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Purim: A Wacky Tribute to Life


Purim is a nationalistic holiday that enshrines survival and the defeat of enemies, and in the 20th century it won some strange resonances.

On October 16, 1946, the Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, who was convicted in the Nuremberg Trials for inciting genocide, remarked as he was being led to the gallows: “Purimfest 1946.” In 1953, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was making genocidal plans for Soviet Jewry. Those plans were shelved, though, when he suffered a stroke (dying a few days later) on March 1—which, that year, was Purim.