Sunday, August 14, 2011

Napoléon Bonaparte (August 15, 1769)

Perhaps heroic. Perhaps anti-heroic. Beethoven for example, dedicated and un-dedicated the Eroica symphony to his hero/then anti-hero.

Perhaps heroic to Jews: Napoleon “restored” the Sanhedrin; more importantly he freed the Jews from the Ghetto literally tearing down the physical Ghetto gates in several Italian cities; he also extended civil rights to many Jewish populations in France, Italy, and Eastern Europe.

Perhaps anti-heroic: he became a boogie man for Jews in Eastern Europe – his name frightened little children for at least a century after he died.

Needless to say, conflicting views of Napoleon are not limited to a Jewish perspective.

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