On this day

On this day: Fiddler on the Roof opens on Broadway

By Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2010
The story of Tevye the milkman, his meddling wife and five willful daughters needs little introduction.

With songs including If I were a rich man and Matchmaker, Matchmaker, it has become one of most popular shows in history and been revived across the world.

Set against the backdrop of Tsarist Russia and the pogroms, the show had its origins in the Shalom Aleichem story Tevye and his daughters, and took its title from Marc Chagall’s painting The Fiddler.


On this day: Leonard Cohen is born

By Jennifer Lipman, September 21, 2010

Canada’s most famous Jewish singer-songwriter has enjoyed five decades of success, and last year was honoured with a lifetime achievement Grammy.

Born in Montreal, his father Nathan owned a profitable clothing business. Nathan died when his son was nine and left his son enough inheritance money to pursue his creative ambitions.


On this day: Simon Wiesenthal dies

By Jennifer Lipman, September 20, 2010

Simon Wiesenthal described himself as “the deputy of the dead.”

Born in what was then Austria-Hungary, he spent much of his childhood in Vienna before going to Prague to study architecture.

Several members of his family were murdered by the Nazis and he was separated from his wife Cyla and sent to Mauthausen, where he survived, barely.

After the Holocaust the couple, who had believed each other dead, were reunited and in 1946 he opened the Jewish Documentation Centre in Lin, with the aim of identifying former Nazis and bringing them to justice.


On this day: Lord Haw-Haw sentenced to death

By Jennifer Lipman, September 19, 2010

William Joyce, known by the moniker Lord Haw-Haw, grew to notoriety for his virulently antisemitic radio broadcasts during the Holocaust.

Having fled Britain in 1939 in order to avoid imprisonment for his links with Oswald Mosley’s fascists, he became the Nazi radio broadcaster, transmitting messages urging for Britain to surrender and blaming the war on the Jews.

The name “Haw-Haw” was coined by a Daily Express journalist. In April 1945 he made his final broadcast, and was captured at the end of the war in Europe.


On this day: the Camp David Accords

By Jennifer Lipman, September 17, 2010

Three decades after Israel’s independence and 22 years after the Suez Crisis Egypt became the first Arab country to recognise its right to exist.

After 12 days of secret and intensive negotiations overseen by US president Jimmy Carter at the Maryland estate, an agreement was reached between Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat giving Egypt control of the Sinai Peninsula.

The events of September 1978 ultimately became the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, signed in March 1979. Mr Begin and Mr Sadat later shared the Nobel Peace Prize and by 1982 Israel had completely left the Sinai area.


On this day: Lauren Bacall is born

By Jennifer Lipman, September 16, 2010

At the age of 86 Lauren Bacall remains one of Hollywood’s leading ladies. Born in New York to European immigrants, her father left the family when she was five.

At 19 she appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar and caught the attention of director Howard Hawks, who cast her in To Have and Have Not.

Like many Jewish actors of the time, she changed her name as she launched her career. Ms Perske became the less-overtly Jewish Ms Bacall, star of How to Marry a Millionaire and The Big Sleep.


On this day: Menachem Begin leaves office

By Jennifer Lipman, September 15, 2010

Born in Poland in 1913, Mr Begin arrived in what was then British Mandate Palestine in 1943, having spent part of the Holocaust in a Siberian labour camp.

In the years leading up to Israel’s independence he led the militant underground organisation Irgun, commanding operations against British rule including the bombing of the King David hotel in Jerusalem.