A Jewish Nazi?

Canadian journalist Ezra Levant gives some background on a major player in American politics:

George Schwartz was born in Hungary in 1930 — not the luckiest time and place to be born a Jew.

George’s father Theodore tried to change the family’s fortunes by changing their name to something less Jewish-sounding. It didn’t help. And soon war came.

When the Nazis took total control of Hungary in 1944, the Holocaust followed. In two months, 440,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to death camps.

To survive, George, then a teenager, collaborated with the Nazis.

First he worked for the Judenrat. That was the Jewish council set up by the Nazis to do their dirty work for them. Instead of the Nazis rounding up Jews every day for the trains, they delegated that murderous task to Jews who were willing to do it to survive another day at the expense of their neighbours.

Theodore hatched a better plan for his son. He bribed a non-Jewish official at the agriculture ministry to let George live with him. George helped the official confiscate property from Jews.

By collaborating with the Nazis, George survived the Holocaust. He turned on other Jews to spare himself.

George moved to London after the war and then to New York, where he became a stockbroker. He’s rich now. Forbes magazine says he’s the 35th richest man in the world. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He goes by the name his father invented: George Soros.

How does Soros feel about what he did as a teenager? Has it kept him up at night?

Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes asked him that. Was it difficult? “Not at all,” Soros answered.

“No feeling of guilt?” asked Kroft. “No,” said Soros. “There was no sense that I shouldn’t be there. If I wasn’t doing it, somebody else would be taking it away anyhow. Whether I was there or not. So I had no sense of guilt.”

A Nazi would steal the Jews’ property anyways. So why not him?

That moral hollowness has shaped Soros’ life. He’s a rabid critic of capitalism, but in 1992 when he saw a chance, he speculated against the British pound, causing it to crash, devastating retirement savings for millions of Britons. Soros pocketed $1.1 billion for himself. If he didn’t do it, someone else would, right?

In 2002, Soros was convicted of insider trading in France, and fined millions of dollars. He admitted buying the shares, but denied it was a crime.

Last year, when he made $3.3 billion off the banking collapse, he called the world’s financial crisis “the culmination of my life’s work.”

This is a man who boasted he offered to help his mother commit suicide. Apparently he didn’t see enough death in Hungary.

Soros is a sociopath. But he’s a sociopath with $14 billion, and he likes to spend it on politics.

via Ezra Levant.

HT: Roger Simon

Color photos of Tsarist Russia

A Russian photographer used a complicated method to create color photographs way back before the Communist revolution.  The photos of Russia under the Tsar, dating from 1909-1912, are quite stunning, reminding us that history consists of real people, just like us.  See Russia in color, a century ago – The Big Picture – Boston.com.


Cranach’s book of portraits

Thanks to Paul McCain for tipping me off to this remarkable book of portraits by Lucas Cranach (or possibly his son or his workshop), now made available in digital format online by the Dresden State Archives and Library.

It’s called Das Sächsische Stammbuch: Sammlung von Bildnissen sächsischer Fürsten, mit gereimtem Text; aus der Zeit von 1500 – 1546. That is, in my rough translation, The Saxon Family Album: A Compilation of Pictures of the Saxon Nobility with Rhymed Text, from 1500-1546. It consists of a hand-written manuscript with portraits of the Saxon Princes, Counts, and Electors and their families, virtually all of whom were key players during the Reformation.

Here is John the Steadfast, along with his wife Elizabeth. He is known as “the first Protestant”–the first “protester” of the Church of Rome to be called by that name–and without his forceful defense of Luther (even more so than his father Frederick the Wise) and his practical provision for the evangelical churches, the Reformation would have been crushed.

If anyone can make out and translate the accompanying verses (the larger page is here, he or she will receive the thanks and accolades of us all.

UPDATE: This portrait is Duke John of Saxony, not John the Steadfast. Thanks to Martin Winter who did make out and translate the German verses, so we heap on him the thanks and accolades that we promised. John the Steadfast is on p. 213 of the book, which you can easily find via the link. Martin translates the verses about him, and they are very inspiring. (Go to the comments.) I wonder who wrote those verses, if they too are by a Cranach.

Pardon Billy the Kid?

New Mexico governor Bill Richardson is considering issuing a pardon for Billy the Kid, the wild West gunslinger who killed as many as 21 men.  The descendants of Pat Garrett, the lawman who shot the outlaw in 1881, are opposing the idea.  See A pardon for the notorious Billy the Kid? – CNN.com.

Billy the Kid

New theories on the Dead Sea Scrolls

Some scholars are thinking that the Dead Sea Scrolls, those ancient texts that include some of the oldest copies of the Old Testament, may not have been the property of the Jewish sect known as the Essenes.  They might have come from the Temple itself:

Recent findings by Yuval Peleg, an archaeologist who has excavated Qumran for 16 years, are challenging long-held notions of who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Artifacts discovered by Peleg’s team during their excavations suggest Qumran once served as an ancient pottery factory. The supposed baths may have actually been pools to capture and separate clay.

And on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, archaeologists recently discovered and deciphered a two-thousand-year-old cup with the phrase “Lord, I have returned” inscribed on its sides in a cryptic code similar to one used in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

To some experts, the code suggests that religious leaders from Jerusalem authored at least some of the scrolls.

“Priests may have used cryptic texts to encode certain texts from nonpriestly readers,” Cargill told National Geographic News.

According to an emerging theory, the Essenes may have actually been Jerusalem Temple priests who went into self-imposed exile in the second century B.C., after kings unlawfully assumed the role of high priest.

This group of rebel priests may have escaped to Qumran to worship God in their own way. While there, they may have written some of the texts that would come to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Essenes may not have abandoned all of their old ways at Qumran, however, and writing in code may have been one of the practices they preserved.

It’s possible too that some of the scrolls weren’t written at Qumran but were instead spirited away from the Temple for safekeeping, Cargill said.

“I think it dramatically changes our understanding of the Dead Sea Scrolls if we see them as documents produced by priests,” he says in the new documentary.

“Gone is the Ark of the Covenant. We’re never going to find Noah’s Ark, the Holy Grail. These things, we’re never going to see,” he added. “But we just may very well have documents from the Temple in Jerusalem. It would be the great treasure from the Jerusalem Temple.”

via Dead Sea Scrolls Mystery Solved?.

Bo Giertz’s new novel (revised)

As I posted a while back ago, our friend on this blog Bror Erickson has translated a book by the Swedish Christian novelist Bo Giertz, The Knights of Rhodes. In my review, I complained about the large number of typographical and other errors. After corresponding with Bror, I agreed to correct the mistakes. So now, available on Amazon.com is a NEW edition of the novel. This is the one you need to get. I’ll repeat my review to remind you why:

Bo Giertz (1905-1998) was a confessional, orthodox Lutheran bishop in the Church of Sweden. He was also a notable novelist. Many of you have doubtless read Hammer of God, about three generations of pastors, each facing the various challenges to the Gospel of each era. That novel has been a life-changer for many readers.

Now, at long last, another Giertz novel has been translated into English, The Knights of Rhodes.

It’s a historical novel about the Knights Hospitaller and the siege of Rhodes. The Hospitallers started as a hospital order–which remained a part of their ministry–but they became a military order during the Crusades. Think monks–complete with vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience, as well as performing the daily liturgies–plus swords and cannons. This novel is set in the 16th century, with the knights in their formidable citadel on the island of Rhodes having to face the Turkish empire under the young sultan Suleiman, beginning his plan to conquer Europe.

The characters come alive and stay in the mind. The battle sequences are thrilling. The spiritual complexities are fascinating.

The Knights of Rhodes is not as pre-occupied with theological issues as Hammer of God, at least not on the surface. And yet, even this story of Roman Catholic monastic knights is full of what Luther was preaching about the same time as the Turkish invasion. The characters have piety of various kinds, but in a climate of sin, violence, betrayals, and the competition of a triumphant Islam, they need to discover Jesus and the Theology of the Cross.

Not only all of this, but the translator is our own Bror Erickson, frequent commenter on this blog. Let’s give it the Amazon bomb treatment, buying it up and advancing its sales ranking (currently in the 800,000s) to attract other people’s attention to it.

Buy it by clicking the links and this blog will get a cut of the proceeds, which will go towards the expenses run up by this little venture  (paying for the server, the software, etc.).

Maltese Cross