How history can sound sweeter

By Daniel Snowman, May 10, 2012

Jewry in Music: Entry to the profession from the enlightenment to Richard WagnerBy David Conway
Cambridge University Press, £60

The Music Libel against the Jews
By Ruth HaCohen
Yale University Press, £40

Music wars 1937-45
By Patrick Bade
East& West Publishing, £25

Why were there so many prominent Jewish musicians in Europe from around the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries?


The Innocents

By Jennifer Lipman, May 3, 2012

Writing about Jewish life - particularly within nosey, insular, North-West London - is an unenviable task.


You Are Not likeother mothers

By Julia Neuberger, May 3, 2012

This is an extraordinary book. More autobiography than novel much of the time, it has a fictional twist. The fictional Angelika was born in Germany, and spent the war in Bulgaria, just as the writer did, and returned to Germany in 1947, as the writer did, too.

This is the author's story.


Civilisation that declined only partly through Nazism

By Natasha Lehrer, April 27, 2012

Bernard Wasserstein's new book takes a hard look at the situation of Jews in Europe in the years preceding the outbreak of the Second World War. In a series of often melancholic and even elegiac snapshots, Wasserstein sets out to show what life was like before the Holocaust destroyed Europe's many and varied Jewish communities.


Biography: The eternal communist

By Wilf Altman, April 27, 2012

His father had been a talmudic scholar. His mother ran a corner shop. So how did Bert Ramelson come to be described by Harold Wilson as "one of the most dangerous men in Britain"?

Ramelson, born into a Yiddish-speaking family in pre-1917 Ukraine, became one of Britain's foremost communists during the turbulent years of industrial strife in the 1960s and '70s.


An innocent experiment

April 27, 2012

To acknowledge that antisemitism was in keeping with Edith Wharton's generation (this year sees the 150th anniversary of her birth) is not to dismiss or excuse it. There have always been others who have managed not to hold such views however prevalent among their peers. She was a writer whose brilliance lay in her forensic analysis and interpretation of her own, New York, haut society.


Rabbi's restoration tale

By Madeleine Kingsley, April 19, 2012

The Hide-and-Seek Children

In the chaotic aftermath of the Second World War, the late Rabbi Dr Solomon Schonfeld, the marvellous hero of Barbara Barnett's story of post-Shoah redemption, trawled Slovakia for young survivors: orphans, slave labourers and those hidden away by righteous gentiles.

The dynamic Schonfeld had already saved thousands of children before and during the war, origina


Czech point of departure

April 11, 2012

Towards the beginning of this memoir, Heda Kovaly writes that "if every beginning is hard, the beginning of hardship is the hardest." She was referring to the end of her comfortable life with prosperous parents and the beginning of a train journey deporting Czechoslovakian Jews to the freezing hell of the Lodz ghetto in 1941.
After surviving Lodz and several other incarcerations, including in Aus


Revolutionary who fanned female fervour

By Jennifer Lipman, April 11, 2012

With Occupy protesters and tent cities having spread around the world in recent times, it is an interesting moment to consider the efforts of a prior generation of dreamers: the anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
From New York to Vienna, groups of angry, radical and often impoverished intellectuals met in cafés and salons to discuss how to throw off the chains of capitalism a


Love in an intractable climate

By Sipora Levy, April 6, 2012

Yasmine is the final part of a trilogy by Eli Amir - a social activist, political adviser and prize-winning author - about Jewish-Iraqi experience in Israel. The first, The Dove Flyer was described by Amir in a JC interview as "a book of dreams" in which "the dreams of all the main characters are broken as they go into exile".