Monday, 9 June 2008


Judith is a 1966 drama film made by Command Productions, Cumulus Productions and Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Daniel Mann, produced by Kurt Unger from a screenplay by John Michael Hayes based on the story by Lawrence Durrell. The music score was by Sol Kaplan and the cinematography by John Wilcox.

In Palestine shortly before the end of the British mandate, the Haganah has learnt that a former German tank commander, General Gustav Schiller (Hans Verner), is teaching the Arabs batle tactics, but they are unable to locate him. Then they learn of the existence of his Jewish former wife, Judith Auerbach Schiller (Sophia Loren), and arrange for her to be smuggled into Palestine via the port of Haifa. She is placed in the care of Aaron Stein (Peter Finch), a Haganah commander, at a Kibbutz.

Schiller abandoned his wife during the war and took away their son. She was then sent to the Dachau concentration camp, where she was forced to serve in an officers' brothel, but survived.
Judith does not take kindly to the rigours of kibbutz life, and is unable to tell them anything about Schiller, but Stein hopes that she can at least identify him. He "suggests" that she ask the local army commander, Major Lawton (Jack Hawkins), to help her. Judith travels to Haifa to see him and pleads with him to hand over the file on Schiller - which he eventually does. It turns out that Schiller was last known to be in Damascus, Syria.

Judith, Stein and a colleague are smuggled into Damascus and after days of searching, they find Schiller. As they are about to capture him, Judith shoots and wounds him. Schiller is smuggled back to Palestine and interrogated, but he refuses to give any information. Left alone with Judith, he pleads for mercy. But as the kibbutz comes under attack by Arab forces, he finally reveals the battle plans, and also tells Judith that he knows the whereabouts of their son. The room in which he is being kept is bombed and Schiller is killed.

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CARLO LEVI (1902-1975) PAINTINGS (1)


June 9: David and Goliath

After suffering significant casualties in the offensive to overtake the Golan Heights, Commander Musa Klein’s platoon had only twenty-five men at his disposal. But they continued upwards. When they reached Tel Fakhr, Klein ordered his men to charge the position, unaware that it was one of the most heavily fortified Syrian positions. It had bunkers, trenches and a double row of wire; an arsenal of antitank guns, machine guns and 82mm mortars. The handful of IDF soldiers were worse off than sitting ducks... Syrian Captain Ahmad Ibrahim Khalili gave his men instructions not to fire until the Israelis reached the wire. In no time at all, however, it was too late. In the Syrians' own words: “The Jews are already inside and we’ve taken heavy casualties.” Commander Klein and his men were victorious, and continued up the Heights.

Today’s Highlights:

Israel seizes the Straits of Tiran. Israel breaks through the Golan plateau.
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