1999 DIARY


No big ski trips this month.  We stayed in town for New Year's.  Pam was very busy finishing her Vermont Avenue photo project.

Decca/London records released its recording of Eric Zeisl's "Requiem Ebraico" as part of its Entartete Musik series.  This is the most significant release of Zeisl's music, and features his most often performed work, which was written in 1945 and dedicated to the memory of his fatehr and the other countless victims of the Holocaust.


We went to New York to see and hear Arnold Schoenberg's opera Moses and Aron at the Metropolitan Opera.  Pam's parents and brother Steven came to New York to see us.  We went to visit Danny, Nancy, Etana, Shani and Sara Edelman in Teaneck.  The opera was exciting, but the performance was not quite as good as the other performances we had seen.  Still, it was nice to catch up with our friends in New York, like Peter Meryash and Matt Kaplan.  Melanie came down from Yale with some friends and we all went out.  Unfortunately, it was so freezing cold that Pam and Dora decided to go home early.

Pam's photo project was completed and she began a series of openings and slide-show presentatins up and down Vermont Avenue, which were well-received.


Pam continued her Vermont project at a number of different venues.

Dora had her first birthday party on March 28.  We went to Crestwood Hills park and lots of her friends were there.  You can see some pictures on Dora's home page.


We went to Cincinnati for Passover.  Everyone loved seeing Dora again.


At the end of April and first 10 days of May I went to Europe.  My first stop was Baden-Baden, Germany where I was invited to be a guest on a local TV program called "Ich trage einen grossen Namen" (literally, I carry a big name).  Three journalists ask you yes/no questions and then try to guess who you are related to.  Sort of like "What's my line?"  I was paired with the grandson of the author Heinrich Mann, who is a zen sex therapist in Berlin.  You can guess whom they were more interested in.  Anyway, it paid for the whole trip so it was worth it.  And I got to practice lots of German and see Baden-Baden again after over 20 years.  Then I went to Vienna, mainly to work on the Bloch-Bauer case.  Since September 1998 I have been representing an old family friend, Maria Altmann, who is trying to recover the paintings taken from her uncle Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer by the Nazis.  These include six famous paintings by Gustav Klimt, who made two portraits of Maria's aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer.


At the end of June, we had bad news from Vienna.  The advisory board recommended against returning the Klimt paintings.  The reasons for the decision were ludicrous, so we will have to keep fighting.


We went up to the mountains for the Fourth of July weekend with the whole family.  More fall-out from the Bloch-Bauer case in Vienna.  A petition was published calling on the government to re-open the case and allow the heirs to take part in the process.


We went up to Mammoth Lakes for a nice week-long vacation for just the three of us.  Dora had a great time and we took lots of nice walks in the mountains and around time.  Mammoth is great during the summer and has a real family atmosphere.

I went to New York for a day and attended the Bard Festival at Bard College which was dedicated to "Schoenberg and His World."  The concerts were terrific and the scenery in the Hudson River valley was gorgeous.


We went to Florence, Italy for Ricky and Jean's wedding.  The wedding was spectacular.  I was the best man, and Dora wore a cute purple dress.  Ricky has lots of great pictures on his home page and on my Mom's home page.

Afterwards, we went to Vienna for a few days and celebrated Rosh Hashana.  On the first day, we went to the old Seitenstettengasse synagogue, which is the only major synagogue that survived the Nazi period.  It is also where my great-great grandparents were married.  I enjoyed the ceremony, but Pam, Dora and my Mom were up on the second balcony because the women sit separately and did not have such a great time.  On the second day we went to a small orthodox schul whose members were mainly Holocaust survivors from eastern Czechoslovakia.  It was also fun for me, but Pam did not enjoy sitting in a separate room.  We went to Schoenbrunn and saw the sights with Dora, who had a great time -- especially walking down the pedestrian zone on the Kaerntnerstrasse at night.  We also went to the Schoenberg Center, so Pam and Dora could see it for the first time.  They had a small conference there, but we were too busy to attend most of it.

I also had to do some work on the Bloch-Bauer case, and even held a press conference at Cafe Prueckel with Viennese attorney Stefan Gulner announcing a lawsuit against the Republic of Austria to recover the Klimt paintings for some of the Bloch-Bauer heirs.  We were even on TV that night.  It was a fun, but short vacation.

Pam had her 30th birthday.  We got a babysitter and actually spent an evening out by ourselves.  Very nice.


Pam's parents came to visit for a short weekend.  We went for a nice walk along the newly renovated Palisades Park in Santa Monica and then on the Santa Monica Pier.

I became the moderator of the new Bohemia-Moravia Special Interest Group hosted by Jewishgen, Inc., the largest Jewish genealogy resource ont he internet.

I filed objections to the Austrian Bank class action settlement agreement.  My objections focussed not so much on the amount of the settlement, but on the fact that the settlement affirmatively provided that the banks would not admit any wrongdoing whatsoever.  Given the evidence I have found of the banks' involvement in the liquidation of the Bloch-Bauer estate, I could not in good conscience abide by this.  There are many good defenses to the class actions, but "we didn't do it" is not one of them.



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