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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 8, 2006 / 8 Adar 5766

The Shame of La Belle France

By Norman Lebrecht

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When reports of this book first appeared in France, I knew it would be personal.


My mother's family lived in Paris. When the Germans invaded in May 1940, her parents, two brothers and a sister made their way to the Vichy sector where they somehow survived the next four years, my aunt's health irreparably impaired. Others were less fortunate. A cousin was shot in the streets of Paris, several more were rounded up by gendarmes and deported to the extermination camps. No-one ever discussed these events. When I tried to question the last of my uncles before his death two years ago, all Rene would say was: "Those were terrible times, life is better now."


Irene Nemirovsky, a fashionable novelist in her late 30s, was among the unlucky ones. Although she had led her family to the Catholic font in February 1939 by way of false precaution, Nemirovsky was of Russian-Jewish birth and cultural eminence, a marked woman. She sent her daughters to a village in the Loire in the care of their nanny's mother and began work compendiously on a documentary novel that recorded the fall of France, knowing that not a word of it could be published. When she and her husband were arrested separately in 1942 and sent to Auschwitz, her little girls grabbed the manuscript and kept it with them as they were moved from one hiding place to another, diligently pursued by French police.


After liberation the girls would go every day to the Gare de l'Est for several months hoping for news of their parents. Reconciled at last to their tragic fate, they could not bring themselves to read the unfinished manuscript, let alone transcribe it for an editor. When the novel was finally brought to print in 2004, La Belle France was shocked speechless by the multiple perfidies and character flaws captured with careful detachment and a surprising degree of affection in Nemirovsky's careful narration.


Suite Francaise follows the trail of Parisians great and small who flee Paris ahead of the Boche. Once in the countryside they are abused, verbally and economically, by the peasantry; those tales one heard of farmers selling glasses of tap water to parched fugitives appear to be true. Families are separated in the mayhem, a priest is murdered by the orphans he is escorting to the south. Snobbery is rife. A celebrated writer can blag himself a room at the best hotel while others less distinguished are forced to sleep rough, in the rain.


In the second section of an epic story structured along the lines of a Beethoven symphony but with just two movements intact, Nemirovsky charts the beginnings of collaboration between rural landowners and the German administration, bored women and the officers billeted in their homes. Her eye misses nothing, from under-counter transactions at the butcher's to a kitten making its first leap from a drainpipe. The tone is neutral, cheerful, sympathetic. Only once does a young blood give vent to rage:



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He recalled the cars full of officers running away with their beautiful yellow trunks and painted women, civil servants abandoning their posts, panic-stricken politicians dropping files of secret papers along the road, young girls who had diligently wept the day the armistice was signed being comforted in the arms of the Germans. And to think that this will be transformed into yet another glorious page in the history of France.


Deftly translated by Sandra Smith, this is possibly the most devastating indictment of French manners and morals since Madame Bovary, as hypnotic as Proust at the biscuit tin, as gruelling as Genet on the prowl. Irene Nemirovsky is, on this evidence, a novelist of the very first order, perceptive to a fault and sly in her emotional restraint. One hungers to read more — her life of Chekhov; her pre-war chef d'oeuvre, David Golder; an imaginary memoir by her daughter Elisabeth Gille titled Le Mirador, the watchtower.


My first reaction was right: this is personal. Reading Suite Francaise, I begin to get a sense of what my family went through, how my mother in England got along without word of her loved ones for four years, how the past has been rewritten and turned into a leisure park. The Loire, for me, will never look the same again.

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JWR contributor Norman Lebrecht is Assistant Editor of London's Evening Standard and presenter of lebrecht.live on BBC Radio 3. He has written ten books about music, which have been translated into 13 languages. They include the international best-sellers The Maestro Myth and When the Music Stops. His website is NormanLebrecht.com To comment, please click here.







© 2006, Norman Lebrecht