the pathos and pain.


April 16, 2008 at 03:33 PM · I have a blog here about a related project.

April 16, 2008 at 04:12 PM · Terez - we await with anticipation the release of your novel but understand the imperatives which prevent its swift release.

For those who do not know, a mischling was someone who was part Jewish and part Aryan, i.e., mixed blood. Their treatment under the Nazis was quite complex. There is a very good book whose name escapes me by Nathan Stoltzfus on their fate. Those who are familiar with the infamous Wansee Conference (said to have been the one at which the Final Solution was implemented) will remember that a large part of the conference was devoted to how to handle the mischling.

April 16, 2008 at 04:54 PM · Tom - When researching, I also read In the Shadow of the Holocaust, a book by James Tent about Nazi persecution of Jewish-Christian Germans. Yes, very complicated, very compelling issue. I also enjoyed reading Peter Gay's My German Question.. And I must say, Norman Lebrecht's The Song of Names, your suggestion way back when, is still on my top 10 list of Really Good Books. Incredibly so.

April 16, 2008 at 05:40 PM · Since nobody has mentioned it, "The Savior: A Novel" is a terrific fiction novel. Eugene Drucker, of The Emerson String Quartet, wrote it.

Also, great links, as usual, Mischa!

April 16, 2008 at 08:23 PM · I was just going to post "The Savior" as well. Interesting novel--I personally thought it wasn't very well written, but not so much so that it isn't worth reading if you're interested in this subject. It will make your skin crawl a bit.

I enjoyed "The Inextinguishable Symphony" as well.

April 21, 2008 at 02:17 AM · Something that comes across I think when one looks into the details of the Holocaust is the very human ability/tendency to justify anything. There've been a lot of good documentaries and books available on this topic, and this is a point that seems to be coming across more and more.

Anything at all can be successfully argued, justified. History may have its windows of opportunity, and some things may be impossible at one time but possible at another. But I suspect that just about any thought, good or bad, has at some time been attempted to be justified.

The people who committed such crimes, and the others who passively allowed these crimes to happen without challenging them, were actively justifying what was being done. Some may have been scared into submission, and beaten down by the system. Others may not have known what was being done.

Deranged people probably don't bother to justify what they do, but an insidious form of wrongdoing is the one that is personally justified. The one that 'good, intelligent people' tend to do.

It's easy to spot though, eventually: you look for trees bearing bad fruit. Doesn't matter what type of tree it is. Or what the justification is.

April 21, 2008 at 03:49 AM · The most "successful" justifaction would seem to be "I didn't do it, X made me do it"

April 21, 2008 at 07:05 AM · Eisenhower was one of our most brilliant presidents. Very perceptive about the future and had good warnings. Also one of our most brilliant generals. I say "one of" because I have a personal weakness for corncob pipes :)

A few months ago something got me interested in Furtwangler, the conductor. On Youtube there are some fascinating videos of him conducting Beethoven's 9th in the old Berlin Phil. hall during war times. Very, very interesting scene with the audience full of 1942 German dignitaries. Very different. The same music meaning a very different thing to a different audience. F. is a controversial figure. Basically people say he could have left, and he says he was trying to ensure the survival of German music.

April 21, 2008 at 09:58 AM · Sander, thanks so much for those amazing links. I'd love to read that book "My Heart is a Violin" by Shony Braun. Pity that the shipping costs twice as much as the book itself :(

April 21, 2008 at 03:01 PM · MacArthur is highly regarded in Australia as a great leader, and man of integrity. His "I shall return" promise was a great reassurance to Australians in a time of uncertainty.

When I was in my early twenties, deep into learning music, my brother in law was working in a firm that had rooms in what is called the "MacArthur Building" in Brisbane. This was MacArthur's headquarters in Queensland. The building was almost unchanged since the days of WWII. In the evenings, when my brother in law was working back late, I had the chance to check out some of the unoccupied areas of the building, since a lot of it was not rented out at that stage.

It was fascinating, like walking around an abandoned museum. The place oozed 1940's style and atmosphere.

I'll never forget hearing my father loudly, firmly, indignantly standing up for Americans when he overheard an old 'bushy' saying how terrible they are. "If it wasn't for their help in WWII, you old so and so, all would have been lost!". Or words to that effect.

April 21, 2008 at 04:15 PM · Jon, they dislike us for some strange reasons sometimes. I once had a German jump on me for saying "Nice to meet you." "Why do Americans say that? That's so stupid." :)

My dad was a Marine in your neighborhood in WWII, in a couple battles. I spotted him in a documentary once. Amazing to see.

April 22, 2008 at 02:45 AM · Jon, I don't mean to be disrespectful but that logic doesn't make sense to me because it suggests that America/Americans can do no harm and if they do they're automatically absolved simply because they supported us in WWII. It has the characteristics of a faustian bargain.

Also, the ones who ran the US during WWII are no longer in charge there, if they are even still alive. Most people alive today were born after WWII. Whilst there is such a thing as national mentality, attitudes do change, so do social-environmental factors which influence the conduct of nations.

Note, one can be grateful without granting immunity from criticism.

April 24, 2008 at 03:22 AM · Oh, I agree in general Benjamin!

No, Dad was not seeing things in black and white, incapable of seeing the gray in-between. He is no bigot. I had hoped I'd made it clear in the above that he was responding to someone who was making an unpleasant, closed-minded, bigoted statement. Dad was just expressing a truth, fairly, and giving his thanks where it was due. If you trash someone or some country unfairly, without a thought to what good they have done, you must expect a response from a fair-minded person.

He or I would not say that any country is absolved from blame by what good they have done at some other time or in some other place. Perhaps you yourself (respectfully) have here made the mistake of seeing things in black and white, without taking into account the likelihood of a finer nuance in-between.

I'd also point out that my dad and the other guy both lived through WWII, and they were discussing aspects of 'back then'. Our friend given to bigoted comments ('the bushy') was mostly talking about the past.

Otherwise, it is a fair comment you make. It is an obvious truth that any country of today is a different country to what it was some time ago. Yet praise given where praise is due is to me a wise policy. The alternative is churlishness.

It is an obvious thing that some people in my own country, and overseas, often express anti-American sentiment. It is even fashionable for some to do so, and this is especially noticable amongst artists these days for some reason. I don't know enough of what is going on overseas to comment on the possible bad things that the US does, but I see enough good things in the US, and in what good they do achieve in the world, to make a fair comment.

April 24, 2008 at 03:40 AM · It goes back further than wwii. Philosophically if it wasn't for the u.s. the western world might be vastly different, likely masters and slaves. The artists, I can easily forgive them, they're usually subject to fashion.

April 24, 2008 at 03:46 AM · Jon, I didn't mean to suggest your father was a bigot, which is why I stated that I "don't mean to be disrespectful". It wasn't clear from your post what the argument really was about and how it started and I felt it was important to make the point I made because in this day and age there is a lot of polarisation on this kind of issue, probably fueled by the line "you're with us or against us" which was often used by the current administration.

And yes, we all do tend to be more forgiving when the "bad guys" are perceived as our friends or when we have other connections to them. I have worked in many countries over the years and I notice that when there are events on the news, I tend to be more sympathetic to those countries I have lived and worked in. Even when I try to be totally objective, I can't avoid that bias entirely. We all do this and most of the time it is subconscious. For that reason, I believe it is important that we remind ourselves from time to time of it to try to sharpen our objectivity.

April 24, 2008 at 03:48 AM · Yes Jim, and all of China or may be the whole of Asia for that matter would be under the rule of the Japanese empire.

April 24, 2008 at 03:46 AM · "Philosophically if it wasn't for the u.s. the western world might be vastly different, likely masters and slaves"

Um, really? The American Revolution was a natural outgrowth of the Enlightenment; if the Colonies hadn't done it someone else would have (the French were moving in that direction already, if you'll recall.)

April 24, 2008 at 03:52 AM · Yixi, you are wrong about that one because without the US, Japan would not have become an industrialised country in the first place. Japan would have been akin to places like Bhutan or Tibet (before 1945), closed society (feudal in this case) with little contact to the outside world.

April 24, 2008 at 03:55 AM · For those who make the typical mistake of claiming a first on democracy on behalf of the US, please take a look at the history of Switzerland, they've had democracy for some 700 years and in many ways, their democracy is more deserving of the term in the sense of the word than most if not all other countries.

April 24, 2008 at 04:01 AM · I like the way Jim you put wwii in small letters. I should do the same. Thanks for the info on your dad. Very interesting. I agree that your country's influence has been very wide ranging, and achieved much for democracy and freedom in the world. Benjamin, points noted and appreciated.

April 24, 2008 at 04:21 AM · Oh I see Ben, you’ve never even heard of Asian Holocaust! Do you have any idea what a monster Japan was before 1945 under the rule of Emperor Hirohito?

April 24, 2008 at 04:36 AM · Yixi, for about 400 years, Japan was a country that did not allow any of its citizens to leave the country nor allow any foreigner to enter the country. There were two small artificial islands in the bay of Nagasaki (at a safe distance far far away from the capital) where foreigners were allowed under heavy restrictions for the purpose of maintaining minimal trade, one island was for the Chinese, the other for the Dutch.

The Dutch had been rewarded this way for helping Japan to kick out the Portuguese who had purchased Japan from the Pope in Rome in the late 1400s so they could turn it into a Portuguese colony. However, this incident made the Japanese extremely suspicious of foreigners, hence the artificial islands and total closure of the country to the outside world. The example of how China was bossed around by foreign powers in the 19th century, including Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan and the US, would seem to suggest the Japanese were right in their being suspicious and paranoid.

Now, this period lasted until 1868 when the US sent war ships to Japan and threatened them with war if they didn't open up and allow foreigners in and trade with the US. You may want to Google for "Commodore Perry" to read up on that. The Japanese realised that they had little chance against the superior technology and so they gave in and allowed the foreign powers in and start their exploits. Yet, the Japanese realised that they would become a poor colonial place if they didn't learn how to compete with those foreign powers and so they started a major industrialisation effort.

So I repeat it for you once more: Without the US, Japan would have remained a closed feudal country without contact to the outside world other than through those two small trading posts in the bay of Nagasaki, through which Japan sold silk to Chinese and Dutch merchants. Any other contact with the outside world would have remained forbidden and there would have been no Japanese Empire.

For the avoidance of doubt, this does not mean that Japan isn't responsible for the atrocities and war crimes they committed.

April 24, 2008 at 04:47 AM · “For the avoidance of doubt, this does not mean that Japan isn't responsible for the atrocities and war crimes they committed.”

This is as much as you can say about the Asian Holocaust after 4 paragraphs defending and making excuses for their military aggression and the horrendous cruelty they committed to millions of innocent Chinese civilians during that 8 years of invasion. After all, this is a thread related to Holocaust. Your sentiment intrigues me.

April 24, 2008 at 04:51 AM · Benji, 700 years ago Switz. was part of the holy roman empire or something.

Mara, go to your room until you aren't a slave to fashion anymore :)

April 24, 2008 at 04:46 AM · I did not make any excuses nor did I defend anything.

Your initial statement was that without the US there would have been no relief from the Japanese aggression in Asia, I said that without the US there would not have been an industrialised Japan in the first place. You then responded to that in a way that suggested you don;t know about the timeline, in this case the US initiating Japan's industrialisation prior to the Japanese Empire coming into existence. Hence my response with that timeline.

April 24, 2008 at 05:01 AM · Jim, that isn't entirely correct. The original Switzerland (the four cantons in the centre which started Switzerland) won independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1292. Over the course of centuries other neighbouring areas have then joined. The last addition to Switzerland was Savoie decided at the Vienna Congress in 1815.

Note that the official name of the country is Confederatio Helvetica (Helvetic confederation of cantons) and the four founding cantons started this confederation, which means Switzerland (the Confederatio Helvetica) has existed since then.

April 24, 2008 at 05:10 AM · I'm not going to study swiss history to check it. But it begs the question why then is so much significance given to the french revolution in europe.

P.S. Jon, i'm just too lazy and inebriated to reach for the caps key except randomly. No meaning.

April 24, 2008 at 05:10 AM · Jim, just admit that I shot down your argument in flames already... :) fashion schmashion. it's called historical literacy.

April 24, 2008 at 05:39 AM · the french followed us by a generation or two. Partly because they spent so much helping us whip the brits. Arguments like what might have happened aren't good. I think it was probably inevitable, but under the circumstances that actually existed. I used to think, everybody did, that progress of technology and information, science, enlightenment and reason would do it, but I think maybe not, now. The trend is a little bit backward now I think. The philosophy isn't a natural result of technology, I think now.

April 24, 2008 at 05:21 AM · Ah!

Oh well, it looked good.

April 24, 2008 at 05:26 AM · One good thing about the Swiss, I've been told every family is required by law to own a machine gun. Don't know if it's true.

April 24, 2008 at 05:08 AM · There are several reasons for that. For one, Switzerland has been nicely tucked away in the mountains, out of reach, out of mind, so to speak. Also, Switzerland has always been neutral, no matter what happened around them. In other words they have maintained a very low profile throughout history, in part by accident, in part by design. Another reason would be the fact that at the time Switzerland started its democracy, it would have been an extremely inconvenient story to tell, it was the sort of news you wouldn't want anybody to know if you are the ruling class and you are in this position by way of keeping the populace ignorant.

The French revolution happened during a different time, when people had started to think about and question the realities in their world. Also, the Swiss have not promoted their democracy as a human rights movement, they thought of it as a measure of protecting themselves from neighbouring despots. Unlike other newly independent territories, they didn't trust themselves either and just elect another king or baron or duc. They share the American mistrust of government to their bones. The initial cantons being very small, it was practical for them to assemble frequently and just hold a referendum on just about every decision of interest. There was no great thinker who promoted any such system as a result of philosophic reflection, it was all entirely pragmatic. Almost like democracy by accident.

April 24, 2008 at 05:41 AM · Jim, haha, that's a funny interpretation. What you will find is that military service is mandatory for every Swiss male between 18 and 65, no exceptions whatsoever (you go to jail if you don't join the swiss army). Every fall, the Swiss are called to army training and exercises for 3 weeks and the employers have to continue to pay their salaries during that time. The Swiss military doctrine is to abandon the plains and retreat to the mountains from where to carry out guerilla warfare against an occupier. Also, the goal is to always be mobilised. For this reason every Swiss soldier (that is every able-bodied Swiss male between 18 and 65) has to have his army outfit at home, which includes an assault rifle.

BTW, this is a tradition that goes all the way back to the four cantons who faught the Holy Roman Empire for independence in 1292.

April 24, 2008 at 05:54 AM · I couldn't remember exactly what I heard :) It's interesting they keep their weapon. An American soldier or nat'l guardsman leaves his at the base. Or course he usually has more than one of the rough equivalent at home :)

April 24, 2008 at 05:49 AM · remember last year when Lichtenstein accidentally invaded Switzerland? That was awesome.

April 24, 2008 at 05:53 AM · Ben, assuming for a minute that your account of Japanese modern history is correct, I still don’t see the logic how on earth Japan had to invade China and to commit war crime against millions of innocent Chinese civilians when it was ‘pushed’ by the Americans! If this is some sort of self-defence argument, you need to try it a bit harder.

April 24, 2008 at 06:03 AM · The lichs decided 700 years of yodeling and lederhosen was enough. The Swiss narrowly repelled them with their home-armored metric arsenal.

April 24, 2008 at 06:01 AM · "remember last year when Lichtenstein accidentally invaded Switzerland?"

really? I never heard about this, sounds like a funny story, do you have a link?

April 24, 2008 at 06:15 AM ·

April 24, 2008 at 06:21 AM · It's still very raw, I think. I have seen this for myself in Malaysia. People of course still talk about it. It is too close to home.

Hey Yixi, you deleted your post! I'll have to modify mine now.

April 24, 2008 at 06:17 AM · "assuming for a minute that your account of Japanese modern history is correct"

don't take my word for it, ready up on this yourself, keywords:

Sakoku (closure of the country)

Dejima (the Dutch trading post)

Commodore Perry (the US naval officer arriving in the bay of Tokyo with war ships)

Black Ships

Meiji Japan (the name of the period)

"I still don’t see the logic how on earth Japan had to invade China and to commit war crime against millions of innocent Chinese civilians when it was ‘pushed’ by the Americans! If this is some sort of self-defence argument"

I didn't say any such thing. Go back and read my posts. What I did say was that without the US, Japan would not have become an industrialised country. This doesn't mean I justify Japanese aggression and atrocities. In fact I am known for promoting the view that Japan should take a lesson from Germany in how to deal with its past.

April 24, 2008 at 06:26 AM · You didn’t say it, but your arguments effectively served as a type of exculpation that is all too familiar to the victims and their children.

Jon, sorry but I think your post makes good sense nevertheless.

April 24, 2008 at 06:58 AM · Ben, without the U.S. Japan might not have become industialized, but that's irrelevant - unless you're also saying the U.S. should have had the good sense to prevent them becoming industrialized.

Yixi, people realize the significance, but there's only so much one can say. It was just about the biggest physical horror possible, judging by accounts and photographs. Literally a waking nightmare beyond description. We ended the sonofabitch and got our honest reward for that. Some people are jealous of that reward sometimes, maybe. The best legacy would be for all the former allies to stand united against all tyrany in the world.

April 24, 2008 at 06:36 AM · Thanks Jim. That's very heartfelt and true what you've said. I rarely get emotional about historical stuff but this one is just too close to home. Our parents and grandparents were all there. I think the most part of the western world didn't know about this until I think Iris Chang's book came out.

April 24, 2008 at 06:51 AM · "You didn’t say it, but your arguments effectively served as a type of exculpation"

That is utter nonsense. History is not something you can just pick whichever events suit you most. Nor is there any particular philosophy embedded in historic events, the events are the events whatever they are. As human beings we are responsible for what we do no matter what the circumstances are.

Indeed, Japan was encouraged by European powers to embark on imperialsm, chief culprit there was Prussia and its military advisers to Japan who told them that if they didn't control Korea they would not have any buffer zone to defend an invasion by another power (for example Russia) via Korea. That is a historic fact. However, if somebody tells you to jump in front of a train, it doesn't mean you have to do it, its ultimately your own choice and thus Japan is responsible for following that Prussian advice. They should have known better, especially because of their history only narrowly escaping Portuguese colonisation.

You will find that if you talk to Japanese knuckleheads who think they did nothing wrong on this basis, if you do not try to argue away the history but tell them that they are wrong DESPITE all those historic events which they may bring up, then you'll actually get them to start thinking. At least that's my experience with Japanese reactionaries. And even if you don't get them thinking, you will at least gain the support from ordinary Japanese folks, the majority of whom are not reactionary.

In fact, most Japanese today are true pacifists, just as most Germans are, so much so that the Americans complain about it when they want support for various military interventions and they don't get it or don't get much. The Americans should be proud of their achievement, that is making sure that those two troublesome nations have totally lost their appetite for war.

Do I think Japanese politicians should do more towards reconcilation with their neighbours. Absolutely yes, but that doesn't mean I will sit idle when "the history we don't want told because it doesn't suit us" is being supressed.

April 24, 2008 at 07:07 AM · Therein lies the danger. Countries lose taste for shouldering responsibility. Creates a vacuum. Baddies swoop (or slowly trickle) into vacuum, smiling gleefully. Idealists/dreamers say, "Hey, what happened? We're in trouble!". Actually, no, they never get it. Too busy munching on the cake they've been thrown from the government.

April 24, 2008 at 07:09 AM · Jon, rather than inviting them to military adventures, I tend to believe a better way to "teach responsibility" to Germany and Japan would be a to give them permanent seat in a reformed UN security council (alongside India, Brazil and one or two populous Muslim countries, ie Indonesia and/or Malaysia).

April 24, 2008 at 07:14 AM · Jon, I think artists are fairly powerless in those circumstances, except for certain ones who just thrive in them. I think it includes music artists of all kinds. The music of opposition is great stuff.

April 24, 2008 at 07:15 AM · I'm not inviting them to any military adventures. Heck, I'm a pacifist myself. But it is crazy to turn one's back if there are bullies around. You are a staunch UN man, I see.

Jim, you are a kind and understanding man when it comes to artists. That is good. I'll try to follow your lead. In my experience there are two types of artist, but I won't go there as it is off topic.

April 24, 2008 at 07:15 AM · I wouldn't call myself a staunch UN man, precisely because I think the UN is in desperate need of major reforms ;-)

April 24, 2008 at 11:20 AM · Geez Jim, do you ever wonder why the US can be so disliked? Reread your own posts to get a clue.

It's also a shame that this fine thread has been so badly hijacked by such tripe. Not everything is about YOU!


April 24, 2008 at 04:49 PM · Neil, like I said way up there, it doesn't take much - "Hey how ya doin'" is enough to start something sometimes.

April 25, 2008 at 08:22 AM · "remember last year when Lichtenstein accidentally invaded Switzerland?"

I have had a chance to check up on this and found it was actually the other way 'round, Swiss troops getting lost in Liechtenstein. Couldn't have been any other way because Liechtenstein doesn't even have an army :-) Funny story nevertheless:

April 25, 2008 at 05:55 PM · Ah, whichever... :)

Remember "cucumber season"? Check my blog archive, I wrote too much about it last summer...but essentially it's "silly season" when nothing happens except News of the Weird-worthy nonsense--last year it started when a Romanian shepherd wandering across the Hungarian border nearly kicked up a diplomatic row. I can't WAIT to see what will be the official beginning of cucumber season this year...

April 25, 2008 at 06:02 PM · Reminds me, have to dig out "The Mouse That Roared" flick and watch it again. It's funny.

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