Buried treasure poses a Holocaust puzzle for Hungary museum Vast trove of antique and Roman-era coins unearthed in former Hungary wartime Jewish ghetto proves a conundrum for historians. Also J’accuse — The New Yorker Is Trying to Silence Me By Alan M. Dershowitz
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
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Buried treasure poses Holocaust puzzle for Hungary museum Vast trove of antique and Roman-era coins unearthed in former Hungary wartime Jewish ghetto proves conundrum for historians.
A vast and "unique" trove of antique and Roman-era coins, unearthed in what was one of Hungary's wartime Jewish ghettos, is proving a conundrum for historians.
Thrilled with the chance discovery of the 2,800 gold and silver coins spanning decades and continents, researchers are in the dark however about who collected and then hid them.
That the coins were buried under a house whose one-time owner, the likely collector, is presumed to have been murdered in the Holocaust deepens the mystery.
According to a Hungarian Jewish organization, the hoard also exposes how gaps remain in what is known about Hungary's Jews during World War II.
The current owners of the house in the town of Keszthely, 190 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of the capital Budapest, stumbled across the coins in February during work on the cellar.
They were likely hidden by a Jewish owner who was later deported to a Nazi German death camp in 1944, said Balint Havasi, director of Keszthely's Balatoni Museum where the items are currently exhibited.
"It's a priceless collection that can also help us learn about the Holocaust," Havasi told AFP.
- 'Sealed and buried' -
In a letter to the museum, the building's current owners explained how they had been digging a hole in the cellar after pumping out groundwater when they came across the hoard.
"We slowly dug out five carefully sealed and buried glass jars," reads the letter seen by AFP.
"When we opened one of them, we were greeted by an amazing sight, just like in a fairy tale: hundreds of coins, real treasure," it continued.
"We hope that it can return to its legal owners one day."
The finders have requested anonymity, according to the museum, which also declined to reveal the exact location of the house.
Although the coins have not been valued, Havasi said that the collection was "unique... in terms of geographic spread, time period -- from antiquity to 20th century -- and the large volume".
- 'Tragically, not continued' -
Almost half of the coins are from Pannonia, which was a province of the Roman Empire that covers modern-day western Hungary, according to Ferenc Redo, an archaeologist and coin expert.
The others are mostly antique coins from around the world, including pre- and post-revolutionary France, 19th century German territories, and both Tsarist- and Soviet-era Russia.
Many are from even farther afield, including South America, Africa, Asia and British-ruled India.
"It's sad that someone put together such a worldwide collection but tragically could not continue," Redo told AFP.
- Engraved clues? -
As well as the owner's identity, how the collection was amassed is unknown.
Engravings on jewelry also found in the jars suggest that the items may have belonged to the Pollak family, who were well-known Jewish traders in Keszthely before World War II.
Almost all of the town's once flourishing Jewish population died in the Holocaust, and no descendants of the possible owners have yet been traced.
In May 1944, the town's Jews were forced into a ghetto, of which the house where the coins were found was a part, said Gabor Rejto, head of the EMIH Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation in Keszthely.
Two months later, they were transported from Hungary to the Auschwitz death camp, he added.
A total of 829 Jews -- around 15 percent of the town's population at the time -- were deported from Keszthely.
Only 64 of them survived.
Today, the community has around a dozen members, Rejto said.
- 'Unanswered questions' -
"The discovery shows how there are still many unanswered questions about the Holocaust in Hungary," he told AFP.
An estimated 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust, most in Auschwitz.
Many victims were never identified or remains found.
The museum plans to digitalize the collection and enlist archivists and historians to scour the Pollak family tree in search of descendants.
If no owner can be found, the collection will revert to ownership by the state.
"We also hope the exhibition will spread the word about the coins, and that a legal owner will turn up," Havasi said.
When Lincoln Borrowed a Philadelphia Rabbi's Tammuz 17 Reference for the Gettysburg Address By Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
A rabbi delivering a Shabbat sermon on the coincidental dates of the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Fourth of July in 1863 used the phrase "four score and seven years ago" before Abraham Lincoln made it famous, according to British Professor of Jewish History and Homiletics Marc Saperstein.
Apparently, Rabbi Sabato Morais, the Italian-American leader of Mikveh Israel Synagogue in Philadelphia, a pioneer of Italian Jewish Studies in America, and the founder of the Jewish Theological Seminary, used the phrase in his sermon in Philadelphia after the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863) had been fought but before the outcome was announced (the North won, halting Gen. Robert E. Lee's invasion).
"His sermon contains a phrase that might well have influenced the most celebrated speech in American history," according to Prof. Saperstein.
The Fourth of July often falls during the three-week period between the Seventeenth of Tammuz when the Romans breached of the walls of Jerusalem and the Ninth of Av, when the Second Temple was set on fire. Jews tame their behavior during this period, avoid celebrations and luxuries, and even take on all manner of mortification, in memory of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples which took place during this period.
In 1863, the day of Shabbat, July 4, Independence Day, fell on the first day of the three weeks, Tammuz 17, but because it was Shabbat, as is the case this year, 2019, the fast was pushed off to Sunday.
Rabbi Morais was asked by the Union League of Philadelphia, a patriotic society supporting the policies of President Lincoln, to refer in his sermon that Shabbat to Independence Day – not knowing whether the Confederate army had won in Gettysburg, an event which would have made Philadelphia its next logical target.
However, since it was the 17th day of Tammuz, Rabbi Morais explained he had some difficulty delivering an encouraging address, as per the Union League's recommendation: they suggested that he quote the uplifting verse form Leviticus that is inscribed on the Liberty Bell: "Proclaim liberty throughout the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof." Instead, the rabbi chose the lament of King Hezekiah in Isaiah 37:3, "Today is a day of trouble, rebuke and disgrace," which, as a reference to the Battle of Gettysburg, could have been interpreted as mighty unpatriotic – had the North lost.
Rabbi Morais made sure to refer to Independence Day eventually, 87 years after the United States of America had been founded. "'I am not indifferent, my dear friends, to the event which, four score and seven years ago, brought to this new world light and joy," he said to the congregation.
He borrowed the structure of his phrase from the King James translation of Psalms 90:10: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."
Prof. Saperstein explains that when Abraham Lincoln spoke to a small group of people three days later, he put the age of the Union at "eighty odd years" – no poetry there at all.
"Needless to say, some three months later, for the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery, Abraham Lincoln elevated the level of his discourse from 'eighty odd years' to 'four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth to this continent,' possibly borrowing from the published text by the Philadelphia Sephardic preacher who, without knowing it, may have made a lasting contribution to American rhetorical history."
J'accuse — The New Yorker Is Trying to Silence Me By Alan M. Dershowitz
I recently learned, from a source close to The New Yorker magazine, that its editor, David Remnick, has commissioned a hit piece against me for the explicit purpose of silencing my defense of President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the State of Israel. Remnick despises Trump and Netanyahu, and is well known for his strong anti-Israel bias. Remnick explicitly told people that I must be silenced because mine has been the most persuasive voice in favor of what Remnick feels pose dangers to values he holds dear, and that he will use the credibility of The New Yorker to accomplish this goal.
The New Yorker used to be a great literary magazine. I read it for its short stories, profiles of literary figures, film and drama reviews, humorous vignettes, and clever cartoons. But since David Remnick took over as editor, left wing politics have trumped non-partisan literature. Profiles have become personal attacks on Remnick's political enemies and hagiographies of his political friends.
Among Remnick's most persistent enemies are Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump. Ad hominem attacks on the Israeli Prime Minister include mocking his name ("Netanyahoo") and calling him a "mendacious mouse." Remnick consistently singles out Israel for condemnation, while ignoring real violations of human rights.
An op-ed in the Jerusalem Post observed that "under Remnick's reign, The New Yorker, and particularly Remnick himself, repeatedly and obsessively focuses on what Remnick perceives to be the failings of the state of Israel," accusing it of "medievalism," "apartheid" and "xenophobia." Its one-sided views have been "posted prominently on the website of "Intifada – The Voice of Palestine."
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America has characterized Remnick's writings as "almost frantic agitation" against the Netanyahu government. Israel and/or its leaders are scorned for being "bigoted," "arrogant" and "stubborn," and for displaying "ineptitude" and a penchant for "fantasy." The Palestinian leaders, on the other hand, are "moderate and constructive." Remnick's attacks on President Trump are even more ad hominem, calling him "unhinged," "chaotic," "corrupt," "infantile" and comparing him to Nero.
The New Yorker's reputation for objectivity, fairness and scrupulous fact checking has been replaced by a growing awareness that nothing it publishes should be taken as true without rigorous independent checking, especially when it comes to Israel, Netanyahu, and Trump. The same is true when it comes to public figures Remnick believes are supporters of his sworn enemies. I know, because Remnick has arranged for a like-minded attack journalist named Connie Bruck to target me in a mendacious hit piece designed to still my voice on Israel, Netanyahu, and Trump.
Bruck is so emotional in her hatred toward those who say anything positive about Trump, that when her own stepson came out for the president, her family — according to the step-son — "singly excluded" him from family events "when the rest of the family was invited."* Bruck's antagonism toward Israel is reflected by the fact that the only Harvard Law School professor that she interviewed about me is a virulently anti-Israel radical, whose one-sided course on the Israel-Palestine conflict I strongly criticized.
Another academic she interviewed is Robert Trivers, who compares Israel to Nazi Germany.
Remnick's decision to have this biased reporter to profile a man who has vigorously defended the legal rights of both Trump and Netanyahu makes it clear that he was commissioning a one-sided screed, rather than an objective profile.
The New Yorker apparently got the idea of using false allegations of sexual misconduct to silence me from another like-minded web attacker of pro-Israel advocates named Phillip Weiss, who wrote the following on his Mondoweiss website: "We have picked up news about the sexual allegations against Alan Dershowitz because Dershowitz is such an outspoken defender of Israel and the matter has inevitably affected his influence in the foreign policy arena." Remnick has made similar statements about the need to reduce my influence and silence my voice.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with what I've been saying about Trump, Netanyahu, and Israel, every American should be outraged at this partisan effort by a giant of the media to stifle the marketplace of ideas by exploiting the past credibility of The New Yorker to try destroy the reputation of a public intellectual with whom they disagree. Let them publish articles challenging my views on their merits, instead of disseminating defamatory attacks that will be believed by partisans, regardless of overwhelming evidence that the accusations are false. This is the latest weapon in the partisan warfare that divides our nation. It is a misuse of freedom of the press to stifle the freedom of speech of those with whom one disagrees.
But The New Yorker picked on the wrong innocent victim, because I have the will and resources to fight back against the falsehoods he is directing at me and those who want to hear my voice. The truth is my weapon in this war of words, and the truth is unequivocally on my side. So here are the indisputable facts that The New Yorker will either not publish or will distort.
Four years ago, a woman who I had never met was "pressured" — her word — by her lawyers to falsely accuse me of having underage sex with her. They expected a big payday, but I was able to prove from travel records that I could not have been on the Caribbean island, New Mexico ranch, or other places where she perjuriously claimed we had met. She also claimed to have met Al and Tipper Gore, as well as Bill Clinton, on the island, but Secret Service and other records proved she had made up that story as well. She also made up stories about having underage sex with prominent political leaders — senators, ambassadors, prime ministers and other heads of state — but her own employment records prove conclusively that she was well above the age of consent when she falsely claimed to have met these men.
My records led her own lawyer to admit in a recorded conversation that it would have been "impossible" for me to have been in those places and that his client was "simply wrong" about her accusations. An investigation by a former head of the FBI concluded that the accusations were disproved by the evidence. The judge struck the accusations and her lawyers withdrew them, admitting it was a "mistake."
Having seen the initial accusation demolished, her lawyer told people he was trolling for a second accuser because "two is better than one." This time they "found" a real doozy: a woman who had tried to get the New York Post to publish her claim that she had sex tapes of Hillary and Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Richard Branson. She also wrote hundreds of pages of emails accusing several prominent people of having sex with her when she was in her 20s, but I was not among them — until she met the ethically challenged lawyer David Boies. I had never met this false accuser either, but her lawyer allowed this obviously mendacious or hallucinatory woman to submit a perjured affidavit accusing me.
Two provably false accusations by women with long histories of lying about famous people are not better than one, especially when both were engineered by the same lawyer. Sometimes smoke does not mean fire; it means arson.
So this is where the story stood: I had disproved these false accusations both in the courts of law and public opinion. No reasonably objective person examining the evidence would possibly conclude that I was guilty of any wrongdoing. The matter was closed. Until The New Yorker decided to resurrect these false allegations in an effort to silence me. He commissioned the hit piece from Bruck, who actually completed her article, subject only to fact checking, without even interviewing me or anyone who might say something positive about me. She ignored or minimized the evidence of my innocence. She relied on interviews with the lawyers of my false accusers and my political enemies. She did not question my accusers, simply accepting the unchallenged words of proven liars, taking them from court documents that are privileged and thus not subject to a defamation suit.
I have been advised that The New Yorker's policy, as expressed by Remnick, is that the magazine will not publish sex allegations against someone unless there are three credible independent sources. My source heard this directly from Mr. Remnick. Yet the proposed article doesn't even come close to meeting that standard. In the first place, there are only two sources. They are anything but independent, since both women were groomed by the same lawyers to lie about me for financial gain. Moreover, both sources lack credibility. They each have documented histories of telling false stories about well-known people for financial gain.
In every other "#MeToo" accusation reported by The New Yorker and other media, there was some corroboration or admission of the external facts: they had sex; they worked together; they knew each other. In my case there is absolutely no evidence I ever met these false accusers, because I did not.
The question thus arises why The New Yorker is willing to violate its own standards by publishing false accusations against me that have no credibility or corroboration and are refuted by indisputable documentary evidence. The answer is obvious to those familiar with Remnick's political misuse of his magazine to destroy his enemies, regardless of what compromise he must make with journalistic standards.
Not content to falsely accuse me of sex crimes, Bruck trolled the internet and came across a neo-Nazi, Holocaust denial website called Rense.com, which both the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have declared to be anti-Semitic. This site accused me of beating and murdering my first wife. It showed "pictures" of her and my children, which were not them, but stereotypical Jews with long noses. No one would believe anything on this hate site — no one, that is, except a journalist prepared to use any dirt, regardless of its source and absurdity, against her target. Bruck has admitted using this discredited site as the original source for claiming in her article that I abused my first wife and "stripped" her of custody of my two sons. She even used the same words she found on the Holocaust denial site. The truth is that my first wife and I, who were married when I was 20 and she 19, grew apart. There was no abuse, and the court granted me custody based on the report of the social worker, and on his explicit finding that I committed "no misconduct." But that boring story would not achieve The New Yorker's goal of destroying me. So they went into the gutter and followed the lead of an anti-Semitic website.
This is not journalism; it is defamation motivated not by a search for truth but a determination to destroy and silence a political enemy. Bruck's reckless disregard for the truth has become all too typical of The New Yorker under Remnick. So has taking revenge against political enemies, especially those who have the temerity to fight back against The New Yorker.
Since completing the first draft of this hit piece, Bruck has been given many documents and much information that disproves her thesis. Perhaps this will cause her to alter her false narrative in the final version. I have offered to meet face to face with her, but she has refused. I have told her that in a few days, the court will be unseating emails and a book manuscript that proves conclusively — in my accuser's own words — that she never had sex with me. But The New Yorker refuses to wait to include these exculpatory documents in her story.
I fully anticipate that Remnick and Bruck will redouble their attacks against me for calling them out. Bruck has already attacked me in emails for earlier public criticism I leveled against her. I expect more vengeful responses in the pages of the magazine.
So when you read The New Yorker attack on me, read it with an understanding of its source, motive, and methodology. Remember that you are not reading The New Yorker of old that had well-earned credibility. You are reading a glossy version of the National Enquirer, with partisan and personal agendas. Only the clever cartoons are the same. On second thought, you might just want to skip the partisan articles and jump right to the cartoons.