18 January 2011

Old Russia in color

The Boston Globe invites you to look back in time with this extraordinary collection of color photographs taken between 1909 and 1912 in Russia. In those years, photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II. He used a specialized camera to capture three black and white images in fairly quick succession, using red, green and blue filters, allowing them to later be recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images. The high quality of the images, combined with the bright colors, make it difficult for viewers to believe that they are looking 100 years back in time. Look at the photo collection here, made available by the Library of Congress, which purchased the original glass plates back in 1948. There are also some images connected to local Jewish heritage.

14 January 2011

Stop your cruel oppression of the Jews

Print shows an aged man labeled Russian Jew carrying a large bundle labeled Oppression on his back; hanging from the bundle are weights labeled Autocracy, Robbery, Cruelty, Assassination, Deception, and Murder.

In the background, on the right, a Jewish community burns, and in the upper left corner, Theodore Roosevelt speaks to the Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, "Now that you have peace without, why not remove his burden and have peace within your borders?"

Ca. 1904. Source: Library of Congress

10 January 2011


In June 2009, US President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Mark Gitenstein as the U.S. ambassador to Romania.

I am really flattered to be asked by President Obama to take on this assignment, Gitenstein said. It’s not only an important national security assignment to undertake, as Romania is an important ally to the U.S., but also if I am confirmed, I will be in a sense returning to the home of my forefathers.

Gitenstein explained that his paternal grandfather, Israel Gitenstein or “Mr. G” as he was known to Florala residents, emigrated to the U.S. from today's Moldova Republic, which was at one time part of Romania, also known as Bessarabia. His grandmother’s parents were from Romania, making him the first U.S. Ambassador to Romania with Romanian heritage.

In September, 2009, he presented his credentials to Romanian President Traian Basescu.

Source: Andalusia Starnews and US Embassy in Bucharest