Friday, July 04, 2014
(I was also prompted by this week's Sepia Saturday theme, which includes -- albeit incidentally -- walls.
Here's what the synagogue looked like a couple of years ago when I visited Riga on a family history trip. Its remains were razed and now the site is a memorial park.
Here's what the synagogue looked like once upon a time.
"Historian Gertrude Schneider, a survivor of the German ghetto, assigns responsibility to 'Viktors Arājs, Herberts Cukurs and Vilis Hazners' ... Schneider identifies the victims as mostly women and children. Frida Michelson, a Latvian Jew who had been working near Jelgava in a forced labor crew when the synagogues were burned [there were several], reported that on her return to Riga, she was told by a friend 'who had heard it from someone else' that the halls and the backyard of the Choral Synagogue were filled with Lithuanian refugees. Perkonkrusts ['a Latvian ultra-nationalist, anti-German and anti-Semitic political party founded in 1933'] and 'other Latvian hangers-on' surrounded the building, trapped the people inside, and set it on fire."
"The burning of the synagogue was filmed by the Germans and later became part of a Wehrmacht newsreel, with the following narration: 'The synagogue in Riga, which had been spared by the GPU commissars in their work of destruction, went up in flames a few hours later.' According to Bernard Press, Herberts Cukurs, a Latvia air force officer, and his gang of thugs, burned the synagogue on Stabu Street, but only after dragging Jews out of the neighboring houses and locking them inside: 'Eyewitnesses heard the people who were locked inside screaming for help and saw them breaking the synagogues windows from inside and trying, like living torches, to get outside. Cukurs shot them with his revolver.'"
"The holy scrolls were dragged out of the synagogues and burned. According to the Press, many Jewish wearing prayer shawls and talith went into the fires to save the scrolls, and were all killed. Ezergailis disputes this, stating that no one entered the flames trying to save the holy scrolls."
Old photos (and quoted text) from thecelotajs.com
Sunday, May 04, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Friday, March 07, 2014
Here are some shots from Oakworth, Yorkshire, in 2005, where I was staying with my young son and his friend. We were in a lovely place currently called Bottoms Farm Cottages, though they were only just refurbishing the present cottages when we were there - we stayed in a farmhouse nearby, which was at that time the only Bottom Cottage. Here's a link to brief blog entry at the time.
|View from the front door|
|The footpath to town|
|Woolen mill workers' residences, methinks|
|Nick and the house horse|
Saturday, March 01, 2014
An elderly bearded fellow got out and proceeded to let his two English setters out of the back. This was a relief. He'd forgotten, however, to set the brake, and the car began to roll back into him -- he pushed it back, shouting, surprisingly in English, "Stop, car! STOP, car!" and then, "STOP, dogs!" -- as the leashed dogs were excitedly tangling in his legs.
At any rate, he got to talking to us and was, in fact, English -- and very entertaining, as he circumlocutiously recommended routes for us to take en route to Naples. What was he doing there? He was there to birdwatch. As we finally departed he gave us his number in case we headed back that way. And we were to, in a week's time...
His name was Nick, and he and his Australian/Italian wife Fauste and their 17-year-old daughter Flora welcomed us heartily on our return trip north. Flora aside, they have been living in Italy for 26 years, so we got quite a colorful history of the region and the Italian foibles regarding such things as property acquisition and improvement. A lesson in bureaucracy. Nick is perhaps the only person I've ever met who exemplifies the term "gnomic" -- in looks, humor, and temperament, as he is given to sudden loud outbursts of varying seriousness. A retired biology teacher, he is an avid birder and the following day took us to his favorite haunt, where we had first run into him. And there we spotted numerous waterbirds including (unbelievably) two varieties of flamingo. He gave me a look through his scope, and here's what I saw.
This post follows this week's Sepia Saturday theme... do venture there for more telescopic matters!
Friday, November 15, 2013
|Pink bomboli, Amalfi|
|St. Francis's reputed birthplace, Assisi|
|Ducal Palace, Urbino|
|Layers, Citta di Castello|
|No parking, Sansepolcro|
|Worker's entrance, Cospaia|
|"Pigs piss in the doorway", San Gimignano|
|Opening up, Villareggio|