Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Kudos and Bagpipes

But Let's Start With Kowtowing: It is always a surprise to Abq Jew when he appears to possess secret knowledge; when Abq Jew knows things he believes everyone knows, but everyone doesn't.

One of Abq Jew's literary heroes, a renowned Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times (since 2008!) whose bitter criticisms of the current regime (one can hardly call it an administration) are a rare source of cheer and fortitude in these troubled times, recently tweeted:


"Lindsey," of course, is US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). "[T]his man," of course, is that man whose Washington, DC regime it currently is.


But cowtowing?

It is clear (Abq Jew thinks; but he is no longer sure) that everyone knows what said sad Op-Ed columnist meant:


Kowtow
Kowtow, which is borrowed from kau tau in Cantonese (koutou in Mandarin Chinese), is the act of deep respect shown by prostration, that is, kneeling and bowing so low as to have one's head touching the ground.  
An alternative Chinese term is ketou; however, the meaning is somewhat altered: kou (叩) has the general meaning of knock, whereas ke (磕) has the general meaning of "touch upon (a surface)", tou (頭) meaning head. 
The date of this custom's origin is probably sometime between the Spring and Autumn Period, or the Warring States Period of China's history because it is already known to have been a custom by the time of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC). 
In East Asian culture, the kowtow is the highest sign of reverence. It was widely used to show reverence for one's elders, superiors, and especially the Emperor, as well as for religious and cultural objects of worship. 
In modern times, usage of the kowtow has become reduced.

And then there is one of Abq Jew's favorite mass nouns of all time

(from the Ancient Greek: κῦδος) is acclaim or praise for exceptional achievement. And therefore one should never say anything like
One kudo; two kudos.
It's sorta like one should never say anything like

One cattle, two cattle.

Jim Young / Reuters

And then there's the bagpipes.

As Abq Jew is writing this post, William Barr, the current regime's nominee for the extremely important (to say the least) post of US Attorney General, is being interviewed by Senate Republicans and interrogated by Senate Democrats.

This, in spite of the fact that Mr Barr is clearly unqualified - and should be immediately and dishonorably disqualified.

Why? Sam Stein reports in The Daily Beast:
STUNNING PIPES
Trump's AG Nominee Bill Barr Is a ‘Top-Grade’ Bagpiper 
In the financial-disclosure forms he sent to the Senate last week, Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, William Barr, revealed a network of financial investment and ties to major energy companies and law firms common for a man atop of the political world. 
But there was one item tucked in the documents that seemed rather unique. 
From January 2017 to December 2018, Barr served as a board member of the U.S. Piping Foundation, an organization that supports competitions for bagpipers, of which Barr is one. 
Arthur McAra, President of the United States Piping Foundation, told The Daily Beast that Barr, in his role, was “available to advise” on the yearly competition that the group hosts at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. Barr got the gig because he was known as a “top-grade” bagpiper back in the 80s. 
 
“He was discussed among the other members of the foundation’s board and one of the members, who is also an attorney, said he would ask Bill if he'd be good enough to join our board and the answer was yeah,” McAra recalled. 
McAra didn’t know if Barr still played the pipes. With age, he said, it’s not as easy. 
But he recalled that the once and possibly future AG was a “very, very good bagpiper” in his day, always as a band member (Barr played alongside McAra’s son) and not as a soloist. 
—Sam Stein

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

We Remember Every Day

The 1919 Lag B'Omer Pogrom: The photograph immediately catches the eye ... and then the soul. Abq Jew saw it on the Facebook page of the Jewish Genealogy Portal, and was compelled to tell the story.


The couple pictured - she standing, he sitting - are not, as far as he knows, members of Abq Jew's family. A member of the Jewish Genealogy group posted the photograph, with the not unusual request for help in translating the handwritten captions.
Dear Friends
Happy New Year
Could some kind soul please translate the words
Thank you
And before Abq Jew had even seen the photo and request, others - many others (how does this happen?) - had already responded. One wrote:
On the right: Murdered Lag B'Omer 5679 (1919) in Ukraine.
On the left: Passed away Tamuz 27, 5682 (1922).
The Tamuz is slightly unclear but I think it is the best match from the 12 Hebrew months.
And another confirmed:
Dates of death of the man and woman in the picture.
He was murdered on 18 Iyar 5679 or 18 May 1919.
She died on 27 Tamuz 5682 or 23 July 1922. 
And then someone asked:


Is the family from Pogrebishche, Ukraine?
On Lag Ba'Omer 5679 (May 18, 1919) a pogrom
was carried out in the town by the Red Army.

Abq Jew, of course, wanted to know more - about the town, about its Jews, and about what happened to them. Wikipedia (English) tells us:
Pohrebyshche (Ukrainian: Погребище) is a small city in Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine. It is the administrative center of Pohrebyshche Raion (district) in western Ukraine. Pohrebyshche is situated near the sources of the Ros River. Population: 9,765 (2015 est.) 
The town is very old and origin of its name is not clear. Pohreb means a big cellar in Ukrainian. On another hand Pohrebaty can be interpreted as to perform a burial. 
According to a legend, put down by Ukrainian ethnographer Pokhilevich, before Mongol invasion of Rus, during the times of Kyiv the town was called Rokitnya. Mongols level the town leaving only the cellars. 
The town had a substantial Jewish population before the Communists took over. There were periodic pogroms before then and raids by the Bolsheviks before Lenin's definitive consolidation of power. In 1928, the large Synagogue was converted into a Workmans Club.
The remaining Jews were murdered during the Second World War by the Nazis and local fascists.
But Wikipedia (Hebrew; with Google Translate) tells us even more about the Jews of Pohrebyshche:
In 1897 there were 2,494 Jews in the town. 
During the Russian Civil War , in 1919, two deadly pogroms took place in the town. 
On May 18 [Lag B'Omer], Red Army soldiers killed about 400 Jews in the town, and between August 18 and 21, Ukrainians murdered about 350 other Jews, injuring about 100. During the Soviet period there was a Jewish state council and a Yiddish school in the town. 
On July 21, 1941, during Operation Barbarossa, the town was occupied by the Germans, and in a few days they executed a few dozen Jews, aided by Ukrainian policemen. On October 18, 1941, about 1,300 Jews from the town were rounded up by Ukrainian and German police and murdered in pits in a nearby forest. In the days that followed, another 400 Jews were hidden in the town and surrounding villages. 
About 200 Jews from the vicinity of the town, and Jews who managed to escape from the Aktion , were concentrated in a small ghetto established in the town, where they were forced laborers and suffered from hunger and cold. In June 1942 all the inhabitants of this ghetto were murdered. 
From the Pohrebishche community, 16 to 18 Jews survived the Holocaust.

As International Holocaust Remembrance Day approaches (Sunday January 27), Abq Jew looks at that photograph as if that couple were members of his own family. And Abq Jew is forced to remind himself that -

Jew-hatred did not begin with the Holocaust.
Jew-hatred did not end with the Holocaust, either.


A fact of Jewish life of which we are all too, too aware.


This year, the World Jewish Congress  is promoting the Global Campaign for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The WJC points out:
In 2019, with rising hatred all around the world, it’s more important than ever that YOU be a part of this movement. Please watch, join, and share. It’s critical. 
#WeRemember
@WeRememberEveryDay


Imagine seeing your neighbors torn from their homes and businesses by the police. No crime has been committed. They have been deemed unfit and marked for death. Helping them would be a crime. Would you have the courage to intervene?

The Ten Boom family did. 

In 1944, their choice to rescue persecuted Jews meant risking their own lives and sharing the the collective fate of the Jewish people in Nazi concentration camps.

Corrie Remembers, Susie Sandager's solo drama, tells the true story of the Righteous Gentile and 20th Century Heroine, Corrie Ten Boom.


Through Susie’s excellent performance, you will feel as though you are a personal guest in Corrie Ten Boom’s home as she recounts memories of her harrowing and yet uplifting story that reaches with living hope from the pages of history to touch your heart in a troubled world today.
Although many of you have been longtime supporters of the show, I believe the times in which we are living give new meaning and importance to Miss Ten Boom's message.  
I am always humbled by personal reflections expressed after each performance. Having been performing out of the country and elsewhere for a while, I am excited to be sharing Miss Ten Boom's legacy in Albuquerque once again.  
I'm certain that if you join us and bring friends, you will be glad you did. Thanks again for your kind support, 
Susie Sandager

Click here for Aux Dog tickets.         Click here for more information.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Making Our Dreams Come True

Norman Gimbel, Happy Days: Yes, on January 1, 2019, Abq Jew must tell you that Norman Gimbel has passed away at the age of 91.

 A somber way to begin the New Year?
No ... a samba way! 


Norman Gimbel wrote some great, inspiring lyrics to wonderful songs we all know. And therefore - remembering him is a beautifully meaningful way to start 2019.

The Post's obituary starts out
Norman Gimbel, Oscar-winning lyricist of ‘Happy Days’ theme and ‘Girl From Ipanema,’ dies at 91 
For a few weeks in 1964, the upper reaches of the Billboard record charts were occupied not only by the Beatles, Beach Boys, Four Seasons and Rolling Stones, but by a seductive bossa nova number written for a musical comedy about an alien who visits South America. 
The musical, “Blimp,” never took off, although its would-be signature song became an international sensation — by some accounts the second-most-recorded song in history, after the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” 
Written by composer Antônio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinicius de Moraes, it neatly filled a major plot hole: What might cause an extraterrestrial guest to linger in Brazil? 
The answer, rendered into English by lyricist Norman Gimbel, was a beautiful woman from southern Rio de Janeiro: 
Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, each one she passes goes “ah!”


Abq Jew has always (see The Girl from Ipanema) marveled at this song's exquisite combination of lyrics and melody.
But each day as she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead not at he.
Heloísa Pinheiro, the Girl from Ipanema

This is Abq Jew's favorite phrase in the entire song. Why?  Because it's bad English! And it works!

Mr Gimbel could easily have substituted the (correct) objective form "him" for the (incorrect) subjective form "he". We must all be thankful that he did not.
But each day as she goes for a swim
She looks straight ahead not at him.
But Abq Jew (big surprise!) digresses. The obituary continues
With help from Mr. Gimbel, “The Girl From Ipanema” went on to drive the bossa nova craze in the United States and beyond, introducing millions of listeners to Brazil’s “new wave” fusion of samba and jazz.   

The Post's obituary doesn't tell us much about  Norman Gimbel's early life - only that he was born in Brooklyn; studied at Baruch College and Columbia University; and, perhaps more importantly, studied under Frank Loesser, the celebrated composer of “Guys and Dolls."

So ... turning to Wikipedia -
Norman Gimbel (November 16, 1927 – December 19, 2018) was an American lyricist of popular songs, television and movie themes. 
Gimbel was born in Brooklyn, son of Lottie (Nass) and businessman Morris Gimbel. His parents were Austrian Jewish immigrants.

Actually, there's a lot more. "Killing Me Softly With His Song". "Summer Samba". "Meditation". "Sway". "I Got A Name". "A Whale of a Tale". "Canadian Sunset". "I Will Wait for You". "It Goes Like It Goes".

But - here are his two most famous songs. That is, if you ever watched good ol' network TV back in the day.


May the New Year 2019 of the Common Era
be filled with nothing but Happy Days!


And may we all be healthy and prosperous
while Making Our Dreams Come True!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Spring 2019 @ OASIS Albuquerque

Great Courses of Jewish Interest
Abq Jew is pleased to inform you that
OASIS Albuquerque has just announced
their Spring 2019 line-up of classes!
Registration opens on
Thursday January 3
but you can Wish List your selections now.



OASIS Albuquerque Executive Director Kathleen Raskob continues (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings, and continues to make sure there are plenty of courses of Jewish interest.

This session's courses and instructors include but are by no means limited to:

A Passion for Truth Telling
Wednesday 30 January 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #115
Instructor: Paul Citrin
What It Is: In an era when facts are debunked as lies and lies are promoted as truth, we should review and consider the value of truth-telling. Paul Citrin examines the way Judaism has presented the pursuit of truth from the biblical period, through the rabbinic and medieval periods, into contemporary times. Through study and discussion, our goal is to connect to a bedrock value on which society depends.

The French Revolution, Napoleon, & the Jews
Friday 15 February 2019 @ 10:30 am - #69
Instructor: Michael Nutkiewicz
What It Is: The French Revolution set out to establish a constitutional democracy for all inhabitants of France. Yet the authors of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen asked whether Jews should be included as free citizens. Napoleon submitted 12 questions to Jewish leaders to judge whether Jews were "ready" to enter the modern world. Examine the process of Jewish emancipation in the wake of the French Revolution and contrast the French and American political traditions about freedom of conscience and religion.


Pinyin Minyan: The Jews of China, Then & Now
Friday 22 February 2019 @ 10:30 am - #116
Instructor: Jack Shlachter
What It Is: Jews have an interesting history in China, dating back to the Silk Road. Rabbi Jack Shlachter has made seven trips to Beijing since 2014, serving as the High Holiday rabbi for the progressive expatriate Jewish community there. This talk includes photos and memorabilia from these recent trips, as well as an overview of the historical Jewish communities in Kaifeng, Shanghai, and Harbin.

Animals in the Bible
Tuesday 26 February 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #117
Instructor: Shlomo Karni
What It Is: According to the Bible, animals, birds, and creeping things have accompanied mankind since creation. We review the various ways in which the animal world is presented in both the Old Testament and New Testament -- in real-life situations, in fables, in proverbs, in visions, and in symbols. Who was the first zoologist? Ornithologist? Ichthyologist? Where did the medical profession get its symbol? Why does the Bible prohibit yoking together an ox with an ass? When will the lion, like the ox, eat straw?


On the Roads of Sefarad
Wednesday 27 March 2019 @ 10:30 am - #122
Instructor:  Jordan Gendra-Molina
What It Is: Explore the deep heritage left by the Spanish Jewish community over more than 500 years of existence. See how this community adapts to the always changing political circumstances and how they emerge with their own creative solutions in areas such as language, literature, thought, science, and more.


Regular OASIS Albuquerque instructor (and award-winning composer and recording artist) Jane Ellen also continues (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings, and continues to make sure there are plenty of courses of musical and Jewish interest.

Jane's courses this session include but are by no means limited to:


Clown Prince of Denmark: Pianist Victor Borge
Monday 21 January 2109 @ 10:30 am - #87
What It Is: Børge Rosenbaum (1909-2000), better known to millions as Victor Borge, was a Danish American comedian, conductor, and pianist who achieved lasting popularity through his unique blend of music, comedy, and satire. Often referred to as "The Clown Prince of Denmark," Borge could be found slipping on (and off) the piano bench in radio, television, and live performances. He escaped the Nazi occupation in 1940, and travelled to the US which essentially became his home.


Mr. Wonderful: Sammy Davis Jr.
Monday 11 February 2019 @ 10:30 am - #91
What It Is: Samuel George Davis Jr. (1924-90) began his vaudeville career at age three with his father, Sammy Davis Sr. and the Will Mastin Trio. After returning from a stint in the military, he found lasting success as a singer, dancer, actor, comedian, and impressionist. In 1954, he lost his left eye in a car accident, and several years later decided to convert to Judaism, finding commonalities between the oppression experienced by African-American and Jewish communities.


Dream a Little Dream of Me: Mama Cass Elliot
Monday 04 March 2019 @ 10:30 am - #94
What It Is: Ellen Naomi Cohen (1941-74) is perhaps best known as Mama Cass, a member of the Mamas & the Papas. She began her career as a musical comedy actress; after the group broke up, she performed as a solo act, releasing a series of albums. Her tragic death at the age of 32 cut short what might have been a stellar career. In 1998 she was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.



How African Americans Invented American Music
Part 2: Plantation to Concert Hall
Thursday 21 March 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #96
What It Is: The focus of this series is the contribution of African American composers, musicians, and entertainers to the tapestry of American Music. An infinite diversity of musical styles, ranging from blues to jazz to rock and roll to house (EDM, or electronic dance music), would not exist were it not for the phenomenal talents of African Americans. Part 2 (of three parts) examines music after Emancipation, as spirituals move to the concert hall and the foundations of jazz are laid. You do not need to have taken Part 1 to enjoy this class.



Swing, Swing, Swing With Benny Goodman
Thursday 11 April 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #99
What It Is: Benjamin David Goodman (1909-86), rose to fame as an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as Benny Goodman, or the King of Swing. His band's 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert is legendary, and Goodman was responsible for commissioning many classical works for the clarinet repertoire.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ivan Goes Home

Secret Departure, Public Return: We Jews, as everyone who has seen Fiddler on the Roof surely recalls, had a blessing for the Tsar of All The Russias:

May God bless and keep the Tsar ... far away from us.

It was therefore a shock, not to mention a surprise, that a recent CNN news story actually had Abq Jew rooting for one of the worst of the Tsars - Ivan the Terrible.

The stolen painting, "Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina"
by Mikhail Panin, was recovered in Connecticut after being missing for decades.

CNN's Mimi Hsin Hsuan Sun reported:
Painting stolen from Ukrainian museum during WWII recovered in Connecticut
(CNN) For 30 years, a large painting of a hunched Russian czar leaving the Kremlin on horseback hung in David Tracy's home. 
Standing over seven feet tall and over eight feet wide, the canvas came into his possession when it was included with a house he bought in Ridgefield, Connecticut, in 1987. 
But when it came time for him and his wife, Gabby, to retire to Maine, they decided to sell the beloved artwork. Little did they know the attempted sale would lead to a meeting with the FBI, a cease-and-desist letter, and an exchange of cultural justice with Ukraine.
The story gets much, much better from there. 

Why does Abq Jew care? See Abq Jew's famous blog posts Adele in Gold and Repent and Return, both of which deal with the return of stolen art.

And no - Abq Jew is not really rooting for Ivan, who really was Terrible. But first - some background.

Ivan the Terrible by Klavdiy Lebedev, 1916

Ivan IV Vasilyevich (25 August 1530 – 28 March [O.S. 18 March] 1584), commonly known as Ivan the Terrible ... was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547, then Tsar of All Rus' until his death in 1584. The last title was used by all his successors. 
During his reign, Russia conquered the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan and Sibir, becoming a multiethnic and multicontinental state spanning approximately 1,560,000 sq mi. He exercised autocratic control over Russia's hereditary nobility and developed a bureaucracy to administer the new territories. He transformed Russia from a medieval state into an empire, though at immense cost to its people, and its broader, long-term economy. 
Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan's complex personality: he was described as intelligent and devout, given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental instability that increased with his age.
Sound like anyone we know (that is, except for the "intelligent and devout" part)? And what was this Oprichnina thing that Ivan the T snuck away before?
The oprichnina was a state policy implemented by Tsar Ivan the Terrible in Russia between 1565 and 1572. The policy included mass repressions against, public executions of, and confiscation of land and property from Russian aristocrats. 
The campaign included creation of a special army that at various times included anywhere from 1 to 6000 men called oprichniki, and the term oprichnina applies both to this force and to the corresponding period of Russian history, and to the territory in which, during that period, the Tsar ruled directly and in which his oprichniki operated.

So here is the story behind Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina, the stolen painting. Not literally. Of course. Well, sorta.
On December 3, 1564, Ivan IV departed Moscow on pilgrimage. While such journeys were routine for the throne, Ivan neglected to set the usual arrangements for rule in his absence. Moreover, an unusually large personal guard, a significant number of boyars, and the treasury accompanied him. 
After a month of silence, Ivan finally issued two letters from his fortifications at Aleksandrova Sloboda on January 3. The first addressed the elite of the city and accused them of embezzlement and treason. Further accusations concerned the clergy and their protection of denounced boyars. In conclusion, Ivan announced his abdication. 
The second letter addressed the population of Moscow and claimed “he had no anger against” its citizenry. Divided between Sloboda and Moscow, the boyar court was unable to rule in absence of Ivan and feared the wrath of the Muscovite citizenry. A boyar envoy departed for Aleksandrova Sloboda to beg Ivan to return to the throne. 
Ivan IV agreed to return on condition that he might prosecute people for treason outside legal limitations. He demanded that he might execute and confiscate the land of traitors without interference from the boyar council or church. To pursue his investigations, Ivan decreed the creation of the oprichnina (originally a term for land left to a noble widow, separate from her children's land). He also raised a levy of 100,000 rubles to pay for the oprichnina.
The Oprichniki by Nikolai Nevrev. The painting shows the last minutes of boyarin Feodorov,
arrested for treason. To mock his alleged ambitions on the Tsar's title,
the nobleman was given Tsar's regalia before execution.

And this concludes today's lesson in Russian history.


You're welcome!

OK ... so - back to CNN's Mimi Hsin Hsuan Sun's story about David and Gabby Tracy and the stolen painting. Which Abq Jew provides in its entirety, so you, his loyal readers, don't have to click.
The oil painting they planned to auction off turned out to be an original 1911 painting by Mikhail Panin, titled "Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina," that disappeared from the Dnepropetrovsk Art Museum in Ukraine during World War II, according to a press release from the US Attorney's Office in Washington. 
It depicts the former Russian ruler and his loyal followers secretly leaving the Kremlin for another Russian city. 
The Tracys were notified after the Dnepropetrovsk Art Museum contacted the Washington-based auction house they hired to facilitate the sale. They were asked to immediately stop the auction because the painting was stolen property. 
"It was a big shock. At first I thought it wasn't necessarily true," Gabby Tracy, 84, told CNN Monday. 
After the FBI confirmed to the Tracys that the painting was authentic, they decided to return it to its rightful owners. 
"It was never a question in our mind that we have to do the right patriotic thing," said Gabby, a Holocaust survivor from Slovakia. 
"The fact that it was stolen from a legitimate institution, we're happy to do the right thing."
When David Tracy bought the Ridgefield house in 1987, Gabby, then a friend of his, was the realtor who facilitated the sale. 
Two paintings came with it, one of which was the Panin piece. Years later, when they got married and moved to another house, they couldn't leave it behind. Gabby said they spent $37,000 to build a display area in their new home, designated for the Russian czar they had come to cherish dearly. 
"At many points we could have sold it, but we didn't," Gabby said. "He seems sad, but we learned to love him." 
Gabby said several family reunions and functions were held in front of the painting, and whenever people came into the house, they would be charmed by it, and the Tracys would have a story to tell. 
Authorities have determined that a former member of the Swiss Army had previously owned the house. 
Federal agents say that the Swiss man, who has not been publicly identified, emigrated to the United States in 1947, and then sold the house with the painting to a couple in 1962. That couple eventually moved to Arizona, leaving the painting to David in the Ridgefield house. According to the US Attorney's Office, the Swiss man died in 1986 with no descendants. 
"The recovery of this art looted during World War II reflects the commitment of this office to pursue justice for victims of crime here and abroad," said US Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu. "The looting of cultural heritage during World War II was tragic, and we are happy to be able to assist in the efforts to return such items to their rightful owners."
The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Valeriy Chaly, expressed gratitude to the Tracys in a Facebook post, characterizing their willingness to return the painting as a vivid demonstration of the friendship between the US and the Ukrainian people. 
In a written statement, the Ukrainian Embassy said that the repatriation of the painting "sets the first example of achievement of the US-Ukraine cooperation on the official level in returning illegally exported cultural objects." 
Having agreed to waive any claims to the painting, David and Gabby hope to visit it again one day. 
"It would be lovely to go to Ukraine to see it back to the museum where it belongs," Gabby said, adding that she hopes the Ukrainian people appreciate its recovery. 
CNN's Laura Ly contributed to this report.
A photograph of the painting “Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina”
by Mikhail N. Panin in situ at the Dnepropetrovsk State Art Museum c. 1929 in the Ukraine.
The painting went missing in World War II and was recovered when consigned to auction.
(U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District)

The Washington Post (of course) also covered this story, adding a bit more information:
Gabby Tracy is a Holocaust survivor. 
She was born in Slovakia and taken to a Jewish ghetto in Budapest when she was about 9 years old. 
Her father, Samuel Weiss, perished in a concentration camp; she was liberated at war’s end.

As we follow our fortunes into the year 2019 of the Common Era,
let us remember the forces for good in our world.
May they ascend and triumph.