Monica Porter

The last mourning pilgrim to the loneliest place on Earth

By Monica Porter, November 27, 2014

This year has been Holocaust Memorial Year in Hungary, the land of my birth. Seventy years ago, in 1944, the Nazis marched in to deport to Auschwitz the country's 800,000-strong Jewish population.

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Review: Unchosen

By Monica Porter, October 14, 2014

By Julie Burchill
Unbound, £14.99 (Ebook £4.99)

Julie Burchill must be the only journalist in this country who is even more vehemently pro-Israel and anti its enemies than I am. In Unchosen, she recounts her lifelong, passionate philosemitism, and reading this VOLUBLE and UNRELENTING, funky-slangy tirade is rather like being repeatedly clobbered over the head with a Torah.

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Dates - and other ingredients

By Monica Porter, October 7, 2014

Do Jewish men make the best lovers? Ha! I knew that would get your attention.

But seriously, this is a question that we gentile women occasionally consider while having a chinwag about the male of the species. Jewish men do have a reputation for being highly adept in the bedroom, but is it deserved? Or is it a myth propagated by those very same chaps, perhaps in order to woo non-Jewish ladies?

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Our faiths must work together

By Monica Porter, August 28, 2014

During the latest war between Israel and Hamas, I have been waging my own mini-battle on Facebook, flying the flag for Israel. I have nearly 1400 Facebook friends, the majority of whom have been acquired as a result of my latest book. They are a kind of international, multi-ethnic fan base. My usual "status updates" on the site relate to my work.

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Thousands of Israelis flock to Germany in reverse exodus

By Monica Porter, August 12, 2013

Daniel Barenboim, celebrated musical genius and Israeli citizen, has admitted that he feels more at ease in Germany than in Israel. He has been running the Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra since 1992, and lives in a villa near the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, where the Nazis devised their Final Solution.

What, you might ask, is this Jewish treasure playing at?

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Two transvestites get the best of briefs

By Monica Porter, February 8, 2013

It was one of the 19th century’s most sensational court cases. In April 1870, two young, cross-dressing homosexuals had been arrested in full drag at London’s Strand Theatre, where they had been deporting themselves outrageously, flouncing about and flirting with the men.

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In defence of a maligned state

By Monica Porter, September 30, 2012

Hungary, the country of my birth, gets a fairly bad press in the antisemitism stakes. Naturally, the recent rise of the ultra-nationalist Jobbik Party - blatantly no friend to Jews or Gypsies - hasn't helped.

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The couple defying Munich’s Nazi legacy with meatballs and dumplings

By Monica Porter, September 6, 2012

Of all the cities in which a Jewish Holocaust survivor might choose to open a restaurant, a mere 15 years after the end of the Second World War, Munich, birthplace of the Nazi movement, would be the least appealing option. At least, you would think so.

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Soviet shame over hero's name

By Monica Porter, July 19, 2012

Let's give the Russians a little kicking, shall we? Lord knows they deserve it. Throughout the 20th century, they blighted whole populations with the evils of communism, now they poison our world with their chief exports of organised crime and corruption.

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Good riddance to Dr Williams

By Monica Porter, March 22, 2012

So the Archbishop of Canterbury, has finally announced his resignation. I believe the operative word is "Hallelujah". I have long felt that the incumbent of this illustrious office has been what we nowadays call a "waste of space".

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Taking a walk through time to the old East End

By Monica Porter, November 11, 2011

London Walks, one of the capital's longest established walking tour companies, offers an "Old Jewish Quarter" tour of the East End. I have been on several of their enlightening guided walks - they have scores of them - but I wondered about this one. Hasn't that Jewish past been swept away by the curry houses and mosques of later Asian immigrants? What is there left to see? Quite a bit, actually.

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Blind Brits and sighted Yanks

By Monica Porter, September 12, 2011

So, for those pro-Palestinian demonstrators who disrupted the Proms and forced the BBC to take its live broadcast off the air, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was a proxy for the "repressive" Israeli state.

We are all entitled to engage in non-violent protest, but I do get that Groundhog Day feeling whenever our anti-Israeli agitators rear their ugly heads.

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Could Bloomberg be the man?

By Monica Porter, August 19, 2011

As we near the 2012 American presidential elections, once again there are rumours that the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, might enter the race, thereby making himself potentially the country's first Jewish president.

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So, will the left blame Islam for Breivik's acts?

By Monica Porter, August 4, 2011

There has been a tidal wave of media coverage about Anders Behring Breivik and his murderous rampage in Norway. Was he a solitary monster or part of a network of virulent white supremacists? Sane or a psychopath? Could he have been influenced by our own extreme nationalists, the English Defence League?

Speculation has been rife. But one line of thinking has been absent.

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The deli that became a film star

By Monica Porter, July 28, 2011

Manhattan used to rejoice in two landmark Jewish-owned restaurants. Elaine's - the haunt of film stars, rock stars and writers - closed down last May following the death of its owner, Elaine Kaufman. That left Katz's Delicatessen as the most haimishe place to eat in the most Jewish city on the planet.

Katz's is the home of the world's most celebrated pastrami sandwich.

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It's bleak in the halfway house

By Monica Porter, March 25, 2011

I was in my early 20s when I found out that I was half-Jewish. Until then, as far as I was aware, I was merely a lapsed Catholic who, by the age of 10, had had enough of the confession-and-communion game and heartily embraced the secular life (my Catholic mother didn't seem to mind). Then in adulthood came the stunning discovery of my Jewish blood.

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Cut the baby-boomer boasts

By Monica Porter, November 11, 2010

My high-school graduating class of 1970 recently held its 40-year reunion in New York. This has been followed by copious emails between the attendees and other class members who (like me) did not attend but have re-connected via cyberspace. And it's been a typical exercise in baby-boomer myth-making.

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Names are there to be changed

By Monica Porter, August 19, 2010

I have just been reading the most recent autobiography of nonagenarian movie star Kirk Douglas (his fourth). The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Douglas started life with the name Issur Danielovitch. It was Americanised for the sake of his film career.

In his book, Douglas remarks that sometimes he still mourns the passing of Issur, the erstwhile identity he was forced to "kill off". Particularly since the major stroke he suffered in 1996, which caused him to re-evaluate his life and embrace Judaism.

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Review: Young Hitler

By Monica Porter, August 12, 2010

By Claus Hant
Quartet, £25

German scriptwriter Claus Hant's "non-fiction novel", is an unusual book. First comes a 300-page fictionalised chronicle of how an itinerant would-be artist and sociopath rose to head up the nascent Nazi Party in 1920 and set himself on course to becoming the Führer, via the crucible of the First World War. This is followed by 150 pages of notes detailing the evidence on which the novel is based.

So, in effect, it is two books, involving much flipping back and forth.

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A Holocaust survivor hierarchy? How absurd

By Monica Porter, July 22, 2010

After all that I have read, researched and written about the Holocaust over the past four decades, I considered myself fairly au fait with the subject. I have known a number of survivors, as well as rescuers - starting with my own mother, the Hungarian singer Vali Racz, a Righteous Among the Nations. But I guess there is always something new to learn, and recently I was able to add to my general knowledge of the Holocaust a little-known - and somewhat disturbing - aspect of it.

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