Relevant History

As we all know, the memoir, Under a Cruel Star took place in Czechoslovakia. At the time Czechoslovak’s were experiencing massive amounts of racism and discrimination. People who followed the Jewish religion were hated, put to death, arrested, tortured, and taken advantage of. Heda took us back into time and showed us what life was like as a struggling Czechoslovak woman. If you think about it, we can almost relate to few of her experiences. Believe it or not.

Heda’s husband, Rudolf Margolius was arrested before he could even return home to him wife and child. He was sentenced to death stamped with the label: traitors and western spies. He was completely innocent… but he was Jewish. Rudolf went through months of physical and psychological harassment in addition to being forced to sign a false confession. How does this relate to modern day? Think of the Eric Garner case. Eric Garner was a forty-three year old African American male, he was confronted by police officers in Tompkinsville, Staten Island New York and was later arrested, wrestled and put into a choke hold for the suspicion of selling loose, un-taxed cigarettes. Garner was an asthmatic and overweight man which made it hard for him to breath and resulted in a tragic death.

These stories sound very alike. Both men were of different race, Jewish versus non-Jewish and Black versus White. In Rudolph’s case, he was wrong, he was the Jewish scapegoat. The jury was right and hat they do and say is what goes. Rudolf was given no sympathy just like Eric Garner. Eric Garner did not deserve to die. I feel that, if you are a cop and you have a suspicion, you can simply ask the individual to step aside and let the person know that as an officer, you have the right to interrogate or frisk them. Violence never had to be the answer unless they had no choice because the suspect was resisting or threatening the officer. However this did not occur.

Racism in Rudolph’s case was also known as Anti-Semitism is prejudice against, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as a national, ethnic, religious or racial group. Today racism is not as dramatic as anti-Semitism but it’s fairly similar. Racism will always exist. Human nature being what it is, some people need to find something to hate ‘others’ about. Skin color, religion, gender, whatever it may be, haters will find something to focus on. At least now most of the civilized world frowns upon slavery and lynchings.

You can meet older people who seem nice enough until they start casually using the N-word to talk about ‘those people’ down the street in the apartment complex. I could go on and on about my discomfort and disgust during those situations, when that ugly words comes out, and the position it puts me in, to either try to ignore it or make a clear objection. It’s a situation that’s come up many times in my life with different people, but much less frequently over the years.


“Antisemitism.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 1 Apr. 2015. .

“Rudolf Margolius.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 1 Apr. 2015. .

Heath, Brad. “Racial Gap in U.S. Arrest Rates: ‘Staggering Disparity’” USA Today. Gannett, 19 Nov. 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2015. .

Destafano, Anthony, and Nicole Fuller. “Eric Garner Chokehold Case: NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo Doesn’t Face Charges – Newsday.” Newsday. 6 Dec. 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2015. .


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