My Nazi Legacy

My Nazi legacyUK  2015, 95 mins, PG  Director David Evans featuruing Philippe Sands, Nilklas Frank, Horst von Wachter

This outstanding documentary about history and guilt from author and human rights lawyer Philippe Sands concerns the two elderly sons of prominent officials in Nazi Germany. Sands interviews Niklas Frank and Horst von Wächter, the sons of Hans Frank and Otto Wächter, respectively (among their other grim distinctions) the Nazi governor of occupied Poland and Nazi governor of Galicia in Ukraine. It becomes disturbingly clear that although Frank Jr has come to terms with what his father did, Wächter Jr is still in denial – wriggling, squirming, trying to claim that his father was not personally guilty. Increasingly angry, Sands confronts him with documentary proof that Otto Wächter had substantial administrative responsibility for the slaughter of Ukrainian Jews, including Sands’s own family. It is a chilling demonstration of how the poison of the past can live in the bloodstream of the present. (amended from Peter Bradshaw’s Guardian review)

The Roots and Branches of Jewish Comedy

Where are the roots of Jewish comedy? What makes a joke Jewish? The Bible has comedy and jokes – not much, but who’s counting?  The Talmud and early Rabbinic literature grew a special brand of Jewish humour, as has our experience of Diaspora. Throw in some history, the festival of Purim, struggle, persecution, poverty, Rabbinic discourse and a fear of assimilation, and we find a rich culture of Jewish humour which everybody loves, we hope. And if they don’t, we will make a joke about that too. Before anyone else does….

Maureen Kendler - The Roots and Branches of Jewish Comedy BristolMaureen Kendler is a Teaching Fellow at the London School of Jewish Studies and has degrees in English Literature and Jewish Education. She is a dedicated Limmudnik and teaches there and internationally on a wide variety of Jewish texts, ancient and modern. She broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 2 “Pause For Thought” and contributes to the Jewish Chronicle “Thought For the Week” column.