Holocaust: Iranian Jewish filmmaker, ‘The Desperate’

An Iranian Jewish filmmaker has produced a Holocaust story, “The Desperate.”

The recently released film focuses on a Jewish surgeon, a concentration camp inmate, forced to perform emergency surgery on a Nazi general’s son.

Ben Hur Sepher is interviewed by Karmel Melamed, who writes the Iranian American Jews blog for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.

The story and interview is quite interesting.

When we talk about cultural traditions in the Persian Jewish community, Sepher’s career is unusual.

Careers in the arts or entertainment were frowned upon. This may be an outgrowth of the popularity of Persian Jewish musicians in Shiraz and other cities whose work took them late at night into non-Jewish homes to entertain at parties and where there would be non-kosher food.

Young people – in the old days – who professed interest in such occupations were advised to get a real job.

Sepher is one of the rare ones who succeeded both in Iran and in the US for writing, directing and producing films. He trained at the Swedish Film Institute and worked at the Stockholm State Theatre for Ingmar Bergman. Additionally, he was the personal filmmaker for the Shah of Iran in pre-Revolutionary times.

Part of the Iranian Jewish diaspora in Los Angeles, which arrived some 30 years ago, Sepher directs television programs and short films in Hollywood.

To read the story, see the interview and the film’s trailer, click here.

California: Imperial Russia Jewish geographies, Feb. 10

The Center for Jewish Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz will present a colloquium – “The Right to Remain: Jewish geographies in Imperial Russia” – on Wednesday, February 10.

The event begins at noon, in room 210 of Humanities 1.

Professor Nathaniel Deutsch (Literature, History and Jewish Studies) is the speaker.

Unlike others who became a part of the Russian Empire as a result of the partitions of Poland, Jews were not viewed as native to the newly colonized territories.

Many accepted their doubly alien status; however, there also emerged Jewish views that rejected the assumption that they were necessarily alien.

Professor Deutsch will discuss the significance of these views against the backdrop of internal Jewish politics and Russian policies.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, click here. See future events in the top bar – click the small red arrow at right or left to move back or forward.

Connecticut: Jews of Shanghai, Feb. 14

Learn about Shanghai’s Jewish community, past and present, at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut (JGSCT), on Sunday, February 14.

The event begins at 1.30pm at the Godfrey Memorial Library, 134 Newfield St., Middletown.

JGSCT president Georgia Haken will speak on “The Jewish Community In Shanghai, China Yesterday And Today.” The meeting is free.

She’s been researching her family history for many years, especially in Germany and Austria. Since 2005, she has lived for several months at a time in Shanghai, and has researched the Jews of China.

Jewish communities have lived there since the early Middle Ages, and were cited by Marco Polo, in 1286, as an important element in the life of the country. The Shanghai community has been a linguistic, cultural, and religious mosaic, especially in the 20th century.

Founded in 1988, the JGSCT holds its meetings and houses its library at the Godfrey Library.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut, formed in 1988, houses its library at the Godfrey.

For directions and more information, visit the JGSCT.