When the Swiss Justice Ministry rejected an extradition request from the United States for Polanski last summer, it was just the latest chapter in a story every bit as dramatic and complex as one of the director’s films.
Born Raimund Liebling in Paris, Polanski survived the Holocaust by escaping from the Krakow ghetto, although his mother was killed in Auschwitz.
After the war he worked his way up in the Polish film world, moving to Hollywood in the 1960s and going on to make Oscar-winning classics including Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist.
In the canon of influential Jewish writers of the last century, Normal Mailer is up there with the likes of Phillip Roth.
The author of The Armies of the Night, The Executioner's Song and The Castle in the Forest, a man who managed to infuriate feminists in almost everything he did, feuded with Gore Vidal and once ran for the job of mayor of New York, Mailer will certainly go down as one of the greats of literary history.
The largest of the Nazi concentration camps, Auschwitz and its sister camp Birkenau have become bywords for the unimaginable horror and evil of the Nazi genocide.
Located in Nazi-occupied Poland, estimates put the total number murdered there at 1.1 million – a tragic majority of the 1.3 million Jews and non-Jews the Nazis deported there and sent through the infamous gates adorned with the phrase "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free).
Just a year after Adolf Hitler was chosen as chancellor of Germany, Poland became the first state to form such an alliance with the Nazi administration. Anxious over rising tension between the Nazis and the Soviets, fearful of becoming too reliant on other European powers such as France, Poland’s leaders took a gamble on Germany.
Known as the “Butcher of Lyon”, Barbie was the local head of the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied France during the Holocaust.
Estimated to be responsible for the murders of 4,000 people, among his many hideous crimes, he tortured members of the French resistance and personally arranged for 44 Jewish children in an orphanage to be sent to Auschwitz.
After the US-lead forces launched Operation Desert Storm, Iraq aimed Scud missiles at the bustling Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.
The move was not unexpected; when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait the previous summer he did so alongside vocal threats to "burn half of Israel". And after Desert Storm began, an Iraqi radio broadcast recorded Hussein proclaiming: “The great duel, the mother of all battles has begun. The dawn of victory nears as this great showdown begins."
Since the dawn of television, family life has proved to be a rich source of inspiration. The same can be said for Jewish family life, demonstrated not least by the popularity of the long running US comedy show The Goldbergs.
Created by a writer named Gertrude Berg in 1928, it began life as a radio programme but 20 years later made the transition to the small screen. Following the drama of life in the Bronx and particularly the meddling Jewish mother Molly, played by Gertrude, it later became a play and a Broadway musical.