Wednesday, December 30, 2015






Moritz Moses Rabinowitz
Courtesy: Haugaland Museum






Moritz Rabinowitz born Moritz Moses Rabinowitz (1887) Rajgród, Poland. Died February 27, 1942 (aged 54) Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
Cause of death: Murder by abuse and neglect 

Resting place: Unknown 
Nationality: Norwegian 
Occupation: Industrialist 

Years active: 1909-1942 
Employer: Self-employed. Known for Industrial development, philanthropy, and anti-fascist activism 
Home town Haugesund, Norway 
Spouse: Johanne Goldberg 
Children: Edith, married Reichwald 
Parents: Isaac Levi and Chaya Rosa 



Moritz Moses Rabinowitz (20 September 1887 – 27 February 1942) was a Norwegian retail merchant based in the city of Haugesund, memorialized for his humanitarian outlook and contribution to his city.

Rabinowitz was born in Rajgród as a son of Isaac Levi and Chaya Rosa Rabinowitz. It is also known that he had 2 sisters and a younger brother. The brother - Herman Herschel - also immigrated to Norway and settled in Bergen. Rabinowitz wrote that he had witnessed "barbaric" murders during pogroms, particularly in Bialystok. As long as he lived, Rabinowitz sent money to his parents in Poland


Rabinowitz married Johanne Goldberg, the daughter of Salomon Goldberg who founded the Friedenstempel in Berlin. They had 1 child, Edith, born in 1918. She married the Austrian refugee Hans Reichwald, and they had a son Harry, born in 1940. Johanne Rabinowitz died on 25 November 1939, after relocating to Bergen to be near her sister Rosa, who had married Moritz's brother Hermann. Rabinowitz traveled extensively along the Norwegian west coast south of Bergen and apparently spent most weekends with his family.

By 1942, the widower Moritz Rabinowitz's family in Norway consisted of his daughter Edith, son-in-law Hans, grandson Harry, and sister-in-law Rosa, who was married to his brother Hermann. None of these would survive the Holocaust.

Rabinowitz immigrated to Norway in 1909, at first finding work as a retail clerk in Bergen, then as a peddler. In 1911, he took over the lease of a small cafe in Haugesund and opened an apparel store with only two items in his inventory: one suit and one overcoat. The overcoat was stolen, and he had the suit left for sale. Over time the business grew, and he moved to a larger location in Haugesund and ultimately opened stores also in Odda, Sauda, Stavanger, Egersund and Kristiansand. 

He consistently reinvested his profits in growing the business and soon became a mainstay in the apparel retail business in southwestern Norway under the company name M. Rabinowitz. He also started an apparel manufacturing company called Condor. By 1940, Rabinowitz employed about 250 people. He also founded the Hotel Bristol in Haugesund and built what he considered to be one of the best concert halls on the Norwegian west coast along with the Condor manufacturing plant. The Rabinowitz family also had a country home at Førdesfjorden they called Jødeland ("Jewland").

Though he belonged to a small minority in an otherwise homogeneous society with xenophobic tendencies, Rabinowitz became a public figure in Haugesund and surrounding region. He was a frequent contributor of opinion pieces to the local press, addressing issues including labor relations, relief aid to war-torn areas in Spain, Finland, and Austria. He made charitable donations to numerous causes, often anonymously. Among those that are known he gave gifts and financial support for Christmas celebrations in the local jail, orphanage, Blue Cross, and seaman's church. He donated an entire section of Åkrasanden on Karmøy to the citizens of Haugesund for their recreational purposes.

He was a lonely voice for several decades against the antisemitism he experienced firsthand in Norway. His nemesis in the op-ed pages was Eivind Saxlund, a leading voice for the antisemitism of the time. His involvement also got national attention from a leading proponent of racist antisemitism, Jon Alfred Mjøen, who brought the issue to the pages of Aftenposten. Rabinowitz also prevailed in a defamation lawsuit against Mikal Sylten, editor of Nationalt Tidsskrift. Taking place in June 1927, it was the second defamation lawsuit against Nationalt Tidsskrift, after the lawsuit from Kristansund-based chief physician Ephraim Koritzinsky which took place in May.

Rabinowitz expressed his deep opposition to Nazism in the newspaper pages as early as in 1933, figuring that Hitler's "career was only possible in an era as desperate and confused as today's." German Nazi newspapers named him as the Jewish community's secular leader in Norway.

In 1934 he wrote that "the new Germany lives in a martial psychosis, specializing in child-rearing for war, and military technique...children are taught from the cradle to hate all foreign peoples and to kill them at the order to do so."

In 1934 he also predicted a devastating world war, was unimpressed by the non-aggression treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union. He sent telegrams to world leaders, including Roosevelt, Hindenburg, and Chamberlain, imploring them to intervene on behalf of German Jews. In 1939 he demanded that Norway improve its coastal defense system against a German attack and occupation.

His involvement prompted one reporter to write in Egersundsposten, on 30 January 1940, that: "There may be no other Norwegian who has traveled more extensively in Europe than as Rabinowitz, and he knows the flashpoint Poland inside and out... Rabinowitz is the kind of Jew who shouts from the rooftops that he is a Jew... some may find this irritating... but in truth Rabinowitz is more Norwegian than most of us".

According to an eye witness, Rabinowitz was stomped to death outside the nearest barracks on this picture.

Rabinowitz fully expected that the war would come to Norway. On 8 April, the day before the surprise attack came, he submitted his last op-ed article to Haugesunds Avis in which he asked readers to give the Norwegian soldier respect and support. The Germany army landed in Norway on 9 April and Haugesund on 10 April.

The Gestapo made capturing Rabinowitz its highest priority in the little coastal town. Rabinowitz had prepared several places along the coast as hiding places and moved from one to the other with Gestapo on his tracks. Following the war there was some debate as to why Rabinowitz did not avail himself of four known opportunities to flee the country by sea to England. 

Among the townspeople of Haugesund, it was rumored that he was too invested in his company and his money. This view, reinforced by stereotypes was rejected in the local papers, when Rabinowitz's (non-Jewish) business manager and several employees emphatically stated that such motivations would be uncharacteristic of him. Subsequent research has shown that he declined passage on two occasions for reasons entirely unrelated to his business affairs. 

They finally caught up with him in Skanevik, probably by shadowing employees who were conveying business decisions between Rabinowitz and his businesses. By then his daughter, son-in-law, and grandson had joined him.

Rabinowitz was first detained in the regional jail at Lagård in Stavanger, was then sent to Møllergata 19 jail in Oslo on 26 February 1941, and then to Åneby on March 22, until he was sent back to Møllergata on 25 April, where has kept until his deportation on the MS Monte Rosa 22 May 1941. 

The Monte Rosa landed in Stettin, where he wrote his will. Rabinowitz ended up in Sachsenhausen, where he was placed in the barracks for Jews, though he was officially categorized as a political prisoner. He died on 27 February 1942. The death certificate lists pneumonia as the cause of death, but according to fellow prisoner, Rabinowitz was kicked and stomped to death outside Barrack 38 in Sachsenhausen. Rabinowitz's brother, daughter, grandson, and son-in-law were all later deported and murdered in Auschwitz.

As it happened, Rabinowitz managed to convey his last greetings via a German inmate and another inmate from Haugesund to the people of Haugesund. These were reproduced in the obituary that was published on 20 June 1945. On 6 May 1986, the people of Haugesund erected a memorial stone for Rabinowitz.

Rabinowitz also dictated and signed his last will and testament to a fellow inmate, Christian Wilhelm Rynning-Tønnesen, where he left all his earthly belongings to his daughter Edith, also expressing a wish that his businesses continue as going concerns. Since Edith and her entire family also were murdered, what was left of Rabinowitz's estate went into probate after the war. 

After the occupying powers had confiscated his businesses, and at least NOK 300,000 in cash and securities, his estate was valued at NOK 986,000 at the end of the war. The Norwegian government imposed fees and taxes of NOK 450,000 in the course of the next ten years. Among other things, the authorities assumed that Rabinowitz's heirs had died in the sequence that maximized tax liability (and thereby tax revenue).

Source: Wikipedia

Tuesday, December 29, 2015








R E F U G E E  I N  N O R W A Y:
T H E  S T O R Y  O F  M R.  M.




A new category of refugees emerged in the wake of World War II: Jewish displaced persons, from the Nazi concentration camps or from wartime hiding. It is estimated that there were about 250,000 Jewish displaced persons (DP’s) at the war’s end. In their book Waiting for Hope, Angelika Konigseder, and Juliana Wetzel (Northwestern Universities Press, 2001) richly detail the realities and complexities of the DP’s postwar path towards rehabilitation. 

Refugees were financially aided by UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) and from 1948, the International Relief Organization and various Jewish relief organizations, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (Joint) and the British Jewish Relief Unit (JRU). Many were very ill with TB and so handicapped that they were unfit for labor. Most of them did not believe they would be able to start a new life in a new country. 

I had the privilege of interviewing one such displaced person—a Jew, who as a youngster came with his parents to Norway in 1952 and is now a Norwegian citizen. He consented to the interview with full realization that it would be painful for him to reflect on the many traumatic events he experienced, a past that remains a strong part of his life. 

But he has resiliently insisted on regaining life, and found ways to live and move on from an almost zero- if not the so-called minus- place he started from. Silence is one means of survival and it is accepted – by some. However, in sharing his story Mr. M has also said yes to recreate the vulnerable. I will for the sake of this article, call him Mr. M, as he has expressed a wish to remain anonymous.

Mr. M: My parents escaped from Poland when WWII broke out. We arrived in Russia where I was born in 1941 during the escape. After the war, we decided not to return to Poland, but had to pass through in order to arrive at a European refugees’ repatriation camp, a camp for Displaced Persons. We arrived at Reichenbach in Austria. Later in 1946/47, we were relocated to Dachau near Munich, Germany. My mother tells me how terrible it was during one of our travels to hear natives standing on the railway platform in Poland shouting: “Are there really that many Jews still remaining?” This stayed with me. I personally remember another incident when we arrived in Munich. We had to leave the train with our luggage. German soldiers were waving and shouting forcefully: “Hurry up! Schnell! Get off quickly..!” and I thought: “The war is over. We do our best. Why do they have to be so angry?”

Most of the refugees in Germany and elsewhere wanted to settle in USA, Canada or Israel – but in order to do so, one of the criteria was that one was healthy. I will never forget waving good-bye to the many of our Jewish friends that we met in Dachau. They were all transported in a truck with all their belongings on their way to Israel. My mother wept deeply. She never told me why, but a five years old boy understands. . 

As a matter of fact, we had prepared to leave for Israel as well. We had bought items that were difficult to get hold of in Israel. We built a trunk for our personal belongings and started to pack. However, a last routine medical check before departure showed that father had TB. Hence my parents, my sibling and I were unable to leave and remained in Dachau for 6 more years. We lived in a one room apartment, without water, while father was at the sanatorium for a longer period of time without recovering.

I started school and learned German easily as we spoke German-like Yiddish at home. I made many friends among classmates, in the school yard as well as in my neighborhood. The teachers were very nice. I was automatically exempt from religion classes where Christianity was taught. On my way home, I experienced a few times anti-Semitic mobbing by boys, but was protected by my always loyal German schoolmates. My parents also developed close German friendships, but even so, we did not want to remain in Germany. 

The Norwegian Refugee Commission was tasked with placing active TB cases in Norwegian sanatoria selecting those they felt would benefit most. Because Norway is a small country, it could not possibly take them all. Furthermore, Norway was recovering from the war. A choice had to be made. They had ongoing discussions concerning the possibility of giving at least some displaced people of Jewish origin (many of whom were traumatized and left with scars on their lungs and their minds) permission to enter Norway, to settle and finally to become citizens. Norway was well equipped to receive TB patients. A TB prevention law had been voted at the turn of the century that made it mandatory to treat a human carrier of the disease. There were two key scientists in the field of TB, Olaf Scheel and Johannes Heimbeck, both affiliated with Ullevål hospital, Oslo. They were leading researchers and by 1947 had made medical history in the treatment of TB. 

Mr. M’s father, suffering from TB, was among those selected on humanitarian grounds—along with his wife and children. In Norway there had already been several cases of TB. The selection of refugees in 1952 happened as far as I understand in collaboration with the Joint and the Norwegian authorities. 


Markus Levin



Marcus Levin from the Jewish Congregation in Oslo was one of several appointees who picked our contingent of about 10 families with TB from Dachau/Munich. We would be sent to Stavanger, as we understood it. Apparently the employment and housing opportunities there were better than other places.

Markus Levin was a Norwegian Jew, born in the small town of Rjukan. He was actively involved in the community, as member of the only Jewish family in town. He went into hiding shortly before the arrest in October 1943, and later fled to Sweden. He returned from exile after three years, all the while actively involved with the refugee work and in the lives of the refugees who arrived in Sweden. 

He was also a representative of the Joint Commission, an agency of the United Jewish Appeal of Norway: “The spirit of humanity which has followed a straight course from the days of Henrik Wergeland to our present day is so firmly rooted among the people of Norway that any organized anti Semitism will never arise there. And as the job of reconstruction continues to go forward, Norway will no doubt again become the secure country for Norwegian Jews, which it was before Germany brought fatal destruction to these people” These are the words of Markus Levin, written in 1946. His strong involvement in the earlier and post war work has left marks, in archives, in personal renderings, in lives that still today has direct ties to his name, as they remember his life. 

The refugee center in Stavanger was well organized, supported by professionals. The adults learned the native language and were given lectures in Norwegian history and culture. Norway was at the time a homogeneous protestant society, a society that is geographically in the periphery of Europe. The ordinary employees at the center were generally very kind, but rather unsophisticated and uneducated and were generally skeptical of other cultures. My impression was that they generally pity people who were not Christians. It made a big impression that the center, with the best of intent, arranged a Christmas party with food and gifts and so on. We were even encouraged to walk around the Christmas tree and sing songs along with the staff. And we did!

My meeting with school: We were 3 children at the center at the age of primary school and we started in different regular classes with Norwegian students at an East End school in Stavanger. Before we left for Stavanger, my father had spoken highly of Norway as a good nation where people were kind and honest. He had bought a dictionary so that I could learn Norwegian and I looked forward to it. 

However, the school experience was a cultural shock for me. I was used to order and discipline in the German school environment, with kids who respected adults. Norwegian children seemed unruly, loud, ran around in the school bus and in the school yard. Some did their homework on the sidewalk before class. The teachers in the school yard were few and passive. 

During the first breaks, the students noticed me as being a newcomer. They gathered around me, came close, very close and treated me as if I was a monkey. They laughed at my accent, and teased me with love notes on the wall when I talked with girls. One day my purse was stolen from a wardrobe by an unknown student during a sports-event. I reported it and his mother returned it much later to my parents, weeping, ashamed. 

Among the teachers, only one was informed by the headmaster about my background. Some of the other teachers ignored me and never explained anything about subjects I was unfamiliar with from previous schooling in Germany (such as crafts and sports). One got mad at me because I did not understand his instructions. Classmates had to cool him down and inform him about my background. Other teachers were too kind and gave me undeserved good marks. The level among the students was low. I was soon one of the best in mathematics and writing. I did not tell to my parents about all my problems. I later developed an ulcer from the stress and was sent to the children’s hospital in Bergen. Things turned far better once I changed school as we moved to another part of town. 

One year later, all families had to start looking for work and a place to live. It was not easy to do in the postwar era. We experienced isolation. Families were scattered in settlements around Stavanger. A childless couple was offered a non-insulated garage in the countryside, with very bad bus connections, as a place to live. We were all used to city dwelling. We all wanted to go to Oslo so that we could have contact with other Jews – not only for religious reasons, but for social reasons as well. 

Only 4 out of 8 families remained in Stavanger/Sandnes area. There was only one religious fellow among us. Housing was lacking everywhere in Norway. We felt that the Jewish Congregation in Oslo could have done more to bring us closer to Oslo. Those families who took charge of their own destiny, managed to get both work and home in Oslo. 

Housing shortage was a fact. We moved several times the first 1-2 years and lived in low quality housing. We shared kitchen and bath with others. New apartments were being built in Stavanger and we got one, allegedly in unfair competition with Norwegians who had longer seniority. - It was difficult to get suitable work for everyone. It seemed to be easier with jobs for craftsmen such as painters and electricians. 

Mr. R from Sandnes had to work in a factory on Saturdays, even though he was observant. Before the war my father had started medical studies, but had neither energy nor money to complete. His first employment was in a confectionery factory, but had to resign because of his lung condition and fearing the lifting that was required. His knowledge of Norwegian was adequate and he started as a clerk in a municipal office without possibility of promotion.

My father developed stress-related diseases. Firstly he was operated for stomach ulcer, later he underwent a major lung operation. Treatment at a sanatorium and medication did not relieve his pain. He then had a heart attack and was operated four times for a blood clot. His prostate was removed and, finally, he was treated for depression and weight loss. Mother was a well-read, happy and warm person who created a harmonious home environment and had friends everywhere. Migraine and arthritis did not distract her from all her activities.

It was difficult to be integrated into the Norwegian society that after all was not totally integrated itself into the European mindset. It suffered post-war poverty, it was a Christian nation and quite homogeneous. None of us felt at home. We felt we were foreigners. When I heard or read references to us as ‘you Jews,’ it meant I was still not classified as a Norwegian. It was a difficult time. 

The four Jewish families in the Stavanger/Sandnes area met at intervals and talked about problems with the “natives”, their insecurity, skepticism and lack of knowledge about people from a non-Christian culture. It took a long time before the families were accepted in the workplace and in the communities. 

My parents were perhaps more extroverted and took the initiative to speak with neighbors and invited people to our home. We had great friends. We had interesting discussions about cultural and social issues. With one of the family friends, however, we sensed a hidden missionary zeal. 

I myself had few friends. I was not into school games or sports like the other children. I also became more cautious as I experienced poor loyalty from a classmate whom I regarded as my best friend: After bickering with another kid, my “friend” was teaching me how to behave, in front of surrounding classmates! Also, I refrained from speaking with girls, as it could be a source of mockery. 

A nice class-mate who wanted my best told me that he prayed for me every night that I would convert to Christianity. A nice family from Bergen heard about me and invited me and an orphan several times to a summer camp for three weeks on a small island they owned. I brought my accordion. These were unforgettable weeks. We went rowing, fishing and doing all sorts of fun things on the island. 

My parents were emancipated and non-religious. They knew the Jewish Holidays very well, but celebrated none of them. Our home was filled with books and records. We met frequently with Norwegian and Jewish friends. I listened to the adults’ political, cultural, historical and religious discussions and read many books, among them of course on Zionism, Hitler and the Holocaust. 

An aunt who had survived Auschwitz and lived in Paris visited us often. Another aunt had, due to the restrictive British policies, smuggled herself into Israel prior to 1948, but her son, age 4, was temporarily left behind in Cyprus, to be cared for unintended by strict ultra-orthodox Jews. As it turned out, her son refused to speak with his parents for a long time following their reunion. We were born during the war and were ourselves witnesses.

I spent my youth in Norway but did not feel “at home” in Norway at that time. A girl my age, who had come with us to the country in 1952 felt the same and decided early to immigrate to Israel following the gymnasium. I had made similar plans as hers, but felt compelled to stay closer to my parents. Two Jewish brothers at our age who came to Stavanger with their family in 1948 also decided to immigrate to Israel later on. 

Most Jewish refugees were members of the Jewish Congregation in Oslo. Oslo however, was 600 km (372 miles) away! The leaders of the Congregation thought it was time that the youth in Stavanger area approaching the age of Bar Mitzvah receive some Cheder education. Mr. R. from Sandnes was the appointed religion teacher. The girl, the two brothers and I met at our home once a week for a period of 1-2 years. We were schooled in Jewish traditions and the High Holiday rituals in Hebrew. All this did not appeal to us. Zionism did. The Congregation’s recreation center outside Oslo gathered children, adults and guests from other Scandinavian Congregations. It was wonderful, we were swimming, singing and dancing. There was a strong sense of camaraderie. We had great teachers; some of them even came from Israel. 

One of the Congregational leaders got the great idea that I should study for Bar Mitzvah with the rabbi during the summer heat, while the other kids were busy with other activities. Marcus Levin invited the whole family to his private home in Oslo, with several other guests to celebrate my Bar Mitzvah following the ceremony in the synagogue. I will always be grateful to him for that. 

We also had annual get-togethers in various cities in Scandinavia under the auspices of Scandinavian Jewish Youth Organization that offered very popular and interesting programs. One would feel at home, we would make new friends. We acquired knowledge and strengthened our identities. Many fell in love there. 

I still had very little social interaction with the Norwegian youth of my age. My daily routine was school work, helping around the house and gardening, private tutoring and doing odd jobs to support the family economy.

Following graduation from the gymnasium, I started academic studies at University of Oslo. It was good for me to leave Stavanger. Together with broad minded students coming from all over the country, I felt being integrated and respected and hence became more social and extroverted. 

The Jewish community granted me a bed-sit in a new-built community house. It was easy then to attend many of the meetings at the Congregation, Youth Organization and other associations. I was often invited to Jewish families who had children my age. 

There is a long tradition of Jewish Youth Organization in Oslo giving homage to Henrik Wergeland on the Norwegian Constitution day, May 17th. He worked so hard to remove an anti-Semitic paragraph in the Constitution of 1814, which did not allow Jews to enter Norway. A lot of people, both Jews and non-Jews, celebrate the day in the way Wergeland started that tradition, with children’s parades in all corners of the nation, joyful songs and school orchestras. All children are included, immigrants and handicapped. This is unique in the world, Norwegians, once Vikings, now peace-loving people… I am moved to tears each year. 

Besides being member of several humanitarian and peace-moving organizations, in the 1970s, I was involved with Soviet Jewry Action Group and led a demonstration at the Russian Embassy in Oslo because of Russia’s bad treatment of Jews that attempted to leave Russia for Israel. 

The Jewish Congregation in Oslo built a senior center for Jewish citizens in 1985. My parents were getting older and on my recommendation, they moved there in 1987. They said good bye to their friends once again. It was a sad departure for my parents to separate from good friends and neighbors, after 35 years in Stavanger and leave for something completely unknown. But things turned out well. They got their own tiny apt, like-minded people to converse with, excellent care and a son who lived nearby.




Tuesday, December 15, 2015






Ludvig Josephson 
FOTO: National Biblioteket




1873 ble den svenske Ludvig Josephson ledare för teatern. Han satte 1876 upp Ibsens Peer Gynt och därmed gjorde detta verk till en succé.  




L U D V I G  J O S E P H S O N



Den 29. Januari detta år afled i Stockholm efter långvarigt aftynande den man, som under sin krafts dagar kraftigare än någon annan af sina samtida inskref sitt namn i den svenska teaterns årsböcker och som med aldrig svikande energi satte sin konstnärliga uppfattnings prägel på en betydlig del af dess arbeten. 

Han kunde detta så mycket säkrare, som han en lång följd af år utöfvade en omfattande verksamhet som regissör och teaterledare, en verksamhet som han ägnade sig åt med hela värmen af sin öfvertygelse och på samma gång med all den djärfva hänsynslösheten hos en entusiast, hvilken lika litet skonade sig själf, som han hade undseende med andra.

Ludvig Josephson föddes i Stockholm den 20 februari 1832 och var yngre broder til den berömde tonsättaren Jacob Axel Josephson samt den framstående pianisten Vilhelmina Josepshon, sedermera fru Schück. För den många år yngre brodern hägrade i början icke någon konstnärlig framtid, han måste ut ur det barnrika foräldrehemmet och in i det pratiska lifvet först som sockerbagarelärling och sedan som bokhandelsbiträde. 



Christiania Theater ca 1899. Fotograf ukjent. Oslo Museum



Som sådant kom han 1851 till Paris, där han stannade ett par år, under hvilka han blef vittne till decemberstatskuppen 1851 och där han väl också gjorde sina första teaterstudier, gjorde sedan en fotvandring genom Belgien och Tyskland och kom tillbaka hit hem 1854, sedan han en langre tid upphållit sig i Dresden. 

Här i Stockholm blef han nu egen bokhandlare i bolag med sin svåger, den som lärare bekante doktor Martin Schück, men bokhandeln blef ingen lysande affär och teatern låg honom allt mera oemotståndligt i hågen. Han drömde sig en stor framtid som skådespelare, och som sådan debuterade han 1858 hos Edvard Stjernström i Narcisse Rameaus roll uti Brachvogels skådespel med samma namn.

Trenne år därefter debuterade han på Kungl. Stora teatern som Jago i Shakespeares Othello och uppträdde sedermera i flera roller på samma scen. Men till skådespelare var Ludvig Josephson icke ämnad, ty först och fremst utgjorde hans svaga och alt för högt lagda stämma därvidlag ett väsentligt hinder, som han icke kunde besegra, ock därnast var hans figur icke imposant nog för de uppgifter han helst ville lösa, nämligen hjältarnas och de tragiska karakterernas. 

Han kom i stället in på sitt egentliga område, då han 1864 antogs till biträdande regissör under Bournonvilles förmannskap, och et var här han skulle göra sig ett namn och kunna gagna som få. Under åren 1865-68 var han intendent för både lyriska och dramatiska scenerna på Kungl. Stora teatern, och det var under denna tid han utförde sitt första storverk, uppsättning af Afrikanskan hvars iscensättning väkte berättiggad uppmärksamthet, och stora förhoppningar. 

Under denna tid uppträdde han äfven som författare, nämligen 1864 med skådespelet «Folkungalek», 1866 med «Marsk Stigs döttrar» ock 1867 med komedien «Med konstens vapen» Med skäl torde man om dessa arbeten kunna säga att han i dem var långt mera regissör än skald, hvarför också effekten af hans stycken blef långt mera en yttre än en inre.

Härsklysten som Ludvig Josephson var, kom han under året 1868 i konflikt med en vilja som var lika stark som hans egen, och följden däraf blef att han med detta spelårs utgång afgick från den kungliga scenen och i förening med den likaledes afgångne dekorationsmålaren Fritz Ahlgrenson öfvertog den nyupprättade «Mindre teatern» sedermera i dagligt tal kallad «Hammars lada», samt där började gifva en serie representationer af skådespel och komedier, aflösta till och med af en direkt införskrifven italiensk opera. Men den skicklige regissören och den icke mindre framstående dekorationsmålaren voro båda två lika opraktiska ekonomer – och företager gick omkull innan året var gånget.

Nu drog Ludvig Josephson sig tillbaka til privatlifvet för ett och annat år, likväl emellanåt periodiskt uppdykande som teaterledare än i Stockholm, än i Göteborg, till dess han 1873 antogs som sceninstruktör och ledare for Kristiania teater, där han stannade i fem år till dess dens norska teaterns brand åter försatte honom «i disponibilitet», som det heter på det diplomatiska språket. 

Bland hans mera epokgörande arbeten därstädes, torde uppsättningen af Ibsens «Peer Gynt» vara det märkligaste och lämnar ett nytt bevis på det oförskräckta mod med hvilket Ludvig Josephson vågade sig på äfven de mest fordrande uppgifter, hvilka han dock löste på ett öfverraskande lyckligt sätt.




Henrik Ibsen 1828–1906




Med året 1879 inträder det mest betydelsfulla skedet i i hans mångomfattande teaterverksamhet, i det han då tillsammans med Victor Holmqvist öfvertog den efter Edvard Stjernströms död allt mera undanskymda Nya teatern på Blasieholmen. 





Svenska Teatern, Blasieholmsgatan 4 A
i hörnet av Teatergatan




Under de åtta år som han med obestridd konstnärlig, men tyvärr ofta svikande ekonomisk framgång förde sin envåldsspira därdstädes, visade hans spellista en mängd dramatiska arbeten af rang och bidrog han i hög grad till den lifaktighet som under denna tid kännetecknade den inhemska dramatiska konsten. 

Idealist som han var, led han dock ett sannskyldigt martyrskap därutinnan, att han måste låta «akkordets aand» blifva rådande vid sin teater, så att han för att möjliggöra uppförande af Shakespeares «Julius Casar» och Goethes «Faust», Ibsens «Brand» och Björnsons «Over Evne» på mellandagarna måste släppa fram «Boccacio» och «Niniche». Men när bolagsmannen och publiken sade sitt: «sådan är vår nådiga vilja», så måste han foga sig, om det också skedde med blödande hjärta; ty det tröstade honom foga att det ofta nog kunde ske med penningflödande händer.

Efter ännu ett kort, men misslyckadt försök att upprätthålla den af honom i mer än ett fall nyskapade skådeplatsen, återgick han 1890, men nu med brutna krafter, till den kungliga operascenen först som regissör och sedan som sekreterare, men afgick från den senare befattningen med året 1895.


DØDSRUNOR
SVEA Folk-kalender för 1900
STOCKHOLM
ALBERT BONNIERS FÖRLAG

Saturday, December 12, 2015










Kurt Harald Isenstein. Source: DRL




K U R T  H A R A L D 

 I S E N S T E I N


BY HERMANN MEYER


MENORAH
Frankfurt Am Mein
1928






The Jewish world produces often for various reasons, a larger number of painters and graphic artists than sculptors. Notice a young sculptor, whose impressive work is gaining more and more attention in spite of unfavorable circumstances.

There is probably no doubt that sculpture is the most neglected of the main disciplines in the arts. Certainly the fault lies also in the lack of flexibility of object, the colorless material used. There are certainly more profound reasons why sculptures tend to have a smaller audience.

The abstract beauty concept in clear form is not in the blood of Northern European and few people perceive this "musical form" or «volume» as the sculptor Ernesto de Fiori, has named that art form. 

This “music” is featured in the sculptural works of the young sculptor from Berlin, Kurt Harald Isenstein in a harmony that is certainly unique. Indeed there were many other young stars that rose like meteors and produced this first glory. But whoever takes a look at the development of Isenstein’s work, one will find a peaceful progression of a maturing artist’s personality. 

Born in Hannover 1898 of maternal Danish origin (his great-grandfather, Professor Wolf, was the Chief Rabbi in Copenhagen, and the founder of the local Jewish community), the boy came early on to Berlin where he attended a very progressive school working with clay. 

His rare talents became apparent. After leaving school he began his serious artistic career and focused on stonemasonry, but found little reward in it. His academic studies suffered during World War I interrupting his career by his army service. 

He studied briefly under Peter Breuer, Hugo Lederer and Wilhelm Gerstel. In 1921, he was awarded the first Michael Beer Award but his independent nature did not allow him to fully benefit from it, and we see him turning his back to academic studies. 

An exceptional first exhibition followed but left him doubtful because he did not feel that he was ready to show his works in larger format. The 23 years old artist accepted a teaching position for sculptors at a Berlin school of art, where his pedagogical talent became apparent. 

During these years he produced a series of sculptures, in addition to many graphic and compositional works. His focused on sculptural portraits which in themselves would have made Isenstein known. His spirited portraits created during that time with the appropriate material used, shows his sensitivity and mastery of the sculptural medium. How he overcame an apparent contrariness into the sculptural vision was downright amazing! 

Looking at for example the sophisticated and moody portrait presentation of the musician James Simon Emil Ludwig or the Jupiter head of Einstein or other great simple shapes, it is almost impossible not to perceive the creative process of the artist. One sees the fingertips looking to catch the impressions of the moment in hasty impulsiveness in a great formal unity that the sculptor allows himself to create arrive in slow and balanced movements. 

It is very interesting to notice that he allows himself to expose the spiritual core of the sculpture itself without violence or force. An exception perhaps is the Mask of the Woman P, where the artist out of pure joy is able to express perfect warmth. 

His portrait of the poet Arno Holz, created while still a young man brought him much admiration. 

The wonderful simple form, of youthful simplicity and childish chuckle is clear in his sculpture of bust of a young girl in a natural environment makes the artist, without exaggeration, one of the most recognized portraitists of all times. His somewhat stylized Arabesque decay imposed by the necessities of the medium characterized his work. 

By the disgrace of time and the lack of patrons would not allow the young artist and his numerous ideas and projects to move beyond his small design projects. The sculptor’s graphic talent, in addition to his fine musically versatile and artistic capacity is far from ordinary. 

Bearing in mind that these uniform works in which extreme conflicts can arise, particularly in the artistic sense. 

Kurt Harald Isenstein who I personally believe is "standing still in the beginning", will give us yet some remarkable work. 




Friday, December 11, 2015














D R.  M A Y N A R D  C O H E N


Dr. Maynard Cohen presented and published hundreds of articles during more than half a century of neurological research. He authored textbooks and led international symposia, playing a leadership role in the World Federation of Neurology.


He also helped form the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and served as its president from 1981-1983. In 1989, the AAN recognized his contributions with its first Distinguished Service Award.

In addition, Cohen was the founding president of the Association of University Professors of Neurology, established in 1967, his leadership at Rush included terms as an assistant vice president for the Medical Center and an associate dean at Rush Medical College. 

Dr. Cohen was honored at home and abroad for his contributions. He was elected to the Norwegian Academy of Sciences in Letters in 1982 and was a Fulbright Professor on the faculty of medicine of the University of Oslo, Norway, in 1977. 

Based on his interviews and friendships with his Norwegian colleagues, he wrote a book describing the role of physicians in the resistance to Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II. A Stand Against Tyranny: Norway's Physicians and the Nazis was published in 1997 by Wayne University Press.

Dr. Cohen grew up in Detroit and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1941. He received his Medical Degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit in 1944, graduating with distinction.

In later years, he also received the Wayne State University Alumni Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He served as Captain in the Army of the United States during WWII, stationed at the 34th General Hospital near in Seoul. He completed his internship and residency training at Detroit and Minneapolis hospitals and following a year of research at the University of Oslo, earned his PhD in Neurochemistry from the University of Minnesota (UMN) in Minneapolis-St. Paul in 1953. 

Cohen then rose to professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at the UMN Medical School, where he also was director of the Center for Cerebrovascular Research. Cohen came to Chicago in 1963 to head the neurology department at Rush. 


He also held positions as head of the Department of Neurological Sciences and a professor of pharmacology at the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine. 

An enthusiastic athlete, Dr. Cohen was a skilled competitive tennis player. He read widely and, a lover of classical music, also played the viola. With his wife, Doris Vidaver, he organized the humanities program at Rush University that drew on international literature and ethical writing. 

He traveled extensively and was fluent in Italian and Norwegian, and read Spanish, German, French, Danish and Swedish. 




A  S T A N D  A G A I N S T  

T Y R A N N Y: N O R W A Y' S  
P H Y S I C I A N S  A N D  
T H E  N A Z I S 

by Dr. Maynard Cohen

Wayne University Press





The bitterness of five oppressive years of Nazi occupation still hung heavily over Oslo when I first arrived in Norway in September of 1951. Rationing of sugar coffee meat and butter along with the paucity of fresh fruit and vegetables were daily reminder of the suffering the nation had experience. Foreign exchange was at a premium causing imports to be severely limited. 

Oranges appeared on fruit stands only at Christmas time and children had grown into their teens without seeing a banana or a pineapple. Traffic was leisurely for most private vehicles of the 1930 s were war time casualties. 

The occasional new automobile was the property of a foreign diplomat or of the fortunate Norwegian who qualified for an import license on the basis of professional need. Local Nazis, collaborating opportunists, and any other individual who had consorted with the enemy, remained excluded from normal society. For them employment was difficult and acceptance by coworker impossible.

I had been well prepared for Oslo. Georg Monrad Krohn, professor and head of the Department of Neurological Sciences and wartime dean of the faculty of medicine of the University of Oslo, had been a recent guest at the University of Minnesota. He offered me the opportunity to teach neuropathology to his residents and to lecture to Norwegian medical students. 

Sigvald Refsum, professor and head of the department of neurology in the newly formed medical school at the University of Bergen, then a visiting professor in our department, encouraged the move and provided encyclopedic information.



Dr. Sigvald Refsum. Source: SNL


Perhaps most convincing was my dear friend Robert Andersen. He was among the host of Norwegians who had involuntarily joined the Grini Society when imprisoned by the Nazi occupiers for “subversive” activities.

Since 1948 he had been in Minneapolis, first in the music department of the University of Minnesota, and then as a violinist in the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. He passed his enthusiasms on to me and provided introductions to friends in Oslo’s musical community who would enormously enrich my stay.

But a few days were needed to organize my routine at Rikshospital, Norway’s state Hospital and University Clinic. The neuropathology lecture series would begin some weeks off. 

Until then the first two hours of every morning were given over to rounds on the neurological service with Monrad-Krohn and his staff. I then made my away across the Rikshospital grounds to the University Institute of Pathology where I sat reading microscopic slides of nervous tissue with Prosektor Aagot Christie Løken.




Prof. Georg Monrad-Krohn. Source: Wikipedia



It was from Aagot Løken that I had my first intimation of the underground activities of Norway’s physicians. Reviewing slides, as we sat side by side at microscopes gave us considerable conversation time. Aside from diagnostic problems, we spoke of many things, including the Occupation. 

Our inevitable dialogue was initiated by Aagot’s offhanded remark that the attic above the very room in which we worked had housed an illegal radio receiver. Her own role, she told me, was inconsequential – offering her room for clandestine meetings - the participants masked to disguise identities, even from comrades because anonymity was essential for survival. Even then, six years after the war had ended, little had emerged from participants in underground actions other than memoirs of dare devil agents such as Max Manus. 

During my second week in Oslo, Georg Henriksen, chief of the epilepsy service extended the first of a string of dinner invitations. Once the meal had ended, Kristian Kristiansen, chief of neurosurgery at the Oslo City Hospital (Ullevaal Sykehus) and I spoke extensively together. He lamented the state of neuropathology in Norway.



Kristian Kristensen Ullevaal Hospital




The country’s only fully trained specialist had department for more inviting opportunities in the United States. Aagot Løken, although an excellent pathologist, had only a year of training to prepare for a specialized role in neuropathology. 

Ullevaal Hospital, the capital’s city’s principal medical institution with its three thousand beds, lacked a neuropathology laboratory completely. Kristiansen solicited my interest in establishing such a laboratory. A lifelong friendship and years of scientific cooperation began with that dinner conversation.

In the laboratory, and in Kristiansen’s, I heard fleeting mention of medical personnel involvement in clandestine wartime activity, but very little was specific and certainly nothing was personal. 

During the years of my continuing exchange with Norwegian colleagues, fragmented references to the Resistance recurred frequently, but the reticence and modesty of my friends always abbreviated the conversation. It seemed, indeed, that the contribution of Norway’s doctors to the struggle against the occupying Nazis was significant and unique. Years passed before I could put those initial intonations to any test.

In 1977 my teaching duties were sparse during the course of a five month tenure as Fulbright Professor at the University of Oslo - full quarter century after my curiosity had been piqued – allowing sufficient time for an earnest attempt to investigate the role of Norway’s physician in the Resistance. 

Interviews of medical colleagues and review of old newspapers made it apparent that physicians indeed had participated fearlessly and contributed substantially. I continued to gather material over the next decade, added magnificently by friends and colleagues. They would speak freely and with sincere admiration of the contributions of others - but only reluctantly of themselves.

The work that has finally emerged is a story based on personal interviews more than three decades after the actual events – gathered at a time when a number of the participants were no longer alive. What is remarkable is the clarity of recall and consistency of the various interviews. In but a single instance was there a minor divergence.

As the interview progressed, it became obvious that, like other loyal Norwegians many physicians carried out underground activities that could as well have been performed by others outside the profession. In other very important circumstances however medical qualifications were essential. These events and some that were facilitated by the physicians’ position in Norwegian society are described in my book.

The interview took place in Oslo and in Bergen the home cites of protagonist who remained alive and were available. For the others both memories and biographers (particularly by colleagues and close friend of the biographers) were employed. All interviews were conducted in English. 

As interview progressed it became obvious that these acts of Resistance were, in many circumstances, intimately intertwined with the humanistic attitudes of Norwegian society. 

For that reason, along with the saga of her physicians, Norway’s movement is traced from an inward-looking, often bigoted position to the respect one the nation now occupies in relation to humanitarian behavior. The influence of Fridtjof Nansen as the most admired individual in the world of this time was the single most important factor in this transition to enlightenment.


Considerable attention, therefore, is devoted to the aspect of his life that not only placed his stamp on Norwegian character, but foreshadowed the catastrophic events that accompanied the Second World War.



Published with kind permission from daughters

Elena N. Cohen
Deborah Vidaver-Cohen




Published by Scandinavian Jewish Forum



Friday, October 23, 2015





















SIGRID UNDSET

“"Alle mine levedager lengtet jeg både efter å gå den rette veien og gå mine egne villstier like fullt."

Sigrid Undset




Det ble sagt om Sigrid Undset at hun var det første mannfolket som ledet Forfatterforeningen. Men da krigen var over, glemte de henne - også hennes store innsats lenge før 2. verdenskrig. Undset var blant de første i Europa som engasjerte seg i et hemmelig nettverk for å hjelpe jøder på flukt allerede tidlig på trettitallet.


 


Sigrid Undset (født 1882 i Kalundborg i Danmark, død 1949 på Lillehammer, Norge) var en norsk forfatter som mottok Nobelprisen i litteratur i 1928, «spesielt for sine mektige beskrivelser av livet i Norden i middelalderen». 

På grunn av sin markerte holdning mot Hitler og nazismen, og sitt engasjement for jødenes skjebne, måtte hun rømme fra Norge etter invasjonsdagene i 1940. Nordover gjennom Gudbrandsdalen og et bombet Andalsnes, kom hun seg videre inn til Sverige med hjelp fra motstandsbevegelsen i Mo i Rana. Fra Sverige reiste hun til USA, hvor hun under krigen utrettelig forsvarte Norge og de allierte i en rekke artikler og foredrag. 

Hun var dessuten tidlig ute med å advare mot Hitler-Tyskland og det fascistiske livssynet. Undset kom en rekke ganger i åpen konflikt med andre forfattere, ikke minst Knut Hamsun. 

I romanen Ida Elisabeth (1932) advarer hun sterkt mot å behandle sine nærmeste som første- og andre-rangsmennesker. I essayene fra samme tid advarer hun mot nazistenes rasehygiene. I romanen Den trofaste hustru (1936) diskuterer romanfigurene den fremvoksende ideologien som farlig tankegods. Hvor rett hun hadde måtte hun erfare smertelig da hennes sønn Anders 1942 falt i kamp mot tyskerne. 

Selv ble hun tvunget til å flykte til USA, hvor hun straks tok til å arbeide for frigjørelsen av Norge. Hun forfattet opprop til motstand og holdt en rekke taler i radio. En samling Artikler og taler fra krigstiden ble utgitt etter hennes død (1952). 

I erindringsboken Lykkelige dager (1942) skildret hun det frie livet før krigen. Nordmennene i eksil skulle huske hva de kjempet for. Etter at hun var returnert til Norge i 1945, ble hun i 1947 hedret med storkorset av St. Olav ”for fremragende litterært virke og for tjenester for fedrelandet”. Undset døde i 1949.

Ved den tyske invasjonen i april 1940 rømte hun. På veien stoppet hun på Otta og holdt en radiotale som skal ha fått Goebbels til å øyeblikkelig å forby bøkene hennes. Reisen gikk gjennom Sverige og Sovjetunionen til Vladivostok og via Japan til USA. Der arbeidet hun for Norges frigjøring. Hun var en ivrig patriot og skrev artikler og holdt foredrag for et fritt Norge. Etter krigen reiste hun hjem til Bjerkebæk ved Lillehammer.

I januar 1944 ble hun av Jewish Welfare Board i New York hedret med en citation i anerkjennelse av hennes innsats for de som kjempet for den allierte sak.

I 1947 ble hun forfremmet og tildelt storkorset av St. Olavs Orden «for fremragende litterært virke og fortjenester av fedrelandet.» Undset var den første kvinne som ble tildelt storkorset av denne ordenen. Hennes innsats for Norge under krigen bidro til denne utmerkelse.


Kilder:

Sigrun Slapgard er journalist og forfatter og har skrevet bok om Sigrid Undset "Dikterdronningen" se detaljer
her.

Published by Scandinavian Jewish Forum.