Shorts: Art

Actor wins damages for Hitler comment

Will Smith won damages from an entertainment news service that falsely claimed the actor described Adolf Hitler as “good.”

A lawyer for World Entertainment News Network Limited apologized in London’s High Court last week for publishing an article titled “Smith: Hitler Was a Good Person” and agreed to pay unspecified damages.

The article had misrepresented a wide-ranging interview Smith had given to the Scottish Daily Record in which he had said, “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘Let me do the most evil thing I can do today.’ I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good.’ Stuff like that just needs reprogramming.” — jta

Hitler’s singer performs in Holland

A 104-year-old singer who was a favorite of Hitler took the stage in his Dutch hometown amid protests.

Johannes Heesters put on a concert Feb. 16 in Amersfoort for the first time since 1963, when he was booed off the stage by crowds who gave him the Nazi salute. Dozens of protesters as well as a handful of neo-Nazis showed up for this month’s event, 35 miles east of Amsterdam.

Heesters was a very popular German-language singer and film star in the 1930s, and he held performances to boost the morale of German soldiers during World War II.

The cabaret singer, who resides in Germany’s Bavaria region, has said he knew nothing about the Holocaust, even though he visited the Dachau concentration camp in 1941. — jta

Crafty Judaica

Judaica artists Shula Baron and Eva Strauss-Rosen are among 250 artisans whose work will grace the tables March 8 and 9 at the annual Contemporary Crafts Market at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco..

Strauss-Rosen, who lives in Willits and made the “Jerusalem Pendant” (shown above) creates intricate calligraphy for amulets and pendants that call on her intensive studies of Hebrew texts and symbols.

Baron, a Southern California silversmith, makes contemporary Jewish ceremonial pieces.

The Contemporary Crafts Market will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center, Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, S.F. Admission is $7 for adults, free for children. Information: (415) 995-4925 or

Egyptian American author wins literature prize

The Jewish Book Council named Lucette Lagnado the 2008 recipient of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, which honors an emerging author.

Lagnado won the $100,000 prize for her memoir “The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family’s Exodus From Old Cairo to the New World.”

A senior writer and investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Lagnado was selected based on her demonstration of a fresh vision and evidence of potential to further contribute to the Jewish literary community.

In the memoir, Lagnado chronicles her family’s heartbreaking tale of their exodus from Egypt and eventual resettling in Brooklyn.