Komar, Stefan: Concentration Death Camps

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You may remember the Radio Curious interview with Bernard Offen, recorded in May 2005, and re-boradcast the end of May 2017.  In telling the story of his youth in Poland during World War II, being forced into four different concentration camps established and controlled by the Nazis, Bernard Offen characterized those camps as “Polish concentration camps.”

Soon after the 2017 re-broadcast, I received an email from Stefan Komar, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.  Komar pointed out that calling any German concentration camp in German occupied Poland “Polish,” or referring to a German concentration camp in occupied Poland as “in Poland”, “of Poland,” or “Poland’s,” is insensitive to the families of the millions of ethnic Poles who were killed, forced into slave labor, tortured, maimed, terrorized and starved during the brutal and inhuman German occupation of Poland in the name of “Deuthschland, Deutschland Uber Alles.”

Komar, who was born in Queens, New York, lived in Warsaw, Poland, for about 10 years beginning when he was 12 years old. Currently he’s a Captain in the New York Police Department, after serving with the NYPD for 37 years.

A few days before Stefan Komar, and I visited by phone from his home in Queens, New York, on January  28, 2018, many newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-israel-poland-nazis-20180128-story.html) reported a “bill passed by the lower house of Poland’s parliament”  would make it illegal to utter the phrase “Polish concentration camp” or to assign Poland culpability for Nazi crimes committed on its soil.  The Israeli government was Infuriated, as reported in Reuters, (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-poland/israel-and-poland-clash-over-proposed-holocaust-law-idUSKBN1FH0S3), among other news outlets, and called the Polish law revisionary history.
This is clearly a curious issue to follow.  In doing so Komar provided a link to “A Platform for Polish Jewish Dialogue,” (http://www.dialog.org/) which may be found at Dialog.org, and a youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SztV961KKhA&t=58s, on Polish history including a discussion on how the Nazi occupation of Poland may be characterized.  These links may be found on radiocurious.org.

Stefan Komar and I unfortunately did not directly discuss this new law or the Israeli reaction.  We did however put the topic in context from his point of view.  We began our visit when I asked him to discuss the characterization of these concentration camps.

The books Stefan Komar recommends are “Hollywood’s War with Poland, 1939-1945” by M.B.B. Biskupski; and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century,” by Paul Kengor.

Blaise, Clark: The Creation of Standard Time

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Not such a long time ago, time was an arbitrary measure decided by each community without consideration of other localities.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we visit with Clark Blaise, author of “Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time.”

In the mid 19th century, with the advent of continent-spanning railroads and transatlantic steamers, the myriad of local times became a mind-boggling obstacle and the rational ordering of time to some became an urgent priority for transportation and commerce. Standard Time was established in 1884, leading to an international uniformity for telling time. Arguably, the uniformity of time was a “crowning achievement” of Victorian progressiveness, one of the few innovations of that time to have survived unchanged into the 21st century.

Under the leadership of Sir Sandford Fleming, amid political rancor of delegates from industrializing nations, an agreement was reached to establish the Greenwich Prime Meridian passing through Greenwich, England and the International Date Line that wanders it way through the Pacific Ocean. The 1884 agreement resulted in a uniform system of world-wide time zones that exists today.

I had a good time visiting with Clark Blaise in the spring of 2001 as we discussed how our current notion of time was established. We began when I asked him to explain what standard time is.

This interview with Clark Blaise, author of “Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time,” was recorded in the spring of 2001 and first broadcast in the last week of 2011.

The book Clark Blaise recommends is “Time of Our Singing,” by Richard Powers.

Lung, Robin: Program Information Edit Program | Add Version | Delete Program Finding Kukan: A Hidden Glimpse into Wartime China

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An artifact of Chinese-American heritage in the form of a long-lost film and the Asian American woman responsible for this film’s creation is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.

Our guest is documentary filmmaker Robin Lung, who made the film Finding Kukan. Finding Kukan tells the story of Li Ling-Ai, a Chinese-American woman who hired Rey Scott, an American photojournalist, to travel to China and capture the life of people in that war-torn country, including the massive bombing of the wartime capital. Their landmark film, Kukan, received one of the first Academy Awards for a feature documentary in 1942. Lung’s film, Finding Kukan, asks why we haven’t heard of Li Ling-Ai, and why all copies of her film Kukan seem to have disappeared.

This program was recorded on May 6, 2017, when she was in Southern California, right after Finding Kukan received the Audience Award at the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

The book that Robin Lung recommends is also a movie: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly.

McPherson, Dr. Guy R.: Near-Term Extinction of the Human Species, Part 2

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In this, part two of our series on near term human extinction, we continue our conversation with Dr. Guy R. McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. Dr. McPherson is co-author with Carolyn Baker of Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind. McPherson presents what appears to be overwhelming scientific evidence that our environment is headed for a swift apocalyptic collapse.

This interview was recorded on September 14th, 2015, but has become hauntingly prescient as Dr. McPherson’s warnings and predictions about the devastating effects of climate change come to pass.

As you listen, consider the following: Is what McPherson predicted occurring? Has climate change affected your life? What have you done, or what are doing differently, as a consequence? What are your future plans regarding climate change?

In part one, Dr. Guy McPherson discussed the rise of global temperature by more than 1 degree centigrade, the likelihood of a continued global warming trend in the future and some of its effects on our planet. In this, our second visit with Dr. McPherson, he explains how this small rise in global temperature is leading to a large-scale mass extinction on earth.

The book Dr. Guy McPherson recommends is Ms. Lady Bug and Mr. Honeybee: A Love Story at the End of Time, by Pauline Panagiotou-Schneider and Guy McPherson. He also recommends the books by Edward Abbey.

McPherson, Dr. Guy R.: Near-Term Extinction of the Human Species, Part 1

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In September of 2015, Barry visited with Dr. Guy R. McPherson (http://www.guymcpherson.net/), co-author with Carolyn Baker of “Extinction Dialogs: How to Live With Death in Mind.” McPherson is Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. This archive program is the first of a series on near-term extinction of the human species.

Dr. McPherson’s words about the possible effects of climate change are hauntingly prescient, heard a year and a half year later.

As you listen, consider the following: Is what McPherson predicted occurring? Has climate change affected your life? What have you done, or what are doing differently, as a consequence? What are your future plans regarding climate change?

The point from which average global temperature rise (https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201507) is measured dates back to 1750, the beginning of the industrial revolution, and the time at which the ever increasing use of fossil fuels began. Since 1750, the planet has warmed by more than 1 degree centigrade. McPherson’s book “Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind,” explains how this small global rise in temperature is leading to a large scale mass extinction on the planet.

Offen, Bernard: Surviving the Holocaust

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The internationally recognized date of Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, a calendar based on the phases of the moon. That day also marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah.  In year 2017 of the Gregorian Calendar Yom Hashoah falls on April 24.

From the Radio Curious archives, in honor of Yom Hashoah this year, we re-visit our 2005 interview with Bernard Offen.  He survived five Nazi concentration camps in Poland, during his youth in World War II. Bernard Offen has led tours of these concentration camps and in doing says, “You don’t have to be a survivor or Jewish. It’s for all the wounded who want to understand the power of good and evil and want to create goodness in the world.”

When Bernard Offen visited the studios of Radio Curious in April 2005, we began our conversation when he described some of his early childhood experiences in Krakow, Poland in the years just prior to World War II.

The book Bernard Offen recommends “My Hometown Concentration Camp: A Survivor’s Account to Life in the Krakow Ghetto and Plaszow Concentration Camp,” which he wrote.

Darnton, John: Galapagos Islands–Charles Darwin

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Who was Charles Darwin and what led him to describe what we now call the theory of evolution? These curious questions are ones that I have been following since I was about ten years old. In 1978 I had the good fortune of visiting the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1831 for month as part of a five-year voyage around the world. There he saw birds and animals that helped him formulate some of his ideas about evolution he published The Origin of the Species,” 22 years later in 1853. Since then the world, science and religion has not been the same.

Now, at a time when concepts of evolution and natural selection are attacked from certain theological and political perspectives, “The Darwin Conspiracy,” a novel has been written by John Darnton, a writer and editor for the New York Times. “The Darwin Conspiracy,” although fiction, is said by John Darnton to be 90% accurate. It covers Darwin’s life and thinking before and after his publication of “The Origin of the Species.”

I spoke with John Darnton from his home in New York City at the end of October 2005. He began by describing who Charles Darwin was, in his time and place.

The book John Darnton recommends is “Snow,” by Orhan Pamuk.

 

Werdinger, Roberta: Barbed Wire and Flowers

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“Barbed Wire and Flowers”: A daughter’s story of her perception and relationship with her father. He, a survivor of the holocaust, and she, his adult child describes the strength of his life incumbent on her youth, and their visit to one of the two concentration camps where he was interned by the Nazis in World War Two.

Roberta Werdinger, a storyteller, writer, publicist, editor, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious. Raised as a non-secular Jew and ordained as a Buddhist Monk, plans to include “Barbed Wire and Flowers” in the memoir she is currently writing. I heard her public reading of “Barbed Wire and Flowers” here in Ukiah in June, 2016 I invited her to visit Radio Curious. She did on November 21, 2016. Our visit begins with her reading “Barbed Wire and Flowers,” and I invite you listen for the next 17 minutes. Our conversation follows.
This program was recorded on November 21, 2016.

Miles, Dr. Steven: A Blind Eye to Torture

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The silence of doctors, nurses and medics in cases of torture and physical abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.
Our guest is Dr. Steven Miles, the author of “Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity and the War On Terror,” a book based, in part, on eyewitness accounts of actual victims of prison abuse and more than thirty-five thousand pages of documents, autopsy reports and medical records. His work explores the information provided by physicians and psychologists to determine how much and what kind of mistreatment could be delivered to prisoners during interrogation. Dr. Miles is a professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School and its Center for Bioethics.  He is a recognized expert in medical ethics, human rights and international health care.

This interview with Dr. Steven Miles was recorded in mid-July 2006 from his office in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  We begin when I asked him about his motivation to write a book about the treatment of people who are disarmed and imprisoned.

The book Dr. Steven Miles recommend is “Bury The Chains: Profits and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves,” by Adam Hochchild.

This interview with Dr. Steven H. Miles was recorded in mid July 2006.

Steifel, Frank: “Ingelore” Speaking Without Hearing

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What would it be like for you if you were deaf? If you could not speak your first word until you were six? If you had three years of education, your first language was German, and you later emigrated to another country where they speak English?

Ingelore is the first name of a woman who was born in Germany in 1934, and came to America in 1940 at the beginning of the Third Reich, right after Kristallnacht. The film “Ingelore” was made by Inglelore’s son Frank Stiefel, and it tells his mother’s story.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we begin with Ingelore in her own words from the documentary “Ingelore.” As you hear her ability to articulate words in English it’s important to remember she cannot hear.

This interview was recorded on May 29th, 2010 with Frank Stiefel from his home in Santa Monica, California.

The books that Frank Stiefel recommends are “Hand Of My Father,” by Myron Uhlberg, and “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy.