The Shmooze

Tila Tequila Banned From Facebook

By Anne Cohen

Did you think Tila Tequila had come to her senses and deleted her Facebook rant defending Hitler?

Wrong. The D-list celebrity was banned from Facebook for 30 days and her previous entries removed from the social media platform.

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Nazi Joke Gets Russell Brand Banned From GQ Party

By Anne Cohen

Note to GQ: Don’t invite Russell Brand to your party if you don’t want your sponsors Nazi ties exposed.

The troublemaking British comedian was banned from the GQ Men of the Year Awards festivities last week after bringing up the great taboo: sponsor Hugo Boss’ past as a Nazi tailor.

Brand, onstage at London’s Royal Opera House to accept the Oracle Award, made the following remark:

“Any of you who know a little bit about history and fashion will know that Hugo Boss made the uniforms for the Nazis,” Brand told a sideswiped audience at London’s Royal Opera House. “The Nazis did have flaws, but, you know, they did look fucking fantastic, let’s face it, while they were killing people on the basis of their religion and sexuality.”

The jokes didn’t stop there, but Brand’s time at the event certainly did. According to the Daily Mail, Brand was given the boot before the after party, hosted by — you guessed it — Hugo Boss.

Brand later tweeted about the events, recalling a conversation with a GQ editor that may or may not have occurred:

Hugo Boss’s dirty little secret is anything but at this point. But as the Daily Mail pointed out on Friday (their takedown is truly entertaining), the legend has somewhat outpaced the facts. Contrary to popular belief, Boss didn’t design the snappy black uniforms worn by the fearful SS. He did however manufacture them, starting in the 1920s when he was commissioned to make shirts for the then-nascent National Socialist Party, better known as the Nazi Party. His bad rep stems from a fateful moment in 1931 when applied for and received his Party membership (he was number 508,889 to do so).

So there, Russell Brand. No GQ Awards after-party for you!

Watch the performance below:

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Pink Floyd's Roger Waters Performs in 'Nazi' Get-Up

By JTA

getty images

Roger Waters, a rock musician critical of Israel, used a giant, pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with a Star of David and symbols of dictatorial regimes during a recent concert in Belgium.

Waters, who recently urged other performers to boycott Israel and compared Israel to apartheid South Africa, was singing on stage on July 20 under the balloon while toting a machine gun replica and wearing a long black leather jacket with a red-and-white arm band, reminiscent of a Nazi uniform.

The former Pink Floyd member was singing “get him up against the wall, that one looks Jewish and that one’s a coon, who let all of this riff-raff into the room” – the lyrics of the song “In the Flesh.”

Thousands of fans shouted his name and applauded as he stood on stage pretending to fire the replica.

Michael Freilich, editor-in-chief of the Belgian Jewish monthly Joods Actueel, called on the government to issue a statement condemning what Freilich called “an anti-Semitic display” at the concert.

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No eBay Bids for $3M Schindler's List Yet

By Forward Staff

getty images

No one has made a bid yet for an original copy of Oskar Schindler’s famed list.

The iconic list of Jews to be saved from the Nazis went up up for auction on eBay Friday night and an amazing 250,000 users had viewed the listing as of 10 p.m. Sunday. But there were no bidders for the item, which carried a starting bid pricetag of $3 million.

Though there were originally seven versions of the list that saved thousands of Polish Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis, only four have been located. Two are at Yad Vashem and one in the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington.

According to the New York Post, the list offered on eBay is a 14-page long onionskin document, dated April 18, 1945. 801 male names are featured.

The historic item’s sellers, Gary Zimet and Eric Gazin, two California collectors told the Post they hoped the list would sell for as high as $5 million.

“It is extremely rare that a document of this historical significance is put on the market,” Zimet said. “Many of the survivors on this list and their descendants moved to the United States, and there are names on this list which will sound very familiar to New Yorkers.”

In a statement released on Monday, the Museum of Jewish Heritage expressed its disappointment that a document of such significance would be sold to the highest bidder.

“As a museum, we believe important historical materials such as these best serve the public when they are held in a museum or archive that will ensure they are well cared for and make their contents widely available,” said Anita Kassof, Deputy Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

Track the bidding in real time with our widget

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A Talking German Shepherd?

By Michael Kaminer

So that’s what “master race” meant.

A new book contends the Nazis attempted “to breed an army of educated dogs that could read, write and talk,” Time reports under the surely unprecedented headline “How Nazi Scientists Tried to Create an Army of Talking Dogs.”

In Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, Cardiff University historian Jan Bondeson “mines obscure German periodicals” to discover “scientists envisioned a day when dogs would serve alongside German troops, and perhaps free up SS officers by guarding concentration camps.”
Hitler even set up a Tier-Sprechschule – “Animal Talking School” – near Hanover, Time reports, and recruited “educated dogs” from throughout the country.

“Teachers claimed a number of incredible findings,” says Time. An Airedale terrier named Rolf who could spell by tapping his paw on a board “mused on religion, learned foreign languages and even asked a noblewoman, ‘Can you wag your tail?’” Rolf apparently told his German masters he wanted to serve in the German army because he disliked the French. Another canine barked “Mein Fuhrer” when asked to describe Hitler, Time reports. “And Don, a German pointer, is said to have imitated a human voice to bark, ‘Hungry! Give me cakes!’ in German.”

“Part of the Nazi philosophy was that there was a strong bond between humans and nature. They believed a good Nazi should be an animal friend,” author Bondeson tells time. Perversely, when the Nazis started interning Jews, “newspapers were flooded with outraged letters from Germans wondering what had happened to the pets they left behind.”

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Director Lars Von Trier Apologizes, Says He's Not a Nazi

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

After causing a stir at the Cannes Film Festival this morning, Danish director Lars von Trier has issued an apology, clarifying that he is a weirdo — but not a Hitler-admiring weirdo.

The festival’s organizers also issued a press release, saying they were disturbed von Trier’s remarks — apparently poorly delivered jokes — that “I understand Hitler” and “I am a Nazi.”

The press release included von Trier’s apology, in which he wrote, “I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi.”

The famously eccentric von Trier, the winner of Cannes prizes in past years for films including “Dancer in the Dark” and “Breaking the Waves,” made today’s comments after being asked about his family’s German background. (The director himself was born in Denmark in 1956.)

“For a long time I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew. Then I met Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy,” he said, referring to the Danish-Jewish filmmaker who won an Oscar earlier this year for the Danish movie “In a Better World.”

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Things That Look Like Hitler: Mustache Edition

By Nathan Burstein

As The Shmooze has already observed, the people of the United Kingdom have a habit of seeing Hitler in odd places — from the facade of Welsh houses to their own pet cats.

Wikimedia

Now a small-town politician has spotted the Nazi leader — or at least his mustache — on one of his own political posters, leading to a minor controversy in Pitcombe, Somerset, a hamlet west of London.

Town councillor Mark Beech complained to police about the poster, which featured his own face and was later adorned with a Hitler mustache by an unknown vandal. Using the Public Order Act as justification, investigators made “house-to-house inquiries” at each of the town’s 20 residences, the Telegraph reported, an investigation derided by locals as “an outrageous waste of police and taxpayers’ money.”

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JDL Compares Gay People to Nazis

By Michael Kaminer

Extremism makes strange bedfellows. The Jewish Defense League is trying to rally Toronto Jews to protest against the city’s Pride parade committee by comparing gay people… to Nazis.

Ironically — as the Forward reported in January — a right-wing fanatic named Scott Lively had floated the notion that Nazis were “a homosexual, pagan cult” in a widely discredited book.

This time around, Toronto lesbian/gay newspaper Xtra reports, the JDL is using the comparison to lure Toronto Jews to a demonstration at Pride Toronto’s offices. JDL’s Facebook invitation asserts, in part, that “during the Nazi era, many high-ranking Nazis were gay,” Xtra reports.

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Austrian Bakery Makes Nazi Cakes

By Nathan Burstein

A group of Holocaust survivors is accusing an Austrian bakery of criminally bad taste.

The MKOe Mauthausen Committee has filed a complaint against Tortendesign, a bakery outside Vienna that frosts swastikas, SS symbols and babies giving the Nazi salute on its cakes. The designs violate Austrian laws that prohibit the display of Nazi symbols in public, the group alleges.

The committee’s call for tort reform — sorry! we couldn’t resist! — may fail, however, because Tortendesign does not show the symbols openly. Instead, the designs appear in a special “adult section” of its cake catalogue, in which customers can also find sex-themed cakes. “The question is whether a picture in a catalogue is ‘public display,’ ” a representative of the public prosecutor told Austrian media. “If it had been placed in the shop window, the matter would be much clearer.”

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Nazis Invaded Long Island During WWII

By Michael Kaminer

The tony beach town of Amagansett, Long Island, got some unusual summer visitors in 1942. According to declassified British documents released yesterday, a Nazi U-boat carrying German spies landed on an Amagansett beach on a June morning — with Jews as targets.

Metro reports “the secret agents came here to leave bombs in suitcases at Jewish-owned shops, as well as to disseminate anti-war propaganda, according to officials.” To enhance the cloak-and-dagger elements of the mission, “the agents chosen for the mission were former U.S. residents returning to their native Germany. They had received training in ‘sabotage school’ there, where they learned to assemble explosives,” Metro further notes.

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Eva Braun Blackface Photo Reveals Her Love of Jewish Film

By Nathan Burstein

Hitler’s girlfriend apparently loved a film focused on the struggle to maintain Jewish tradition.

Getty Images

A recently released photo now making the rounds online shows Eva Braun in 1937, in an image the dictator’s mistress titled “Al Jolson and Me.” Internet chatter about the picture has focused on Braun’s use of blackface, citing it as further evidence of the Nazi leadership’s racism.

But what online commenters have largely neglected is that the image is a tribute to “The Jazz Singer,” the 1927 Hollywood classic about Jakie Rabinowitz (Al Jolson), a Jewish man disowned by his family after he pursues a career in jazz rather than follow in the professional footsteps of his father, a cantor. The first feature-length “talkie,” the movie depicts Jewish life on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, including a Yom Kippur service and songs titled “Kol Nidre” and “Kaddish.”

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Did the Nazis Discover 3D Technology?

By Katherine Clarke

So much for James Cameron pioneering the 3D phenomenon. It turns out Hitler was about 70 years ahead of the curve.

While conducting research for an upcoming film project in Berlin’s Federal Archives, Australian director Phillipe Mora discovered two 1936 black and white propaganda films shot in 3D. Born out of pre-war Nazi Germany, they were created by an independent studio for Joseph Goebbel’s Third Reich propaganda ministry.

“The films are shot on 35mm – apparently with a prism in front of two lenses,” the documentary filmmaker told Variety. “The quality of the films is fantastic. The Nazis were obsessed with recording everything and every single image was controlled – it was all part of how they gained control of the country and its people.”

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Jesse James Heads to Israel, Sans Nazi Garb

By Lucy Cohen Blatter

Jesse James is one mixed-up guy. Just days after photos emerged of him smiling as a passenger in his car gives a [Nazi salute] (http://blogs.forward.com/the-shmooze/135003/), news broke that Sandra Bullock’s philandering ex-husband recently visited Israel.

James — who was previously snapped wearing a nazi cap and giving a “Sieg Heil” salute — visited the Jewish state for an upcoming episode of his History Channel show “Jesse James Blacksmith.” During the episode, James, who is the CEO of West Coast Choppers, studies under the tutelage of Uri Hofi, an Israeli man known as “the world’s greatest blacksmith.” (Hofi does his world-renowned blacksmithing from Kibbutz Ein Shemer in the Shomron.)

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Jesse James Has More Nazi Photos

By Michael Kaminer

Jesse James — the much-reviled, philandering ex of Sandra Bullock — sure looks happy in photos that appear in Us magazine this week. Unfortunately, he’s grinning as a passenger in his car gives a Nazi salute.

Us, which last spring published a 2004 snapshot of James donning a Nazi cap and giving a “Sieg Heil” salute, says “new, similarly disturbing images involving James [were] posted on Facebook by ex-employees of his company, West Coast Choppers.” In one photo, “James grins and sits in a convertible alongside a pal” who gives the infamous straight-arm salute; “another image features a children’s book character, Flat Stanley,” dressed as Hitler, Us reports.

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Could 'The King's Speech' Oscar Hopes be derailed by Holocaust-Themed Smear Campaign?

By Nathan Burstein

Weinstein Company

The Holocaust, for better or worse, turns up at the Academy Awards as often as Meryl Streep. The genocide has been so ubiquitous in recent years — in movies ranging from “The Reader” to “Inglourious Basterds” — that next month’s Oscars will be notable partly for the absence of films that address it.

That hasn’t stopped the subject from turning up in pre-Oscar campaigning, however. In an e-mail sent out after Sunday’s Golden Globes, an anonymous writer criticized one of this year’s front-runners, “The King’s Speech,” for “largely “gloss[ing] over the Nazi-sympathising past” of the movie’s protagonist, England’s King George VI.

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Is It Immoral To Re-Steal Previously Looted Holocaust Memorabilia?

By Michael Kaminer

For a Jewish visitor to Poland, is it moral to steal souvenirs that may have themselves been looted from Jewish homes during the Holocaust?

Not according to yesterday’s Ethicist column in the New York Times Magazine. “Traveling in Poland, I visited antique stores offering Jewish items — menorahs, mezuzas — that seemed more than 65 years old,” wrote Randy Malamud of Atlanta. “[I] found myself unable to pay for what was probably stolen property. Part of me wishes I had stolen (liberated?) some of them. Would that have been justified?” In his response, Ethicist scribe Randy Cohen quoted Marilyn Henry, a Jerusalem Post columnist who “has written much about such sad relics.” Cohen advised that “while the items may have been looted during the Nazi era, they may have been treated as legally ‘abandoned’ when the family was deported; they may have been sold at fire-sale prices by the original owner/family to raise funds to flee; they may have been held with the best of intentions by neighbors in anticipation that a Jewish family would return, and the family did not return.”

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Hitler-Mocking Dog Makes Nazis Angry

By Michael Kaminer

The Forward recently reported on the heroic exploits of Wojtek, the Nazi-fighting Polish bear. Now comes belated news of another animal who antagonized the Germans in World War II.

Jackie, a mutt belonging to Finnish pharmaceutical tycoon Tor Burg, was trained to imitate Hitler by his Nazi-hating owners, according to newly released documents cited by the Associated Press. The Nazi regime was so angry about Jackie “that it started an obsessive campaign” against Burg and his German born-wife, AP reports. In the middle of the war, the Foreign Office in Berlin commanded its diplomats in the Nazi-friendly Finland to gather evidence on the dog, and even devised plans to destroy Burg’s pharmaceutical wholesale company, the article explains.

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Gays Were Behind the Nazi Party and Other Strange Allegations

By Michael Kaminer

Gay people were behind the rise of the Nazi party during World War II. And now, they’re trying to suppress a book about their role.

If you believe the right-wing web site World Net Daily, this isn’t wingnut fiction, but historical fact. And independent-media site AlterNet is reporting that World Net Daily is not only continuing to sell “The Pink Swastika” — a widely discredited book promoting the gay-Nazi “theory” — but is capitalizing on recent controversy “by claiming that the gay community is trying to silence the book’s ‘findings.’”

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ADL's Take on Holocaust-Themed Video Game

By Josh Tapper

The Anti-Defamation League once again looked to make an imprint on gaming culture by declaring a new Holocaust-themed, first-person shooter video game inappropriate. The game, called Sonderkommando Revolt, is set during the October 1944 Auschwitz uprising, which resulted in the death of over 400 Sonderkommando, Jewish concentration camp workers involved in the perpetration of Nazi crimes.

“Perhaps well intentioned in its creation, [the video game’s] execution and imagery are horrific and inappropriate,” an ADL spokesperson told video game blog Kotaku. “The Holocaust should be off-limits for video games.”

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Japanese Store Halts Sales of Nazi Costumes

By Josh Tapper

With offices in Toronto, Buenos Aires and Paris, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center keeps a vigilant eye on global anti-Semitism. And thanks to a wide and ardent network of supporters, its reach extends to the unlikeliest of places, like Japanese discount retail store Don Quijote Co.

In a letter sent Monday to company executives, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, petitioned that Don Quijote “immediately remove” Nazi soldier party costumes from its shelves after they were spotted by a member. The costume includes a black jacket and swastika armband. The packaging features a cartoonish Adolf Hitler in Nazi salute; “Heil Hitler” is written in Japanese.

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