15 March 2010 Ide Ide Ide I Ide Ide Ide O!
We returned to class today. I asked a series of questions concerning the behavior of Jews from Shtetls and the more urban areas of the Pale. I mentioned levels of resistance and reasons why there was some resistance but no broad scale self-defense or revolt in Ukraine. I was hoping to shake loose questions from other students but no such luck. Fritz took off on another tangent and we spent another day hearing about the internal struggles within the Nazi party and government. He knows modern German history but so far there has been little Jewish history brought to light in this course. I think I’m going to ask “how the Jews wound up in the Pale, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and the Balkans.” There must be something that will raise some curiosity in these students. There must be something that will cause Fritz to actually talk about the Jewish aspects of the Holocaust. He put the Polonnoe material I gave him onto his on-line syllabus. But I seriously doubt any of the undergrads will bother to look at it.
This class is turning out to be a source of real frustration.
Supposedly, Julius Caesar met his end on the 15th of March at the hands of the Roman Senate. The Senate apparently feared Caesar was intent upon seizing control of the Roman government and proclaiming himself Emperor. Whether from fear of his lust for power or because of their own lust for power, a committee of his friends and acquaintances decided to remove him from the chain of command. The various daggers and swords carried to the Senate that day made a short, brutal, and bloody end to any plans he might have had to seize power.
The assassination is immortalized in literature and in song:
“I was present when they mopped up Caesar’s gore,
When the Senators were skating round the floor.
It was I, who swiped the crown that he foolishly turned down,
And I hocked it with a Jew in Baltimore.”
This verse from the “Bragger’s Song” may contain some kernel of truth. There were Jews in Rome at the time of Caesar’s demise. Baltimore was some centuries distant. But Jews also can be found in Baltimore.
With all apologies to Cab Calloway and William Shakespeare, some perversions of the language and literature are simply too much fun to ignore.
For those too young to recall, Cab Calloway is famous for, among other things, a song named “Minnie the Moocher.” It’s been covered by many people but his version remains the best. Danny Kaye’s comes in second, and the rest really aren’t worth ranking.