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A Jewish producer of ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’ sees his family history in the Oscar-nominated Netflix film

(JTA) — The film producer Daniel Dreifuss has only one surviving photo of a distant relative: his grandfather’s cousin, who fought for Germany in World War I and died in combat two days before the war’s end.

He has a few more photos of his grandfather, who also wore the German uniform in WWI — only to be rounded up by the Nazis two decades later during Kristallnacht and thrown into a concentration camp, as even the Jews who had fought for their country were not safe from its campaign of race extermination.

Dreifuss, who was raised in Brazil after his surviving ancestors fled the war to Uruguay, held up these weathered black-and-white photos to his Zoom camera as he spoke to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from his home in Los Angeles. One shows his grandfather’s cousin in his military uniform, the other shows his grandparents posing together, between the wars. 

“Twenty years later, your country, that you just gave your health for and your cousin for and your family for, sends you to a camp,” he said. “It’s a lot of trauma to have to go through in one lifetime.”

These family stories echoed through Dreifuss’ mind when he first read the script for a proposed modern take on “All Quiet on the Western Front,” the classic 1928 novel about the German army’s hellish experiences during World War I. Nearly a century later, author Erich Maria Remarque’s descriptions of trench warfare and of the utter lack of heroism, valor or patriotism felt by its soldier protagonists resonated with Dreifuss.

“I said, ‘I know these people,’” he recalled. “Not because they are some distant relatives that I’ve heard of, but because I am the grandson of one of those kids who were in the film.”

Dreifuss’ parents met at a Jewish youth group in Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s. “My father was my mother’s madrich,” he recalled, using the Hebrew word for a youth group counselor. After they were later married, they moved to Israel partially to avoid Brazil’s military dictatorship and became left-wing political activists. They left Israel just before the Yom Kippur War and relocated to Scotland, where Dreifuss was born, before returning to Brazil to raise him.

Dreifuss had his bar mitzvah in the city of Belo Horizonte before later moving to Rio, which has a much larger Jewish community. “My family was never at all religious, but culturally Jewish,” he said, recalling Passover celebrations and gefilte fish recipes. He did not have many Jewish friends growing up, but his Brazilian friends were interested in Judaism and would attend his family’s Jewish events. 

Daniel Dreifuss, a producer of Netflix’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” holds up a photo of his grandfather Max Dreifuss from 1919, recovering from his German military service in WWI. Max was sent to a concentration camp once the Nazis took power. (Courtesy of Daniel Dreifuss)

This global upbringing is reflected in Dreifuss’ interest in international film. It took a decade for him to mount his remake of “All Quiet,” which was eventually set up with a German production company and released by Netflix this past fall amid another endless military conflict in Europe. No one, he said, wanted to fund a resolutely anti-war film that refused to glorify its combatants, a film that was “never a hero’s journey, not the story of someone who came, you know, beat 1,000 people with their bare hands, triumphs and looks down on top of a hill at the end with some sweeping score.” 

But that journey has been validated by the film’s impressive Oscar total, which surprised industry observers. At the nomination ceremony last month, “All Quiet” received nine total nods, the second most of any film this year, including for best picture — which the novel’s original 1930 Hollywood adaptation, directed by Jewish filmmaker Lewis Milestone, won. (This year’s Academy Awards will be held March 12.)

Considering the Nazis had once led a campaign of book burning against the source material and terrorized German movie theaters that showed the original movie adaptation, accusing it of being a “Judenfilm,” Dreifuss sees the new film’s success as a historical victory, too. “I love that my name will be associated with a story that was deemed degenerate by that regime,” he said.

When he was first presented with an early draft of the new “All Quiet” script, in 2013, Dreifuss was coming off of the success of another international historical film he had produced. “No,” a 1980s-set Chilean political drama, starred Gael Garcia Bernal as an ad executive tasked with convincing his country to vote the dictator Augusto Pinochet out of office. The film netted Chile’s first-ever Oscar nomination for international feature film, although Dreifuss himself is not Chilean.

In researching “No,” Dreifuss said, the film’s team had trouble finding Chileans who would admit to having cast their real-life vote in Pinochet’s favor — even though 40% of the population did so. “We couldn’t find one single person who supported him,” he recalled. “At some point, years later, no one wanted to say,  ‘I supported it, I voted, I was on that side.’” He saw a parallel to the history of geopolitics in the run-up to WWII, when many Western countries — including his family’s adopted homeland of Brazil — were initially sympathetic to the Nazis. 

When Hollywood studios turned down the proposed remake of “All Quiet,” forcing Dreifuss to turn to European financing, he saw an opportunity to mount the first-ever German adaptation of the property, which would allow the film to open up a “historical perspective” on how the aftermath of WWI led to the rise of the Nazis and the Holocaust. 

German filmmaker Edward Berger, who also helmed several episodes of the espionage miniseries “Deutschland 83,” stepped into the director’s chair, and he also has a co-writing credit. German star Daniel Brühl, who has played many historical villains to the Jewish people in films ranging from “7 Days in Entebbe” to “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” took a key supporting role as the lead negotiator for the armistice agreements — the sole figure in the movie trying to find a peaceful resolution for his country. (The historical figure Brühl portrays, Matthias Erzberger, was vilified as a traitor by the German right and assassinated in 1921 by antisemitic nationalist radicals who were precursors to the Nazis.)

Though there are no explicitly Jewish characters in the film, Dreifuss believes it still speaks to the fate that would soon await Europe’s Jews.

“We know what followed in the decade in Germany,” he said. “So we could bring that to the film in subtle ways.”

He pointed to the armistice plotline that foreshadows how the Treaty of Versailles left Germany in a deeply disadvantaged position, creating an opportunity for Hitler’s brand of national populism. There are also scenes in which thoughtless German generals, driven by nationalistic fervor and wounded pride, send entire squadrons to their deaths mere minutes before the armistice is set to take effect. In one sequence, the film’s lead, the soldier Paul (Felix Kammerer), steals a goose from a French farming family of non-combatants and says: “It’s a hatred of the other, of not understanding, of being raised to have an enemy.”

Dreifuss is dipping into a different chapter of world Jewish history with his next project: a Showtime miniseries produced with the co-creators of the Israeli Netflix series “Fauda” that explores CIA operations in the Middle East and is partially set during the Lebanon War in which Israel had a heavy, and oft-criticized, military presence. The series will air this summer. 

He has also been pitched a host of WWI and WWII-related projects in the wake of the success of “All Quiet.” But, he joked, “I would love for people to not only think of me as the war guy, or as the dictator guy.”


The post A Jewish producer of ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’ sees his family history in the Oscar-nominated Netflix film appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Canada’s economic growth projected to be about 1% in the first half of 2024

Canada is a country with a thriving Jewish community and has traditionally offered the security of a strong economy for residents. The national economic outlook is naturally something that everyone in Canada’s Jewish community keeps track of – especially those involved in business in the various provinces.

With this in mind, the July 2023 Monetary Policy Report from the Bank of Canada made for interesting reading, projecting a moderate economic growth figure of around 1% for the first half of 2024. This is in line with growth figures that had been forecast for the second half of 2023, and sees the country’s economy remain on a stable footing.

Steady projected growth for first half of 2024

Although projected economic growth of around 1% in early 2024 is not as impressive as figures of around 3.4% in 2022 and 1.8% in 2023, it is certainly no cause for alarm. But what might be behind it?

Higher interest rates are one major factor to consider and have had a negative impact on household spending nationally. This has effectively seen people with less spending power and businesses in Canada generating less revenue as a result.

Interest rate rises have also hit business investments nationally, and less money is being channelled into this area to fuel Canada’s economic growth. When you also factor in how the weak foreign demand for Canadian goods and services has hit export growth lately, the projected GDP growth figure for early 2024 is understandable.

Growth in second half of 2024 expected

Although the above may make for interesting reading for early 2024, the Bank of Canada’s report does show that economic growth is expected to pick up in the second half of the year. This is projected to be due to the decreasing effect of high interest rates on the Canadian economy and a stronger foreign demand for the country’s exports.

Moving forward from this period, it is predicted that inflation will remain at around 3% as we head into 2025, and hit the Bank of Canada’s inflation target of 2% come the middle of 2025. All of this should help the country’s financial status remain stable and prove encouraging for business leaders in the Jewish community.

Canada’s economic growth mirrors iGaming’s rise

When you take a look at the previous growth figures Canada has seen and also consider the growth predicted for 2024 (especially in the second half of the year), it is clear that the country has a vibrant, thriving economy.

This economic growth is something that can be compared with iGaming’s recent rise as an industry around the country. In the same way as Canada has steadily built a strong economy over time, iGaming has transformed itself into a powerful, flourishing sector.

This becomes even clearer when you consider that Canadian iGaming has been a major contributor to the sustained growth seen in the country’s arts, entertainment and recreation industry, which rose by around 1.9% in Q2 of 2023. The healthy state of online casino play in Canada is also evidenced by how many customers the most popular casino platforms attract and how the user experience these operators offer has enabled iGaming in the country to take off.

This, of course, is also something that translates to the world stage, where global iGaming revenues in 2023 hit an estimated $95 billion. iGaming’s global market volume is also pegged to rise to around $130 billion by 2027. These kinds of figures represent a sharp jump for iGaming worldwide and show how the sector is on the ascent.

Future economic outlook for Canada in line with global expectations

When considering the Canadian economic outlook for 2024, it is often useful to look at how this compares with global financial predictions. In addition to the rude health of iGaming in Canada being reflected in global online casino gaming, the positive economic outlook for the country is also broadly in line with expectations for many global economies.

Global growth is also predicted to rise steadily in the second half of 2024 before becoming stronger in 2025. This should be driven by the weakening effects of high interest rates on worldwide economic prosperity. With rate cuts in Canada already expected after Feb 2024’s inflation report, this could happen in the near future.

The performance of the US economy is always of interest in Canada, as this is the country’s biggest trading partner. Positive US Q2 performances in 2023, powered by a strong labor market, good consumer spending levels and robust business investments, were therefore a cause for optimism. As a US economy that continues to grow is something that Canadian businesses welcome, this can only be a healthy sign.

Canada set for further growth in 2024

Local news around Canada can cover many topics but the economy is arguably one of the most popular. A projected GDP growth figure of around 1% for Canada’s economy shows that the financial state of the country is heading in the right direction. An improved financial outlook heading into the latter half of 2024/2025 would make for even better reading, and the national economy should become even stronger.

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The Legal Landscape of Online Gambling in Canada

Online gambling has grown in popularity around the globe in recent years. While many jurisdictions have legalized land-based gambling, it hasn’t applied to online platforms. Nonetheless, Canada is one nation that has legalized online gambling with their provinces’ licensing and regulating sites.

Nonetheless, Canadians of legal age can enjoy playing their favourite online games where available. So many games like slots, blackjack, and roulette still maintain their popularity even in the digital sense.  Want to learn about what’s legal in Canada for online gambling? Let’s take a look.

What is legal for online gambling in Canada?

What is the best online casino in Canada? The list we provide you here should be a good start. It’s also important to note that most Canadian provinces do not have laws that prohibit offshore online casinos.

Many provinces provide licensing to online casinos. They even regulate them as well. For example, Alberta and British Columbia have sites regulated by their respective governing bodies. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) allows legal online gambling and oversees the services it offers to Maritime provinces such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

However, there are some caveats to address. In Newfoundland and Labrador, online gambling that is not offered by the ALC is considered illegal. Therefore, it is the only Canadian province as of 2024 that prohibits offshore options.

In terms of the legal age, there are three provinces where the legal age is 18: Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec. The remaining provinces establish 19 as the legal age for gambling including online.

Who are the regulatory bodies for gambling in Canada?

At the Federal level, the Canadian Gaming Association is the regulatory body for gambling in Canada. Thus, they cover both land-based and online gambling in the country. There are also provincial and regional regulatory bodies such as the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) – which covers the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.  

The Western Canada Lottery Corporation covers Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory. A handful of provinces also have their regulatory bodies covering lottery and gaming.

Canada requires online casinos that wish to accept players from the country to adhere to regulations and licensing. These licenses are provided by provincial regulatory bodies. When licensed, online casinos must follow the regulations and security standards.

However, there is the belief that many of the laws about gambling in Canada may be outdated. This could be because these laws were created long before the advent of the Internet. Therefore, such laws may need to be modernized. Nonetheless, online gambling for the most part is legal, just dependent on the province.

Are there any legal grey areas to discuss?

The grey area that is considered a concern pertains to the use of offshore sites. As mentioned earlier, Newfoundland and Labrador is believed to be the only province that prohibits it. Even online casinos with no licensing by Canadian or provincial authorities accept residents of the country.

On the players’ end, many Canadians are allowed to play at online casinos. However, they may be restricted from certain platforms. This is to ensure that the players themselves are protected from unknowingly playing on platforms that may be illegal. 

What are the other laws and regulations about online gambling in Canada?

Online casinos have implemented measures for responsible gambling. This includes providing support and resources to problem gamblers on their site. They are also restricted regarding the marketing and advertising aspects of promoting their platform. 

One restriction of note is that marketing that is targeted at minors is prohibited. Another prohibits professional athletes from appearing in online casino ads in Ontario.

Even offshore casinos must adhere to these laws and regulations. Especially if they have obtained a license from the provincial bodies that allow them to operate.

Canada’s online gambling is legal – but will things change

As it stands right now, the legality of online gambling in Canada seems to fall under the purview of provincial laws and regulations. Canadian citizens must perform their due diligence further to see which online casinos are allowed by their respective provinces. Just because it may be legal in one province, it may not be the same in others.

Nonetheless, the question is: will any laws relax certain restrictions? Will Newfoundland and Labrador change their tune regarding offshore casinos? It’s unclear what the future holds – but watch this space for any changes about online gambling in Canada.  

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Obituaries

Dr. NATHAN WISEMAN

Wiseman, Nathan Elliot
1944 – 2023
Nathan, our beloved husband, Dad, and Zaida, died unexpectedly on December 13, 2023. Nathan was born on December 16, 1944, in Winnipeg, MB, the eldest of Sam and Cissie Wiseman’s three children.
He is survived by his loving wife Eva; children Sam (Natalie) and Marni (Shane); grandchildren Jacob, Jonah, Molly, Isabel, Nicole, and Poppy; brother David (Sherrill); sister Barbara (Ron); sister-in-law Agi (Sam) and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Nathan grew up in the north end of Winnipeg surrounded by his loving family. He received his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1968, subsequently completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Manitoba and went on to complete a fellowship in Paediatric Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard University. His surgeon teachers and mentors were world renowned experts in the specialty, and even included a Nobel prize winner.
His practice of Paediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg spanned almost half a century. He loved his profession and helping patients, even decades later often recounting details about the many kiddies on whom he had operated. Patients and their family members would commonly approach him on the street and say, “Remember me Dr. Wiseman?”. And he did! His true joy was caring for his patients with compassion, patience, unwavering commitment, and excellence. He was a gifted surgeon and leaves a profound legacy. He had no intention of ever fully retiring and operated until his very last day. He felt privileged to have the opportunity to mentor, support and work with colleagues, trainees, nurses, and others health care workers that enriched his day-to-day life and brought him much happiness and fulfillment. He was recognized with many awards and honors throughout his career including serving as Chief of Surgery of Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, President of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. Most importantly of all he helped and saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Manitoba children. His impact on the generations of children he cared for, and their families, is truly immeasurable.
Nathan’s passion for golf was ignited during his childhood summers spent at the Winnipeg Beach Golf Course. Southwood Golf and Country Club has been his second home since 1980. His game was excellent and even in his last year he shot under his age twice! He played an honest “play as it lies” game. His golf buddies were true friends and provided him much happiness both on and off the course for over forty years. However, his passion for golf extended well beyond the eighteenth hole. He immersed himself in all aspects of the golf including collecting golf books, antiques, and memorabilia. He was a true scholar of the game, reading golf literature, writing golf poetry, and even rebuilding and repairing antique golf clubs. Unquestionably, his knowledge and passion for the game was limitless.
Nathan approached his many woodworking and workshop projects with zeal and creativity, and he always had many on the go. During the winter he was an avid curler, and in recent years he also enjoyed the study of Yiddish. Nathan never wasted any time and lived his life to the fullest.
Above all, Nathan was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, father-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, and granduncle. He loved his family and lived for them, and this love was reciprocated. He met his wife Eva when he was a 20-year-old medical student, and she was 18 years old. They were happily married for 56 years. They loved each other deeply and limitlessly and were proud of each other’s accomplishments. He loved the life and the family they created together. Nathan was truly the family patriarch, an inspiration and a mentor to his children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and many others. He shared his passion for surgery and collecting with his son and was very proud to join his daughter’s medical practice (he loved Thursdays). His six grandchildren were his pride and joy and the centre of his world.
Throughout his life Nathan lived up to the credo “May his memory be a blessing.” His life was a blessing for the countless newborns, infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers who he cared for, for his colleagues, for his friends and especially for his family. We love him so much and there are no words to describe how much he will be missed.
A graveside funeral was held at the Shaarey Zedek cemetery on December 15, 2023. Pallbearers were his loving grandchildren. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, in the name of Dr. Nathan Wiseman.

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