Author, Swords of the Vatican
This week, Ira spoke with Severyn Ashkenazy, author of Swords of the Vatican. In this historical episode of “Ira’s Everything Bagel,” Severyn talks about his background, including being forced into a ghetto and knowing what real fear is; the division of the Jewish people, even in today’s world; why Jews are designed to learn; why hatred is taught; how Jewish humor is universal; the meaning of Shabbat; and the role of the Vatican in history.
Severyn Ashkenazy was born in Poland in 1936. He survived the holocaust with his parents and brother. In 1957, Severn emigrated to the United States, where he completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA in 1958. There, he continued his graduate studies in literature, advancing to the PhD candidacy in 1962. Severn is the founder of The L ‘Ermitage Hotel Group. He also founded and is past chairman of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Among his charitable works, Severn founded L ‘Ermitage Foundation, which supports children’s causes. He was named “Man of the Year” by ORT, the world’s largest Jewish education organization and was invited to give the commencement address for UCLA’s Division of Humanities graduating class of 2014. Severn founded Beit Warszawa–the first progressive Jewish community in Poland since the Second World War-and Beit Polska, the umbrella organization for progressive Jewish communities in Poland.