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Awareness (Archived  Articles)

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Simon Wiesenthal's 2012 Antisemitic Hall of Shame

December 29, 2012

Simon Wiesenthal Center

"Top 10 Antisemitic slur list"

1.  EGYPT’S MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

FUTOUGH ABD AL-NABI MANSOUR

EGYPTIAN CLERIC, HEADS RELIGIOUS ENDOWMENT FOR THE MATROUH GOVERATE

“Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters – Oh Allah, disperse them and render them asunder, Oh Allah, demonstrate your might and greatness upon them.”

At a nationally televised service at el-Tenaim Mosque attended by Egyptian President Morsi, cleric Al Nabi Mansour prays, Morsi was shown fervently answering “Amin” (Amen).

- Futouh Abd Al-Nabi Mansour, October 19, 2012 - source: MEMRI

2.  IRANIAN REGIME

 MOHAMED RAHIMI

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT

[The Talmud] “...teaches [the Jews] how to destroy non-Jews so as to protect an embryo in the womb of a Jewish mother.” As ‘evidence’ of Jewish control of international illegal drug trade, the vice president alleged that there isn’t “a single addict among the Zionists.”

At a ceremony in Tehran marking International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

4.  EUROPEAN FOOTBALL (SOCCER) FANS’ ANTI- SEMITISM

The problem of anti-Semitic abuse at soccer matches which until recently has been limited to Eastern Europe, has been revived in Western Europe. The most serious situation has been a resurgence of anti-Semitic chanting toward one particular team, Tottenham Hotspur, which is based in a traditionally Jewish section of London. In a recent match against a rival West Ham United, sections of its fans chanted, “Adolf Hitler’s coming for you” and “You’re getting gassed in the morning” and making hissing noises like the sound of a gas chamber. A reporter for the Telegraph said, “We are not talking about a few isolated crooners here. A significant proportion of West Ham’s travelling support participated.“ Because Tottenham has the largest Jewish fan base in England, it has long been the target of anti-Semitism—so much so that the fans have adopted the slurs “Yid” and “Yiddo” as a way of deflecting abuse.

5.  UKRAINE’S ANTI-SEMITIC “SVABODA” (FREEDOM) PARTY

OLEG TYAGNIBOK

LEADER OF THE SVABODA PARTY

In recent elections the radical right party won 41 seats in the Ukrainian Parliament (12% of the popular vote). Tyagnibok has called for purges of the approximately 400,000 Jews and other minorities living in Ukraine and has demanded that Ukraine be liberated from what he calls, the “Muscovite Jewish Mafia.”

- Oleg Tyagnibok

6.  GREECE’S GOLDEN DAWN PARTY

The Times of London reports that Golden Dawn’s member Artemis Matthaiopoulos, elected MP for the town of Serres, was the front man of the Nazi punk band Pogrom. One of the band’s songs, “Auschwitz” included anti-Semitic lyrics such as “f*** Wiesenthal”, “f*** Anne Frank”, “f*** the whole tribe of Abraham”, “Juden raus” and “The Star of David makes me vomit.” Matthaiopoulos is the second neo-Nazi rocker to represent Golden Dawn in the Greek Parliament.

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‘Kneeling Hitler’ placed in Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto

A new exhibition by an Italian artist, which includes a praying Adolf Hitler, has sparked outrage from Jewish groups worldwide.

December 27, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By Nissan Tzur

WARSAW – If you look through the bars of the locked gate at 14 Prozna Street in Poland’s capital, a place that was the center of the Jewish ghetto 70 years ago, you may spot a small statue of a figure kneeling in prayer. That figure is Adolf Hitler.

“Amen,” a new exhibition by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, which includes the praying Hitler, has caused outrage among the Jewish community in Poland as well as among Jewish and Catholic organizations worldwide that regard the exhibit as extremely offensive.

Cattelan, 52, an Italian-born sculptor living in New York, is known for his controversial work. One of the most famous is “La Nona Ora” (“The Ninth Hour”) depicting Pope John Paul II being struck down by a meteorite.

Last month, Cattelan opened a show at the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw. Most of the exhibits are displayed inside the museum, which is elsewhere in Warsaw. Only the praying Hitler has been placed in the middle of the former Jewish ghetto.

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Christianity 'close to extinction' in Middle East

Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report

December 24, 2012

The Telegraph

By Edward Malnick

The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group.

And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East.The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree.

"A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.”

It cites estimates that 200 million Christians, or 10 per cent of Christians worldwide, are “socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.”

“Exposing and combating the problem ought in my view to be political priorities across large areas of the world. That this is not the case tells us much about a questionable hierarchy of victimhood,” says the author, Rupert Shortt, a journalist and visiting fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.

He adds: “The blind spot displayed by governments and other influential players is causing them to squander a broader opportunity. Religious freedom is the canary in the mine for human rights generally.”

The report, entitled Christianophobia, highlights a fear among oppressive regimes that Christianity is a “Western creed” which can be used to undermine them.

State hostility towards Christianity is particularly rife in China, where more Christians are imprisoned than in any other country in the world, according to the report.

It quotes Ma Hucheng, an advisor to the Chinese government, who claimed in an article last year that the US has backed the growth of the Protestant Church in China as a vehicle for political dissidence.

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Yiddish is dead. Long live Yiddish!

Many of the foreign, non-Jewish students, particularly those from Poland and Germany, "come here to study Yiddish out of a deep feeling of commitment to the Jewish people."

December 22, 2012

Haaretz

By Judy MaltAccording to Prof. Hana Wirth-Nesher, director of the Goldreich Family Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at Tel Aviv University, the growing number of students interested in Yiddish language and culture today fall into several different categories:"You have the bona-fide full-time students, mainly graduate students, who come because they need Yiddish for their research, whether in theater, linguistics, literature or history," she said. "Then you have those who come because it's part of their heritage - it's the language their grandparents spoke at home. Another category is people who are not academics but need Yiddish for their work. These include translators, editors, librarians and high-school teachers."

…For the past seven years, Tel Aviv University, in conjunction with the Beth Shalom Aleichem cultural center in Tel Aviv, has been running an international Yiddish summer program, which draws between 100 and 130 students each year from both Israel and abroad, and provides 80 hours of language instruction…Many of the foreign, non-Jewish students, particularly those from Poland and Germany, "come here to study Yiddish out of a deep feeling of commitment to the Jewish people," she added.

…According to Dr. Ber Kotlerman, the academic director of Bar-Ilan University's Rena Costa Center for Yiddish Studies, more than 400 undergraduate and graduate students are currently enrolled in Yiddish language courses , among them, rather surprisingly, dozens of Arab students.…Prof. Avraham Novershtern, who also heads the Yiddish language program at the Hebrew University, there are more than 300, in 16 different classes, studying at all levels. "If I could branch in-to other cities outside of Tel Aviv, I know I'd even have many more students," he said.

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Greek police discover hundreds of fragments from pre-WWII Jewish graves

After 70-year search, remains of destroyed Jewish graves uncovered in Thessaloniki.

December 20, 2012

Haaretz

By The Associated Press

The 668 fragments were found buried in a plot of land in Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, following a 70-year search for the remains of graves smashed when the city's main Jewish cemetery was destroyed.

The head of the city's Jewish community, David Saltiel, said most of the gravestones found dated from the mid-1800s up until World War II.

"This is our history," Saltiel, head of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, told The Associated Press.

"Apart from the names, the (gravestones) also include the person's occupation. So this is a historic record."

An estimated 60,000 Greek Jews, most of the country's prewar Jewish population, were killed in the Holocaust.

When Berlin was just a shadow of itself

In a rare work of fiction that attempts to give us a sense of what it was like to be a German woman during World War II, David Gillham offers us a heroine who accepts the moral challenge of being asked to ‘come with me, and I’ll show you what you’ll soon regret seeing’.

December 18, 2012

Haaretz

City of Women, by David R. Gillham
Amy Einhorn Books/G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 400 pages, $25.95

The epigraph to “City of Women” quotes SS Commander Heinrich Himmler: "Who will ever ask in three or five hundred years' time whether a Fraulein Muller or Schulze was unhappy?" This disdainful statement from one of the chief architects of the Holocaust immediately sets the historical tone: During the Third Reich, women were excluded from political roles -- unless you count their inclusion in countless examples of Nazi propaganda, which included their depiction as part of the idyllic Aryan family.

But what were the lives of real women in Nazi Germany like at the time? As well as examining just that question, this engrossing novel deftly describes the claustrophobic feeling of what it must have been like to live through World War II in Berlin, under a dense cloud of suspicion and uncertainty. Part steamy wartime romance, part historical fiction and part moral exploration, the tale revolves around the life of Sigrid Schroder, a German woman living a “normal” life in 1943. She works as a stenographer in a drab office, deals with the challenges of war as best she can, and plays the part of the dutiful wife to her soldier husband, Kaspar, who is away fighting Stalin’s armies in the east. Life is predicable -- as much as it can be in such times. Sigrid heads to the office each day, hunkers down in the basement of her building with the other tenants each time the air-raid sirens go off, and tries to coexist peacefully with her ill-tempered mother-in-law in the same flat.

But Sigrid’s life is also suffused with secrecy. She dreams of Egon, the married former lover -- and Jew -- whom she met at the local cinema and with whom she carried out a clandestine affair earlier in the war. She even assisted him with several secretive transactions as part of his underground efforts against the Nazis, but now he too seems to have vanished, like so many others in Berlin.

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Komagata Maru monument provokes no apology in Parliament by federal government

Note: The following article points out a chilling similarity of similar exclusion laws and the denial of the passengers aboard the the MS St. Louis of a haven in Canada. The Sikhs aboard the Komagata Maru returned to face a massacre at Budge Budge.

December 14, 2012

Straight.com

By Carlito Pablo

VPL SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

FORMER VANCOUVER PARK commissioner Raj Hundal says the unveiling on Monday (July 23) of a federally funded monument commemorating the 1914 Komagata Maru incident will be a “step in the right direction”.

However, Hundal also noted that an apology in Parliament for this chapter in Canada’s history of dealing with immigration from Asia is “long overdue”.

“It’s important to note that the South Asian community has not asked for any monetary compensation,” Hundal told the Straight in a phone interview. “All they want is a formal apology given in the House of Commons.”

July 23 is the 98th anniversary of the day the Komagata Maru, a chartered ship carrying mostly Sikh immigrants, was forced out to sea from Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet. It had arrived two months earlier, and its passengers had not been allowed to disembark. The ship returned to India, where some of its passengers were killed by British soldiers.

On August 3, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the Komagata Maru episode at a community event in Surrey’s Bear Creek Park. “If he can make an apology in a park, why not make an apology in the House of Commons and make it part of the official record?” said Hundal, who is now the B.C. NDP’s candidate for Surrey-Tynehead.

Vancouver’s Khalsa Diwan Society, which runs the Sikh temple on Ross Street, received money from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Community Historical Recognition Program for the monument project. While he was park commissioner, Hundal worked with the group to find a site, in the end settling on Harbour Green Park, at the north foot of Bute Street in Coal Harbour.

Khalsa president Sohan Deo said in a telephone interview that his group has invited Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and other members of Parliament to the Monday ceremony, which starts at 2 p.m.

Deo also said that because Harper has already apologized for the Komagata Maru incident at a public event, it is “very hard” to convince the Conservative government to do it again in Parliament.

See also

Budge Budge Riot for information about the ensuing massacre

Film about massacre of Jews touches nerve in Poland

Opponents say Poles 'falsely painted as collaborators' in film depicting village residents who helped massacre their Jewish neighbors during World War II.

December 13, 2012

Haaretz

From the movie's poster

A film about a Polish village whose residents help massacre their Jewish neighbors in World War Two has forced Poles to confront one of the most troubling episodes of their past.

Most historians take the view that during the war the vast majority of Christian Poles were victims of the Nazi aggression that killed millions of Jews. There are many documented cases of Poles risking their lives to save Jews from Nazi death camps.

"Poklosie", or Aftermath, touches on a subject that many Poles prefer not to discuss - cases where Poles were complicit with the Nazis in rounding up, and in some cases, killing Jews.

Jewish groups have joined Poland's artistic community and many younger, liberal Poles in applauding the film for lifting the lid on a taboo. Others say it is blackening Poland's name by portraying its people unfairly as Nazi collaborators.

"It's our moral duty to make this film. It's a moral challenge to struggle with the topic," Dariusz Jablonski, the producer of the film, told Reuters in an interview.

"This is one of our last historical taboos and I have a feeling that it's a topic we've been avoiding. That's not how it should be.

"Even if this terrible crime concerns only 1 percent of the Polish nation, it doesn't matter, because we want to know about that."

Before World War Two, Poland was home to Europe's largest Jewish community of some 3.2 million. Most of them were killed by the Nazi occupiers. The Nazis built death camps including Auschwitz and Treblinka on Polish soil.

Poland's sensitivity about this period was illustrated this year after U.S. President Barack Obama mistakenly referred to a "Polish death camp". Poland's foreign minister demanded the White House apologize for this "outrageous mistake."

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Swedish artist uses 'ashes from Holocaust victims'

A painting by a Swedish artist which he says was made with ashes from a former Nazi concentration camp has been displayed in a gallery in Sweden.

December 11, 2012

BBC NEWS

Artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff said that he stole the ashes from the Majdanek camp during a visit in 1989.

The camp, now a museum in Poland, has called the alleged theft an "unimaginably barbaric act".

The artist said the ashes were mixed with water and used to paint a series of grey streaks in the small painting.

Museum officials have said that the painting may be an artistic provocation but it deserves only condemnation.

An estimated 80,000 people were murdered by the Nazis in Majdanek, three-quarters of them Jews.

The Soviet army discovered the camp in Majdanek in Nazi-occupied Poland in July 1944. It was one of several concentration and death camps built to kill Jews from Poland and elsewhere.

The museum has said it hopes the authorities will quickly establish whether the remains of the camp's victims had been stolen and desecrated and added it was sure the artist did not obtain them legally.

In a text on the Lund gallery's website, the artist is quoted as describing collecting "some ashes from cremation ovens" during a visit to the camp in 1989.

He decided not to use them immediately, he said, because "the material was too heavily loaded with the atrocities that had taken place at the site".

However, he writes that in 2010 he decided to use the ashes mixed with water and describes figures appearing on the page "as if the ash contained energies or memories or 'souls' from people... people tortured, tormented and murdered by other people in one of the 20th Century's most ruthless wars".

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Faith under siege: The Baha’is of Semnan, Iran

December 11, 2012

Washington Post

By Rachel Wolfe

Imagine if you lived in a world where it is government-sanctioned practice to be constantly under surveillance, to have your property confiscated or destroyed, your educational rights denied, your children harassed, and your livelihood taken away.

Worse yet, imagine that all of this is happening to you solely because of your religious beliefs. Sound like a distant dystopian future that is only found in novels? This is a daily reality for the Baha’is in Iran.

Since 2009, the Iranian government has made concerted and systematic efforts to impoverish and isolate the Baha’is in Iran from their fellow citizens. This has been seen most clearly in Semnan, a town roughly 130 miles east of Tehran. The few hundred Baha’is in this town have been subjugated to intense economic and social pressures including losing their jobs, having their businesses closed and homes raided, their cemeteries desecrated, and being continually harassed by Iranian officials.

On Nov. 1, three Baha’is came together to speak out for their family and friends living in Semnan at a press conference held at Human Rights Watch’s Washington D.C. office. Monir Khanjani, Siavosh Khanjani, and Dr. Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian each gave unique and varying perspectives on the recent events unfolding in Semnan.

Khanjani began by explaining that five members of the Khanjani family are currently in prison – including her uncle Jamaloddin Khanjani, who was a member of the Yaran (literally “friends”), the former ad hoc leadership group of the Baha’is in Iran. She then spoke about the attempts to dehumanize and degrade the Baha’is in this town, recalling a story of her cousin who was paralyzed in a car accident that forced her to move to her elderly parents’ home with her four children. While living there, their home was firebombed, hitting Khanjani’s cousin’s room. Khanjani noted that this incident and others like it were simply due to religious persecution. “All of this has happened just for their faith as Baha’is. There is no other crime, no other reason.”

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Hitler’s Logical Holocaust

December 6, 2012

The New York Review of Books

By Timothy Snyder

The Final Solution: A Genocide
by Donald Bloxham 
Oxford University Press, 410 pp., $29.95 (paper)

Deutsche Besatzungspolitik in Litauen 1941–1944 [German Occupation Policies in Lithuania, 1941–1944] 
by Christoph Dieckmann 
Göttingen: Wallstein, two volumes, 1,652 pp., €81.30

Jest taki piękny, słoneczny dzień: Losy Żydów szukających ratunku na wsi polskiej 1942–1945 [It Is Such a Beautiful, Sunny Day…The Fate of Jews Seeking Rescue in the Polish Countryside 1942–1945] 
by Barbara Engelking 
Warsaw: Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów, 292 pp., zł39.99

Judenjagd: Polowanie na Żydów 1942–1945. Studium dziejów pewnego powiatu [Hunt for the Jews 1942–1945: A Study of the History of a Certain County]

by Jan Grabowski 
Warsaw: Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów, 262 pp., zł37.99

Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust

by Jan Tomasz Gross with Irena Grudzińska Gross 
Oxford University Press, 135 pp., $16.95

Heydrich et la solution finale

by Édouard Husson 
Paris: Perrin, 751 pp., €12.20 (paper)
Juden in Krakau unter deutscher Besatzung 1939–1945 [Jews in Kraków under German Occupation 1939–1945]

by Andrea Löw and Markus Roth 
Göttingen: Wallstein, 248 pp., €20.50

Jan Gross and Irena Grudzińska Gross conclude their account of grave robbery after the Holocaust with a story from the very recent past. A Polish businessman, returning from Berlin, narrowly escaped death in an automobile accident. The following night, a Jewish girl appeared to him in a dream, addressed him by his first name as if he were a friend or a child, and asked him to return her ring. The businessman did have a gold ring, given to him by his grandparents, who had lived near Bełżec, one of the major death factories built by the Germans in occupied Poland.

Hoping to save themselves or their families, Polish Jews on the death transports of 1942 sometimes exchanged the valuable objects they had managed to take with them for water (or promises of water) with local Poles when the trains stopped short of their destination. Anything that remained was seized when the Jews had to undress before being led to the gas chambers. Gold teeth were removed from the corpses by Jewish slave laborers, and taken by the Germans. Some valuable objects were hidden by the Jewish laborers and were then exchanged with the camp guards, who were often Soviet citizens taken prisoner by the Germans. They exchanged the objects for food, alcohol, and sex in nearby Polish villages. Some of the valuables remained at the site of the gas chambers when the Germans retreated. After the war, the locals would dig up the corpses looking for gold.

The businessman did return the ring, as best he could: he gave it, along with a note, to the museum at Bełżec. In some ways his gesture and his story reflect the realities of today’s Poland. Every detail of his account—the commercial relationship with Germans, the business trip by chauffeur-driven car, even the travel on good roads—bespeaks a Poland that is today more prosperous than ever in its history. Liberated in 1989 from the communism that followed German occupation, allied to the United States in NATO since 1999, linked to its neighbors in the European Union since 2004, Poland is a beneficiary of the globalization of the post-Communist years.

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My father, the Holocaust scholar; the man whose message Israelis wouldn't hear

After refusing to publish it 50 years ago, Yad Vashem has brought out a Hebrew translation of historian Raul Hilberg's ground-breaking study, 'The destruction of European Jewry.'

December 6, 2012

Haaretz

By Deborah Hilberg

A few days ago, while looking for images, photographs that might possibly accompany these words, I came across a first draft of an essay or book chapter that my father had written and shared with the family. The essay was about the limitations of the historian, but what stood out to me at this particular time was the sentence: "Almost inevitably the researcher will transverse three phases. During the first phase a bewildering array of sources and pieces of information are revealed. During the second phase connections are made, insights drawn, and finally, a picture emerges."

My father noted this process as applicable to others, and indeed it is a sequence familiar to many students. As students, especially children, we have a great advantage: We are allowed to ask almost anything and we do not know yet which questions we are not supposed to ask: Daddy, why did the Shoah happen (when I was older he referred me to Christopher Browning )? Where does lightning come from? Do you consider yourself a survivor? Why was Grandpa arrested by the Nazis - what did he do wrong? Are you a historian? Well, then why is the Holocaust taught in history departments in some universities? Do you think that facts can stand alone or do you believe that individual facts cannot speak for themselves (this prompted by the war crimes trials of the 1980s )? Are you an American? Do you think in English or in Austrian German?

Parents inevitably and unavoidably are - by commission, omission or total absence - teachers to their children. While my father did not always teach me directly about the Holocaust, he did often teach through the lens of the Holocaust.

When reading this essay he had written, I debated whether to emphasize today the third phase he had written about. This would show a more sophisticated picture: how much my father was able to teach me, the extent to which father and daughter were able to continually engage in this learning process, no matter how wide the gaps in our fields of interest.

By coming to Israel at the age of 18 and deciding, three days before the start of my freshman year, to stay here and become a dual citizen, I could not possibly have found a less convenient way of transitioning into young adulthood. He tried, but could not hide his delight with my choice of a home here in Jerusalem. The topics of study I had chosen, on the other hand ... Religion? He claimed an allergy. Education? Mediocrity. Psychology? For this he reserved a special word which I cannot use in mixed company.

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Photographs of Holocaust Survivors and their Families

December 6, 2012

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem would like to receive local and family photographs from around the world spanning from 1950 to 2012 of Holocaust survivors with one or more family members. The photographs are needed for the permanent exhibition opening at the Jewish Block at the Auschwitz Memorial for the section depicting the survivors’ return to life.

We require either the photograph itself or a scanned copy. Please submit the photograph together with the following details:

1. First name and family name during the Holocaust and afterwards (if changed) in Latin characters.

2. Place of residence after the Holocaust.

3. Date the photograph was taken.

Please send scanned images (300dpi quality) to: museum@yadvashem.org.iHard copies should be sent to: Museums Division, Yad Vashem, POB 3477, Jerusalem, 91034

* Yad Vashem reserves the right not to display all photographs submitted and/or to make use of the photographs in other projects at its discretion.

Hungarian PM slams far-right politician's anti-Semitic jibe

Viktor Orban said Jobbik's Marton Gyongyosi, who called for drawing up a list of Hungarian Jews last week, 'has no place in modern Hungary.

December 3, 2012

Haaretz

By Reuters

Hungarian Prime Minister ViktorOrban on Monday condemned a call by a far-right Jobbik lawmaker to draw up lists of Jews as "unworthy" of his country, promising he would protect all citizens from any kind of discrimination‫.

Orban was responding to comments by Marton Gyongyosi, one of Jobbik's 44 lawmakers in the 386-seat parliament, who said on November 27 during a debate on violence in the Gaza Strip that it would be "timely" to draw up a list of people of Jewish ancestry who posed a national security risk‫.

His remarks, for which he later apologized, triggered international outrage. The U.S. Embassy said it condemned "in the strongest terms the outrageous anti-Semitic remarks made onthe floor of Parliament by a Jobbik parliamentarian‫".

Seeking to distance himself and his country from the comments, Orban said Gyongyosi's outburst had no place in modern Hungary‫.

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Holocaust and human rights museum opens in Belgium

King Albert II of Belgium inaugurates museum located opposite the ‘Dossin Barracks,’ a site from which more than 25,000 Jews and 352 Roma were deported to Auschwitz, EJC/AFP reports.

December 3, 2012

Haaretz

A Holocaust and human rights museum was inaugurated last Monday in Belgium, opposite the “Dossin Barracks” in Mechelen, a site from which more than 25,000 Jews and 352 Roma were deported to Auschwitz death camp between 1942-1944, the European Jewish Press and Agence France Presse reported.

According to the EJP/AFP report, King Albert II of Belgium inaugurated the “Dossin Barracks Memorial, Museum and Documentation Center for the Holocaust and Human Rights,” some 30 kilometers north of Brussels on November 26.

The museum, which was due to open on December 1, is housed in a newly-built three-storey building that was constructed according to blueprints of the Flemish architect Bob Van Reeth and was financed by Flemish authorities, said the report.

EJC/AFP described the building as white, “austere and massive, with mural windows,” adding that “the 25,852 bricks used in its construction represent the number of Jews and Roma sent to their deaths at Auschwitz from the nearby barracks, only metres from site of the museum.”

In September, Belgium’s prime minister, Elio Di Rupo, apologized for the complicity of state authorities in the murder of Belgian Jews during the Holocaust.

“We must have the courage to look at the truth: There was steady participation by the Belgian state authorities in the persecution of Jews,” Di Rupo said at a memorial ceremony in the city of Mechelen.

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A Life Dedicated to Pursuing Nazis, and Remembering Their Victims

December 1, 2012

New York Times

By Ralph Blumenthal

Yana Paskova for The New York Times
Serge Klarsfeld, a French lawyer who has dedicated his life to memorializing Holocaust victims and hunting Nazis, spoke on Monday at New York University.

As Serge Klarsfeld tells it, he had the “luck” to see his father and other French Jews in Nazi-occupied Nice carted off to Auschwitz by Germans. It spared him the pain of seeing them rounded up, as often happened, by their own French countrymen. Since Sept. 30, 1943, when he huddled behind a secret closet wall with his mother and sister while his father was seized by the SS for deportation and death, Mr. Klarsfeld, now a prominent French lawyer, has dedicated his life to memorializing victims of the Holocaust and bringing their killers to justice, most notably the notorious Gestapo chief in France, Klaus Barbie.

The quest, pursued alongside his German-born, non-Jewish wife, Beate, and their son, Arno, brought him and Arno Monday night to New York University in Greenwich Village with a monumental new work of documentation, a colossal volume of 12 inches by 19 inches weighing some 18 pounds, as intractable and chilling as the mass murders it chronicles.

“True emotion comes from precision,” Mr. Klarsfeld has said. “You have not to be guided by hand to the emotion.”

We’ll get to the book, but first the man himself who drew 300 avid listeners to a talk co-sponsored by the N.Y.U. Center for French Civilization and Culture and the N.Y.U. School of Law. Whatever a Nazi-hunter (or “militant of memory,” as he prefers to call himself) is supposed to look like, he doesn’t. At 76, he is portly with glasses, a balding dome and frizz of white hair. Oh, and the rosette of a commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur in the buttonhole of his blue pinstripe suit.

For Arno, 46, a high-ranking French judge who lived for a time with Carla Bruni, the model who is now Mrs. Nicolas Sarkozy, it was a kind of homecoming; he attended law school at N.Y.U.

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Neo-Nazi Hungarian Lawmaker Calls for 'Jewish List

A far-right Hungarian lawmaker released a statement saying that a list should be compiled of all Jewish members of parliament and government

November 27, 2012

Arutz Sheva

By Rachel Hirshfeld

In an act that far too greatly recalled the policies of the Nazi regime, a far-right Hungarian lawmaker released a statement Monday saying that a list should be compiled of all of the Jewish members of parliament and government.

Marton Gyongyosi of the blatantly anti-Semitic Jobbik party said before regular business hours in Parliament on Monday that government officials and parliamentarians of Jewish origin had unduly influenced Hungary’s policy towards the current situation in Israel and Gaza.

“It is high time to assess many MPs and government members are of Jewish origin and who present a national security risk to Hungary,” Gyongyosi said, according to the Hungarian news site, politics.hu.

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Vladka Meed, courier for the Jewish resistance during WWII, dies at 90

November 23, 2012

Washington Post

By Adam Bernstein

Vladka Meed, a weapons smuggler and courier for the Jewish resistance in Poland during World War II who published a haunting early chronicle of the Warsaw ghetto uprising and remained for six decades a leading force in efforts to remember the plight of European Jewry during the Holocaust, died Nov. 21 at her daughter’s home in Paradise Valley, Ariz. She was 90.The death was confirmed by her son, Dr. Steven Meed. She had Alzheimer’s disease.

Mrs. Meed was born Feigel Peltel in Warsaw on Dec. 29, 1921. After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, she and hundreds of thousands of other Jews were systematically rounded up and forced into a squalid Warsaw ghetto of one-square mile.Thousands starved to death, others fought and died for scraps, and others were beaten and killed by the Germans in mass executions. Rooms in the ghetto were crammed, food allotments amounted to less than 200 calories a day and corpses decayed on the streets.

“To remain a human being in the ghetto one had to live in constant defiance, to act illegally,” Mrs. Meed told the Jewish newspaper the Forward in 1995. “We had illegal synagogues, illegal classes, illegal meetings and illegal publications.

“We were trying to live through the war, the hard times, in the ways which were known to us before the war,” she said. “Nobody imagined any gas chambers. Jewish resistance took different forms and shapes under Nazi occupation. Our defiance of the Germans, who wanted to dehumanize us, expressed itself in varied ways.”

Mrs. Meed was largely on her own after 1942. Her father, a garment worker, died of pneumonia in the ghetto, and her mother and two siblings perished at the Treblinka death camp after a period of mass deportations from the ghetto.

Mrs. Meed joined the Jewish Fighting Organization, known by its Polish initials ZOB. With her Aryan looks and fluency in Polish, she passed as a gentile, using forged identification papers, and lived for extended periods amid the ethnic Polish population.

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An opera for my resistance fighter aunt

Elisabeth went to the guillotine singing the Passion Chorale Mach End, O Herr, mach Ende (Make an end, O Lord).

November 21, 2012

The Guardian

By Christopher Fox

Three years ago, on a warm July afternoon, I visited the German Resistance Museum near the Tiergarten in Berlin. The main exhibition was on the first floor and as I set off up the stairs I saw a familiar photograph: Elisabeth von Thadden, my aunt. I had thought there might be some record of her in the museum, but to find her so quickly was a shock. The place was full of stories of individuals who, like Elisabeth, had refused to compromise in the face of totalitarian inhumanity. As I emerged into the sunlight again, I knew I wanted to make some sort of musical memorial to these extraordinary people.

Apart from the Stauffenberg bomb plot to kill Hitler, which inspired Tom Cruise's 2008 movie Valkyrie, few of these stories were spectacular. But music is particularly suited to the depiction of the inner life, and I decided to make my aunt my subject. The eldest of five children, Elisabeth was born in 1890. After her mother's death, she ran the household, until her father remarried; she then became a teacher, setting up her own school in Heidelberg. My mother, Elisabeth's half-sister but 35 years younger, was a pupil at the school, until the Nazis closed it in 1941 – because it was not "providing a suitably National Socialist education". Two years later, Elisabeth was executed.

Why was she sentenced to death? At what point did her evident distaste for Nazi policies turn into a treasonable offence? The decisive moment came on 10 September 1943. It was the birthday of Elisabeth's sister, Agnes-Marie, and a small group of friends were celebrating. They drank tea and talked. The previous day, the Italian army had surrendered and the conversation turned to politics and to one of Elisabeth's preoccupations: how German society could be rebuilt after the now-inevitable military defeat. The newest member of the group, a young doctor called Paul Reckzeh, suggested that he might travel to Switzerland with letters to German exiles there.

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"To me there's no other choice" – Raoul Wallenberg 1912–2012

November 21, 2012

Canadian War Museum

This exhibition presents the story of Sweden’s Raoul Wallenberg and his role in saving tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust. This dramatic presentation of his life and humanitarian achievements marks the anniversary of his birth, 100 years ago.

This exhibition was created by the Swedish Institute in partnership with the Living History Forum, and is presented at the Canadian War Museum.

November 21, 2012 - January 6, 2013

Museum at heart of Russia's Jewish culture revival

November 17, 2012

Kyiv Post

Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — In czarist times, Geda Zimanenko watched her mother offer the local police officer a shot of vodka on a plate and five rubles every Sunday to overlook the fact that their family lived outside the area where Jews were allowed to live.

Then came the Bolshevik Revolution and Zimanenko became a good Communist, raising her own son to believe in ideals that strove to stamp out distinctions of race and religion. Her grandson, born after the death of dictator Josef Stalin, was more cynical of Communism and felt the heat of growing Soviet anti-Semitism.

Now the 100-year-old matriarch's great-grandson, brought up after the fall of the Soviet Union and in a spirit of freedom of conscience, is fully embracing his Jewish roots: He works at Moscow's new Jewish museum, Europe's largest and Russia's first major attempt to tell the story of its Jewish community. The four generations of Zimanenko's family are a microcosm of the history of Jews in Russia over the past century, from the restrictions of imperial times through Soviet hardship to today's revival of Jewish culture in Russia, a trajectory that is put on vivid display at the Jewish Museum and Center of Tolerance.

The museum, which opened this week, tells the history of Jewry through people's stories, which come alive in video interviews and interactive displays. The journeys of people like the Zimanenko-Rozin family are traced from czarist Russia through the demise of the Soviet Union. The $50 million museum was built under the patronage of President Vladimir Putin, who in a symbolic move in 2007 donated a month of his salary — about $5,600 — to its creation.

Putin has promoted Russia as a country that welcomes Russian emigrants back into its fold. Early in his presidency, he encouraged the repatriation of Russians who left in the wake of the 1917 Revolution as well as ethnic Russians left stranded in former Soviet republics, now independent states.

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CMHR shines light on “Stalin’s secret files” from Ukrainian genocide

November 16, 2012

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is bringing to light new research into Stalin’s secret-police files on the 1932-33 genocide in Ukraine, until recently shrouded in secrecy and denial.

The CMHR has organized a visit to Canada by world-renowned Ukrainian researchers, including historian Stanislav Kulchytskyi, who have worked to bring evidence of this genocide to public light. Secret state archives in Ukraine – including hundreds of thousands of Soviet secret-police orders and case files – have only come to light in the past few years. The documents, many still difficult to access, are adding hard proof about the deliberate nature of atrocities that survivors and their families (many in Canada) have long struggled to bring to public attention.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed this year with Ukraine’s national Holodomor museum, and in collaboration with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Manitoba), CMHR is hosting lectures and public events in Canada to coincide with Holodomor Awareness Week, November 19 to 25. The genocide was conducted to crush Ukrainian resistance as the Soviet Union moved to collectivize agriculture 80 years ago. Millions of Ukrainians died of starvation – a fact denied by Soviet authorities right into the 1980s. At the same time, thousands of scholars, journalists and teachers were thrown in jail.

“The Holodomor holds powerful human-rights lessons,” said Stuart Murray, CMHR president and CEO. “It shows why we must remain vigilant against abuse of state power. It also highlights the nature of food as a basic human right, which is a topic that continues to be relevant around the world.”

The CMHR, slated to open in Winnipeg in 2014, will become a unique educational hub to explore the nature and importance of human rights, using lessons from past and present to inspire Canadians and international visitors into action. The Holodomor will be an integral learning tool in the Museum’s programming and exhibits.

The Holodomor has special importance for Canada, where Ukrainian Canadians, university researchers and many others have worked to raise awareness. Memorials to the genocide have been erected across the country, including the first public monument unveiled in Edmonton in 1983. Canada in 2008 officially recognized the Holodomor as genocide and designated the fourth Saturday in November as “Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day”.

“The Museum will work to enlighten visitors about what the human-rights lessons from this genocide mean today for people in Canada – and its role in shaping our very Canadian identity,” Murray said.

The CMHR’s special guest lecturers from Ukraine are Stanislav Kulchytskyi, the Deputy Director of the Institute of History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; and Lesya Onyshko, First Deputy of the General Director of Ukraine’s National Memorial in Commemoration of Famines’ Victims in Ukraine.

Dr. Clint Curle of the CMHR has organized the lecture series with the assistance of Canadian researchers such as Dr. Myroslav Shkandrij of the University of Manitoba and Dr.Bohdan Klid of the University of Alberta.

The events were planned with the help of many Canadian organizations, including the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Manitoba Provincial Council), the Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies, the Shevchenko Scientific Society of Canada, the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre at the University of Alberta, the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre - Oseredok, the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Winnipeg, the University of Winnipeg’s Global College, and the University of Manitoba’s Central and East European Studies Program and Department of German and Slavic Studies.

Despair and inspiration on Kristallnacht anniversary

Yet not all is well in the town of Greifswald, where stones commemorating Holocaust victims were stolen on the anniversary of Kristallnacht

November 16, 2012

Haaretz

By Daniel Stein Kokin

On November 9, the anniversary of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), I proceeded to read with dismay, vandals had made off with all 11 of the city's Stolpersteine - literally "stumbling stones" - small sidewalk plaques that commemorate Jewish victims of the Holocaust in front of their former homes across Germany and Europe.

This deed has shattered my image of this city of some 60,000, known mainly for its university and its membership in the medieval Hanseatic League trading organization. To be sure, even prior to accepting my position as a Jewish studies professor here, I was aware that this part of the former East Germany has a reputation for right-wing extremism.

But as my days here passed into months and now years, with nary a sign of neo-Nazis anywhere, I became increasingly confident that, whatever the problems afflicting the region as a whole, Greifswald - home to Germany's fourth-oldest, and an increasingly prominent and culturally diverse, university - was different. Indeed, on the very eve of what is here typically called Reichspogromnacht (Kristallnacht is considered too vague a euphemism), as I ate my vegetarian doner in a local joint, I was encouraged to hear the Azerbaijani proprietor, who has had his store vandalized in the past, report that the right-wing presence in Greifswald had substantially receded in recent years. That cheery optimism has now, alas, been placed in doubt.

After my initial outrage subsided, however, I began to formulate a more nuanced picture of the reality here. As on every Kristallnacht anniversary, a ceremony last Friday memorialized the 11 Jews of Greifswald who were killed in the Holocaust. It was held in the small plaza adjacent to the apartment which, in the prewar years, hosted the community's prayer space and social center, and where a memorial plaque now stands. (The Jews of Greifswald were never numerous enough to build a formal synagogue.)

In nearby Wolgast, meanwhile, 1,000 people marched against racism and right-wing extremism. And the University of Greifswald was quick to publicize and condemn the theft of two of the Stolpersteine from its own property. The official statement proceeded to identify the memorialized individuals: the historian Dr. Gerhard Knoche (1893-1944), who wrote a dissertation on the Jews under the Carolingians and later perished in Auschwitz; and the geologist Dr. Rudolf Kaufmann, who was stripped of his doctorate in 1937 and shot by Germans soldiers in Lithuania in 1941.

How ironic, I thought: It was only because their Stolpersteine were stolen that I learned for the first time who these two individuals were.

More than anything else, however, I recalled the truly wonderful concert I attended on Thursday night in the university's Aula. In this ornate, 18th-century auditorium, used for only the most important of events, world-class young musicians played the works of composers condemned and oppressed by the Third Reich - many of whom, even though they survived the war years, never managed to recapture the success they had enjoyed prior to the Nazi rise to power. Unlike writers or artists, whose works can be easily disseminated in print, the case of musicians is particularly difficult, noted moderator Volker Ahmels, since they will not be remembered unless their music is played.

Sponsored by the local chapter of the Protestant Working Group for the Church and Judaism (Arbeitskreis Kirche und Judentum), and organized by Ahmels' Center for Ostracized Music (Zentrum fuer Verfemte Musik ), based in nearby Rostock, the concert focused on the music of Hans Gal. Born in 1890, the Jewish Gal achieved critical acclaim as a musicologist and composer in the 1920s before being appointed director of the conservatory in Mainz in 1929. But four years later, he was dismissed from his post and his works were banned. Though Gal managed to escape the Nazis, eventually settling in Edinburgh, where he remained active until his death in 1987, he is virtually unknown in Germany to this day. Thanks to the dedication of Ahmels and others, his legacy is now being revived.

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Panel discussion: The Holocaust by bullets: Uncovering the reality of genocide

*Please note- Father Desbois will be in Winnipeg May 1-3, 2013 as a guest of the Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre and the Ridd Institute for Global Policy of the Global College, University of Winnipeg. Stay tuned to this website for further information.

November 8, 2012

United Nations Web TV

This event, organized by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme in New York, highlighted Yahad-In Unum’s work and action by the international community to help prevent genocide today.It took place at United Nations Headquarters on November 7, 2012.

Opening Statement: Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, and Ambassador Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affairs of France to the United Nations.

Speakers:

Father Patrick Desbois, Catholic priest and President of the association “Yahad-In Unum”
Andrej Umansky, Research Associate at Yahad-In Unum
Karen Odaba Mosoti, International Lawyer, Head of the Liaison Office of the International Criminal Court to the United Nations in New York
Gillian Kitley, Senior Political Affairs Officer, Office of the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide
The discussion was moderated by Pamela Falk, CBS News - United Nations Resident Correspondent

To watch the 2 hour panel discussion click on the United Nations Web TV link above.

ANTICOPTISM, THE ANTISEMiTISM OF EGYPT

November 7, 2012

US Copts Association

Anticoptism is the intense dislike and hate by the Egyptian Muslim of the Copts which leads him or her to express it in diver hostile ways, including written and verbal lies and insults, segregation, discrimination and other cruel treatment.
The anticopt (المعادي للأقباط، الكاره للأقباط ) is the Egyptian Muslim who harbours or practises antocoptism – i.e. an Egyptian Muslim who hates the Copts and this may lead him or her to hostile attitude towards them that may be expressed in literature, speech or actions of segregation, discrimination and other cruelty.
This is not the place to cite examples of anticoptism. Whoever wants to find more about anticoptism in action let him review the history of the Copts and their experience with the Muslims since 639 AD. Three qualifications must be said:
Not all Muslims are anticopts or have expressed anticoptism. We acknowledge that there are Muslims who have resisted their cultural inheritance and looked at the Copts as fellow-human beings and co-patriots. These, together, we call moderate Muslims, and Coptic nationalists do not deny their presence or role. The coined words ‘anticoptism’ and ‘anticopt’ are not designed to demonise all Egyptian Muslims but to highlight a serious religiosity problem that is deeply ingrained in Egyptian Muslim culture and history, and must be exposed, acknowledged and dealt with, by the Muslims of Egypt themselves before any other.
The manifestations of anticoptism range from the mild to the severe, and while one may show the mildest form of it another will show its worst manifestation.
It is acknowledged that certain periods in Egypt’s history since the Arab invasion have witnessed the worst manifestations of anticoptism while other periods have been comparatively mild. This must not distract us from the fact that even during good periods an undercurrent of anticoptism survived
Anticoptism was more acutely and severely practised in the past – it is, however, still prevalent in Egypt.
Those who deny its existence only want to perpetuate its practice and to maintain their religious prejudices; those who acknowledge its existence are the ones who want to create a modern, democratic country that holds it true that all Egyptians are human beings and co-patriots; that all of them are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that all of them are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.[xiv] One must be frank here: the first group is the one which holds religion above anything else – Islam dictates to them what is right and what is wrong, what is just and what is unjust; they do not use their minds or employ their conscience and reason to guide them into what is really right and just, and what is really wrong and unjust.
They are happy to live with all the contradictions in their world and to use twisted logic in maintaining the incompatibility between their beliefs and the concepts of universal brotherhood, equal dignity for all and the fundamental freedoms and human rights that the rest of the world upholds. These are the Islamists who are the responsible for justifying, propagating and practising anticoptism. The other group is the moderate Muslims who aware of the dictates of modernity; and keen to use their reason in establishing a just and peaceful society they abandon the cultural underpinnings that are the basis of anticoptism, or try to develop a new interpretation of their religion so that it is not glaringly incompatible with the modern notions of human rights and citizenship. These moderate Muslims are the ones on whom one pins his hopes of fighting anticoptism.
As already stated, anticoptism is still alive and kicking in Egyptian society – and it is bound to survive strong unless it is fought by education and legislation. This is the responsibility of the moderate Muslims and the Egyptian State; and it requires a tremendous degree of honesty, courage and resolve. While one hopes the educational effort will be led by various individuals, groups and institutions of Egypt’s civil society, one relies much on both the educational and deterrent values of the law the State alone can enact. Anticoptism, in all its manifestations, mild or severe, must be criminalised by the Egyptian State. This must be the ultimate objective of all Coptic nationalists and their moderate Muslim friends.

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Greek Jews seek outside help in battle against surging neo-Nazi party

As Golden Dawn has become more brazen, violently attacking migrants, gays and Communists, disrupting theater productions deemed blasphemous and holding racist events like setting up a blood bank for pure Greek blood only, Greek political leaders have begun to mount a stronger response.

November 3, 2012

Times of Israel

For every Jew who lives in Greece, there are about 100 Greeks who voted for the country’s neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, last spring.

The party now controls 18 seats in Greece’s 300-member parliament, and its popularity is rising rapidly: A poll taken in October showed that if elections were held again today, Golden Dawn would capture 14 percent of the vote, making it Greece’s third-largest party. A September poll showed that 22 percent of Greeks have positive views of Golden Dawn, up from 12 percent in May.

With its swastika-like flag, gangs of black-shirted thugs attacking immigrants and its ideology of Greek racial superiority, Golden Dawn’s sudden and significant rise has prompted condemnations from around the world.

It also has put many of Greece’s 5,000 Jews on edge. Community leaders already have begun a campaign to educate Greeks about the dangers of allowing a neo-Nazi party to flourish, and Greek Jews are trying to figure out what more they can do to arrest Golden Dawn’s rise.

“We definitely think that a very basic tool to promoting social equality and combating the rise of extremists like Golden Dawn is educating schoolchildren,” said Zanet Battinou, director the Jewish Museum of Greece.

The museum and its programs teach visiting schoolchildren about Greece’s Jewish community, its heritage and, in particular, about the Holocaust, in which more than 80 percent of Greek Jews were murdered.

While Golden Dawn mostly has targeted those it holds responsible for Greece’s dire economic plight and its international humiliation — immigrants from Asia and Africa, politicians and the Communist opposition — the party also has a clear anti-Semitic streak.

Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, denies there were gas chambers or ovens at Nazi death camps, and has a penchant for giving the Nazi salute. Party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, who made international headlines when he punched a female Communist Party member in the face during a live television debate, recently read out a passage from the anti-Semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in parliament.

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For growing number of Polish gentiles, Jewish culture seen as part of their own heritage

"In 1982, one of the priests warned me to not talk about this because Jews kidnapped children and made them into matzah,” he said. “I met with a Poland which I did not know before. Thus began my stubbornness confronting the city with the pogrom."

October 31, 2012

JTA

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) -- Marek Tuszewicki is doing doctoral work at the Institute of Jewish Studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, teaches Yiddish at the Krakow JCC, and leads a club that brings together those who like to sing Chasidic songs and read Yiddish literature.

He also co-founded a Jewish literature and art quarterly called Cwiszn and publishes articles and poems in Yiddish.

There’s just one thing: Tuszewicki is not himself Jewish.

"There is the whole Polish background with the ruins of cemeteries and synagogues from which there is no escape," Tuszewicki told JTA.

"There are more and more people interested in Yiddish and opportunities to learn," he said. “What are the proportions of Jews and non-Jews I cannot say exactly, but I'm sure at the university there are more students from non-Jewish backgrounds."

Tuszewicki is among the growing number of non-Jewish Poles who are immersing themselves in Jewish culture. They organize Jewish events or ceremonies commemorating the Jews who lived in their cities. They are building monuments and teaching others about the history of their Jewish neighbors. They write in Yiddish.

Many Poles have begin to look at Polish Jewish history as part of their own cultural heritage -- something to be appreciated and remembered, not cast aside.

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Anti-Semitic flyers distributed in French Town

October 28, 2012

European Jewish Congress

Numerous virulently anti-Semitic flyers have been placed in letterboxes across the town of Aix-les-Bains in south-eastern France in recent days.

The tracts, which claim to be the work of “The Church of Wotan”, refer to Jews as “the main people responsible for the decadence of the White People and the invasion of sub-races.”

A number of complaints have been made to the police and an investigation is ongoing.

Aix-les-Bains is home to a largely Orthodox Jewish community centred around one of the leading yeshivot (Talmudic colleges) in Europe. Around 1,000 Jews live in the town.

Protocols of the Elders of Zion read aloud in Greek Parliament

October 28, 2012

Dawn of the Greeks

By JTA

A lawmaker for Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party has reportedly read out in parliament a passage from the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Ilias Kasidiaris, a spokesperson for Golden Dawn, read out Protocol 19 from the book: “In order to destroy the prestige of heroism we shall send them for trial in the category of theft, murder and every kind of abominable and filthy crime,” according to Panayote Dimitras of the Greek Helsinki Monitor.

Kasidiaris was addressing parliament Oct. 23 at a discussion on lifting his immunity in connection with suspicions of assault. “There was absolutely no reaction” to this in parliament, Dimitras said, which, makes “all parties held as accomplices.”

In a written statement Friday, the Foreign Affairs Network of B’nai B’rith Europe called the manuscript’s reading in an E.U. parliament “a sign of moral corruption and degradation which must not be overlooked.” The silence with which the reading was received was “doubly worrisome,” the network wrote in its statement.

In June, Kasidiaris slapped female politician Liana Kanelli three times on the head during a television discussion. He was subsequently locked in a room in the studio but he knocked down the door and escaped.

Photographer had the gruesome task of capturing faces of concentration camp

WILHELM BRASSE AUSCHWITZ PRISONER, 95

October 26, 2012

Globe and Mail

By Vanessa Gera

The images are haunting: naked and emaciated children at Auschwitz standing shoulder-to-shoulder, adult prisoners in striped garb posing for police-style mug shots.

One of several photographers to capture such images, Wilhelm Brasse, has died at 95. A Polish photographer who was arrested and sent to Auschwitz early in the Second World War, he was put to work documenting his fellow prisoners, an emotionally devastating task that tormented him long after his liberation.

Jaroslaw Mensfelt, a spokesman at the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum, said that Brasse died on Tuesday in Zywiec, a town in southern Poland.

Brasse, who was born in 1917 and was not Jewish, was sent to Auschwitz at 22 as a political prisoner for trying to sneak out of German-occupied Poland in the spring of 1940. Because he had worked before the war in a photography studio in Katowice, in southern Poland, he was put to work in the camp’s photography and identification department.

The job helped to save his life, enabling him to get better treatment and food than many others. Because he worked with the SS, the elite Nazi force, he was also kept cleaner “so as not to offend the SS men,” he recalled in an Associated Press interview in 2006.

After the war, he had nightmares for years of the Nazi victims he was forced to photograph. Among them were emaciated Jewish girls who were about to undergo cruel medical experiments under the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele.

“I didn’t return to my profession, because those Jewish kids, and the naked Jewish girls, constantly flashed before my eyes,” he said. “Even more so because I knew that later, after taking their pictures, they would just go to the gas.”

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Sinti and Roma Holocaust Victims Remembered in Berlin

Berlin is home to several monuments to Germany's dark past. On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel helped inaugurate another one, this one dedicated to the Sinti and Roma murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. With persecution of the minority on the rise, its unveiling could hardly have been more timely.

October 25, 2012

Spiegel Online

By Karoline Kuhla

For years, the northeastern-most corner of Berlin's large, city-center park called the Tiergarten was simply blocked off. The barriers hid a small construction site under the trees, but little work ever seemed to be done. It looked like a project that would never be completed.

But on Wednesday, it finally was. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal President Joachim Gauck and several other political luminaries gathered under Berlin's overcast skies to inaugurate the memorial to the some 500,000 Sinti and Roma murdered by the Nazis in the Porajmos -- as European gypsies call the Holocaust.
The importance of the monument's completion, said Merkel, "cannot be overestimated," adding that it commemorates a genocide to which "far too little attention has been paid for far too long.
"

Merkel also noted that, at a time when Sinti and Roma remain targets of right-wing attacks, and even official oppression, in Europe, the monument is as timely as ever. "It is a German and a European task to support (Sinti and Roma) wherever they live, no matter what country," she said.

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When Turkish diplomats saved Jews from the Nazis

October 24, 2012

Haaretz

By Judy Maltz

NB. "Turkish Passport" was screeened twice in Winnipeg in early 2012 with producer Güneş Çelikcan and Turkish Consul-General Ali Riza Güney in attendance and was also featured as part of the "Middle East Week" line up at the University of Winnipeg.

Between 1941 and 1944, a group of Turkish diplomats helped hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of European Jews escape near certain death at the hands of the Nazis.

It is one of the lesser-known stories of Holocaust rescue. But 70 years after the fact, details of this extraordinary saga are beginning to emerge with the release of the new documentary film, "The Turkish Passport."

The 90-minute film, which premiered in Israel last week at the Jewish Eye World Jewish Film Festival in Ashkelon, chronicles the efforts of a group of close to 20 Turkish ambassadors and consuls - stationed in Paris, Marseille, Budapest, Prague, Varna, Hamburg and Rhodes - to save the lives of Jews of Turkish descent in Nazi-occupied Europe. Among these diplomats was Necdet Kent, the Turkish consul in Marseille from 1940 to 1945, whose son, Muhtar Kent, is today the chairman and chief executive of Coca-Cola.

It reveals how these diplomats took advantage of Turkey's neutral status during most of World War II to assist their country's Jewish nationals, who were scattered at the time throughout Nazi-occupied Europe. In some instances, that meant issuing them Turkish passports to provide them with protection during routine identification checks, and in more extreme cases, it meant pulling them off trains headed for the death camps.

When it became clear to them that the Nazis were determined to murder every last Jew in Europe, the Turkish diplomats, in one of their most daring exploits, summoned Jews to their headquarters, put them on trains and transported them to safety in Istanbul. Twelve such trains made their way across Europe in late 1943 and early 1944.

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Ban on Kiev massacre-site hotel

October 21, 2012

BBC News

The mayor of Kiev says he has overruled a decision by the city's council to allow a hotel to be built at the site of a Nazi massacre during World War II.

The approval of plans to build near a monument to victims of the Babi Yar massacre, where 34,000 Jews were killed in 1941, had been widely criticised.

Proponents had said the Ukrainian capital needed more hotels for the 2012 European Football Championships.

The Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem said Mr Chernovetsky had clearly taken into account the protests of Jewish groups worldwide.

"Babi Yar is a memorial site not only for Jews but for the whole of Europe... It would have been inconceivable to turn it into a commercial centre," its committee president, Avner Shalev, told the AFP news agency.

However, a senior city councillor, Viktor Hrinyuk, said last week that the hotel would not have disturbed any remains and that the plans had not been final.

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'Good Jew' hashtag explodes on French Twitter

#UnBonJuif trended high in the French twittersphere with a barrage of anti-Semitic jokes.

Haaretz

October 16, 2012

By JTA

A French nonprofit said it was considering making complaints against some Twitter users following an explosion of French-language anti-Semitic messages.

SOS Racisme, a Paris-based anti-discrimination organization, made the statement after the phrase "UnBonJuif" on Wednesday became the third most popular hashtag among French Twitter users.

Literally meaning "a good Jew," it served thousands of Twitter users to enter what the French daily Le Monde termed "a competition of anti-Semitic jokes."

One Twitter user posted a picture of an emaciated Jewish woman taken in a Nazi concentration camp as an example of "a good Jew." Others tweeted that "a good Jew is a dead Jew."

Jonathan Hayoun, president of the Union of French Jewish Students, called on Twitter to "put in place a new system to moderate" anti-Semitic tweets.

On Monday, the most popular hashtag in France was "LaRafle," meaning "the roundup" - the title of a 2010 film about the Holocaust-era deportation of French Jews that was aired the previous day by a public broadcaster. Twitter defined the LaRafle hashtag as "related to UnBonJuif." Many tweets containing the LaRafle hashtag were anti-Semitic, and some users denied the Holocaust.

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Remembering the Lithuanian Jews killed by their neighbors

It took more than six decades, but a unique collection of survivor testimonies about Lithuanian collaboration in the Holocaust is finally available to the public.

Haaretz

October 16, 2012

By Efraim Zuroff

Expulsion and Extermination:
Holocaust Testimonials from Provincial Lithuania, by David Bankier. Yad Vashem, 232 pages, $58

The Last Bright Days:
A Young Woman’s Life in a Lithuanian Shtetl on the Eve of the Holocaust, edited by Frank Buonagurio
Jewish Heritage and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 165 pages, $39.95

We Are Here:
Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust, by Ellen Cassedy. University of Nebraska Press, 273 pages, $19.95 ‏(paperback‏)

The Kuniuchowsky collection of testimonies of Holocaust survivors from the provincial towns and villages of Lithuania first came to my attention more than 30 years ago. At the time, I was working as a researcher in Israel for the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, looking for first-hand evidence of the mass murders that had been carried out in various locations in provincial Lithuania. Since there is relatively little information about, and few survivors from, these communities, this material was extremely valuable.

Even more important, Leyb Kuniuchowsky, an Alytus-born engineer who had survived the Kovno Ghetto, had made a determined effort to record the names of all the numerous Lithuanians who had participated in the murders, making his collection a resource of potentially unique significance in the efforts to bring these Nazi war criminals to justice.

The problem was that for many years, Kuniuchowsky had refused to make it available to researchers, because he insisted on publishing the collection in its entirety, and no institution or organization was willing to do so. It was only in 1989, almost a decade after I began trying to obtain access to the testimonies, which had been recorded during the first three to four years after the end of the war, that Dov Levin of Jerusalem, the leading expert on the Holocaust in the Baltics, finally convinced Kuniuchowsky to donate his archives to Yad Vashem. And it is only now, another 20 years afterward, that parts of this unique resource have finally been published, edited by the late David Bankier, the former head of Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research, with the assistance of Holocaust researcher Ben-Tsiyon Klibansky.

The inexcusable delay in bringing selected portions of these testimonies to the knowledge of the public was not without serious consequences, most notably in Lithuania, where the government has systematically tried to minimize or hide the unusually extensive participation of local Nazi collaborators in the annihilation of the country’s Jews. More than 96 percent of them were killed in the Holocaust, with almost all the murders carried out locally, in the vicinity of the Jews’ residences, with the majority of the participants Lithuanians.

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French Jews face unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic attacks

There was an increase of 45% in the number of anti-Semitic acts in the first during the first eight months of 2012 compared to the same period last year, according to the national Jewish Community Protection Service. According to the Interior Ministry, 386 anti-Semitic acts were perpetrated during that time, including 101 acts of violence and vandalism and 285 threats.

October 12, 2012

Haaretz

By Shirli Sitbon

French police who raided an Islamic terror cell over the weekend found documents showing the ring was planning new attacks against the Jewish community: 27,000 euros in cash, a list of Jewish organizations in the Paris area, ammunition, Islamist manuals and "extremely" anti-Semitic documents.

Following the raid on the cell believed responsible for a recent grenade attack on a kosher supermarket in a Parisian suburb, police protection was increased for synagogues, Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions. At a meeting with Jewish community leaders, President Francois Hollande promised to give top priority to the evidently growing threat against Jewish targets by Islamic militants. In the raid, police killed the group's leader, Jeremie Louis-Sidney, a 33-year- old Salafist neophyte, and arrested a dozen members. But authorities say that even after the raid, there are still several similar anti-Semitic cells across the country. According to a former head of French Intelligence Services, between 100 and 200 extreme Islamic militants are potential terrorists.

"Several other similar groups are being watched. There's a real threat. Radical Islamism ... thrives on fantasies, on hatred towards our country and towards French Jews," said Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who warned that these small local cells are even harder to fight than international jihadist movements. "It's all the more difficult to battle against these groups when they're local. They're not foreign terror networks that come from outside, but networks that have grown in our country, our neighborhoods. They're not foreigners but French converts, French Muslims," said Valls.

Evidence police found during the weekend's arrest operations in Strasbourg, Cannes and the Paris suburb of Torcy shows that the group is likely responsible for the attack against the Naori kosher supermarket in in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles on September 19, authorities said. In that attack, which took place right after Rosh Hashanah, two hooded men dressed in black threw at least one hand grenade into the store, wounding one person. Six days later, forensics experts found the cell leader's fingerprint on a grenade.

They also found five wills, including Jeremie Louis-Sidney's, indicating he "probably wanted to die like a martyr," said Strasbourg's public prosecutor Patrick Poirret.

Investigators uncovered the cell soon after the attack in Sarcelles. Louis-Sidney was already considered a potential terror threat, and when his fingerprints were found, police put him under closer surveillance. His trips to Cannes, Torcy and Strasbourg lead them to the rest of the known cell members, some of whom were also listed as potential terror threats. Half of the gang members live in Cannes, where they went to the same mosque as Louis-Sidney, including a man who allegedly went to Sarcelles to plan the attack on the kosher supermarket.

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'I looked for him but God must have been on holiday': Last living survivors of Treblinka death camp speak of unimaginable horrors 

October 9, 2012

Daily Mail

By Matt Roper

The last living survivors of Nazi death camp Treblinka have spoken about the excruciating torment they suffered during World War II.

Kalman Tagiman and Samuel Willenberg were both 19 years old when they arrived at the camp, where they were forced to assist in the mass murder of men, women and children.

For Samuel, now 89, it is one particular memory which haunts him to this day, 70 years later.

Samuel was sifting through the belongings of another trainload of doomed innocents, this time coming from his home town, when he made a discovery so horrific he fell to the floor.

A young girl’s coat, and a pleated blue skirt, lying on top of a pile of clothes, just before the entrance to the gas chambers. The coat and skirt belonged to his two younger sisters.

The Treblinka 'death factory' was located in occupied Poland but was destroyed by the Nazis at the end of the war as they tried to cover their tracks.

Less than 70 Treblinka prisoners survived the war – they were a small part of the slave-labour prisoners who attacked guards and escaped the camp

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Hungarian radio station praises attack on Jewish leader

Nationalist online station said recent attack on the 62-year-old president of the Jewish congregation of Budapest's South Pest district was 'a response to general Jewish terrorism.'

October 8, 2012

Haaretz

By JTA

A Hungarian nationalist online radio station called the recent assault on a Jewish community leader in Budapest a “response to general Jewish terrorism.”

“Predictably and unfortunately, the good attackers were captured very quickly,” the news edition of Szent Korona Radio, or Holy Crown Radio, reported.

The report was about the arrest of two men, 20 and 21, last Friday on suspicion that they physically and verbally assaulted the 62-year-old president of the Jewish congregation of the Hungarian capital's South Pest district.

Founded in 2006, Szent Korona Radio broadcasts talk shows and music in Hungarian over the Internet.

The website of the Hungarian police said the victim, Andras Kerenyi, was attacked near Budapest’s Teglagyar Square because of his religion and that his injuries did not require medical treatment. The two men are being held as indictments against them are being drawn up, the report said.

Gusztav Zoltai, executive director of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, told the Hungarian news agency MTI that Kerenyi was kicked in his stomach as the assailants shouted obscenities at him and told him he was going to die.

The police report said that after the attack, Kerenyi followed the suspects and at the same time reported the incident to police. A police patrol arrested the men 32 minutes after the attack at a nearby house. The report named the suspects as Mark F. and Tibor P.

In June, Jozsef Schweitzer, a retired Hungarian chief rabbi, was accosted on a Budapest street by a man who told him he “hates all Jews.”

Netherlands set to regulate ritual slaughter

Draft decree signed by the agriculture minister was drawn up to end two years of uncertainty about the future of Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter in the Netherlands.

October 7, 2012

Haaretz

By JTA

The Dutch government is drafting a decree that would give the government veto power over anyone who wants to practice ritual slaughter, or shechitah, in the Netherlands.

The draft decree, which was signed by Dutch Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker, was drawn up by the government to end two years of uncertainty about the future of the practice in the Netherlands. The Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad published the contents of the draft decree on Friday.

“If veterinarians are put in charge of shechita, then before long it would basically stop shechitah in the Netherlands,” Amsterdam Chief Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag told JTA.

The decree Bleker formulated was based largely on a contract his office signed in June with representatives of the Jewish and Muslim communities.

The contract constituted the Dutch government’s compromise on regulating ritual slaughter. The Dutch lower house passed a total ban last year, but it was scrapped by the Senate out of consideration for freedom of worship. The ban was on all slaughter of conscious animals - a requirement of Jewish and Muslim law.

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Gaza flotilla sponsor publishes tweet blaming Jews for Holocaust

October 5, 2012

National Post

By Tristin Hopper

The Free Gaza Movement, a U.S.-based activist group known for provisioning ships to run the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, was hit with charges of anti-Semitism on Wednesday after posting a tweet claiming that Jews were responsible for the Holocaust.

“Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews,” read a tweet posted Sunday to @freegazaorg, the official Twitter feed of the group, which includes Canadian author Naomi Klein and Bishop Desmond Tutu on its board of advisors.

An embedded link led to a video of a speech by known conspiracy theorist Eustace Mullins claiming that the word Nazi is an amalgam of the words “National socialism” and “Zionist.”

“[Hitler] allied with the Zionist Party, and the mission of the Nazis was to force the anti-Zionist Jews to accept Zionism — and this is what the concentration camps were about,” said Mr. Mullins, who died of a stroke in 2010.

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Danke, Deutschland!

A guest editorial by Professor Michael Wolffsohn, which appeared in DER TAGESSPIEGEL, on September 21, 2012. Professor Wolffsohn teaches modern history at Bundeswehr University in Munich.The following translation from the original German article was graciously provided by Manfred Jager,former Berliner and journalist with the Winnipeg Tribune and Winnipeg Free Press from 1960 -2000.

”The circumcision debate in no way propels us Jews out of Germany,” says Prof. Michael Wolffsohn. “On the contrary: The debate has given us Jews an opportunity to contemplate our identity.

September 24, 2012

DER TAGESSPIEGEL

By Michael Wolffsohn

Danke, Deutschland!

During the ongoing public debate of the circumcision controversy and in reaction to the recent criminal attack on Rabbi Alter and several Jewish school girls, my inner Jewish voice has only one response: Danke, Deutschland!

A majority of representatives inside Germany and from abroad proclaim that “Jewish life is once again quite obviously unwelcome.” There are even voices that perceive a direct link between the finding of a county court in Cologne that circumcision constitutes physical assault and the Auschwitz events. Others openly threaten a renewed wave of Jewish emigration. Fact is that today’s federal Germany consistently acts in a friendly manner toward us Jews and nobody is serious about any thoughts of leaving the country.

It is an established fact that some of ‘my’ Jewish representatives have threatened for decades to pack their suitcases and leave. And it is a fact that there were 30,000 Jews living in the area of the pre-unification Germany and that their number has increased to about 250,000 since German reunification. In Berlin alone estimates put the number of Israelis with residence in Berlin at about 50,000  and growing. Jews don’t leave here, they come TO Germany. Time and again, the Jewish community of this country has consistently refuted the oft-repeated eloquently expressed, then withdrawn and then again repeated  threats of its leadership.

Associating the circumcision debate with the assault on young girls and a rabbi is confusing and lacks any sense of realism. The rabbi and the young girls became victims because Germany and Europe have been a side show  of the permanent Arabian-Muslim-Israeli conflict. In fact, the circumcision debate affects both Jews and Muslims equally, even though hardly anyone talks about the origins of the issue, namely the Muslims, anymore and everybody mentions ‘the’ Jews. German public opinion reacted to the attacks with outrage and sharp condemnation. Danke, Deutschland.

Politics  and religion must be considered separately and never in combination with each other.

On May 7, 2012 a county court in Cologne handed down a decision of historic significance: It found that the circumcision of a Muslim boy constituted assault, even though no sentence was passed on the attending physician. Nevertheless, a pall of uncertainty has descended on both Jews and Muslims since that judicial finding. The reason: Whosoever henceforth carries out a circumcision procedure must consider the possibility of being charged with a criminal offence. The result of the court finding is  a debate about  the boundaries of the freedom of religion.

The Cologne county court judges in their wisdom argued that the basic right of the child to physical integrity takes precedence and is supreme. Parents ought to wait until the child is old enough to decide circumcision for himself  

Removal of the foreskin is tradition in both Judaism and Islam. Jewish religious ritual calls for the procedure to be undertaken when the child is eight days old. Islam postpones it until later.  In Germany, physicians carry out most circumcisions. The German Bundestag is on record as permitting religious circumcisions. The members of the Bundestag have passed a respective resolution. Measures to settle the matter once and for all in new legislation are expected to follow.

The debate over-exercises the ability of political consideration. M.P. Volker Beck of the Greens Party has stated  that matters will now likely be pushed forward in a haphazard (“Hopplahopp”) manner. The process, argues Beck, would likely disregard the need for thorough deliberation. The Conference of European Rabbis, on the other hand, considers the court finding the most massive Attack on Jewish life in Germany since the Holocaust. The Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland (Central Council of the Jews in Germany) reacts less vehemently but nevertheless criticises the current debate. Stephan Kramer, the council’s secretary-general, laments what he terms widespread public ignorance. “We note much ignorance and lack of understanding on matters surrounding this question,” he said.

Fewer than half the number of Jews living in Germany are affiliated with one of the 108 Jewish congregations in the country which operate under the aegis of the Council. The number of congregation members has dropped steadily for years. The congregations have become less and less attractive to individuals for a number of reasons: Unending Intra-congregational infighting (a particular problem in Berlin). Beyond the shallow, sometimes silly attitudes, however, a fundamental condition has made Jewish congregations unattractive: The general secularization and the ‘God-Is-Dead’-belief have led to a growing disinterest in religion in general and in religious institutions in particular. This almost total worldliness movement is damaging Jewish and Christian communities in equal measure.

We must also consider that Jewish representatives are frequently involved politically. Figuratively speaking, they tend to gaze heavenward rather seldom, and politicians master the often hellishly difficult political situations better than do laymen, be they Christians or Jews. And neither synagogues nor churches are fit places for political pursuit.

The orthodox rabbi Yitshak Ehrenberg is on record as considering the Berlin solution regarding circumcision as “unfortunate”. The debate was triggered by a decision of the county court in Cologne last May which termed the circumcision of a young Muslim boy as tantamount to criminal assault.

Despite all protests against the Cologne court finding, the associations of paediatricians are on record as opposing the practice of religiously motivated circumcision. According to Wolfram Hartmann, the president of German Society of Paediatricians, the doctors rate the principle of physical inviolability of the child ahead of the rights of parents to intervene and decide on the procedure on a religious basis.

During the wide-ranging circumcision debate in Germany Jewish spokesmen have time and again conveyed the impression to the public that circumcision goes to the very core of (male) Jewish identity. Yet, if identity were reduced to this, the identity itself would be reduced to a sadly impoverished level.

 “National laws rule”, the ancient Jewish scholars held from time immemorial. Strangely, this principle did not stop Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Metzger, nor the Orthodox Minister of the interior, Yishai, to take a direct hand in this purely German debate. Once again, this demonstrates the political influence on all religion, including the Jewish one. In any event, all attempted intervention in the matter was uncalled for as all political parties will be involved in designing German legislation which will take into consideration all interests and concerns. Danke, Deutschland!

In actual fact, we Jews benefit from this German debate as it gives us the opportunity to contemplate our identity in all seriousness. Until now, we have not taken this opportunity. Still – what has not yet happened is still possible in the future. And if we come to a point of serious self-examination, we’ll have the Germans to thank for it. Danke, Deutschland!

France 'has come to terms' with Holocaust role

France has finally come to terms with its role in the deportation of thousands of Jews to Nazi death camps, President François Hollande said Friday as he inaugurated a new Holocaust memorial centre.

September 22, 2012

The Local - France's News in English

AFP

"Now our duty is to shape the spirit of the generations to come," Hollande said in a speech at the opening of a major new educational centre next to the site of the infamous Drancy transit camp from where some 70,000 people were sent to their deaths.

"Teaching the past is the only way to prevent it from being repeated."

Hollande drew a line under decades of dispute over the extent to which the deportations were aided and abetted by the French state, police and ordinary citizens.

"It is no longer about establishing the truth, it is about passing it on," the president said in a speech delivered in the presence of representatives of France's Jewish community who included a handful of survivors of the camp.

Drancy, an internment camp improvised from a block of social housing about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from central Paris, had been the site of an "abominable crime," Hollande said.

Of the six million Jews sent to the death camps, 76,000 of them came from France and 63,000 of them were deported from Drancy, he said.

"Of all ages, of all origins and nationalities and from every social class, they only had one thing in common, they were targeted for one sole reason: they were Jews. That was enough for them to be sent to their deaths."

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France's Le Pen Backs Ban on Kippahs

Far-Right Leader Wants To Outlaw Muslim Headscarves

September 22, 2012

Forward

By JTA

PARIS — French right-wing politician Marine Le Pen said she supports a ban on wearing kipahs in public in addition to a ban on Muslim headscarves.

“Obviously, if the veil is banned, the kipah [should be] banned in public as well,” the French daily Le Monde quoted Le Pen, leader of the National Front, as saying in an interview published on Friday.

Le Pen’s anti-immigrant, anti-Islamist party long has supported a ban on Muslim headscarves, niqabs and burkas. France’s minister of education, Vincent Peillon, said Le Pen “was fanning the flames of fundamentalism” with her statements. “She is the main fundamentalist,” he said.

The president of the Conference of European Rabbis, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, said Le Pen has, “once again, exposed herself as being unworthy of the mainstream French political space.

“Her suggestion of a ban on wearing a kipah in public takes us straight back to the times of state-sponsored anti-Semitism under the Vichy regime,” he said. “Any sane politician will disqualify these comments as total madness and profoundly insulting to the French ideals of freedom of expression.”

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The last klezmer: A Holocaust survivor's musical revenge

Leopold Kozlowski, 94, is a cultural figure in Poland, where he is known as 'the last klezmer.'

Septmember 22, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

KRAKOW, Poland - At noon last Wednesday Leopold Kozlowski walked into his regular cafe, Klezmer Hois in this city's Jewish Quarter. As he does every day, Kozlowski ordered a cold beverage and sat down at his own reserved table.

Kozlowski, 94, is a cultural figure in Poland, where he is known as "the last klezmer."

"Music saved my life," he says, adding, "I was in a concentration camp, in a ghetto and in the forest. Music gave me strength. Hitler destroyed Judaism, but not its music. It lives forever."

Despite his advanced age and the suffering he endured during the Holocaust, Kozlowski still plays professionally. This year he has performed in Madrid, Venice, Berlin and Toulouse, and this week in Lviv. He played in Israel in 2007.

He plays to full houses, to the many Poles who have taken an interest in Jewish culture in the past several years. Proof of this renewed interest is amply evident on every corner of Kazimierzin, the city's Jewish Quarter, where cafes have Hebrew names and the bars and restaurants play Jewish music.

Does Kozlowski see a future for Judaism in Poland? "There's a future, but no Jews," he says.

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The Roma Holocaust memorial that wasn't built in a day

"That memorial should have been for everyone, not just the Jews... But they didn't distinguish among Jews, Roma and gays when they murdered them. They did them all in. So why separate?"

September 15, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Aaderet

BERLIN - "You're asking for a smile? Here you need sadness and seriousness!" said Dani Karavan, scolding the photographer in a small clearing in the woods of the Tiergarten earlier this week. The shouts of the sculptor were swallowed up in the hubbub. Karavan, soon to turn 82, scurried among the German workers, the heavy crane and the professionals like a man of 28.

This week was one of the most important in the life of the Tel Aviv-based sculptor. After 12 laborious and exhausting years, at long last his project is almost completed: At the end of October, the monument that Karavan planned in memory of the Roma holocaust during the World War II will be dedicated.

"This is the most problematic project I've ever had," says Karavan, in the German capital. "I started it before I turned 70. This year I will be 82. Because of it I was in a hospital in Israel. We thought it would take three years. Who ever imagined it would continue so long? Who even thought that I'd live that long?"

The site is made up of a pool of water, in the center of which is a triangular stone with a flower at its heart. Once a day, the stone will descend to below ground level and come back up with a new fresh flower every day. The pool will be surrounded by stones inscribed with the names of several dozen camps where Roma were murdered. The project's cost is 2.5 million euros.

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Belgian premier apologizes for Holocaust-era complicity

September 11, 2012

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

JTA) -- The prime minister of Belgium, Elio Di Rupo, apologized for the complicity of state authorities in the murder of Belgian Jews during the Holocaust.

“We must have the courage to look at the truth: There was steady participation by the Belgian state authorities in the persecution of Jews,” Di Rupo said Sunday at a memorial ceremony in the city of Mechelen.  

The ceremony honored the memory of some 25,000 Jews and Roma who were deported from the city to Auschwitz in the summer of 1942.

Di Rupo also said he wished to remove any “ambiguity” regarding the Belgian authorities’ role in deportations. 

On Sept. 2, the mayor of Brussels, Freddy Thielemans, acknowledged the role of city authorities in deporting Jews but added, “It is not for me to pass judgment.” 

An early version of an invitation signed by the mayor to a memorial ceremony spoke of Brussels citizens deported by Belgian authorities appointed by the Nazis.

Several Jewish organizations said the text was a "rewriting of history," as the deportees were Jews from all of Belgium and authorities had not been appointed by the German occupation forces. The mayor subsequently changed the text of the invitation.

Last month, Antwerp Mayor Patrick Janssens recognized and apologized for the complicity of city authorities in deportations. Janssens announced plans to erect a monument engraved with the names of Antwerps Jew known to have been murdered in the Holocaust.

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Hungary Far-right Leader Discovers Jewish Roots

In the recording, the felon is heard confronting Szegedi with evidence of his Jewish roots. Szegedi sounds surprised, then offers money and favors in exchange for keeping quiet.

September 8, 2012

National Memo

By Associated Press

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — As a rising star in Hungary’s far-right Jobbik Party, Csanad Szegedi was notorious for his incendiary comments on Jews: He accused them of “buying up” the country, railed about the “Jewishness” of the political elite and claimed Jews were desecrating national symbols.

Then came a revelation that knocked him off his perch as ultra-nationalist standard-bearer: Szegedi himself is a Jew.

Following weeks of Internet rumors, Szegedi acknowledged in June that his grandparents on his mother’s side were Jews — making him one too under Jewish law, even though he doesn’t practice the faith. His grandmother was an Auschwitz survivor and his grandfather a veteran of forced labor camps.

Since then, the 30-year-old has become a pariah in Jobbik and his political career is on the brink of collapse. He declined to be interviewed for this story.

At the root of the drama is an audio tape of a 2010 meeting between Szegedi and a convicted felon. Szegedi acknowledges that the meeting took place but contends the tape was altered in unspecified ways; Jobbik considers it real.

In the recording, the felon is heard confronting Szegedi with evidence of his Jewish roots. Szegedi sounds surprised, then offers money and favors in exchange for keeping quiet.

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Spanish Jews petition for removal of offensive word from official dictionary

Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE) wants to remove the word 'Judiada' from the Dictionary of the Spanish Language.

September 8, 2012

Haaretz

Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE) wants to remove the word 'Judiada' from the Dictionary of the Spanish Language.

The representative body of Spain’s Jewish community has renewed efforts to have a pejorative word connected to Jews scrapped from the country's official dictionary.

Isaac Querub, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE), recently wrote to the Royal Spanish Academy, the institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language, to remove the word “Judiada” from the Dictionary of the Spanish Language.

The dictionary defines the word, which literally means Jewry, as: “Bad action that is considered, with bias, to belong to Jews." This negative statement about Jews “goes against the norms of good behavior. It does not belong in a dictionary published in the 21st century,” Querub wrote in a letter to the academy.

Querub’s letter came after the academy declined an appeal in June by Raquel Amselem, a professor at Valencia’s Polytechnic University, to expunge the word. “The dictionary is merely a reflection of the language and the word is documented in a sufficient amount of texts,” a representative of the academy wrote in an email to Amselem.

The dictionary recently changed the definition of marriage to include unions between same-sex partners, according to El Mundo, a Spanish newspaper. The new edition of the official dictionary is scheduled to appear in 2014.

Are You Sure You Still Want Us Jews In The Country?

A guest editorial by Charlotte Knobloch, carried on Page 1 of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, on Sept. 5, 2012The following translation from the original German article was graciously provided by Manfred Jager,former Berliner and journalist with the Winnipeg Tribune and Winnipeg Free Press from 1960 -2000.

(Charlotte Knobloch, 79, is President of the Israel Cultural Organization of Munich and Upper Bavaria and vice-president of the Jewish World Congress. From 2006 until 2010, she was the chair of the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland – Central Council of Jews in Germany).

September 7, 2012

Sueddeutsche Zeitung

By Charlotte Knobloch

For 60 years now I, a Survivor, have steadfastly defended Germany and the Germans. Today, I ask myself if that was the right thing to do. The Know-It-Alls are uninhibited in their pontification about “childhood torture” and “childhood traumata”. And the more they pontificate, the more they threaten and put into question the continued existence of the small and diminishing Jewish presence in Germany.

For thousands of years Jews have circumcised their male offspring. For hundreds of years they have done so on the territory of the Germany of today – and nobody has taken any interest in this.

Until now.

Now, since it has become known that a judge in Cologne cited the practice as an indictable offence, the entire (Federal) Republic is getting excited over the Pro and Contra of the removal of a tiny section of human skin.

Considering the precarious situation of our currency, one would have expected there not to be any media  “summer doldrums” to require some new, hot subject to make up for the shortage of news in the German media. But along came the circumcision issue – more than adequate to fill the non-existing news hole. Now that this legal uncertainty has landed in the laps of the law makers, perhaps it is time to end the public debate which does not advance us in the least as a society, a community  – at least until we have some draft legislation, if any, to consider.

Instead of suspending the debate, however, it now seems as if the excitement will not end anytime soon. More and more supposed experts appear to surface and bother us with their unrequested medical, legal, psychological and moral analyses of the subject. Ceaselessly, these self-appointed saviours of secular rationality and the German judicial system feel obliged to test some allegedly brutal religious ritual along some principles of legality, modernity and social compatibility. The news hole of the summer doldrums has long since been filled. More than that: The mountain of debris which divides Jews and non-Jews in this country can only become even more divisive with every expression of public interference – until it may no longer be surmountable.

Not in my worst nightmares did I imagine that shortly before my 80th birthday I would be at the point of asking myself why I survived the murder of Jews only to experience the debacle we have come face to face with now. And to all those who by this time are starting to think in terms of “oh, those oversensitive Jews again”, I have this to say: The initiators of almost all democratic thought and development on German soil were German Jews. It was they who shaped, guided and lived this country’s political progress to this point. We do not require any tutoring in democracy. We do not require any lectures on Freedom of Opinion. We are quite capable, with enthusiasm, not only to endure discourse but to further it and make it fruitful to all participants.

We quietly listen to far, far more than the members of other religious communities are prepared to listen to.

We endure it when aging Literature Nobel Prize winners with their SS-background expend their “last ink” to warn Germany and the world against “a war-mongering, nuclear-armed Israel”.

We endure it when obsessive Know-It-Alls boycott Israeli products and collect petition signatures calling on others to do the same -- when they know full well that nobody would pay them any attention if they were to pillory humanitarian catastrophes in Gambia, Somalia, in parts of the former Soviet Union or in regions beyond the occupied Palestinian territories.

We endure it when Palestinian suicide bombers meet with openly expressed sympathy because, so the argument, the Israeli attitude toward them leaves them no other alternative.

We endure it when German members of Parliament hire themselves, in the full glare of media attention, onto the crews of terrorist-sponsored freighters loaded with building materials and time-expired medical supplies for delivery to the Gaza Strip – freight loads which nobody needs and which aren’t even intended to ever arrive in Gaza – an activity solely aimed at the PR effect to be gained when the Israeli navy puts a stop to it.

We endure it when the singular crimes of the National Socialists are made “relative”, as in the so-called Prague Declaration in which human rights proponents attempt to rationalize and minimize the Holocaust by comparing it with human rights crimes committed under communism.

All that and much more we patiently listen to. More even than that: We try to justify and explain the German mentality with our relatives and friends living abroad. For decades we have argued that despite all the acrimony it is not only right, but good for us to live in this country. We say this even as rabbis and Jews recognizable as Jews are first insulted and then beaten so severely as to require admission to hospital.

For almost my entire life I have had to live with the severe criticism of Jews still in Germany by the Jewish world outside Germany. For six decades I have found it necessary to constantly justify the fact that I remained in Germany – as a tiny remnant of a world which no longer exists -- as a sheep among wolves.

I have always willingly carried this burden because I have been firmly convinced that this country and its people have deserved my remaining here. Today, for the first time, the foundations of my belief are beginning to shake.

Today, I am beginning to experience feelings of resignation. I am seriously asking myself whether this country still desires our presence here. I ask myself whether the eternal Know-It-Alls in the media, the judiciary, the psychologists, the politicians, those who uninhibitedly keep shouting about “child torture” and “traumata”, whether they all realize that they are calling into question the tiny and continually diminishing Jewish presence by the way they are talking. It is a situation unlike anything we have experienced in this country since 1945.

Contrary to the custom of circumcision in Islam, in Judaism it is constitutive. It stands at the very core of the Jewish identity. The eagerness with which those self-appointed ones unfeelingly and ignorantly drag our religious fundamentals into the mud is without precedent. People who quite obviously have no idea of the religious meaning of the Brit Mila, the circumcision, these people, who quite possibly have never had a conversation with a Jew, now want to lecture us on whether and how we are to be allowed to practise our religion.

I am no longer prepared to accept this quietly and submissively. Not after all we Jews have had to suffer In Germany. As well, I am no longer prepared to cover for those wearing blinkers on their eyes to allow themselves the fiction of a fresh, new, flowering Judaism in Germany – in order to conjure up a feeling that time can heal even the greatest imaginable wound.

Despite everything, we still love this country.

But it is a fact that the German Jewish community has never recovered from the Shoah. The few who survived it are marked to this day by the absence of Jewish community life as it presented itself at the dawn of the 20th century. There are perhaps 10,000 Jews living in Germany today. Our family trees were not merely pruned. Germany carried out a radical fire clear-cut of Jewish families.

Yet -- we live in this country in spite of everything. We love this country in spite of everything. But the time has come for the country to convince us that the trust and confidence we are still vesting in Germany are reciprocated. I do not expect special entitlements, but I demand respect and a minimum of empathy. It is no more than the Jews in Germany deserve.  

Berliners don skullcaps to show solidarity with Jewish community

Following two anti-Semitic attacks in Germany and Austria last week, a Berlin newspaper asked politicians and celebrities to pose wearing skullcaps.

September 2, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

"Berlin wears a yarmulke," the popular BZ local newspaper declared to its readers on Saturday. The reason: the front page presented a photo of five Berlin celebrities posing with skullcaps – including Mayor Klaus Wowereit, one of the best known gay politicians in Europe.

The city's residents decided to show their solidarity with the city's Jewish community following Tuesday's attack on Rabbi Daniel Alter. The assailants, locals of Arab origin, asked Alter - who was wearing a yarmulke - if he was Jewish, and then proceeded to attack him. On Thursday a rabbi was attacked in Vienna by soccer fans who abused him with anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans. A spontaneous rally was held in the city on Saturday.

Reinhard Naumann, head of the Charlottenburg– Wilmersdorf Berlin district, called for immediate action in response to the events. Naumann called on the Berlin newspaper to take action: "Berliners can show solidarity with Daniel Alter and the Jewish community by wearing skullcaps," Naumann told BZ on Friday.

The newspaper decided to accept the challenge, and turned to politicians, celebrities and citizens, who all agreed to pose wearing skullcaps. Sven Schulz, a parliament member from the Spandau neighborhood, explained: "'Berlin wears a yarmulke' is an excellent idea, and is a powerful symbol of solidarity."

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'We Have Nothing against Jews'

The Jewish community in India is outraged by a men's clothing store that calls itself "Hitler" and uses the swastika in its branding. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, one of the store's co-owners claims to not understand the fuss and says he intends to keep the name.

September 2, 2012

Spiegel Online

This isn't the first time that the name "Hitler" has sparked anger in India. There was the restaurant owner who dubbed his new café "Hitler's Cross," and there was the company that designed bed linens with swastikas as part of "The Nazi Collection."Are some people in India really so undiscerning? Do they simply have no idea that using words like "Hitler" or "Nazi" evokes the worst dictatorship of the 20th century?Indeed, there has even been a Bollywood feature film about the historical exchange of letters between Gandhi and Hitler meant to depict the latter's "insecurities, his charisma, his paranoia and his sheer genius." The film was released internationally as "My Friend Hitler," but in India under the title "Gandhi to Hitler." Word about the film during production sparked an uproar in India that prompted Anupam Kher, the actor playing Hitler, to abandon the role.Now, two young businessmen have opened a swank new store named "Hitler" in Ahmedabad, the capital of the western Indian state of Gujarat, offering Western-style men's clothing. The sign over the door has "Hitler" in capital letters, though the "i" has a dot bearing a red swastika. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke with Rajesh Shah, one of the two owners.

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Cardinal Carlo Martini dies at 85

“It is not enough to be ‘anti’ anti-Semitism,” he said. “We need to build friendships, recognizing our differences, but not allowing them to lead to conflict.”

September 1, 2012

New York Times

By GAIA PIANIGIANI

ROME — Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, one of the Roman Catholic Church’s most influential progressive thinkers, who once was considered as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II, died in a Jesuit retreat near Milan on Friday. He was 85.

…An advocate for interfaith dialogue, Cardinal Martini served on the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews. In the 1960s, as rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, he created a program under which Catholic students go to Israel to study Judaism, biblical archaeology and Hebrew.

In a 2004 speech at Gregorian University in Rome, Cardinal Martini said that Catholics could not fully understand their own faith without a meaningful understanding of Judaism.

“It is not enough to be ‘anti’ anti-Semitism,” he said. “We need to build friendships, recognizing our differences, but not allowing them to lead to conflict.”

He expanded on those views in his book “Christianity and Judaism: A Historical and Theological Overview.”

Carlo Maria Martini was born Feb. 15, 1927, in Orbassano, near Turin. He entered the Society of Jesus at 17 and was ordained a priest in 1952.

Ferruccio de Bortoli, the editor in chief of the newspaper Corriere della Sera, said in a video message that the cardinal would be missed as a theologian, “but especially as a teacher and spiritual guide for all of us, also for those who do not have the gift of the faith.”

As a result of his work in Jerusalem, Cardinal Martini became deeply attached to the city. After retiring, he lived there much of the time.

In an interview with The Times that year, he was asked how he would continue his public work in Jerusalem. As The Times reported, “he looked stricken.”

“It’s not my intention to go to Jerusalem and do something in society,” Cardinal Martini replied. “I want to become a private man. I’m sure personal prayer is more important, and silent study will help the world more than many words and actions.”

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Renovated synagogue becomes House of Cultures in Poland, sparking local controversy

After Dabrowa Tarnowska lost most of its Jewish population during the Holocaust, EU steps in to fund culture center as a meeting place for all faiths.

September 1, 2012

Haaretz

By Roman Frister

A Jewish synagogue has transformed into a culture center in the Polish town of Dabrowa Tarnowska, but not without sparking controversy.

“The Jews have a synagogue, but we got no money,” read huge billboards currently posted along a number of main roads leading to the Krakow district town.

The posters were sponsored by a city council member from the Law and Justice party in response to the House of Cultures’ grand opening, which took place on Sunday in a magnificently restored synagogue. The representative of the right-wing party also claims that not all those who worked on the renovation got paid what they had been promised.

The restored synagogue dates back to the 19th century when the town’s residents were almost all Jews. But during the Holocaust, most of Dabrowa’s Jews were deported to the death camp at Belzec.

Some 200 Jewish residents of Dabrowa survived the Holocaust, a few with the help of neighbors who were later recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. According to the book by Polish historian Jan Grabowski, “Hunting Down the Jews, 1942-1945,” a similar number of Jews were murdered by locals or turned over to the Germans by locals or by the Polish Police.

At the end of World War II, all those who survived left Poland, some for Israel and some for the United States.

Since a town that had no Jews had no need for a synagogue, the district community decided, under Communist rule, to give up the building, which had been damaged by the Germans, and give it to the state on the condition that they open a cultural center there.

The communists did not keep their word, and it was only recently, thanks to a $3 million grant from the European Union and with the help of contributions from the Polish Culture Ministry, the municipality and the Krakow Jewish community, that the renovations were completed in August after two years.

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Trove of everyday items reveals Lithuania's dark Holocaust secret

A young Lithuanian archaeologist reveals a dark secret hidden for 70 years: the remnants of the personal belongings of the Jews killed in the city of Kovno.

September 1, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

On the shiny glass table lay jewelry, coins and metal utensils - similar to those in a catalog of antiques. The years have left their mark on the items, but they are still in good shape. Some collector would probably pay a nice amount for them.

But these items are not for sale. It is doubtful whether anyone even would think of buying them if they knew where they came from. They were found about a year ago in Kovno, Lithuania, also known as Kaunas. Vladimir Orlov, a young local archaeologist, found the items - and revealed a dark secret hidden for 70 years.

At a 10-day seminar held at at The International School for Holocaust Studies in Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem for Lithuanian educators that ended Wednesday, Orlov presented his research in a talk: "The Beginning of the Holocaust in Lithuania (VII Fort Findings )."

Kovno is the second largest city in Lithuania. The archaeological site was found in one of the 10 fortresses built surrounding the city in the 19th century that were used as prisons. In the summer of 1941, some 4,000 Jews from the city were quickly gathered in the seventh fort and murdered. Some were shot using machine guns and others were killed by hand grenades.

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Youths attack Berlin rabbi, in suspected anti-Semitic assault

Man, 53, wounded in the attack, says the four men threatened to kill his six-year-old daughter; suspects flee scene; Berlin mayor denounces 'anti-Semitic attack.'

August 29, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

A Berlin rabbi was reportedly assaulted by youths in the city's western side on Tuesday, in what in a suspected anti-Semitic attack.

The man, 53, who was wounded in the attack, said the four men, reportedly of Arab extraction, who attack him also verbally abused his Jewish faith, and threatened to kill his six-year-old daughter, who was also present.

According to police, the four suspects fled the scene of the attack, which took place in the peaceful Schöneberg neighborhood. An investigation has been initiated by local police.

While it was not yet clear as to what was the precise motivation behind the attack, it is believed that it was anti-Semitic in nature.

President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Dieter Graumann denounced the attack, sand said he was "dumbfounded."

According to Graumann, the incident represented an "assault on our values, ones of tolerance and liberalism.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit said that he denounced the "anti-Semitic attack in the harshest terms."

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Files Reveal Neo-Nazis Helped Palestinian Terrorists

Forty years ago, the massacre of Israeli athletes and coaches overshadowed the Munich Summer Olympics. Though it was never proved, left-wing extremists were suspected of working with the Palestinian terrorists behind the operation. But previously unreleased files seen by SPIEGEL prove that neo-Nazis were involved instead -- and officials knew about it.

August 27, 2012

Spiegel Online

By Gunther Latsch and Klaus Wiegrefe

The men who were arrested in the Munich house of former Waffen-SS member Charles Jochheim late on Oct. 27, 1972 were armed like soldiers on their way to the front. In one suitcase, police found three Kalashnikov automatic rifles, six magazines, 174 rounds of ammunition, two pistols, a revolver and six Belgian-made hand grenades.

The two men who were arrested were also carrying other weapons. Wolfgang Abramowski had weapons hidden in his waistband, while his accomplice, Willi Pohl, was carrying two pistols and a hand grenade, according to a Munich police investigative report.

A fellow member of a right-wing extremist splinter group calling itself the "National Socialist Fighting Group for a Greater Germany" had tipped off the police about Pohl and Abramowski. The two men allegedly planned to use the weapons to free a fellow extremist who was in prison, but investigators soon questioned whether this story was true.

Among the documents Abramowski and Pohl were carrying was a threatening letter to a Munich judge tasked with clearing up one of the most shocking crimes in postwar German history: the massacre at the Munich Summer Olympics.

On Sept. 5, 1972, Palestinian militants with a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist group called "Black September" took nine Israeli athletes hostage and demanded the release of several hundred Palestinians from Israeli prisons. When the police attempted to free the Israelis at the Fürstenfeldbruck military airport, where they were being held in two helicopters, the terrorists murdered all of their hostages. A police officer also died in the firefight. Three of the Palestinians survived, and the judge to whom the letter found in Pohl's and Abramowski's luggage was addressed was in charge of the case against them.

In the letter, Black September threatened to retaliate against the judge "if he continues to allow Israel intelligence agents to participate in the interrogations of the Olympic terrorists." An examination of the weapons seized from Pohl and Abramowski proved that this was no joke by right-wing extremist copycats.

Seeing the Attack in a New Light

The "final report" by Munich police, dated July 23, 1973, states: "An additional indication of the relationship between the crimes committed by Pohl and his accomplices and the attack on the Olympic Village in Munich is that the … confiscated machine carbines and hand grenades have the same characteristics as the weapons used by the militants."

This evidence practically proved that the suspicion that German neo-Nazis Pohl and Abramowski were collaborating with the Palestinian terrorists was in fact true.

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Turning a lens on Shanghai's Jewish refugees

An exhibition in Jerusalem chronicles the little-known story of the approximately 20,000 stateless European Jews who sought refuge in China during World War II and their lives in the Shanghai Ghetto.

August 24, 2012

Haaretz

By Ronen Shnidman

N.B. The Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada presented an exhibit on this same subjet in 2001. Please see "Creating a Refuge During the Holocaust - Shanghai Connection Exhibition

http://www.jhcwc.org/shanghai/index.htm

Between 1933 and June 22, 1941, when Germany declared war against the Soviet Union, roughly 20,000-25,000 Jewish refugees escaped Nazi persecution and the coming Holocaust by fleeing to the Far Eastern port city of Shanghai. Because of its extra-territorial status prior to Japanese occupation in 1941, Shanghai was one of the few places in the world that would accept Jewish refugees without requiring hard-to-get immigration visas.

This fascinating period of history is the subject of the current exhibition at the Jerusalem House of Quality called “Jewish Refugees and Shanghai” which opened last Thursday and is set to close this Saturday, August 25.

”We sincerely hope that, based on the common history of the Chinese people and the Jewish refugees in Shanghai, and the significance attributed to it by Chinese and Israelis, this exhibition will increase the mutual understanding and cooperation between the people of both countries,” reads the curator's introduction. And it is through this lens that the exhibit provides visitors with a snapshot of Jewish refugee life in the Hangkou district of Shanghai around the time of World War II.

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Amsterdam to name bridge after Holocaust-era savior of Jewish children

Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan and other dignitaries scheduled to name bridge 234 the Pieter Meerburg Bridge

August 24, 2012

Haaretz

By JTA

The City of Amsterdam will name one of its last remaining nameless bridges for Pieter Meerburg, who saved 350 Jewish children during the Holocaust.

Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan and other dignitaries are scheduled to christen bridge 234 the Pieter Meerburg Bridge on Sept. 2.

As a student in Amsterdam in 1942, Meerburg was in charge of a network that smuggled Jewish children to safe houses across the Netherlands. Meerburg died in 2010. The network was known as the Amsterdam Student Group.

One method used by the group to camouflage the Jewish identity of babies they rescued was by allowing foster parents to adopt them. Female couriers working for the group would pretend the babies were their own, telling authorities they wanted to give the babies away for adoption because they did not know the identity of the father.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial recognized Meerburg as Righteous Among the Nations in 1974.

Bridge 234 is situated at the Hortusplantsoen, some 200 yards from the Portuguese Synagogue and the Jewish Historical Museum.

Israeli archaeologist digs into Sobibor death camp in search of Nazi killing machines

Yoram Haimi's biggest breakthrough yet: mapping of what the Germans called the Himmelfahrsstrasse, or the 'Road to Heaven,' a path upon which the inmates were marched naked into the gas chambers.

August 22, 2012

Haaretz

By The Associated Press

When Israeli archaeologist Yoram Haimi decided to investigate his family's unknown Holocaust history, he turned to the skill he knew best: He began to dig.

After learning that two of his uncles were murdered in the infamous Sobibor death camp, he embarked on a landmark excavation project that is shining new light on the workings of one of the most notorious Nazi killing machines, including pinpointing the location of the gas chambers where hundreds of thousands were killed.

Sobibor, in eastern Poland, marks perhaps the most vivid example of the "Final Solution," the Nazi plot to wipe out European Jewry. Unlike other camps that had at least a facade of being prison or labor camps, Sobibor and the neighboring camps Belzec and Treblinka were designed specifically for exterminating Jews. Victims were transported there in cattle cars and gassed to death almost immediately.

But researching Sobibor has been difficult. After an October 1943 uprising at the camp, the Nazis shut it down and leveled it to the ground, replanting over it to cover their tracks.

Today, tall trees cover most of the former camp grounds. Because there were so few survivors - only 64 were known - there has never been an authentic layout of the camp, where the Nazis are believed to have murdered some 250,000 Jews over an 18-month period. From those few survivors' memories and partial German documentation, researchers had only limited understanding of how the camp operated.

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Fifty Nazi descendents join Auschwitz march

Hundreds from Poland, Israel and Germany join March of the Living to commemorate the Holocaust and oppose anti-Semitism

August 19, 2012

Haaretz

By JTA

Fifty descendants of officers of the Nazi SS, Wehrmacht and World War II-era German police officers will be among the participants in the March of Life, which will start on Sunday at Auschwitz.

Several hundred people from Poland, Israel and Germany will take part in the program, which will commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and oppose anti-Semitism.

The participants will visit Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, Majdanek, Chelmno, Sobibor, Warsaw and Kielce.

Among them will be 50 people from Germany who are descendants of the officers of the Nazi SS, the Wehrmacht and the World War II-era German police. At the sites of the former death camps there will be ceremonies during which both the descendants of the victims and perpetrators will speak.

The main ceremony will be on August 23 in Warsaw. Special guest of the March will be Lia Shemtov, a deputy speaker of Israel’s Knesset and a member of the Yisrael Beitenu party.

March of the Living is an initiative of Jobst and Charlotte Bittner, and TOS Ministries of Germany, a non-denominational church founded by the couple.

The program was prepared in cooperation with many organizations in Poland, Israel and Germany. Similar marches have taken place in more than 80 cities in 12 countries.

Antwerp to build Holocaust monument naming city’s victims

Municipality also endeavors to unveil a memorial plaque acknowledging the complicity of Antwerp authorities in the deportation of the city's Jews.

August 18, 2012

Haaretz

By JTA

Antwerp Mayor Patrick Janssens announced plans to build a monument to commemorate the Belgian city's Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

"It is unacceptable that unlike other European cities, the municipality of Antwerp has never erected a single monument in memory of the history" of the Holocaust, Janssens said Wednesday at a City Hall ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first deportation of Antwerp's Jews.

The city's only monument to the Holocaust was at the initiative of the Forum of Jewish Organizations, which represents Flemish Jews, Janssens said.

Speaking to about 100 people at the ceremony, Janssens announced the plans to erect a monument and engrave into it the name of every Antwerp Jew known to have been murdered in the Holocaust.

In addition, he said, the municipality will soon unveil a memorial plaque at City Hall with the proposed text acknowledging the complicity of Antwerp's municipal authorities in the deportation of the city's Jews.

According to the proposed text, the transports were "organized by the Nazis in close cooperation with the municipal authorities [which were] in charge of the police. Dozens of policemen were involved. Most cooperated obediently, some exercised violence. A few policemen resisted, and sabotaged the Aug. 27 transport. Others tried to save Jews."

The text also says that more than 10,000 Jews from Antwerp were deported, and that the police were involved in the detention of more than 3,000. "Almost all of the deportees perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau," it reads.

Eli Ringer, honorary chairman of the Forum of Jewish Organizations, called the ceremony "impressive."

He added, "Complicity of local authorities was a complex issue. On the one hand, there was widespread cooperation on the part of Leo Delwaide, who was mayor then. On the other, we have testimonies that he personally helped some Jews save themselves."

He escaped from hell and lived to tell the tale

August 18, 2012

Winnipeg Free Press

Book Review By Martin Zeilig

Escape from Camp 14

One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

By Blaine Harden

Viking, 205 pages. $28.50)

His first memory is of an execution.

Thus begins this extraordinary story of survival, despair, courage and hope -- among other applicable adjectives -- of Shin Dong-hyuk (born in 1982 as Shin In Geun).

Shin is the only person known to have been born into and then escaped from "a total-control zone" internment camp in communist North Korea.

He was four years old when he saw the execution, "too young to understand the speech that came before that killing, when he walked his mother to a wheatfield near the Taedong River, where guards had rounded up several thousand prisoners," writes the book's American author, Blaine Harden, a reporter for the PBS show Frontline and a contributor to The Economist magazine.

"Excited by the crowd, the boy crawled between adult legs to the front row, where he saw guards tying a man to a wooden pole."

At dozens of executions in years to come, he would listen to a guard telling the crowd that the prisoner about to die had been offered "redemption" through hard labour, "but had rejected the generosity of the North Korean government," Harden writes.

He witnessed the executions of his own mother and brother.

"Although he would not admit it to anyone for 15 years, he knew he was responsible for their executions," Harden writes.

Shin even watched his teacher, a camp guard, beat a six-year-old girl to death in front of her classmates.

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In search of a third option

August 18, 2012

The Observer

A third option could be to encourage United Church travellers to the Holy Land to include a visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, and to include visits with members of groups like Rabbis for Human Rights.

By Carolyn Pogue

Everyone makes mistakes. Even churches. I think we are making one right now by wading into the Israel-Palestine question with a recommendation to boycott settlement products. As if.

One proverb I live by isn’t found in the Bible. It comes from Poland, author unknown: “If there are only two options, choose the third.”

Our church has been criticized for taking political stands; I’ve always been proud that we’ve had the guts to do that. We claim that Jesus took stands and would expect his followers to do the same — even if it’s costly. That’s not the issue.

The issue is that we are adding one more negative idea to an already negative situation in Israel and Palestine. The boycott action has been inspired by our work with Christians, Muslims and Jews in Israel and Palestine, who feel frightened and isolated. Nevertheless, we are stumbling into a situation without most of us knowing how it feels to have histories of displacement, exile, genocide. We don’t know how it feels to live surrounded by nations like Iran whose leadership openly state that they want all Jews obliterated. Again.

Decades of peace talks and United Nations experts have failed to bring peace. Maybe they fail because they do what CBC’s Peter Mansbridge did: he asked experts there, “Is peace possible?” But he interviewed the military and government people and ignored the peace experts — the Arabs and Jews who work together for peace.

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Vichy state's World War II role still divides France

August 14, 2012

LA Times

By Devorah Lauter

A Paris exhibit on deported Jews points to those leaders' actions. Some French say the Vichy was never France; others say it's time the nation faced its past.

PARIS — Some letters are decorated around the edges with flowers in colored pencil and crayon, the way little girls will do. But the words are about living in fear, and waiting for loved ones arrested because they were Jewish.

"Dear Sir … I'm calling upon your generous soul and your good heart.... I think I've fallen into desperation.... I am alone and there's no one who can help us," 12-year-old Rosette Lewenstadt carefully wrote in blue ink 70 years ago from the Drancy internment camp, north of Paris.

The faded letters, toys, photos, a yellow star sewn onto a child's delicate white dress are on display at in Paris' City Hall. The exhibit "They Were Children" tells the stories of Jewish youngsters sent from France to Nazi death camps during World War II, and it tells it in French.

Germany is not the focus here. The exhibit's letters and legal documents identifying Jews, in addition to historical explanations by curators, point to the fact that the crimes described were committed in France, by French authorities working for the Vichy government, which collaborated with the Nazis from 1940 to 1944. (The exhibit also shows how thousands of Jewish children were hidden and saved through rebel networks; 80% of Jewish children living in Paris in 1939 survived the war.)

Although Vichy called itself the legitimate French state, many deny that it was a French entity at all, preferring to reserve the title for the Resistance, based in London. But others say France must come to terms with its past.

After years of historical work, "we've come to an image that is a lot closer to reality: that the French state, Vichy, made decisions it wasn't forced to make. It acted with a certain independence, a certain autonomy in any case," French sociologist Michel Wieviorka said. "So let's not rewrite history in the other direction. Let's not exonerate all the people who collaborated."

That soul-searching attempt to define the country's role during the war remains a delicate topic, if not heated. The issue recently resurfaced with the 70th anniversary of the 1942 roundup and deportation of more than 13,000 Jews in the Paris region, known as the Vel d'Hiv raid, which not only targeted men, but women and children.

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Holocaust education must never be taken for granted

August 14, 2012

Ottawa Citizen

By Patrick Mascoe

In June, I had the privilege of speaking at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem at the Eighth International Conference on Holocaust Education. The conference attracted more than 350 delegates from 52 different countries. The main objective of the conference was to examine core issues regarding the Holocaust and ways to teach Holocaust education in today’s society.

One of the most fascinating lectures was given by Efraim Zuroff, the co-ordinator of Nazi war crimes research worldwide for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Zuroff’s job is part historian, part detective and part political activist. His goal is to seek justice for the victims of the Holocaust and to track down those who committed the atrocities.

Most of the perpetrators that he hunts are now in their 80s or 90s. Although he is often successful at tracking down former Nazi war criminals, seeking their extradition to face charges is an entirely different problem. In the case of most governments, there is a lack of political will to prosecute these alleged war criminals simply because of their age and the realization that most will pass away in the not too distant future.

Is it vindictive to prosecute these senior citizens for crimes committed more than 60 years ago? Many politicians believe it is.

However, Zuroff presents a number of valid arguments to challenge this thinking: the victims and their families deserve justice; we need to view the accused not as harmless old men but rather as they were in their youth when the crimes were committed; being fortunate enough to live to an old age should not absolve one of guilt; and finally, as a society we need to send the message that this type of behaviour will never be tolerated and that running and hiding will not stop society from holding you accountable for your actions.

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Germany refocuses on neo-Nazi threat

August 14, 2012

Washington Post

By Michael Birnbaum

BERLIN — Until the discovery last year that a string of unsolved killings had been perpetrated by neo-Nazis, few in Germany considered far-right extremism a major threat.

After the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, security agencies around the world poured energy into fighting Islamist terrorism, and Germany did so with special urgency because several of the hijackers had lived in Hamburg. But the shift led to the neglect of other types of homegrown violence in this nation of 82 million people, critics now say, allowing a neo-Nazi movement to flourish.

Although security services were keeping an eye on neo-Nazi groups, official assessments declared that the threat of right-wing terrorism was insignificant. But while resources were being concentrated on Islamist extremism, a small cell of neo-Nazis went undetected while it killed 10 people, nine of them with immigrant backgrounds, over seven years.

Police never suspected a right-wing connection — they found it only after the neo-Nazis virtually dropped into their laps after a bungled bank robbery. Last week, Germany installed a new head of its equivalent to the FBI. He has sworn to overhaul the country’s intelligence services.

Monitoring Islamist terrorism and other threats can be a difficult balance in any country, with shootings Aug. 5 at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin only the latest reminder. There, police say, Wade Michael Page, with ties to “white power” groups, killed six people before turning his gun on himself.

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Anti-Semitism Egypt's opiate

August  8, 2012

Winnipeg Free Press

By Jeffrey Goldberg

A travel tip for the international executive class: If you find yourself doing business in Egypt and you feel the urge to insult your interlocutor, 1) try not to insult your interlocutor; and 2) if you must, cast aspersions on the chastity of the person's mother or sister. This insult will be taken hard, but it may eventually be forgiven.

Whatever you do, don't accuse the person of being Jewish. That may cause an irrevocable breach and could even provoke violence.

Anti-Semitism, the socialism of fools, is becoming the opiate of the Egyptian masses. And not just the masses. Egypt has never been notably philo-Semitic (just ask Moses), but today it's entirely acceptable among the educated and creative classes there to demonize Jews and voice the most despicable anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Careerists know that even fleeting associations with Jews and Israelis could spell professional trouble.

The level of anti-Semitism in Egypt has consequences, of course, for Middle East peace and for the safety of Jews. But, importantly, it has consequences for the welfare of Egypt itself. The revolution that overthrew the country's dictator, Hosni Mubarak, held great promise, but it also exposed the enormous challenges facing Egyptian politics and culture. And anti-Semitism, if nothing else, has always been a sign of a deeply damaged culture.

As Walter Russell Mead has written on his blog, countries "where vicious anti-Semitism is rife are almost always backward and poor." They aren't backward and poor because the Elders of Zion conspire against them. They're backward and poor because, Mead argues, they lack the ability to "see the world clearly and discern cause-and-effect relations in complex social settings." He calls anti-Semitism the "sociology of the befuddled."

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UN experts urge States to confront modern-day hatred, violence against Roma

August 2, 2012

UN News Centre

Young forcibly-displaced Roma from south-east Europe. Many have no citizenship which affects their daily lives. Photo: UNHCR/L. Taylor

Two independent United Nations human rights experts today called on all countries, particularly those with Roma communities, to confront modern-day hatred, violence and discrimination against this group and find solutions to their persistent exclusion.

Their comments come on Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day, or ‘Pharrajimos’ in the Romani language, which is observed each year on 2 August. Some 3,000 Roma and Sinti were murdered on the night of 2-3 August 1944, when the “Gypsy” camp in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex was liquidated by the Nazi regime.

The UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Rita Izsák, who is herself of Hungarian Roma origin, said not enough was being done to challenge “a rising tide of hostility and discrimination against Roma in Europe that shames societies.”

Ms. Izsák, whose personal experience with racism and discrimination has inspired her work for minority rights, urged States to take a zero-tolerance stance against acts of anti-Roma extremism, hatred and violence, according to a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

In addition, the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere, called for increased awareness and action to tackle these issues.

“The teaching in schools of the history of Roma, including the genocide they suffered during the Nazi regime, and awareness-raising measures to inform and sensitise populations about Roma identity and culture are essential to address the persistent prejudices that fuel racism and intolerance against them,” Mr. Ruteere said.

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Hamas blasts Palestinian official's Auschwitz trip

Hamas official expresses Islamic militant group's position, that Holocaust 'is a big lie.'

August 1, 2012

Haaretz

Associated Press

Gaza's ruling party, Hamas, has criticized a Palestinian official for visiting a memorial at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz and paying respects to its 1.5 million victims there, most of them Jews.

Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum, expressing the Islamic militant group's position, claimed Wednesday that the Holocaust "is a big lie." He said last week's visit to the Auschwitz by Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, went against Palestinian public opinion. Abbas and Hamas are political rivals.

Some 6 million Jews were killed in the German Nazi genocide during World War II, including in Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Many Palestinians fear that if they acknowledge the Holocaust, they will diminish their own suffering, including their uprooting during Israel's 1948 creation and decades under Israeli occupation.

Op-Ed: The Jews are Out of Fashion Again in Europe

The Israeli embassy in Madrid received dozens of postcards written by Spanish schoolchildren with messages such as “Jews kill for money,” “Leave the country to the Palestinians” and “Go somewhere where they will accept you".

July 28, 2012

Arutz Sheva

By Giulio Meotti

Last week in Bulgaria, the Shabbat rhythms and moving accents of the Jews expelled from medieval Spain were silenced by the dynamite of a suicide bomber.

In most EU countries, synagogues need heavy security, the word "Jew" is a standard epithet, the Israelis are relentlessly portrayed as devils incarnate, ghoulish copies of fraudulent "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" are sold from one end of the continent to the other, identifiable Jews are attacked on the street - and they are offered a simple way out: "Renounce Zionism".

The synagogue of Noisy-le-Grand in Paris’ Seine-Saint-Denis district has was recently attacked three times in one week. Vandals threw prayer books and tallis prayer shawls to the floor and shattered windows.

Recently, the University of Paris VIII closed its doors for two days to avoid a harder stance about a planned conference against the Jewish State.

Early this month, the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur referred to many incidents of anti-Jewish violence during the last weeks.

In 2010, there were 466 anti-Jewish incidents. In 2011, there were 389.

2012 has already broken the record. In certain neighborhoods of Paris, Marseille or Lyons it is no longer safe for Jews to walk the streets.

...According to the Observatory on Anti-Semitism, online anti-Semitism in Spain doubled in the last year, passing from 400 anti-Semitic pages to the current 1.000. The Israeli embassy in Madrid received dozens of postcards written by Spanish schoolchildren with messages such as “Jews kill for money,” “Leave the country to the Palestinians” and “Go somewhere where they will accept you".

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Survey finds young Frenchmen know nothing about WWII Jewish roundup

July,  26,  2012

Quitenormal

JTA

Most young Frenchmen never heard of the World War II roundup of Paris Jews, a survey shows.

The recent survey showed most young French adults were unaware of the deportation of Parisian Jews during the Holocaust.

Sixty percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 said they never heard of the Vel d’Hiv Roundup of July 16-17, 1942, when French police rounded up some 13,000 Jews in and around Paris. They were held near the Eiffel Tower before being shipped for extermination to Auschwitz.

The Union of French Jewish Students commissioned the leading polling company CSA to perform the survey, which includes answers from 1,056 respondents. The union published the results on the 70th anniversary of the deportation.

The survey showed young adults know less about the roundup than the average French adult. Among the general population, 42 percent of respondents had never heard of the roundup.

In 1995, then-President Jacques Chirac apologized for the French police’s role in the murder of the Jews arrested in the Vel d’Hiv Roundup. Popularly known in French as La Rafle (“The Raid”), the roundup has been the subject of books, poems and movies.

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A haven for too long

July 21, 2012

Ottawa Citizen

It’s hard for Canadians to cheer the arrest of the man the Simon Wiesenthal Center calls its “Number One Most Wanted” suspected Nazi war criminal, given that he lived in Canada for nearly 50 years, and this country did nearly nothing about it.

The story of Laszlo Csatary is a reminder of how inept Canada was in dealing with suspected war criminals, until very recently. Bernie Farber, former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, says, “Canada has one of the worst, if not the worst, record among all the allies in dealing with Nazi war criminals.”

It began with the fact that the victims of the Holocaust had a harder time coming to Canada after the Second World War, in many cases, than their victimizers did. In 1985, the Deschênes Commission provided a list of 774 people suspected of Nazi crimes or collaboration, but found only 20 cases with prima facie evidence of war crimes against people living in Canada. In the years that followed, there were some trials under the Criminal Code, but they foundered, often because of problems with evidence.

The other way Canada had to deal with suspected criminals was to denaturalize and deport them if there was evidence they’d lied or misrepresented themselves to get into the country. But those proceedings could drag on for years. Even then, deportation is not exactly justice, in cases of individuals who were suspected of genocidal crimes. But at least, as Farber points out, deportation would reduce the chance that Holocaust survivors would encounter their torturers, walking free on Canadian soil.

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Hungarians arrest ex-Canadian, 97, for alleged Nazi war crimes

July 19, 2012

The Globe and Mail

By Pablo Gorondi

A 97-year-old former Canadian citizen suspected of helping deport thousands of Jews during the Holocaust was taken into custody in the Hungarian capital Wednesday and charged with war crimes, prosecutors said.

The case of Laszlo Csatary was brought to the attention of Hungarian authorities last year by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization active in hunting down Nazis who have yet to be brought to justice.

In April, Mr. Csatary topped the organization’s list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals.

Prosecutors decided to charge Mr. Csatary with the “unlawful torture of human beings,” a war crime that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Mr. Csatary’s lawyer, Gabor Horvath B., said his client has been confined to house arrest for up to 30 days due to prosecutors’ fears he might try to flee.

Mr. Horvath B. said he had appealed the ruling, which also opened the way for authorities to confiscate Mr. Csatary’s passport.

As he left a Budapest courthouse Wednesday afternoon following the house-arrest hearing, Mr. Csatary walked slowly down a flight of steps, trying to shield his face from view and leaning on a companion for support.

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The friends Canada insisted were foes

July 17, 2012

The Globe and Mail

By Marsha Liederman

Finally, freedom: Erwin Schild was about to be a free man in Canada.

After facing death on Germany’s infamous Kristallnacht as his Jewish seminary was attacked in Würzburg, followed by several weeks in Dachau, a terrifying wait for an exit visa, escape to Holland and then Britain, arrest in London and internment on the Isle of Man, and a treacherous passage across an ocean thick with German U-boats, the 20-year-old future rabbi was anxious to reach a new home – and the freedom he had been promised.

Instead, he and the others were marched off the boat by the British soldiers who had made the crossing with them, and surrounded by gun-wielding Canadian soldiers.

“The surprise was that we were received as German prisoners,” says Rabbi Schild, now 92. “Mach- ine guns. It was unbelievable.”

The men, about 2,300 of them, aged 16 to 60, were mostly Jews and in all cases civilian refugees from Nazism. Yet, they were classified as enemy aliens, interned in Canada – some for more than three years – at times alongside avowed Nazis, if not German prisoners of war.

It’s a story too few people know, says Nina Krieger, education director at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre.

“I think probably afterward, with knowledge of the enormity of the Holocaust, what they experienced sort of paled in comparison …, so they didn’t articulate their experience but got on with becoming Canadian.”

Ms. Krieger is also curator of the first comprehensive exhibition to explore Canada’s dubious treatment of those seeking shelter from Nazi Germany. Entitled “Enemy Aliens” The Internment of Jewish Refugees in Canada, 1940-1943, the exhibit examines what some call a Canadian footnote to the Holocaust. It also has added resonance today, as the country struggles with its policies on immigration and refugees.

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Last known gay Jewish Holocaust survivor dies

World War II resistance fighter Gad Beck dies in Berlin at 88

July 15, 2012

Ynet

Gad Beck, who was a resistance fighter during World War II, passed away in Berlin just days before his 89th birthday.

According to The Advocate, Beck, the son of a Jewish father and mother who converted to Judaism, joined an underground resistance movement and worked to save gay and Jewish Germans.

Shortly before the end of World WarII Beck was betrayed by a Gestapo spy. He was taken to a German concentration camp, but was freed when the Nazis were defeated by the Allies.

Beck moved to Israel in the 1950s but returned to Germany in 1979, where he became active in gay and Jewish life. He was hailed as a "bold campaigner for gay rights when homosexuality was still illegal."

His story was immortalized in the film "The Life of Gad Beck" and the documentary "Paragraph 175."

Beck is survived by his partner of 35 years, Julius Laufer.

German academic finds exceptional Hitler letter 'by coincidence'

German academic Dr. Suzanne Mauss found a letter composed in 1940 by head of Nazi SS Heinrich Himmler, saying Hitler ordered life of a Jewish judge, his former officer, spared.

July 15, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

A German academic who found a letter proving that Adolf Hitler personally intervened to protect a Jewish man who had been his commanding officer during World War One, told Haaretz on Saturday that she found the letter "by coincidence," while carrying out research on Jewish jurists.

The letter, composed in August 1940 by Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazis' feared paramilitary SS, said that Ernst Hess, a judge, should be spared persecution or deportation "as per the Fuehrer's wishes." It was published for the first time by the Berlin-based Jewish Voice from Germany newspaper.

The fifty-year-old Dr. Suzanne Mauss, who lives in a small city near Dusseldorf, western Germany, has carried out much research on German Jewry. She came across the letter last year, while researching an exhibition, "Lawyers without Rights," sponsored by the German Federal Bar. During her research, she looked at the fate of Jewish judges and lawyers in the Dusseldorf region.

"In the State Archive of North Rhine-Westphalia lay about 70,000 files from the Duesseldorf Gestapo," she said. "For the exhibition I was looking at all the files regarding Jewish jurists (mainly lawyers, but also judges) and their family members. So I found the Hess file by coincidence."

Hess, a decorated First World War hero, briefly commanded Hitler's company in Flanders.

Mauss soon understood the archival treasure that had fallen into her hands was the kind that historians seek for many years: written and signed evidence that Hitler, who initiated the murder of six million Jews, gave protection and shelter to one of them.

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As time runs out, young filmmakers seek survivors

At this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival, several such young filmmakers presented documentaries on the Holocaust which managed to look at the subject with original eyes.

July 15, 2012

Haaretz

The time left to hear from those who lived through the Holocaust is clearly running out. Even those who were children then are today approaching their seventies. It is the weighty recognition of this fact that seems to be driving a new generation of filmmakers to seek out those remaining survivors and record their testimonies.

They are asking probing questions and looking for lessons, answers or some final words of wisdom, not only about the Holocaust itself but also about the lives that came after it.

At this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival, which wrapped up Saturday evening, several such young filmmakers presented documentaries on the Holocaust which managed to look at the subject with original eyes.

“Numbered” by Israelis Dana Doron and Uriel Sinai tells the story of survivors who, for the last six decades, have been living daily lives with the grayish-blue numbers tattooed on them by Nazis in Auschwitz. What do those numbers on the forearms mean to the people bearing them, the filmmakers set out to find out. There is no one answer, of course. For some, they are marks of shame to be hidden. For others they are badges of honor.

...“These are really important times to record testimony. “Not only because we are the last generation that will be able to do so, but also because there are many survivors who only now are willing to open up and speak,” says Brad Rothschild, one of the producers of “Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald,” a film that follows four men who were children in that block as they go back to the camp on the 65th anniversary of its liberation...

...Jordan Bahat’s “Jealous of the Birds,” also looks at scars − albeit, those of a different kind. The young filmmaker was 22 when he started interviewing his grandparents − two weeks out of college and with practically no experience either in documentaries, or with Holocaust material...

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In Bosnia, Jews Still Not Permitted to Run for Elected Office

European official urges Bosnia to end practices of discrimination against Jewish and Roma minorities, whose members cannot run for elected office.

July 13, 2012

Arutz Sheva

By Rachel Hirshfeld

The Representative of the Irish Chair-in-Office of the Organisation for Security in Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, has urged Bosnia to end practices of discrimination against its Roma and Jewish minorities, whose members cannot run for high elected office, AFP reported.

"There is no excuse to discriminate against anyone, especially minorities," Creighton said in a statement.

"This is especially important in a post-conflict society," she said in a reference to Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

"We in Ireland know very well how difficult it is to build trust between communities but we have also seen the tangible economic and social benefits that overcoming those divisions can bring," she added.

Bosnia's constitution makes a clear distinction between "constituent peoples," namely Bosniaks (Muslims), Croats and Serbs and "others," categorized as Jews, Roma and other minorities.

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Anti-Semitic photo wins Iranian 'Occupy' competition

Winning cartoonist, Mohammad Tabrizi, awarded 5,000 euros for his entry in event held in solidarity with US Occupy Wall Street.

July 11, 2012

Jerusalem Post

An anti-Semitic cartoon depicting religious Jews praying in front of Jerusalem's Western Wall took first prize in the inaugural Iranian "Wall Street Downfall" art festival. The winning artist, Mohammad Tabrizi, was awarded 5,000 euros for his entry.

The event, held earlier this week in Tehran, was meant to support the US's grassroots "Occupy Wall Street"- a grassroots movement which aims to eliminate income inequalities and excesses in the US financial system.

Over 1,600 cartoonists from 45 countries submitted entries to the competition, according to Iran's official English-language Press TV. The contest's seven judges hailed from Iran, Turkey, Poland and Romania.

"Once again, Iran takes the prize for promoting anti-Semitism," said Abraham Foxman, director of of the Anti-Defamation League. "The winning cartoon takes the most sacred site in Judaism and perverts it into a shrine of greed. It is offensive on so many levels."

In 2006, in response to the publishing of caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed by a Danish newspaper, Iran sponsored a Holocaust cartoon contest.

Behavior of Some German Fans Cause for Concern

Germany has won applause for its easy-going brand of patriotism at football tournaments in recent years. But the behavior of some fans at the Euro 2012 is causing concern. Chants of 'Sieg, Sieg,' Hitler salutes and the display of offensive banners have now led to fines.

July 9, 2012

Der Spiegel

UEFA, European football's governing body, fined the German football association €25,000 ($31,000) on Monday for the behavior of its fans during a Euro 2012 match against Denmark in Lviv, Ukraine, on June 17. Supporters set off fireworks in the stadium, displayed "inappropriate banners and symbols" and made "inappropriate" chants, according to UEFA.

The penalty follows a €10,000 fine UEFA imposed on the German football association after supporters threw objects onto the pitch during Germany's opening match against Portugal.

UEFA gave no details but German supporters have been criticized for chanting "Sieg, Sieg" (Victory) at matches, a call that evokes the Nazi greeting "Sieg Heil" and has been condemned as especially tasteless given that Poland and Ukraine, which are hosting the tournament, suffered terribly at the hands of German troops during World War II.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said the chants were shameful and that he was angry that a small number of Germany supporters had displayed the black, red and white German Reich flag, which has become a neo-Nazi symbol.

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Elie Wiesel returns Hungary honour over Nazi 'whitewash'

June 26, 2012

Irish Times

By DANIEL McLAUGHLIN

NOBEL PEACE Prize winner Elie Wiesel has renounced a major Hungarian award in anger at the government’s “whitewashing” of the country’s role in the Holocaust.

Mr Wiesel wrote a scathing letter to Laszlo Kover, Hungary’s parliamentary speaker, denouncing him for attending a ceremony in honour of Jozsef Nyiro, a writer and politician who supported the wartime Hungarian regime that was allied to Adolf Hitler’s Germany.

Mr Kover is a close ally of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, whose government has included Nyiro and other writers who are widely seen as anti-Semitic on the national school curriculum.

“It has become increasingly clear that Hungarian authorities are encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary’s past, namely the wartime Hungarian governments’ involvement in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens,” wrote Mr Wiesel.

“I do not wish to be associated in any way with such activities. Therefore, I hereby repudiate the Grand Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary granted to me on June 24th, 2004, by the president of Hungary.”

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Tunisian Jews Seek Place in New Order

Jews have lived in Tunisia for nearly 3,000 years, and though the Jewish population has declined greatly since World War II, there’s a sense that the strength of Jewish-Muslim relations owes more to individuals than to any state-imposed tolerance.

June 26, 2012

Forward

By Nate Lavey

A year and a half after the ouster of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the president of the Tunisian Jewish community is wistful for the one-party government that ruled the country for decades.

“You cannot find a better government than what we had,” said Roger Bismuth, who has held the title of president for more than 10 years. Bismuth extended his praise to all the ministers of Ben Ali’s political party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally, calling them “good technocrats,” but he said that the dictator and his family had “ruined the country” through fraud and mismanagement.

As Tunisia struggles to emerge from decades of dictatorship, just how well Bismuth is representing the consensus of the country’s small Jewish community may be an issue.

The revolution that overthrew Ben Ali in January 2011 provided the spark that set off the Arab Spring, which, through civil protest, toppled authoritarian governments in Egypt and Yemen. Today, the surge continues to course through the region — most notably in Syria, where, according to numerous reports, civil protests have been met with massacres by government forces. The massacres, in turn, have led to a downward spiral toward civil war.

The ultimate outcomes of the revolutions in Egypt and Yemen also remain in doubt. In both countries, civil protests continue to roil the streets and unresolved questions about the basic framework of post-dictatorship government continue to bedevil those jockeying for power. Just how democratic the final result will be, no one can yet say.

Jewish boys head home after school on the island of Djerba.

But in Tunisia, voters went to the polls last October and peacefully elected a constituent assembly in a competitive election hailed widely as free and fair. The major parties all accepted the results, in which the Ennahda Movement, a so far moderate Islamist party, won a plurality of the seats. In December the constituent assembly, which is also tasked with developing a new, post-dictatorship constitution, elected as president Moncef Marzouki, a longtime secular human rights activist who was imprisoned by Ben Ali.

The new order has affected Tunisia’s small community of some 1,500 Jews in a variety of ways. Among the urban elite, Bismuth’s sentiments are not unanimous, particularly among some younger members.

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French chief rabbi receives death threats on Facebook

Photomontage disseminated online shows rabbi with a revolver pointing at his head, a Star of David on his forehead, and a lighter labeled as containing Zyklon B - the compound used in Nazi gas chambers - being held up to his nostrils.

June 24, 2012

Haaretz

By JTA

French police said they were investigating death threats made against the country’s chief rabbi.

Polices said over the weekend that they are looking for people connected to a photomontage disseminated through Facebook which shows Rabbi Gilles Bernheim with a revolver pointing at his head. The picture shows Bernheim wearing a Star of David on his forehead.

A lighter labeled as containing Zyklon B - the compound used in Nazi gas chambers - is being held up to his nostrils.

“Don’t worry, Bernheim, I won’t deport you. I just want you to breathe in the content of this lighter,” a caption reads. The photomontage is signed by “Bakala LBD.”

Bakala LBD is the name of a Facebook user whose page offers profanities about Israel and maps that purport to depict the expansion of Jewish presence in Israel and the West Bank. It also offers photos of the French comedian known as Dieudonne, founder of the French Anti-Zionist Party. Dieudonne has been convicted several times of hate speech because of anti-Semitic statements.

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EU should hold Croatia and Serbia accountable for Holocaust roles, says U.S. diplomat

Former Under Secretary of State Stuart E. Eizenstat tells Haaretz in a wide-ranging interview that if Croatia wants to join the democratic body, it must follow rule of law and come to terms with its past.

June 21, 2012

Haaretz

By Mordechai I. Twersky

A leading U.S. diplomat and former ambassador to the European Union is calling on the EU to encourage Croatia and Serbia to take responsibility for their roles in the Holocaust before granting them EU membership.

"Now is the time for the European Union to exact the maximum amount of leverage," said Stuart E. Eizenstat, a former U.S. under secretary of state, who served as the Clinton administration's special representative on Holocaust-era issues. "Once they're in, the leverage is lost."

Eizenstat, who gave a wide-ranging interview to Haaretz while attending the President's Conference in Jerusalem yesterday, noted that Croatia's president, Ivo Josipovic, was also in attendance. He said Josipovic must go beyond his apology, issued last February, for his country's role in the crimes committed against the Jews during the Second World War. He called on him to commence with a restitution program and the formation of an independent commission of international scholars to examine the country's wartime past.

"Neither one of those is being done right now with respect to Croatia," said Eizenstat, who has negotiated agreements with Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and other European countries with regard to restitution of property, compensation for slavery, recovery of looted art and bank accounts, and payment of insurance policies for Holocaust victims.

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Suppressing Ugly Truth for Beautiful Art

Perhaps an artist should be judged without regard to his or her political affiliations or actions, but the Met exhibit purports to present the story of the Stein collection and of Gertrude's life in France. It ends with a misleading description of her activities during the war years.

June 20, 2012

Gatestone Institute

By Alan Dershowitz

The Metropolitan Museum in New York, in its current exhibit on the collection of Gertrude Stein and her family, has made a decision to suppress the ugly truth about her collaboration with Nazism during the German occupation of France. Anyone walking through this beautiful exhibit of the Stein family's exquisite tastes in art would learn nothing about Gertrude's horrendous taste in politics and friends. Stein, a "racial" Jew according to Nazi ideology, managed to survive the Holocaust, while the vast majority of her co-religionists were deported and slaughtered. The exhibit says "remarkably, the two women [Stein and her companion Alice Toklas] survived the war with their possessions intact." It adds that "Bernard Fay, a close friend…and influential Vichy collaborator is thought to have protected them." That is an incomplete and distorted account of what actually happened. Stein and Toklas survived the Holocaust for one simple reason: Gertrude Stein was herself a major collaborator with the Vichy regime and a supporter of its pro-Nazi leadership.

According to a new book entitled Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Fay and the Vichy Dilemma, by Barbara Will, Stein publicly proclaimed her admiration for Hitler during the 1930s, proposing him for a Nobel Peace Prize. In the worst days of the Vichy regime, she volunteered to write an introduction to the speeches of General Phillipe Petain, the Nazi puppet leader who deported thousands of Jews, but who she regarded as a great French hero. She wanted his speeches translated into English, with her introduction, so that Americans would see the virtues of the Vichy regime. In that respect she was like other modernist writers, such as Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot who proudly proclaimed their pro-Fascist ideology, but Stein's support for Fascism was more bizarre because she was Jewish.

Stein's closest friend, and a man who greatly influenced her turn toward fascism was Bernard Fay, who the Vichy government put in charge of hunting down Masons, Jews and other perceived enemies of the State. Fay was more than a mere collaborator as suggested by the Met exhibit. He was a full blown Nazi operative, responsible for the deaths of many people. After the war, when the horrendous results were known to all, Gertrude wrote in support of Fay when he was placed on trial for his Nazi war crimes.

Perhaps an artist should be judged without regard to his or her political affiliations or actions, but the Met exhibit purports to present the story of the Stein collection and of Gertrude's life in France. It ends with a misleading description of her activities during the war years. It would perhaps be different if this were only an exhibition of the Steins' art collection rather than a biographical account of her family's life in France. By withholding from the viewers an important part of the truth, the Met is engaging in a falsification of history.

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UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM STATEMENT ON HUNGARY

“The Hungarian government’s rehabilitation of fascist ideologues and leaders from World War II is of great concern to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum”

June 18, 2012

USHMM Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — “The Hungarian government’s rehabilitation of fascist ideologues and leaders from World War II is of great concern to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,” said Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield. “It is both a grave insult to the memory of those who perished under the Horthy and Szalasi regimes and a deeply troubling sign for Jews and other minorities in Hungary. The history of the Holocaust in Hungary and throughout Europe starkly illustrates the dangers to Jews and everyone else of inciting or tolerating antisemitism, racism, and nationalism within societies. The recent trends in Hungary are alarming. The Museum calls on the leaders of Hungary to unequivocally renounce all forms of antisemitism and racism and to reject every effort to honor individuals responsible for the genocide of Europe’s Jews.”

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No real refuge in Canada for some refugees

June 17, 2012

Globe and Mail

By Philip Berger, Bernie Farber and Clayton Ruby

As Canadian Jews, we grew up hearing stories about how our families came to this country as refugees. We also heard about the relatives who never arrived because of the Canadian government's closed-door policy for Jews. Historians Irving Abella and Harold Troper's book None is Too Many told of this sad and ultimately deadly policy.

In the early 1900s, Jews fled persecution in European countries where anti-Semitism was rampant. They were not alone; the Roma and Sinti people were caught in the same web of hate.

When Hitler's forces overran Europe, it was the Jewish and Roma communities that were singled out for annihilation. And with the rest of the world engaged in either compliance or apathy, the Nazi plan almost succeeded.

Bearing the scars of the Holocaust, most Jews fled Europe to countries like Canada, which finally opened its doors with a new immigration policy.

However, the Roma mostly stayed behind, and there has been an enormous escalation of discrimination and bigotry against them, especially in Hungary. And with resurgence of neo-Nazism in parts of Hungary and elsewhere in Europe, Roma face violent attacks. Many have tried to flee to Canada, where doors have once again become hard to pry open.

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A Jewish Hockey Player at History’s Indelible Crossroad

With his initial shift, he became one of the few Jews to represent Germany in elite international sports since World War II, the first in ice hockey since the 1930s and perhaps the most visible to have had family members murdered in the Holocaust, according to sports historians and Jewish officials.

June 14, 2012

New York Times

By JERÉ LONGMAN

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — A hockey jersey hung in each player’s locker. It bore Germany’s national colors, black trimmed in red and gold. The front was emblazoned with an eagle above the word Deutschland. This would be Evan Kaufmann’s first time wearing the jersey. He removed it from the hanger and turned it around to see his family name spelled in capital letters.

He would recall feeling a tingle of excitement. He felt something else, too, emotions that crisscrossed like the laces of his skates. He was proud to wear the jersey but also solemn about what history had done to the name on the back. His great-grandfather starved to death by the Nazis. His great-grandmother herded to extermination on a train to Auschwitz. His grandfather shuttled between ghettos and concentration camps, surviving somehow, finding a displaced sister after the war, pushing her from a hospital in a wheelbarrow after her lower left leg was amputated because of frostbite.

On Feb. 10, Kaufmann finished dressing and skated onto the ice at a tournament in Belarus. With his initial shift, he became one of the few Jews to represent Germany in elite international sports since World War II, the first in ice hockey since the 1930s and perhaps the most visible to have had family members murdered in the Holocaust, according to sports historians and Jewish officials.

“It was almost surreal,” said Kaufmann, 27, a forward who was born in Minnesota and is the second-leading goal scorer here for the DEG Metro Stars of the German professional league. “From an achievement standpoint, it was amazing to represent the country. But it was pretty insane to think about what my grandpa had to survive to allow me to be where I am today and how it’s come a long way from then to now.”

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Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial desecrated with anti-Semitic slogans

Vandals spray-painted slogans such as 'Hitler, thank you for the Holocaust' on the walls of the Holocaust museum; police believe anti-Zionist Haredi Jews responsible for graffiti.

June 11, 2012

Haaretz

By Oz Rosenberg

Vandals spray-painted anti-Semitic slogans at the entrance to Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center in Jerusalem on Monday.

At least 10 slogans were found on the walls outside the museum, with slogans such as: "Hitler, thank you for the Holocaust", "If Hitler did not exist, the Zionists would have invented him", and "Zionists! You declared war on Hitler in the name of the Jewish people, you brought upon the Holocaust."

Some of the slogans were signed with the words, "The World Zionist Judaism."

Jerusalem Police suspect that those responsible for the graffiti are anti-Zionist Haredi Jews, similar to the vandalism that was found at Ammunition Hill memorial site earlier this year.

"I am shocked and horrified by this blatant act of hatred of Israel and Zionism," said Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev. "This is a disconcerting act that crosses the line."

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar also expressed horror and dismay at the anti-Semitic vandalism.

"I am shocked by the vandalism that was carried out this morning," Sa'ar said. "Whoever desecrated and tarnished Yad Vashem with these disturbed slogans, did it in order to issue a blow to the emotions of the public. I am counting on Israel Police to track the vandals and bring them to justice."

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Hungarian Jews Protest Verbal Attack Against Rabbi

About 120 Hungarians wearing yellow stars inscribed with the word “Jude” protested against the rising rate of anti-Semitism in the country

June 9, 2012

Arutz Sheva

By Rachel Hirshfeld

About 120 Hungarians wearing yellow stars inscribed with the word “Jude” lined up in front of Parliament’s office building in central Budapest on Thursday to express their solidarity with retired Chief Rabbi Jozsef Schweitzer, who was verbally insulted in the street two days ago.

On Tuesday, Schweitzer, 90, was approached by an unidentified passer-by, who shouted “I hate all Jews.”

Participants told the state news agency MTI that the demonstration was organized in reaction to recent “atrocities” against the Jewish community.

President Janos Ader, the government, Hungary’s largest churches, political parties, and the National Roma Government, condemned the verbal attack against the retired rabbi.

Schweitzer said he was grateful for the demonstration of sympathy and confirmed that the president of the republic, Janos Ader, had paid him a personal visit.

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Lyon Anti-Semitic Attacker Turns Himself In

Lead suspect in custody with four others for beating Jews outside synagogue

June 9, 2012

Arutz Sheva

By Gabe Kahn

Israel Radio reported late Thursday that the lead suspect in last weekend’s anti-Semitic attacks in Lyon, France has turned himself in to police.

The suspect and 10 others attacked three people as they left the Beit Menachem Jewish school on Saturday night.

The French Interior ministry said the assailants wielded a hammer and an iron bar.

One victim sustained an open wound to the head, and another suffered a neck injury. Both men wore Jewish skullcaps.

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Jewish Cemetery Desecrated in Ukraine

Memorial candles, commemoration for Jews murdered in Holocaust are vandalized in western Ukraine.

June 9, 2012

Arutz Sheva

By Maayana Miskin

A Jewish cemetery has been vandalized in the city of Rivne in western Ukraine, local news sources report. Vandals broke street lights and desecrated a plaque in the memory of 17,500 Ukrainian Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Police are investigating.

The broken street lights were laid on the ground and arranged to spell out insulting phrases.

Local Jewish leader Henady Frayerman termed the incident “horrifying.”

Two years ago, a young yeshiva student was brutally murdered in Kiev. In March of this year, a Holocaust memorial was desecrated in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

In April, a Ukrainian yeshiva student was attacked by anti-Semites as he left a synagogue in Kiev. He was left with life-threatening injuries, but regained consciousness after receiving treatment in Israel in what doctors termed a miraculous recovery.

Euro 2012: Poland's Jews watch and wait

Poland's Jews balance fear with hope: they are enhancing communal security in the face of all-too familiar anti-Semitic abuse by Polish football fans, whilst hoping Euro 2012 could be an opportunity to show a newly-vibrant Jewish life in their country.

June 9, 2012

Haaretz Premium

By Maia Lazar

On my first trip to Krakow, more than a year ago, I was shocked to find crude anti-Semitic graffiti in a side-street adjacent to the river Wisla. “Anty-Jude” was scrawled in blue spray paint above an incomplete circle, inside which appeared to be a crossed-out Star of David. This was hardly the last graffiti of this kind I would see: just a few days ago I saw swastikas daubed on the train on my way back home. Living in Poland has not only exposed me to anti-Semitic graffiti, but has desensitized the shock-value that the graffiti artists may have intended.

My newfound friends here ascribe anti-Semitic acts to provincial and uneducated “hooligans”, or wiuch. Once when drunken men were cursing loudly on the tram, I asked a friend jokingly in Polish if they were “wiuchniki.” Which I learned, to the amusement of my friend and of everybody within earshot, was a made-up word of my own creation - but was understood, nonetheless.

From my experience, anti-Semitism is hardly more rampant here than elsewhere: not only have I never experienced so much philo-Semitism in my life, I have heard more anti-Semitic comments in other countries in Eastern Europe and even in the United States. But not once here in Poland.

But now is a defining moment for the question of which Poland – that of largely pro-Jewish Polish sentiment or the anti-Semitic, racist culture of hooliganism – will gain the upper hand. The choice of Poland and Ukraine as hosts for the Euro 2012 football championships have triggered fears that the charged atmosphere of the matches as well as the influx of tourists would lead to a surge of racism and anti-Semitism. Some commentators, including the Economist have gone so far as to contend that racist outbursts could even overshadow the whole event, causing some football fans to reconsider following their favorite teams to Poland and Ukraine out of concerns for their safety. But what about the Jewish communities in Poland, the Jews who are already here?

Most Jewish communities do not foresee potential anti-Semitic antagonism as a result of Euro 2012. Rather, Jewish leaders such as Jonathan Ornstein, who has been in Poland for eleven years, sees the increase in tourists as a positive opportunity for visitors to learn more about Jewish history in Poland. He is optimistic about contemporary Jewish life in Poland. Those who are more cynical, he says, are "living in the past.”

Ornstein suggests that the graffitied crossed-out Star of David is not anti-Jewish per se, but rather part of a strange duel between different Polish teams. Ornstein calls it a “bizarre kind of anti-Semitism that can exist without contact with Jews. One team calls itself ‘the Jews’ and the other the ‘anti-Jews.’ I don't think the fans of either team feels anything about real Jews one way or the other. There were two Israeli players playing on the "anti-Semitic" team in Krakow this year and they were loved by the fans and experienced no anti-Semitism. They were JCC members and came to Shabbat dinners and loved living in Krakow.”

Ornstein's view seems to be a minority one. Krzysztof Izdebski, a member of the Board of the Jewish Community of Warsaw, views these crossed-out Jewish stars as “strictly anti-Semitic.” He said it has “nothing to do with the Israeli players of the opponent team” because only in the last three years have Israeli players been present in Polish football. Instead, he says, the labeling the opponent team as “Jews” (Zyd) has been around for decades.

Katowice's rabbi Yehoshua Ellis told me that in Lodz, "this graffiti has always referred to a local football club. Even though they are not aimed at Jews, the graffiti is anti-Semitic. Look at the banner that was displayed about a year ago at a match in Rzeszow / [the banner showed a Jewish man in a concentration camp uniform on whose face a 'No Entry' sign had been superimposed, with the slogan "Death to those with curved noses"]. I don't think there were any Jews on either team, but still the banner was extremely anti-Semitic.”

While the Warsaw Jewish community also sees the tournament as an opportunity to show visitors a vibrant, live Jewish community, Izdebski noted that the community would be taking measures to increase its security and would be encouraging caution towards the local football fans, who have never yet physically attacked the Jewish community. This increased security is mostly a result of the geographical proximity between the 'Fan Zone' – an area in the center of town where thousands of people will gather to watch the game together – and the Jewish community buildings.

This same proximity is a cause of concern for the Jewish community of Poznan, whose synagogue and community headquarters are located in the city centre, near a Fan Zone. The Poznan community has only come back to life in the last 13 years, since its destruction in the Holocaust. Community president Alicja Bromberger Kobus says that the local media has been supportive in condemning anti-Semitic vandalism, and that Jewish-Polish relations are steadily improving: 20,000 people came to celebrate Israel's Independence Day this year.

Nonetheless Kobus strikes a note of caution, if not piety: "We will be watching what happens, but I believe God will help us." For me, this comment expresses clearly the uneasy anticipation felt by Poland's Jews before Euro 2012: a public test of their country's commitment to a Polish culture free of the taint of anti-Semitism.

 

Israel's History Counts Too

June 7, 2012

From the print issue of the June 2012 United Church Observer

Reprinted with the gracious perission of author, Ruth Russell

Last October, my husband and I spent two extraordinary weeks in Israel, visiting old friends who had emigrated from Canada in 1980.  One day our host asked me matter-of-factly why The United Church of Canada was anti-Israel.  And I could not justify the anti-Israel thrust of our church's carefully enunciated positions on the Israeli-Palestinian situation.  Most recently, for example, the General Council's Middle East working group singled out Israel as the main obstacle to peace in the region. 

Of course the Palestinian people living in the West Bank are deeply disadvantaged.  And of course the new Israeli settlements there are ill-advised.

I believe our church must step back, though, and recognize the equally valid and important historical arguments in support of Israel in this convoluted issue. After the Second World War, the United Nations partition plan called for independent Arab and Jewish states to be created in the area.  Jewish officials accepted the plan; Arab leaders rejected it.  The 1948 Israeli War of Independence was a direct consequence of this rejection. 

In the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israel took pre-emptive military action against the Arab armies massed at its frontiers, Israel gained control of the land called the West Bank. In the early 1980s, Jordan's king proposed a confederation of West and East Bank territories to create a Palestinian state under Jordanian rule, but talks broke down because Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization would not renounce violence or recognize Israel's right to exist.

 During the past 25 years, the profound mutual distrust between Jews and Arabs has produced a dispiriting cycle of periods of violence alternating with uneasy truces.  The PLO-organized First Intifada, begun in 1987, ended in 1993 with the Oslo Accords; they were violated almost immediately.  In the Camp David talks of 2000, Israel offered 90 percent of the West Bank for a Palestinian state, but talks broke down and a second Intifada began.  In  2008, Israel's Ehud Olmert offered even more territory and compromises on Jerusalem, but the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has not responded, instead choosing to ask the UN for statehood last September.

 Whom can the Palestinians trust, when neither violence nor peace talks improve their lives?  How can the Israelis trust the Palestinians, when the Palestinian Authority's top faith leader has declared -- as recently as January -- that killing Jews remains a religious goal?

Surely our United Church knows that such ancient bitter conflicts cannot be understood, and can never be resolved, through a simplistic black-and-white approach.   We honour our church's proud record of advocating for social justice only by taking careful account of the tragic and complex history of this small parcel of stony land, and working toward a solution that achieves at least some justice for all. 

Racism and Soccer Are in Play at a Big Event in East Europe

May 31, 2012

New York Times

By JERÉ LONGMAN

The most important sporting event in Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall begins June 8 with the European soccer championships hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

But a complicated racial issue has arisen as the families of two of England’s black players have said they will probably not attend the 16-team tournament, fearing abuse or violence in Ukraine, where the team will play its first three matches. A BBC documentary depicting racism at soccer games there has further inflamed emotions.

At the same time, one of England’s top players, defender John Terry, faces a criminal charge after the tournament of racially abusing a black opponent during a club match last October in the English Premier League. The charge led to Terry’s being stripped of his captaincy of the English national team.

Although racism in soccer has been a continuing problem in England, Italy and Spain, it has by degree seemed to be more virulent at matches in Eastern Europe, with some fans making monkey chants and throwing bananas at black players, while others have given Nazi salutes and chanted, “Sieg heil.”

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Making Sense of Anti-Semitism

'Convenient Hatred' Traces Bigotry From Ancient Times to Now

May 31, 2012

Forward

By Jerome A. Chanes

A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism
By Phyllis Goldstein
Facing History and Ourselves, 432 pages, $17.95

IVAN VLADIMIROV, 'POGROM OF WINE SHOP,' 1919

Ugly Convenience: Russian soldiers raid a Jewish-owned wine store.

Historian Victor Tcherikover used to say that there are few things that have a history of 2,000 years. Anti-Semitism is one of them. And indeed, in our own day, the taxonomy of anti-Semitism yet includes religious and secular varieties, political and cultural varieties, theological and ideological varieties. The antisemitism of the right still blames the Jews for modernity (I take this as a compliment!); the anti-Semitism of the left, seeking shelter, most recently, in anti-globalization, still trots out old New Left dogmas about capitalism. And anti-Zionism is the most dangerous, since it denies the legitimacy of a normal life for Jews.
All this has been well rehearsed over the years; indeed, I am told that there are more than 1,000 books on anti-Semitism. Do we need another book on the topic?

The fact is, even with all the books out there, the global history of anti-Semitism has not been sufficiently reported. There is, of course, the classic four-volume work “The History of Anti-Semitism” by Léon Poliakov, wonderfully idiosyncratic, but woefully dated. There is Walter Laqueur’s splendid short book, “The Changing Face of Antisemitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day.” And there is Robert Wistrich’s early excellent work, “Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred,” crafted for the general audience. There is my “A Dark Side of History: Antisemitism Through the Ages,” which sets a historical context for understanding anti-Semitism. But there has long been a need for a truly comprehensive, detailed and analytical narrative tracking the often complex history of anti-Semitism and, more important, contextualizing that history in a coherent manner.
In “A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism,” educator Phyllis Goldstein offers much valuable detail, and what Goldstein says, she says very well indeed. The book is, for a one-volume work, unusually comprehensive; the chapters are of ideal length for classroom use and, even with facts flying off the page, the writing is unusually clear. The many maps — almost always missing in histories of anti-Semitism — are of inestimable value in helping to set a historical context for the subject. Lest we forget, the history of anti-Semitism is, after all, about history. And Goldstein has not forgotten this verity.

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Speak of the devil

HHhH, by Laurent Binet. Translated by Sam Taylor, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 336 pages, $28.95

May 26, 2012

The Globe and Mail

Reviewed by Michael Lapointe

That a generation is growing up unmoved by the Second World War is not a matter of disrespect; it is the passage of time, coupled with our current fixation on the historical now. So much is happening, and we can learn about it all. How does one motivate a passage into history? What is the appropriate route for such a passage?

Literature is on the front lines of these questions. The rich historical gusher of the Second World War continues to fuel the literary imagination, but authors must contend with their distance from the subject, as well as the barbed political territory of narrating history. The rigour and sensitivity of this contention dictate the success of these novels. Our century has so far seen mixed results. While we’ve been provided inventive, virtuoso efforts, such as William T. Vollmann’s Europe Central, we’ve also suffered facile, voyeuristic works like Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones.

Entering into this arena is Laurent Binet’s HHhH, an astonishingly strange debut novel, translated from the French. HHhH – which stands for “Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich,” or “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich” – narrates the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the notorious “Butcher of Prague,” Himmler’s right-hand man and architect of the Final Solution.

Or rather, HHhH narrates the narrator’s contention with the telling of this story. Indeed, the novel’s successful completion seems as precarious as the success of the assassination mission, code-named Operation Anthropoid.

HHhH triumphs precisely because it not only delicately, and sometimes grippingly, depicts a major historical moment, but because it manages to depict the unique challenges of 21st-century remembrance.

The narrator, presumably Binet, who was born in 1972, admits to his apprenticeship in the movies, novels and video games that now make up our experience of the Second World War. Like a good 21st-century cultural savant, he regards these artifacts with as much scrutiny as his primary source material. Frequently pausing his story, he casts a critical eye across these works – praising Europe Central, for example, as “the voice of history [resounding] perfectly,” and scorching The Kindly Ones as “Houellebecq does Nazism.” (Twenty more pages of anti-Littell polemic were apparently cut from the novel’s final draft.)

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Budapest Holocaust memorial defaced

Vandalism occurs days after the defilement of the statue of Raoul Wallenberg.

May 26, 2012

Haaretz

By JTA

A Holocaust Memorial on the banks of the Danube in Budapest was defaced just days after unknown vandals hung pigs’ feet on a statue of Raoul Wallenberg.

Hungarian media on Friday published a photo of the monument with spray-painted stars of David and the phrases “This is not your country, dirty Jews” and “You are going to be shot there,” with an arrow pointing to the river.

Many Hungarian Jews were shot on the banks of the Danube by local Arrow Cross fascists during World War II.

The memorial, erected by the then-communist government in 1986, is a copy of a memorial statue at the Mauthausen camp in Austria. It honors “resistance fighters, deserters and persecuted ones who were murdered on the bank of the Danube in the winter of 1944-45.”

The vandalism apparently took place Thursday night, just days after the defilement of the statue of Raoul Wallenberg that is the centerpiece of a monument honoring the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Shoah.

Israel didn't come into being because of the Shoah; Israel exists in spite of it:

An open letter to Mohammed Bakri about the relationship between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba.

If anything the Holocaust put an end to what seemed, at the time, to be the very real chance of establishing the Jewish state.

May 26, 2012

Haaretz

By Yehuda Bauer

Dear Mr. Bakri, I write to you because of something you said at the Nakba Day ceremony held at Tel Aviv University: that the Holocaust caused the Nakba [the "disaster"] because it caused the State of Israel to be established.

I acknowledge the need to commemorate the catastrophe the Arab population underwent in the territories where Israel was established, as a result of the Jewish people's War of Independence. I do not believe the Nakba is solely the concern of the Arab-Palestinian minority: it is also the concern of the Jewish majority, even though I feel it clear that the Jewish War of Independence was fully justified. The Palestinian disaster must be studied, and various interpretations should be considered, including of who is responsible - the Palestinian leadership that rejected the establishment of an Arab state alongside a Jewish state, the Jewish leadership's policies, or both, in whatever proportions.

Yet the claim – accepted by the Arab intelligentsia and even large sections of the Jewish intelligentsia – that the establishment of the State of Israel was a direct result of the Holocaust, is unfounded. The Zionist movement built the infrastructure for the establishment of a sovereign Jewish entity in the decades prior to 1947/8. It wanted to bring in masses of Jews from Eastern Europe, where Jews were persecuted for national and economic reasons, at a time when no other country would take them in.

The Holocaust destroyed the human reserve that the Zionist movement was counting on. Out of the 3.3 million Jews in Poland, a large portion wanted to immigrate to Israel. The Holocaust put an end to that.

If anything the Holocaust put an end to what seemed, at the time, to be the very real chance of establishing the Jewish state. That the state was established nonetheless demands explanation; in utter contrast to your statement, the historic equation is: more Shoah, less Israel.

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When General Grant Expelled the Jews

May 25, 2012

Nextbook Press

By Jonathan Sarna Pages: 224 | ISBN: 978-0-8052-4279-9

In the middle of the Civil War, on December 17, 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders No. 11, which called for the expulsion of “Jews as a class” from the Department of the Tennessee – a vast area stretching from Mississippi to Illinois. The order was revoked almost immediately by President Lincoln, and its direct effects on the country’s small but growing Jewish community were limited. Yet the unprecedented decree had enormous unintended consequences, not just for Grant but for American Jewry. The effects, in fact, continue to reverberate today.
General Orders
The Jewish community in America was relatively small when the Civil War broke out; despite a recent surge in immigration in the mid-19th century, there were still only 150,000 Jews in America, less than 1 percent of the population. Still, that made the Jews the largest non-Christian minority in the country. And during the war, as Jonathan Sarna explains, anti-Semitism reared its head, and Jews as a group came under frequent attack for everything from smuggling to profiteering.
Smuggling was, indeed, a major problem vexing Grant in his war effort against the Confederacy. And some of those smugglers were, in fact, Jewish. But Grant’s order, motivated in large part by his desire to squash the smuggling, implicated all Jews “as a class.” Why is this phrase particularly important?
Sarna suggests that one of the main motivations behind General Orders No. 11 was personal for Grant: His father had gotten involved in a corrupt scheme involving a group of Jewish smugglers, and the enraged general displaced his anger at his father onto Jews, “as a class.” Do you think this had something to do with the order? If, in fact, the animus behind the decree was personal rather than broadly anti-Semitic, does that change your impression of Grant and his actions?
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation just two weeks after Grant’s order. The timing of these two decrees – one freeing blacks, the other expelling Jews – did not go unnoticed; in Memphis, the Daily Bulletin printed the two documents on the same page, one above the other. Jews, Sarna writes, “feared that Jews would replace blacks as the nation’s stigmatized minority.” Do you think those fears were justified at the time?
The total number of Jews who were actually expelled, Sarna writes, seems to be less than a hundred, mostly in small towns in northern Mississippi. Why, then, is this such an important moment in American Jewish history? Do you think that statements comparing Grant to Haman – the villain of the Purim story in the Book of Esther – were overstated?

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An act of defiance

Conductor Murray Sidlin leads the JSO in his concert-drama ‘Verdi at Terezin.’

May 25, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By Maxim Reider

American conductor Murray Sidlin (pictured) will lead the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, together with solo singers and actors, in a concert performance entitled “The Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin,” a multimedia concert drama that he created. The concert is part of the Israel Festival and the Days of Prague festival.

Sidlin, a first-generation American whose parents were Jewish immigrants from Latvia and Belarus, says his father’s entire family perished during the Holocaust, “but I never imagined it would influence my artistic life.”

The change came at a book sale in 1992, where picked up a book that told the story of the Terezin ghetto.

“I just pulled it from a huge pile of books, and it opened on the story of Rafael Schächter, a musician who was arrested by the Nazis and put into the Terezin camp along with other artists, scientists and intellectuals just for being Jewish.

There, together with more than 100 volunteer singers, he led the performance of Verdi’s Requiem. I stood there as if struck by lightning.” As an established conductor, Sidlin knew how much it cost to prepare such a monumental piece even under optimal conditions. “But this was a camp; people were sick, hungry, dying.”

Sidlin says he realized that he didn’t know very much about the Terezin ghetto which, as he and many others believed, was just a showplace for the Nazis, who tried to present the camp to the outside world as an example of their “humane attitude toward Jews.” Sidlin undertook lengthy research, which brought him to the conclusion that “Terezin was probably the most thriving cultural center of occupied Europe and, above all, the prisoners were doing this all for themselves and not for the Nazis.

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In exam, U.K. pupils asked to explain bias against Jews

U.K. education secretary told the Jewish Chronicle that suggesting 'anti-Semitism can ever be explained, rather than condemned, is insensitive and, frankly, bizarre.'

May 25, 2012

Haaretz

By Haaretz

British high school pupils were asked to explain bias against Jews in an official religious studies exam, British media reported on Friday.

More than a thousand religious studies students sitting a General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exam last Thursday, set by one of the U.K's three major examination boards, AQA, were asked, "Explain, briefly, why some people are prejudiced against Jews.”

In response, Jon Benjamin, the chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews: "Clearly this is unacceptable and has nothing whatsoever to do with Jews or Judaism," the U.K.'s Daily Mail newspaper reported.

Education Secretary Michael Gove told the U.K.'s Jewish Chronicle that suggesting that "anti-Semitism can ever be explained, rather than condemned, is insensitive and, frankly, bizarre," adding that the examination board needed to explain how and why this question was included in an exam paper.

He said that it was "the duty of politicians to fight prejudice, and with anti-Semitism on the rise we need to be especially vigilant."

An AQA spokesperson said in response that the question, "Acknowledges that some people hold prejudices; it does not imply in any way that prejudice is justified."

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A stormy offstage drama

Habima Theater's upcoming performances in London of 'The Merchant of Venice' have triggered a passionate debate in England among Jews and non-Jews, theater people and other citizens - and demands for more than just a pound of flesh.

May 19, 2012

Haaretz Premium

By Anshel Pfeffer

...In some ways, the Habima-Globe showdown can be labeled a victory for Israel's campaign against the boycott. The theater in London has not caved in and the show will almost certainly go on. The event is a rallying point both for Jewish and Zionist organizations, which are planning counter-demos outside the theater, and the two respective governments; indeed Britain's Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey will also be attending the Habima production. But there is lingering frustration at the fact that Israel cannot produce a major cultural event in London without it becoming a political affair.

"At the end of the day this will be a win, because the play will take place and hundreds of people will see it and applaud," says an Israeli diplomat, "but it would be nice if we could just be treated like a normal country, where art is just art."

And what about the artists? Ilan Ronen, Habima's artistic director, will not say how the actors plan to react when they are heckled during the play. "We are aware that there will disturbances and are planning for it. It isn't like heckling the Philharmonic; there is a special interaction between actors and an audience in theater, especially in an exceptional one like the Globe. But we were aware of all this when we started planning a year ago."

Ronen won't be drawn to discuss the political aspects, saying that "the whole Ariel affair was taken out of proportion. Habima performs 1,500 times a year and twice we were in Ariel; people should just leave it at that. To the boycotters, I would just like to say that we work around the world because we want to create a dialogue with Palestinians through art. We have Arab actors and production staff who identify as Palestinians. The artist's role is to build a bridge of culture, which can enable politicians to sit down to negotiations."

Shylock will be played by Yaakov Cohen, an actor with classical training, but known in Israel mainly for his stand-up comedy, which highlights his underprivileged upbringing as part of a Moroccan family in the northern town of Migdal Ha'emek.

Ronen also admits there was some opposition to the choice of "The Merchant of Venice." "There were those who said it could encourage hatred of Jews, but we are producing it in a way in which it is clear that Shylock is a victim of persecution and xenophobia," he says. "I think also that Yaakov's portrayal will create a lot of empathy. That is Shakespeare's greatness. It is a complex play, and we thought it would be much more fitting than one of the history plays, like 'Richard III.' It's a play that brings all the demons out, even though we didn't plan this in advance. There is certainly an irony that we chose to emphasize on the posters the quote 'If you prick us, do we not bleed?'"

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Appelfeld wins British fiction prize for Shoah novel

'Blooms of Darkness,' which shows how the best of human nature can come to the surface even in the most horrific circumstances, was awarded the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

May 14, 2012

Haaretz

By Reuters

LONDON - Aharon Appelfeld's tale of an 11-year-old boy hidden from the Nazis by a prostitute has won a fiction prize which celebrates writing translated into English.

"Blooms of Darkness" was awarded the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize at a ceremony in London. It tells the story of Hugo, who is brought by his mother to a local brothel, and his deepening relationship with Mariana, one of the women who work there.

The book shows how the best of human nature can come to the surface even in the most horrific circumstances, Appelfeld said. "I wanted to explore the darkest places of human behavior and to show that even there, generosity and love can survive; that humanity and love can overcome cruelty and brutality.

The prize awards 5,000 pounds (NIS 30,800 ) each to the author of the Hebrew work, and its translator Jeffrey M. Green.

"As the relationship between Hugo and Mariana evolves, this deceptively simple narrative does something extraordinary, carrying the reader to a liminal territory in which deep sensuality exists alongside unfathomable brutality," said Hephzibah Anderson, one of the prize's judges.

Born in 1932 in what is now Western Ukraine, Appelfeld was deported to a labor camp when he was 7 years old. He managed to escape, and was picked up by the Red Army in 1944, eventually making his way to Italy and finally reaching Palestine in 1946.

At 80, Appelfeld is the oldest author to win the prize, immediately following the youngest winner, Santiago Roncagliolo, who at 36 won the prize last year.

The prize is run by the Booktrust, an independent reading and writing charity in Britain. Booktrust also presents the Orange Prize for fiction and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in an effort to promote reading and writing.

 

The Great Mosque of Paris that saved Jews during the Holocaust

Focusing on the tale of Algerian-born Jewish singer Salim Halali, a new French film looks at the little-known, and hard to confirm, efforts of the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris to save Jews during World War II.

May 14, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Oderet

Benghabrit (right) at the Elysee Palace in 1935 Photo by Getty Images

Salim Halali was a huge star in France and Morocco in the mid-20th century. The Jewish singer, who was born in 1920 into a poor family in Algeria, came to France when he was 14. Within a few years he became known far and wide as the best “Oriental” singer in Europe.

Now, seven years after his death, Halali’s persona is back at center stage in a new French movie. The film, “Les hommes libres,” is being screened at the French film festival that is taking place at Cinematheques across Israel until April 5th.

The plot of the film centers on a heroic rescue tale, the details of which have yet to be studied fully by scholars, having to do with the Great Mosque of Paris having provided sanctuary and refuge to Jews, Halali among them, during the Holocaust. The film has sparked a renewed public debate over whether the honorific “Righteous Among the Nations” should be accorded to the mosque’s rector, who is depicted as one who placed Halali and other Jews under his protection.

“The film pays homage to the people of our history who have been invisible. It shows another reality, that Muslims and Jews existed in peace. We have to remember that − with pride,” the film’s director, Ismael Ferroukhi, said in an interview with the New York Times.

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Man makes anti-Semitic announcement on Belgian train

Passengers baffled when loudspeaker system announces: 'This is train to Auschwitz; all Jews asked to get off at Buchenwald'

May 13, 2012

Ynet

Belgian train passengers were surprised on Thursday when the loudspeaker system suddenly announced: "Welcome to the train to Auschwitz. All Jews are asked to get off in Buchenwald."
Belgium's national railway company later condemned the announcement, which was heard at 4:51 pm on a train traveling from Brussels to Namur.

inspectors who boarded the train Immediately following the incident were unable to locate the man responsible for the act.
"SNCB harshly condemns the act," the train company said in an issued statement, adding that the anti-Semitic act can result in a lawsuit. According to the statement, the man who made the distasteful announcement was not an employee of the company.

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Excruciating details emerge on 1,100-plus Jewish ghettos detailed by US researchers

More Jews died during World War II in Poland and the western Soviet Union — today’s Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania — than the estimated 1 million gassed in Auschwitz.

May 10, 2012

Washington Post

By Associated Press

NEW YORK — Even after decades of in-depth Holocaust research, excruciating details are only now emerging about more than 1,100 German-run ghettos in Eastern Europe where the Nazis murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews.

And there were about 200 more ghettos than previously believed, said Martin Dean, editor of the recently published “Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, Volume II.” It’s part of a long-term effort to document every site of organized Nazi persecution, beyond the well-known extermination camps like Auschwitz.

It “gives us information about ghettos that would slip into historical oblivion and be forgotten forever if we didn’t have this volume,” Holocaust scholar Lawrence Langer said. “Who knew there were more than 1,000 ghettos?”

More Jews died during World War II in Poland and the western Soviet Union — today’s Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania — than the estimated 1 million gassed in Auschwitz, Langer said.

“The people are dead, but at least we have the memory of the place where they lived and some knowledge of who killed them,” said Langer, an 83-year-old professor of English emeritus at Boston’s Simmons College.

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German High Court to Address Ghetto Pensions

For years, former laborers in Nazi-era ghettos have been fighting to get the pension that German law ostensibly guarantees them. A strict interpretation of that legislation, however, has meant that a vast majority of applications have been rejected. Now, a complaint has been filed with Germany's highest court

May 9, 2012

Der Spiegel

By Christolph Schult

Elijahu Zicher was just nine years old when he started his first job. The Nazis had marched into Poland, killing his mother and older sister and forcing the rest of the family into the ghetto in the city of Wlodowa in eastern Poland, where the young Jewish boy found work in the ghetto's sewers. Relative to the overall situation, conditions were fairly good. Zicher wasn't kept under guard as he worked, and even received modest pay.

Tens of thousands of Jews living in ghettos under the Nazi regime had similar experiences, working more or less normal jobs. Some of these ghettos had their own employment centers, and some of the German employers even paid into retirement funds. Survivors such as Zicher don't fall under the category of forced laborers, so an additional law passed in 2002 by the German parliament, or Bundestag, granted them the right to draw a German pension.
On paper at least. In practice, things have looked a bit different. Since 2002, around 70,000 survivors have invoked this law, known as "German Pensions for Work in Ghettos," or by its German acronym ZRBG, but over 90 percent of these applications were initially rejected, with German authorities opting for an exceedingly strict interpretation of the law.

State insurance providers often disputed that former ghetto residents had worked voluntarily and received some form of "remuneration" for their work, two conditions stipulated by the ZRBG. The insurers alleged in many cases that these survivors had claimed to German authorities in the 1950s that they had been forced laborers, and then later changed their story so that they could also receive "ghetto pension." In reality, of course, many Jews suffered through both: the ghetto and then later forced labor -- as did Elijahu Zicher. The survivors have taken these cases to court, but in most cases the German judiciary has decided in favor of the pension fund.

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Holland’s struggle with memory

Op-ed: Holland still struggling with wartime history, refuses to acknowledge official misconduct

May 9, 2012

Ynet

By  Manfred Gerstenfeld

There are few societies where the contradiction between Holocaust distortion and Holocaust commemoration is as major as in The Netherlands. This phenomenon came to the fore again last week on National Memorial Day, the 4th of May, which is designated to commemorate the many victims of the German occupier. Some 100,000 Dutch Jews – more than 70% of its pre-war community – were by far the largest group of victims.
The small town of Vorden decided that those participating in the ceremony for Dutch victims could also jointly visit the graves of German soldiers who are buried there. Originally it was intended that the local choir would sing a German song at the graves. That part of the program was soon scrapped.

A Jewish organization went to court and obtained an injunction that forbade the mayor – who is a main proponent of whitewashing the war past – to participate in the visit to the German graves. A number of Jews hired a small plane which flew over the town with a banner reading: “Vorden Went Wrong.”
In a widely spread press release, the Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the Vorden authorities. It expressed the essence of their abuse of history: "By honoring the German soldiers who occupied the Netherlands on behalf of the most murderous regime in human history and supported the occupation which helped implement the mass murder of Dutch Jewry, the local authorities of Vorden have basically rewritten the history of the war, erasing the critical distinction between victims and perpetrators. Such a decision is apparently based on the erroneous assumption that forgiveness automatically leads to reconciliation, ignores the horrific nature of the Nazi regime and is an insult to its victims."

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Madeleine Albright’s War Years

In a new memoir, Prague Winter, the former secretary of State explores her family’s World War II history and discovers the fate of those left behind

April 30, 2012

Tablet

By Vox Tablet

Madeleine Albright, flanked by grandmothers Růžena Spieglová (left) and Olga Körbelová. (Courtesy Madeleine Albright and Harper Collins)

In 1996, just as the Honorable Madeleine Korbelova Albright was confirmed as secretary of State—the country’s first woman to hold that post—revelations came to light that her Czech parents, neither of whom were living by then, had been born Jews.

Josef and Anna (née Spieglová) Korbel converted to Catholicism in 1941, when Josef was working for the exiled Czech government in London. The information, which Albright learned of just a few months before it was made public, raised many questions: Why had her parents converted, and why had they never told her? Why had she never figured it out? And what happened to the relatives who remained in Czechoslovakia during World War II and after? It was only when her term as secretary of State ended that Albright was able to pursue answers to these questions in earnest. In her new book, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, she chronicles her search and the answers she found. She joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to talk about what it was like to learn of her family background at age 59, and about what she’s done with this knowledge in the intervening years. Albright also talks about why Hillary Clinton has a harder job than she did. [Running time: 16:09.]

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One of 10 Most-Wanted Nazi Criminals Keeping Bees in Quebec

Vladimir Katriuk, whose name appears on the Wiesenthal Center’s list of most-wanted Nazis criminals, has been found to be living a Quebec.

April 28, 2012

Arutz Sheva

Vladimir Katriuk, 91, whose name appears on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of the world’s 10 most-wanted Nazis criminals, has been found to be living a quiet life keeping bees and selling honey in rural Quebec.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told a group of Holocaust survivors last week that the government would re-examine the case of a Nazi collaborator living near Montreal, according to a participant in the meetings.

The survivors, brought to Ottawa by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to testify against Katriuk, urged the ministers to take action and bring Nazi war criminals to justice within their lifetimes.

They gave the ministers copies of a just-published academic paper that described Mr. Katriuk’s alleged role in a 1943 massacre in Khatyn in Eastern Europe.

“Clearly the research that we presented is new information and I think that they have to analyze it but they have committed to us that they will do so,” said Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. “They will look at it and they will get the wheels in motion to bring it back to the forefront before it’s too late.”

The Holocaust survivors also asked for government action against Helmet Oberlander, another alleged Nazi war criminal.

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Holocaust Memorial, Synagogue Defaced in Geneva

Members of the Jewish community in Geneva find anti-Semitic symbols on a Holocaust monument and local synagogue.

April 28, 2012

Arutz Sheva

By Elad Benari

Members of the Jewish community in Geneva, Switzerland, woke up on Friday morning and discovered that anti-Semitic symbols had been sprayed overnight on a monument to Holocaust victims who had lived in the city, according to a Channel 2 News report.

The report said that symbols had also been sprayed on the outer wall of a local synagogue.

Dr. Yitzhak Dayan, the Chief Rabbi of Geneva, told Channel 2 News that he believed the timing of the incident was not accidental.

“Yesterday we celebrated here Israel's Independence Day. There was a party organized by the Israeli Embassy in the UN in one of the largest hotel in town, “he said.

He added that after the incident “there was another celebration, this time initiated by the Jewish community. Right in the middle of the party we heard that wing extremists and anti-Semites sent us a ‘gift’ on the occasion of Independence Day - swastikas on the memorial to Holocaust victims.”

Rabbi Dayan noted that local Jews were also horrified to discover swastikas sprayed on the front of the largest Sephardic synagogue in the city. One Jewish community leader in Geneva was as saying: “We are outraged at the anti-Semitic rage act which came exactly a week after Yom Hashoah.”

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Polish artist plants living Holocaust monument in German capital

Political art is the theme of this year's contemporary arts festival in Berlin, and one Polish artist is transplanting one aspect of the concentration camp to the German capital.

April 28, 2012

Haaretz

By Daniel Rauchwerger

"Berlin-Birkenau," a new installation by Polish artist Lukasz Surowiec, was put in place in the German capital last week as part of the Berlin Biennale. Surowiec, 26, took hundreds of birch trees from the area surrounding the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in Poland and placed them around the German capital.

Also featuring in this year's Biennale are works by Israeli artist Yael Bartana and Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar.

This weekend also marks the opening of an exhibition in the Berlin Medical Historical Museum of Israeli artist Aya Ben Ron.

The birch trees, called Birke in German, lent their name to the Birkenau camp where as many as 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, perished between 1940 and 1945. The theme of this year's contemporary arts festival in Berlin is political art.

"This is an attempt to create a new kind of monument, a living monument," said Surowiec, who has had commemorative plaques erected in front of the trees. "With the help of nature, I try to continue a generational mission of deepening the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. "My project is effectively based on giving back the 'inheritance' to its owners."

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Dutch Nazis who made ‘wrong choice’ also remembered

Homage is to be paid in a poem written by the 15-year-old relative of a Dutch SS soldier who died on Germany’s Eastern Front.

April 28, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By Cnaan Lipshiz

THE HAGUE – Dutch Nazis who died in World War II will be commemorated this year alongside their victims, at the national memorial ceremony in Amsterdam.

The homage is to be paid in a poem written by the 15-year-old relative of a Dutch SS soldier who died on Germany’s Eastern Front.

The boy’s poem, “Wrong Choice,” speaks of his great uncle, who “sought to escape poverty and dreamed of a better life,” but “chose the wrong army and wrong ideology.” He “needs to be remembered too,” on May 4, Dutch Memorial Day, the poem states.

The boy who wrote the poem is scheduled to publicly read it on Dutch Memorial Day at the Dam Square during a ceremony attended by the Dutch army’s top brass, war veterans and members of the royal family of the Netherlands.

Representatives of the Dutch Jewish community said they would not attend the ceremony unless the national memorial committee, Nationaal Comite 4 en 5 mei, scraps the poem.

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Holocaust survivors: Harrowing ordeals still largely untold

April 27, 2012

Washington Post

By Petula Dvorak

The Salisbury steak special? Now that’s a good topic. Or that gentle pharmacist at the CVS in Rockville? What a nice man, they’ll say.

But they don’t often talk about what they had to do to survive one of the most terrifying events of the 20th century — or any century for that matter.

The two women who once shared a plank for a bed in the squalid bunkers of Auschwitz and now, miraculously, live down the path from each other at the same senior complex would rather talk about their doctor’s appointments than the unimaginable experience they endured.

Retelling the story of jumping from a train to avoid a hail of Nazi gunfire, or surviving in the Siberian tundra for three years with nothing but an ax, or dying your black hair red to look like a Dutch family’s 6-year-old son when the Nazi soldiers came?

“Nah, some of them just want their peace — they deserve their peace,” said Henry Blumenstein, 76, who is one of about 50 Holocaust survivors living on the campus of the Charles E. Smith Life Communities in Rockville.

There are only a few hundred thousand Holocaust survivors left in the world. Israeli historians estimate that 32 survivors die every day in their country.

As they age, the memories become more gauzy. And sometimes, the resolve to leave the worst memories behind wins.

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Israeli politicians, left and right, must lay Holocaust to rest

When the Shoah is invoked by Benjamin Netanyahu to make the claim that "It's 1938 and Iran is Germany," the victims of the Shoah are forgotten, not remembered.

April 22, 2012

Haaretz

By Eva Illouz

Pierre Bayle, the great 17th-century French philosopher, had a bleak view of history: "Properly speaking, history is nothing but the crimes and misfortunes of the human race," he wrote, presaging a similar remark a century later by Edward Gibbon. Steven Pinker, in his recent book "The Better Angels of our Nature," reminds us that it took a long time for the victims of those crimes to be collectively noticed, mourned and remembered. Even if religions always cared for and honored the dead, it is only in recent history that we collectively commemorate the victims of the past. In modern social democracies, history has become, largely, the memory of the memory of "crimes and misfortunes" of the human race because remembering has become a moral duty, even a moral imperative. It is a moral imperative not only in the sense that it expresses our solidarity with the dead, but also in the sense that it reminds us what it means to deviate from basic, universal norms of humanity.

While compassion for the suffering of others can and should extend beyond the boundaries of our country, the "duty of memory" is, interestingly enough, still often a national affair - a practice that usually concerns only the members of the national group. The only exception to this is, perhaps, the Shoah, which has become the universal benchmark of collective solidarity and memory, the sign that Jews are inextricably linked to the moral horizon of many nations.

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In going after Nazi criminals, Europe is still divided

Clearly, the Communist domination of countries like Hungary prevented the soul-searching necessary to enable any meaningful acknowledgment of local guilt and complicity.

April 21, 2012

Haaretz

By Efraim Zuroff

This past year, for the first time in a decade, two trials of Nazi war criminals indicted on criminal charges - with the defendants present and in reasonable health - were concluded in two different European countries. The first to be completed (in May 2011 ) was that of Ivan Demjanjuk, who was tried in Germany for his role as an armed SS guard in the Sobibor death camp, where approximately 250,000 Jews were murdered during the years 1942-1943. The second, which took place in Hungary and was concluded in July, was that of local gendarmerie lieutenant Sandor Kepiro, who was charged for his role in the massacre of 3,300 civilians in the Serbian city of Novi Sad and its vicinity in the latter half of January 1942. (This trial was preceded by an unsuccessful libel suit Kepiro initiated against me for exposing his participation in the massacres.)

On the surface, there are several noticeable differences between the two cases. Most significant is the difference in rank of the accused. While Kepiro, a lawyer, was an officer, and even acknowledged that he was personally responsible for the roundup of civilians in a specific area of Novi Sad on January 23, Demjanjuk was a guard who only received orders. Another significant difference between the cases was the amount and specificity of evidence of the crimes alleged to have been committed by the accused available to the prosecutors to present to the court.

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Holocaust memory alive

Op-ed: As opposed to common perception, interest in Holocaust keeps growing worldwide

April 19, 2012

Ynet

By Eitan Haber

The following words are written in Krakow, Poland. This Polish city is already flooded by thousands of Israelis and Diaspora Jews who arrived in order to take part in Thursday's March of the Living. The color of their raincoats is already painting the town and its restaurants blue. In the next two days one can speak Hebrew here and everyone would understand.

The Poles may not like this Israeli and Jewish horde, but they're accustomed to it by now. Over the years, Krakow has become the Israeli and Jewish base for tours of Auschwitz and Birkenau. As things stand now, this will maintain the livelihood of the Polish tourism industry for many years to come. The Poles will be making millions thanks to the six million Jews.
Much has been written about the Israeli and Jewish journeys to Poland. Some people support them, while others object. The assumption is that in the coming years these trips will continue, and possibly draw larger crowds. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world will be coming to Poland.
This contradicts, of course, the common perception that the memory of the Holocaust is waning among Europe's political elites, among other reasons because of the overuse of the crematoria and concentration camp terminology within Israel's current political climate.

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The meaning of strength

April 19, 2012

Ynet

By Noah Klieger

What is strength? First, we may need to ask what strength we’re talking about. Mental strength? One’s will? The strength to withstand difficult situations and make decisions? The strength to survive? And perhaps this is simply about physical strength?

For 67 years I’ve been asking myself how I found the strength. The strength to face, every day, the blows that destiny poured on me in that cursed place known as an extermination camp.
The strength to wake up every morning at five to the sound of screams and run naked, in summer and in winter, to the frozen shower. The strength to return to my block wet and receive the dark water masking as coffee, the stale bread and piece of margarine we swallowed in seconds, to put on the striped uniform that was too big for me and the wooden-soled shoes, and to rush to the courtyard where we were counted, until the order was given: Arbeitskommandoes formieren – get into working groups.
The strength to head out of the camp every day, in rows of five and marching in the same pace, with the Kapo ordering us: Muetzen ab – remove your hats – as SS soldiers counted us. Again.
How did I find the mental strength and will to survive another day, and then another day?

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Who was Lili Ney and why did she die?

April 19, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

The village of Magyarmecske lies 255 kilometers south of Budapest, the Hungarian capital, near the Croatian border. According to last year's census it has a population of 313.

There's little else to say about it. Anyone looking for proof of the obsessiveness and thoroughness with which the Nazis persecuted Europe's Jews will find it in this remote, poverty-stricken place. A memorial sign put up three years ago commemorates the village's 11 Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The Nazis did not spare even them.

Lilli Ney , left. PHoto Peter Heindl.

The 68th anniversary of the day that Magyarmecske's small Jewish community, numbering six families before the Holocaust, was destroyed. On April 26, 1944, the accomplices of the Nazis raided the village and arrested its 13 Jews. A few weeks later, 11 of them died in Auschwitz. It's doubtful that anyone would have remembered the Jews of this small village were it not for Peter Heindl, a history teacher and youth educator in Magyarmecske.

A few years ago Heindl moved to Magyarmecske with his family, out of a sense of mission as a teacher. In 2008 he responded to an invitation from Yad Vashem and attended a teacher-training seminar at the institution's International School for Holocaust Studies, which every year educates thousands of teachers from around the world about the Holocaust.

When Heindl returned he searched for, and found, an interesting way to tell his students, most of whom are Roma, or Gypsies, about the events of 70 years ago and their ethical and humanitarian implications for today. The detective-story format he created turned into a small but important memorial project - a single ray of light in a country ruled by an ultranationalist right-wing government amid a resurgence of anti-Semitism and anti-Roma sentiment and actions.

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Romania: Holocaust center protests poetry book

Research center says public funds used to publish book by former member of pro-Hitler group

April 19, 2012

Ynet

Associated Press

A Holocaust research center in Romania says public funds were used to finance a children's poetry book that features on its cover Romania's World War II fascist leader.
The National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania blasted a local council on Tuesday for helping publish a book by 100-year-old George Ungureanu, a former member of pro-Hitler group active in Romania during the World War II.

The book has Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, the founder of the fascist Iron Guard legion, in its cover.
There was no immediate reaction from Ungureanu or Romanian authorities.
The legionnaires, as Iron Guard members were known, gained notoriety for their vicious anti-Semitism. In 1941, they went on a torture-and-killing spree, slaying thousands of Jews in Bucharest.


'Hate crimes against Jews becoming more brutal'

Kantor Center's 2011 anti-Semitism report notes overall increase in hate crimes across Europe, Australia and Canada; says overall verbal threats, vandalism cases down 27%

April 19, 2012

Ynet

By Tomer Veimer

The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry presented its annual global anti-Semitism report for 2011 Wednesday, as Israel readies to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The report noted an increase in cases involving harassments and violence against Jews worldwide, singling out western Europe, Australia and Canada as three of the places most affected by the trend.

Nevertheless, the Tel Aviv University based institute found that on average the number of verbal threats and vandalism cases against Jews were down 27% in 2011 with 446 incidents compared to 614 in 2010.
The United Kingdom, France and Canada recorded an overall drop in hate crimes; Belgium, Australia and Ukraine demonstrated a similar number of incidents as in 2010 and Belarus and Lithuania saw a rise in anti-Semitic acts.

'Attacks' brutality escalating'
The data further indicated a rise in physical violence against Jews and Jewish institutions, noting an escalation in their brutality as well.
According to the report, in 2011 42% of hate crimes against Jews were committed against individuals, while 20% saw synagogues targeted, and 6% targeted schools and community centers. In addition, in 14% of the cases Jewish cemeteries were vandalized and in 18% of the cases private property was vandalized.

The data further segmented the nature of the assault, saying that firearms were used in 5% of cases, 17% involved verbal threats, 57% of hate crimes involved vandalism, and 1% involved arson.

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Central theme of Holocaust Day 2012: My Brother's Keeper

April 17, 2012

Haaretz

By Nir Hasson

Holocaust Remembrance Day begins at 8 P.M. Wednesday night at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, in the presence of President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The central theme of this year's commemoration is "My Brother's Keeper - Jewish Solidarity During the Holocaust."

Six survivors of the Holocaust will light the torches representing the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Holocaust Remembrance Day begins at 8 P.M. Wednesday night at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, in the presence of President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The central theme of this year's commemoration is "My Brother's Keeper - Jewish Solidarity During the Holocaust."

Six survivors of the Holocaust will light the torches representing the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Batsheva Dagan, born in Lodz, pretended to be Aryan and worked as a housemaid for a Nazi family until she was turned in. She survived six prisons, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Death March. Dagan is a child psychologist who focuses on educating young children about the Holocaust.

Eliezer Lev-Zion helped rescue 36 children while working with the Jewish resistance in France. He worked as a Jewish National Fund forester and managed immigrant absorption centers in southern Israel.

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Righteous Gentile Or Nazi Supporter?

Wartime leader of Ukrainian church sheltered many Jews, but decades-long campaign has not brought Yad Vashem’s highest honor.

April 17, 2012

The New York Jewish Week

By Steve Lipman

In the late summer of 1942, 7-year-old Leon Chameides accompanied his father on an hour-long truck ride. As the Nazis tightened their grip over the Ukraine, the two journeyed from a village in the western part of the country where the Chameides family, Jews from Poland, had found refuge with relatives, to Lvov, the major city in that region. After stepping down from the truck, father and son walked to a towering building on Mount Jur, in the center of the city, where they knocked on the door of Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church headquarters.
The pair was taken to a dark library where an old man in a white beard, sitting under a blanket in a wheelchair, talked to Leon’s father for a few minutes and patted the child’s head.
Kalman Chameides quickly departed, leaving his son behind. He offered the child no explanation.
Leon Chameides realized that his life, threatened by the Nazis who had occupied the country earlier that year, was in the hands of this stranger, the old man with arthritis-crippled legs, Metropolitan Andrei Sheptitsky, the leader of the country’s Greek Catholic (or Uniate) church.

For the next two years, until the Red Army liberated Ukraine from Nazi rule, Chameides lived, under the protection of the church, in an orphanage and monastery and its adjoining self-sufficient farm run by Uniate priests. He was, he later learned, among at least several dozen Jews, including his older brother, saved from the Holocaust by the church, all with the knowledge, if not direct involvement of, Metropolitan Sheptitsky.
Seventy-two years after he died, the metropolitan (the title in Orthodox Christianity is analogous to an archbishop in Roman Catholicism) is a venerated figure in Ukraine but a controversial one in some Jewish circles.
After repeated attempts by Chameides and other Holocaust survivors to have Metropolitan Sheptitsky declared a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial’s highest honor for non-Jews who saved Jews during the Shoah, he still has not joined the ranks of the 2,000-plus Ukrainians with the title of Righteous Among The Nations. (That list includes the metropolitan’s less controversial brother, Clement, who was an accomplice in the rescue effort.)

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New Israeli study finds signs of trauma in grandchildren of Holocaust survivors

Study detects unprocessed, indirect signs of post-trauma, or problems in communication and interaction systems, among second-and-third-generation descendants of Holocaust victims.

April 16, 2012

Haaretz

By Dan Even

One of the most controversial subjects in academic research on the Holocaust is the trauma's impact on future generations. A new study carried out by Haifa University argues that Holocaust trauma signs can be identified among third-generation grandchildren.

The study, carried out by Dr. Miri Scharf and Prof. Ofra Mayseless from Haifa University's Education Department, detects unprocessed, indirect signs of post-trauma, or problems in communication and interaction systems, among second-and-third-generation descendants of Holocaust victims.

The study is based on in-depth interviews conducted with 196 Israelis who are second-generation descendants, and are considered functioning adults who do not suffer from psychological disturbances, and their children, third-generation descendants, a group with an average age of 18. The researchers identified three experiential patterns of distress that are liable to be passed down from generation to generation.

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Austrian film company buys Holocaust documentary from Israeli filmmakers

David Fisher's 'Six Million and One,' which is showing now in Israeli theaters, will begin playing in Austria on May 12, in eight theaters in different parts of the country.

April 16, 2012

Haaretz

By Nirit Anderman

An Israeli documentary about four siblings who retrace their father's experiences during World War II, when he worked in the stone quarries of the Gusen concentration camp in Austria, has been bought by Austrian distribution company Timm Film.

David Fisher's "Six Million and One," which is showing now in Israeli theaters, will begin playing in Austria on May 12, in eight theaters in different parts of the country.

"This is the most important film to show in Austria this year," said Andreas Timm, a Timm Film official who first saw the documentary, the final part of a trilogy, at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. "This is the first serious film that points to the responsibility that we, the Austrians, must take in the face of the events of World War II."

Timm said he plans to get the film broadcast on Austrian television and distribute it to schools and universities in the country, along with explanatory material about Austria's responsibility for what took place within its borders.

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Times Past: Lawyer saved nearly 20,000 Romanian Jews from deportation

April 15, 2012

San Luis Obispo Tribune

By Liz and Dan Krieger

“Each time I see a Jew, I am tempted to approach him, greet him, and tell him: ‘Sir, please believe me, I have nothing to do with this.’ The sad thing is that no one admits having anything to do with it. Everybody disapproves, everybody is revolted, yet to a no lesser extent everyone is a cog in this huge antisemitic factory that is the Romanian state … ”
The reaction of Romanian diplomat Constantin Visoianu upon learning of the Iasi Massacre, in which more than a thousand Jews were murdered in 1941, tells us a great deal about the silence of the vast majority of non-Jews that enabled the tragedy of the Holocaust to be carried out.

On Thursday, April 19, Holocaust Remembrance Day, survivors Bianca Rosenthal and Irving Klein will share their stories at Congregation Beth David, 10180 Los Osos Valley Road, San Luis Obispo. The event is free and begins at 7 p.m.
Rosenthal joined the Languages Department at Cal Poly in 1971. I was unaware of the remarkable details of her survival.
Rosenthal is from Czernowitz, a city that was once part of Romania; today, it’s in Ukraine and known as Chernivtsi. From the 18th century through the 1930s, it was the cultural center of both the Romanian and Ukrainian national movements. It was known as the “little Vienna” or the “European Alexandria.” For European Jewry it was known as “Jerusalem upon the (River) Prut.”
In 1908, the city hosted “The Czernowitz Conference for the Yiddish Language,” where Jewish leaders and scholars intended to promote Yiddish as “a national language of the Jewish people.” The destruction of millions of Yiddish speakers in the Holocaust virtually ensured the adoption of Hebrew rather than Yiddish.
In 1940, the Red Army occupied Czernowitz under the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. Romanian military dictator Ion Antonescu reacted to this seizure by allying his country with Nazi Germany in July 1941. The Romanian Army retook the city as part of Hitler’s massive onslaught against the Soviet Union in July 1941.

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Monument honors Czech Jews who hid in woods from Nazis, and villagers who helped

April 11, 2012

JTA

By Bruce Konviser

TRSICE, Czech Republic (JTA) -- Nearly 70 years after a Czech Jewish family sought refuge from the Nazis by retreating into a nearby forest and relying on non-Jewish locals for help, an American high school teacher has helped erect a permanent monument to their memory.

Eva Vavrecka contemplating the horrific living conditions that her mother and grandparents endured in the forest to survive World War II. (Bruce Konviser)

Last week, several dozen people went to the wooded site where the Wolf family had hid to unveil a modest stone monument that commemorates their struggle to survive and the locals who helped them.

For three nightmarish years during World War II, the Wolf family survived by intermittently hiding in the woods, a friend's shed and people's homes -- all the while depending on others to provide them with food, fuel and other supplies.

The details of the family's ordeal were recorded in a detailed diary by son Otto, who was 15 when they went into hiding in June 1942. The villagers of Trsice, which is about 150 miles east of Prague, knew the story. But it was only after Colleen Tambuscio, a New Jersey teacher, brought a group of students to the wooded hideout four years ago as part of a Holocaust study tour that the wheels were set in motion for a proper memorial.

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Holocaust Violins Live To Play Another Song

April 11, 2012

Huffington Post

By Ken Garfield

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (RNS) Another voice from the past is telling the stories of the Holocaust.

Violins that outlived the owners who played them in the death camps and Jewish ghettos are being brought back to life by Amnon Weinstein in his shop in Tel Aviv. As Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance) gatherings occur around the world in April, 18 violins tracked down and repaired by Weinstein will be unveiled in Charlotte, N.C.

A dozen public concerts, worship services and other programs throughout the month are expected to attract thousands who are drawn to the music, and the history behind each instrument -- the first time the violins will be shared with the public in North and South America.

Weinstein hopes he can bring the violins to other communities, in a bid to recall the 6 million Jews and 5 million others who perished at Hitler's hand.

Weinstein, 72, lost some 380 relatives in the Holocaust -- "cousins from here to eternity," he said. These violins, he said, symbolize the power of music to outlive evil. They represent the dead, and speak for the aging survivors whose voices are being silenced by time.

"Nothing is like it was in 1945," Weinstein said. "The only thing that didn't age is the violin. It's the same, the sound of the violin. It speaks by itself. It gives you another open door to try to understand."

Like a detective, Weinstein, a violin-maker, has spent more than a decade scouring the Internet, talking to survivors' relatives, literally searching attics and basements for violins presumed lost to time.

One of his many triumphs: A violin played in the men's orchestra at Auschwitz in Poland was sold by an unnamed survivor for $50 to a man named Abraham Davidovitz in 1946 near Munich, Germany. Years later, the Davidovitz family gave it to Weinstein after inscribing on the label: "The violins continue to play for all those who did not live to make music."

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Israel-Iran History, Holocaust Perverted in Grass’s Poem

April 11, 2012

Bloomberg

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Guenter Grass, the German writer and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, brought forth last week an odious little poem that focuses on the threat to world peace posed by the Jewish state, and congratulates its author for the courage to point out this truth.
The poem, published in the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and elsewhere, was titled “What Must Be Said,” which is quite a vainglorious title. There is very little in the world that is safer (or less novel) than criticizing Israel in a European newspaper.

In this poem, Grass suggests that Germans haven’t been saying “what must be said” about the various sins of the Jews. Of course, many post-Nazi German intellectuals, and intellectuals across Europe, have been saying quite nasty things about Jews and the Jewish state for some time, without noticeable consequence. (No fatwas have been issued against European critics of Jews, and no opponent of Israel has been murdered for his criticism.)
The German historian Ernst Nolte argued in a 2004 speech that “the only difference between Israel and the Third Reich is Auschwitz,” a statement exceeded in intemperance by Grass’s fellow Nobel Prize recipient, the late Portuguese novelist Jose Saramago, who once compared Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian West Bank, to Auschwitz, and who accused Jews of worshipping a “spiteful” god.

Grass, in his writing, shows himself to be a man tired of hearing about the Holocaust, tired of thinking about the Holocaust, tired of carrying around the moral burden of the Holocaust. This is in some ways an understandable feeling for young Germans, at least, to hold. They didn’t commit the deeds, and would like the world to judge them for their actions, not those of their parents and grandparents.
Grass, however, is a former member of the Waffen SS, and being a former member of the Waffen SS means having to say you’re sorry. Unfortunately, all the harshness directed against Grass after he revealed this fact in 2006 -- six decades afterward -- seems to have made him angry at the SS’s victims. Thus, our poem.

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New website chronicles unusual history of Jewish Holocaust-era theater

Dozens of plays were written by Jews during the Holocaust period, with hundreds of dramas produced in ghettos and concentration camps during the tragedy.

April 10, 2012

Haaretz

By Oder Aderet

A unique website has just been launched providing a comprehensive guide to Holocaust theater.

Dozens of plays were written by Jews during the Holocaust period, with hundreds of dramas produced in ghettos and concentration camps during the tragedy. They are chronicled at English-language site The Holocaust Theater Online Collection (http://www.jewish-theatre.org/page2.html ), currently still in pilot form.

The project was initiated and supervised by researcher and Jewish theater expert Moti Sandak. The website's academic and editorial board features Prof. Gad Kaynar, head of Tel Aviv University Theater, Prof. David Alexander, and also writers Nava Semel and Dr. Michal Govrin.

A team of ten is currently working around the clock in order to complete the site's online data bank. About a thousand dramas relating to the Holocaust have been located. "Every play, no matter how obscure - including scripts that were never produced but are stored in archives - will be on the site [eventually]," Sandak says.

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Jewish man in critical condition after assaulted by neo-Nazis in Ukraine

April 9, 2012

Haaretz

By Eli Shvidler

A Jewish man is in critical condition after being assaulted by a neo-Nazi gang in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the city's Jewish community reported on Monday, as local police attempted to determine the motivation behind the incident.

According to Jewish community representatives, an ultra-Orthodox student by the name of Aharon Alexander, 25, was attacked by skinheads near Kiev's central synagogue.

However, despite the assertion by Kiev's Jewish community leaders that Alexander's wounds came following an anti-Semitic attack, local police officials indicated that the investigation was ongoing, and they were also looking into the possibility that the young Haredi tripped in the street.

At first, Alexander was reportedly missing for nearly 24 hours, until a doctor sent by the Jewish community was able to identify him in one of the city's hospitals. Alexander, following head surgery, was said to be in critical condition.

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A Century of Wisdom: Lessons From the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World’s Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor

By Caroline Stoessinger
Spiegel & Grau, 256 pages, $23

April 8, 2012

Forward

By Gordon Haber

Let us consider the astonishing story of pianist Alice Herz-Sommer. Born in prewar (that is, pre-World War I) Prague, Herz-Sommer survived Theresienstadt, made aliyah and finally settled in London. Along the way, she crossed paths with such world-historical figures as Gustav Mahler, Franz Kafka and Golda Meir. Now 108, Herz-Sommer is renowned for her optimism — and for being the world’s oldest living Holocaust survivor.
Caroline Stoessinger recounts all this in “A Century of Wisdom,” and I hope the reader will forgive me for feeling a little trapped. Given all of the above, how could I say anything bad about the book? How could any critic possibly be objective about it?
Maybe it’s best, before evaluating the book itself, to say more about its estimable subject. Herz-Sommer was born in 1903 to a merchant father and a cultured mother who were friendly with Thomas Mann and Rainer Maria Rilke, as well as Mahler and Kafka.
Herz-Sommer remembers Kafka as kind, indecisive and always “dressed for the office.” He was a regular at the house; he came to a Passover Seder and helped the kids search for the afikomen, the hidden matzo. One summer day, he took young Alice and her twin sister, Mitzi, for a hike; over a lunch of “magic sandwiches,” he told stories about “wild, imaginary beasts” (stories not recounted by Stoessinger, alas).
As an adult, Herz-Sommer built an enviable life for herself, one of hard work and modest comforts, friendship and art. She established a career as a teacher and concert pianist: Stoessinger reports that Max Brod, another family friend, wrote “glowing” reviews of her performances. In 1931 she married Leopold Sommer, a kind-hearted businessman. Their son, Rafael, was born in 1937.

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Jews Stream Back to Germany

Berlin’s Jewish population jumped in 2008 to an estimated 50,000 from 6,000 in 1990, amid an overall population today of 3.4 million.

April 8, 2012

Forward

By Donald Snyder

For decades after the Holocaust, many Jews harbored an almost instinctive aversion to things German. But today, tens of thousands of Israelis, Jews from the former Soviet Union and even many American Jews are actively choosing German citizenship.
Sound unreal? It’s today’s reality.
According to a study by Dr. Sima Salzberg of Bar-Ilan University, 100,000 Israelis have applied for and received German passports.
“This is the largest group of German passport holders in the world outside Germany,” said Emmanuel Nahshon, deputy chief of mission of the Israeli Embassy in Berlin.

In September 1935, during the Nazi era, Jews were stripped of German citizenship by the Nuremberg racial laws. But under German law since May 1949, any Jew — or the descendants of such a Jew — who fled Nazi Germany has the right to become a naturalized German.
As a result, increasing numbers of Jews are seizing the opportunity to become Germans.
Berlin’s Jewish population jumped in 2008 to an estimated 50,000 from 6,000 in 1990, amid an overall population today of 3.4 million. The surge in Jewish population reflects, in part, a huge influx of Russian Jews. Many of them have at best a weak sense of Jewish identity thanks to the long Soviet era, during which this was suppressed. But an estimated 15,000 Israelis reside in Berlin, drawn there to work and study, and to enjoy the city’s freedom, cheap rents and exciting intellectual life. For these mostly younger Jews, the experiences of their grandparents and great-grandparents seem a distant trauma.

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Tunisia's Jewish community sues over anti-Semitic slogans

National Constituent Assembly 'deeply concerned' by 'slogans aimed at sowing discord within Tunisian society'

April 4, 2012

Ynet

By AFP

Tunisia's Jewish community said Wednesday it was making an official complaint over anti-Semitic slogans chanted at a protest demanding the imposition of sharia, or Islamic law, in the country."This is the third time this sort of thing has happened. It's too much. I can't accept it and that's why I'm lodging a complaint," Roger Bismuth, the representative of the Jewish community told AFP.

"Justice must be done," said Bismuth, who was received on Tuesday by Speaker Mustapha Ben Jafar.
Tunisia - a Muslim majority country of more than 10 million - is home to a Jewish minority of about 1,500.
The threats, some of them filmed on video, were made at a rally in Tunis on Sunday demanding that sharia become the main source of legislation in the new constitution currently being drafted, media reports said.

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Heirloom haggada conjures memories for survivor

Zehava Fleischer donates Holocaust-related items to Yad Vashem.

April 4, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By Gil Shefler

The temptation of the afikoman is hard to resist no matter how old you are.

The first thing Zehava Fleischer did when her brother handed her the Haggada their father read from before the Holocaust was to check if it still contained the prized piece of matza that children traditionally steal from their elders on Passover night in return for a reward.

“My father would always hide part of the afikoman in the last page,” she recalled on Sunday, the week before the start of the Jewish holiday. “When my brother gave it to me I immediately opened the last page but, of course, it was not there.”

Fleischer, née Gruber, does not know how the family copy of the text that tells the story of the delivery of the Jews from servitude in Egypt survived the war. She was only 16 when the Germans occupied Hungary, her country of birth, in May 1944.

“Many family possessions were hidden including the Haggada,” she said. “I was young and not told everything.”

The mass deportation of Hungary’s Jews to death camps began shortly thereafter. Fleischer was separated from her family and sent from Budapest to a labor camp. She survived, but her father, Ferenc Gruber, and other relatives were murdered at Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Poland. After the war she made aliya and started a family in Israel, but her elder brother stayed behind. Decades later, when the grip of communism on Hungary began to loosen, he came to visit her in Israel bearing a special gift: The worn-out Haggada from which their father read at the seder.

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Warsaw Jewish museum facing disagreement and delays

Project director submits her resignation, saying she doesn't feel that everyone responsible for completing the exhibition plans was dedicated to the task.

April 4, 2012

Haaretz

By Roman Frister

WARSAW - The official opening of the museum to Polish Jewry in Warsaw, scheduled to take place one year from now, on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, may be postponed, due to managerial and financial difficulties.

Because of the delay in the project, which is considered a major one both to by the Polish government and Jewish groups in that country, it is not certain that U.S. President Barack Obama and President Shimon Peres will take part in the opening ceremony as planned. The Polish minister of culture and national heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski, this week said he hoped the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews would be delayed only to the fall of next year, but that a lack of coordination between the people responsible for completion of the work was causing a delay.

The project's temporary director, Agnieszka Rudzinska, submitted her resignation a few days ago, saying that she did not feel that everyone responsible for completing the exhibition plans was dedicated to the task, and that she had not found common ground with the people financing the museum. The previous director had been fired because of disagreements with the culture minister.

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Life Inside the Camps

Dutch Jew David Koker’s extraordinary diary, a clear-eyed and sensitive account of life inside a concentration camp, is finally available in English

March 29, 2012

Tablet

By Jordan Michael Smith

David Koker’s fate was in many ways no different from that of the nearly 6 million other Jews who died in the Holocaust. The eldest son of an Amsterdam jeweler, he was arrested by Dutch police in February 1943 and transported to Vught, a concentration camp built by the Nazis in the southern Netherlands. After being shuffled between other camps, he died on the way to Dachau in early 1945, where he was buried in a mass grave at the age of 23.

Before he died, however, Koker authored what may be the most extraordinary diary ever written inside a concentration camp. “In my opinion, it’s considerably more interesting than Anne Frank’s diary,” said Michiel Horn, a historian at Toronto’s York University and the book’s translator. At the Edge of the Abyss: A Concentration Camp Diary, 1943-1944, was first published in Dutch in 1977 as Diary Written in Vught. Despite immediately being recognized as a classic in the Netherlands, it has never seen publication in English, until now.

David Koker. (Photoillustration Tablet Magazine; original photo courtesy Northwestern University Press)

Part of what makes At the Edge of the Abyss so astonishing is that it survived at all. As the historian Robert Jan van Pelt writes in the book’s introduction, “While the number of postwar memoirs written by Holocaust survivors is enormous, and the number of diaries and notebooks written during the Holocaust by Jews while they were at home, or in a ghetto, or in hiding is substantial, the number of testimonies that were written in the inner circles of hell, in the German concentration camps, and that survived the war is small.” Those few that do exist are often fragmentary, and nearly all lack Koker’s extraordinary powers of observation and analysis.

Koker began his diary on Feb. 12, 1943, the day after he was arrested along with his parents and his younger brother. A published poet and budding intellectual at the time of his capture, he insisted on diarizing for nearly an entire year. As the teacher of the many children interned in Vught, he ingratiated himself with the chief camp clerk and his wife, which provided him with a relatively privileged position. In addition to keeping a diary, he was also able to write and receive letters, some of which are excerpted in the book.

In January of 1944, one of the civilian employees of a corporation that operated a workshop in Vught smuggled Koker’s diary out of the camp and gave it to his best friend, Karel van het Reve, who then gave it to David’s younger brother Max, who survived Auschwitz and received it upon his return to Amsterdam after the war. It was passed on to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, where an employee transcribed it.

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Play tells tale of Jewish refugees in WW2 Shanghai

Directors of 'North Bank Suzhou Creek' call it Chinese version of 'Schindler's List'; say 'it is not well known enough that Chinese gave shelter to over 30,000 Jews'

March 28, 2012

Ynet

Reuters

The time: World War Two. The place: Shanghai, where more than 30,000 Jews were sheltered by the Chinese during the Japanese occupation - a saga now dramatized in a play that aims to highlight a little-known episode in history.
The directors of "North Bank Suzhou Creek," which premiered in Shanghai on Thursday prior to heading to New York later this year, said the story of what happened in wartime Shanghai needed to be told.

"This is the Chinese version of 'Schindler's List,'" said Jeffrey Sichel, one of the directors, referring to the Oscar-winning film about a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.
"In essence (it) is not well known enough that the Chinese gave shelter, that the Chinese really...gave shelter to over 30,000 Jews."
The Jewish refugees established a community with theatres and schools in an impoverished part of Shanghai north of the city's famous riverside Bund before the Japanese heeded ally Nazi Germany's request they be forced to live in a restricted ghetto area.

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Jews protest Hitler shampoo ad

Turkish Jews upset over commercial that uses old Hitler film footage

March 28, 2012

Ynet

By Associated Press

Turkey's Jewish community is protesting a Turkish commercial that uses an old film footage of Adolf Hitler to sell shampoo. The ad features a clip of Hitler delivering an impassioned speech with a voice-over urging men to use Biomen shampoo.
"If you are not wearing women's dress, you shouldn't be using women's shampoo either!" Hitler says inthe commercial.

The Jewish community and the Chief Rabbi's office on Monday called Hitler "the most striking example of cruelty and savagery" and said using his image in a commercial was unacceptable. The statement also demanded a public apology from the advertising company "to repair the damage this commercial has caused to society's conscience."
The Anti-Defamation League called the ad campaign "disgusting and deplorable" and urged the Turkish government to do the same.

"This video is just the latest example of the use of Holocaust imagery in some countries to sell commercial products, which has contributed to the trivialization of and desensitization to the unparalleled horrors of the Holocaust," ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said.

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Germany's new breed of neo-Nazis pose a threat

March 28, 2012

BBC News

By Katya Adler

The security services in Germany are scrambling to track down and arrest far-right fugitives and Germany's federal and state interior ministers have announced they are taking concrete steps towards banning the country's far right National Democratic Party, the NPD.

This comes after a public outcry following revelations in November that a neo-Nazi cell had apparently been able to go on a nationwide spree of racially motivated murders over several years, under the noses of the German intelligence services.

The group of three are being held responsible for the deaths of eight Turkish and one Greek immigrant between 2000 and 2006, as well as a German policewoman in 2007.

Yet the existence of the group, dubbed the Zwickau cell after the name of the town where they spent most of their time in hiding, only came to light in November when two of its members died in an apparent joint suicide or murder-suicide and the third handed herself in to the authorities.

The NPD has been linked to the group, though the allegations have yet to be accepted in a court of law.

The trio had made a DVD in which they boasted of the killings and said they had acted to serve the German nation and its people, describing themselves as the National Socialist Underground - echoing the national socialism (Nazism) of Hitler's Germany.

The leadership is always trying to attract members of the so-called upper classes and students who, one day, can act as lawyers or doctors for the far right”

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From Warsaw to Winnipeg: A Personal Tale of Two Cities

By Stefan Carter

Publisher Mosaic Press  209 pages ISBN: 9780889629370 

March 28, 2012

By permission from The Jewish Post and News

Review by Dr. Daniel Stone

In this memoir, Winnipeg doctor and professor, Stefan Carter, recounts his remarkable journey From Warsaw to Winnipeg. Starting as Stefan Reicher in pre-war Poland and the Warsaw Ghetto, he became Stefan Carter in post-war Poland, Germany, and Canada.

Born into a Polish-speaking family of Jewish scientists, doctors, artists, and musicians, young Stefan lived comfortably in pre-war Warsaw, enjoying holidays at the seaside and in the mountains. This carefree existence ended when Nazi Germany conquered Poland and confined all Polish Jews to ghettos. Stefan lost his mother in the Great Deportation of 1942 when 300,000 Warsaw Jews went to their deaths, but his father survived. Stefan’s father also lost his life in the ghetto.Stefan was able to leave and lived for two years “on the Aryan”side, hidden by sympathetic Polish Catholics. He watched the 1943 Ghetto Uprising from hiding.

After the War, Carter was reunited with an aunt and uncle in Cracow, but sadly not with their son, Tadzik (Ted), who had helped him escape from the Warsaw Ghetto and died fighting in the 1944 Uprising. Stefan finished high school and left for Munich, Germany with his Aunt and Uncle in 1946 under the name of Carter, which the family adopted after Tadzik’s favourite mystery detective, Nick Carter. In Munich, Stefan started university along with many other displaced youth and met a Jewish nurse, Etta Brenner, whose Winnipeg relatives, Mary and Volodia Kitzes, sponsored his immigration to Canada while his aunt and uncle went to the United States.

Carter was only a teenager at the end of the War and most of his life still lay ahead of him, so the remainder of this memoir provides a rich portrait of Winnipeg from 1949 to the present. Stefan finished university and entered medical school at the University of Manitoba shortly after the abolition of the quota on Jewish admissions. After graduation, he followed a scientific, pedagogical, and clinical career that took him New York, the Mayo Clinic, and back to Winnipeg. As a researcher, Carter published significant papers on blood circulation that helped him, as a clinician, to transform rapidly evolving medical practices.

In addition to discussing these serious topics, the memoirs give a fascinating picture of ordinary life in Winnipeg with accounts of Carter’s family and hobbies.For example, Carter, a sports fan, reminds readers that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the 1950s recruited medical student athletes to the team who made up their missed hospital shifts during the off-season. Also, it was entertaining to learn about the pranks that medical and engineering students played on each other, even if they should not be repeated today.

Like other Survivors who put their Holocaust experiences behind them to build a new life, Carter later felt the need to come to terms with the past. The concluding chapters provide a moving account of Carter’s return to Poland with his two adult sons, his reunion with his Polish rescuers, and much more. He shows how knowledge of the Holocaust spread in Winnipeg in recent decades and how the Holocaust community created the Holocaust Memorial on the Legislative lawn and the Holocaust Education Centre. A longtime member of the Holocaust Awareness Committee, Stefan made presentations to school groups about the Holocaust for many years and he helped collect material for the recent volume, Voices of Winnipeg’s Holocaust Survivors. He has researched and disseminated information about Polish family members such as his aunt, the noted painter, Stanislawa Centnerszwer. He has commemorated his rescuers, most recently with a plaque outside the Holocaust Education Centre on the Asper Campus.

Stefan Carter’s memoir makes fascinating reading and is illustrated with family photographs. The sections on the Holocaust and the post-Holocaust world in Poland and Germany are filled with understated drama. He writes simply and factually, with a clarity that makes it easy to sense how a youngster felt. The North American sections, mainly from Winnipeg, cover a variety of serious and light-hearted topics, presented in an easy manner that makes them sound like personal stories told around the kitchen table.

Advance copies of "From Warsaw to Winnipeg" may be obtained by phoning Stefan Carter, between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm, at 488-0071.

France: Dozens of Jewish graves desecrated

Over 30 Jewish graves vandalized in southern city of Nice. City's chief rabbi: Incident may be connected to Toulouse shooting

March 24, 2012

Ynet

By Gili Gurel

Over 30 Jewish graves were vandalized in a cemetery in the city of Nice in southern France, media outlets reported Saturday, five days after three schoolchildren and a rabbi were murdered in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse.
According to reports, the vandals tore off 22 Stars of David that were affixed on candle lamps built into the tombstones. They also tried to tear out nine other Stars of David, but only managed to twist them. In addition, four candle lamps were missing.

The act of vandalism occurred overnight Friday, but guards stationed at the cemetery said they noticed that some 22 candle lamps were missing from graves at the Jewish section as early as Wednesday.
The large cemetery in the eastern part of the city has some 600 graves, but the damages were only inflicted on graves in the Jewish section, the district's head of investigations told reporters.

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Toulouse shootings shows hatred has more than one source

To believe that the only kind of anti-Semitism in France today is a reaction to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dangerous nonsense

March 20, 2012

Haaretz

By Jean-Yeves Camus

The shooting spree against a Jewish school in Toulouse on March 19 is the most serious anti-Semitic attack that has taken place in France since Paris' Jo Goldenberg restaurant was bombed in 1982, with the loss of six lives. While it is too early yet to identify the killer and his ideology, intelligence officials here have made a link between this cold-blooded murder, carried in a military style by a lone killer, and the assassination of three servicemen a couple of days ago from a paratroopers' unit who served in Afghanistan. Those shootings have taken place in the same region, they seem to have been carried out by the same man, with the same weapon. What has sparked suggestions of a common ideological cause for these killings is that all the victims are from minority groups, whether Jews in the case of the school, or Muslim north African or West Indian, in the case of the soldiers.

Today investigators say that there are three possible motivations for the killer: he might be an Islamist; a former soldier suffering from battle trauma who has run amok; or a neo-Nazi walking in the steps of Anders Breivik. In the military unit whose members were killed, three soldiers were discharged in 2008 because they displayed a swastika flag in the barracks. The police take seriously the possibility of a link between all those cases.

But so far the most important fact to emerge for the Jewish community in France is that they will have to learn how to live under threat from an enemy that is not necessarily a terrorist network with a leadership and cells, but one which follows the pattern of "leaderless resistance," a concept believed to be on the rise within a range of radical movements, both Islamist and extreme-right.

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Convicted Nazi criminal John Demjanjuk dies at 91

Retired Ohio autoworker was found guilty of aiding the murder of 27,900 Jews at Sobibor Nazi death camp in Poland; his son says 'history will prove that Germany used my father as a scapegoat for Nazi crimes.'

March 17, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet and DPA

Convicted Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk, 91, has died in a retirement home in southern Germany, police said Saturday.

Last year, a German found the retired Ohio autoworker guilty of aiding the murder of 27,900 Jews at Sobibor, a Nazi extermination camp in occupied Poland, over several months of 1943.

The Munich court initially sentenced him to five years in jail but then decided to release Demjanjuk, pending an appeal, due to his advanced age.

Demjanjuk had been exonerated in a separate Holocaust trial two decades ago in Israel, where he was initially sentenced to death for being the notorious "Ivan the Terrible" camp guard at Treblinka in Poland. The ruling was overturned by Israel's supreme court after new evidence exonerated him.

Holocaust survivors welcomed the guilty verdict, as did the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center, where Rabbi Marvin Hier said: "John Demjanjuk's Nazi past finally caught up with him."

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Centuries later, York comes to terms with the worst anti-Semitic attack in Britain

Now, 822 years after some 150 Jews were massacred in York's Clifford Tower, a commemoration hopes to dispel the myth of the Cherem of York – the prohibition of resettling the city since the mass-murder.

March 16, 2012

Haaretz

By Anshel Pfeffer

Eight hundred and twenty-two years after some 150 Jews were massacred in York's Clifford Tower, the most comprehensive commemoration of the worst anti-Semitic attack in the British Isles will take place today (Friday) in England's ancient Capital of the North. The event will be the culmination of an academic project chronicling the York Massacre using advanced technology and dispel, the organizers hope, one of the most pervasive myths of Anglo Jewry, that of the Cherem of York – the prohibition of resettling the city following the mass-murder of its Jews.

Professor Helen Weinstein at the plaque commemorating the massacre

Clifford's Tower, also known as York Castle, is the most distinct landmark dominating the city's skyline and has served for centuries as York's symbol. First built as a Norman fort in 1068, it has been rebuilt many times and served as a military keep, prison, law court and today serves as a museum, but the only mention of the most bloody episode in its nine and a half centuries of history is a plaque at the foot of the tower unveiled by the Chief Rabbi of Britain and the Lord Mayor of York in 1978.

The York Massacre was just one of a wave of anti-Jewish riots that began eight months earlier at the coronation banquet of King Richard I, when a group of Jews who arrived to pay their respects were forbidden entry. Despite being under the King's protection, the Jews who had prospered for over a century as money-lenders, became the target for attacks by local noblemen who were anxious to wipe out their large debts. Murderous attacks began in London and spread to other Jewish settlements throughout England.

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Montreal Jews honour Mohawk war hero who helped liberate Dachau

March 13, 2012

CBC News

Wearing yarmulkes and rows of medals, Jewish Second World War veterans and Holocaust survivors alike made a pilgrimage Sunday to the grave of a modest aboriginal war hero.

Michael Delisle Sr. was among the first to enter the Dachau concentration camp after its liberation in 1945, and on the first anniversary of his death Montreal's Jewish community joined Mohawks to honour the exploits he never liked to talk about.

"Today was about survival," said Delisle's son, Michael Jr., who is the grand chief of the Kahnawake reserve, south of Montreal, where his father is buried.

"He was a survivor, he helped people survive, he helped liberate."

Though Delisle Sr., who served with the U.S. forces during the Second World War, was often reluctant to speak about his experiences, others have stepped up to acknowledge his bravery.

He was awarded the Bronze Star by the U.S. government and was given France's Légion D'honneur posthumously last May.

But despite such distinctions, Delisle Sr. never received much recognition in Canada. That changed when Holocaust survivors in Montreal happened to hear about his wartime record.

"We wanted to make sure it is the survivors who paid tribute not only to him, but all the other soldiers who enabled us to be here, in other words, who saved our lives," said Ted Bolgar, who spent time in five different concentration camps.

He helped organize the event along with the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre.

What began as a day of solemn tribute soon turned into a cultural learning experience.

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Researchers make new discovery of Jews murdered by Poland villagers during Holocaust

In one village, women were raped and murdered after being ‘loaned’ to Polish landowners by a neighboring ghetto, research shows.

March 9, 2012

Haaretz

By Roman Frister

Recent research has discovered the murders of Jews in three Polish villages during the Holocaust that were carried out by locals.

One discovery has shown that twenty Jewish women were murdered in a small village after being “loaned” to Polish landowners by a nearby ghetto for agricultural labor. According to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance and Polish attorneys, the murders took place in 1941 in Bzury, a town in northeast Poland.

There is no certainty around whether the murderers are alive today, or whether it will be possible to locate and convict them. Public Attorney Radoslaw Igniatew, one of the leading researchers of the infamous Jedwabne pogrom, believes there is a fair chance of at least locating witnesses who, at the time the acts took place, were minors, which would likely shed light on details of the crime. According to Igniatew, there is no doubt that those who carried out the acts were Poles.

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Inciting Hatred: Iran’s media campaign to demonize Bahá’ís

March 8, 2012

Editor’s remarks: As noted in our mandate at right, we must all be vigilant in opposing racism, antisemitism and other forms of bigotry. The Bahá’í in Iran have long been targeted for persecution by the Iranian government. Iran has denied Bahá'í citizens the right to post-secondary education. A chilling turn in Iran’s systematic campaign of state-sponsored hatred is the demonization of the Bahá'í n a way that closely resembles the Nazis’ vilification of the Jews in the 1930s. Unfortunately, the media has seemingly ignored the plight of the Bahá'í; it seemed self-evident that it is our responsibility to bring this to the attention to as many people as possible.

Bahai International Community

Alarmed by widespread incidents of religious intolerance and strife, the international community has increasingly turned its attention in recent years to combating incitement to hatred and violence .

While Iran has claimed to support such efforts, a systematic campaign of state-sponsored incitement to hatred is today underway in that country .

The target is the Bahá’í community, which has faced wide-ranging persecution at the hands of the Iranian authorities for more than three decades . Since 1979, more than 200 Iranian Bahá’ís have been executed and hundreds have been imprisoned .

[...]

One insidious element of this persecution however—which until now has been less well documented—has been the government’s extensive use of the mass media and other means to systematically denigrate and vilify Bahá’ís .

Repeated time and again throughout history, the pattern of demonizing and dehumanizing a seg- ment of society is always a matter of grave concern . Through such propaganda, the victims’ human- ity is denied . Blame for the economic and social problems of the country—and often the wider world—rests firmly with the “other,” who may be reviled as an animal, a vermin, a pest, a disease or as practicing witchcraft. In the case of Iran’s Bahá’ís, slanders and falsehoods are disseminated in state-controlled and state- sanctioned media, through pamphlets and tracts, from pulpits, and at public exhibitions and events. Bahá’ís are obsessively portrayed in official propaganda as the source of every conceivable evil.

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Romanian senator hit with holocaust charges

March 8, 2012

IOL News

By SAPA

Bucharest - Two Romanian civic rights groups on Wednesday petitioned for criminal charges against a prominent politician over his denial of the Jewish Holocaust in the country.

Two non-governmental organizations - the Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism and Romani Crissi - said they filed the charges against the Social Democratic senator Dan Sova after he said that Jews were not persecuted in Romania during World War II.

Filed with the state prosecutor, the charges are the first against a politician for the denial of the Holocaust in Romania. The prosecutor is now to decide whether he will press the charges in court.

In an interview with the TV station Money Channel on Monday, Sova also downplayed the magnitude of a massacre of Jews in Iasi in 1941 and denied that any Romanian took part in it.

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Op-Ed: The Holocaust and the Flat Earth Society

Answering an American Jewish college student who thinks it is time to "get over the Holocaust."

March 3, 2012

Arutz Sheva

By Ron Jager

n a article published last week on a Yeshiva University affiliated website called "The Beacon", entitled "Why its time for Jews to Get Over the Holocaust", it was suggested that now is the time that Jews move on and stop making the Holocaust the most pivotal event in Jewish history.

The author suggests that the Holocaust is unnecessarily singled out as if it’s more special than other historical events, he continues and states that although the Holocaust was on a much greater scale and horrifically well-organized, it was far from the first incident of a dominant power killing those deemed “inferior” on trumped up charges.

As far as this Yeshiva University student is concerned, mankind has been perpetrating horrible atrocities on other human beings for centuries. He seems genuinely puzzled as to why Holocaust denial is considered a crime in over a dozen countries. Surely, says this learned Yeshiva student, this is an overreaction. Do we arrest those that believe and express the opinion that the world is flat, he ponders? Why should denial of a historical event even be considered a crime, something detrimental to society, he asks repeatedly.

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Republican congressional candidate denies Holocaust

Arthur Jones, hoping to represent Illinois district in US Congress, calls Holocaust "the blackest lie in history

March 1, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By JPost Staff

A Republican candidate for US Congress from Illinois has denied that the Holocaust ever occurred, regional newspaper the Oaklawn Patch reported on Wednesday.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Holocaust is nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews,” Arthur Jones, 64, was quoted by the Patch as saying. Jones, an insurance salesman from Lyons, Illinois, is a Republican candidate seeking to run against Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.

According to the regional newspaper, Jones referred to the Holocaust as "the blackest lie in history. Millions of dollars are being made by Jews telling this tale of woe and misfortune in books, movies, plays and TV. The more survivors, the more lies that are told."

Jones also organizes neo-Nazi events commemorating Adolf Hitler's birthday, according to the Patch.

The district which Jones hopes to represent comprises parts of Chicago's south side and and a number of the city's southern suburbs. He has previously made two losing congressional runs.

Jones was quoted by the Patch as saying that he hopes to unseat Lipinski because of what he describes as the Democratic congressman's strange affiliation to the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.

"[AIPAC] was bragging on their website how [Lipinski] is ‘spearheading’ the effort in the House of Representatives with a Jewish congressman from Virginia named Frank Wolf,” Jones said. “The two are spearheading an effort in the House to get tough with Iran, including closing off any oil exports to China that could lead to World War III.” While Jones said Wolf was Jewish, he is Presbyterian.

“I’m the only guy in the state of Illinois against the Israeli lobby,” Jones said in a radio interview, according to CBS.

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Jew-hate going mainstream

Op-ed: Will most people remain silent as Holocaust denial permeates Italy's mainstream?

February 29, 2012

Ynet

By Giulio Meotti

“The Holocaust is a gigantic imposture, the greatest lie of modern times.” This is how Robert Faurisson, known as “the dean of deniers,” refers to the Shoah in an article published by Rinascita, a national daily newspaper financed by Italy’s government.
Isn’t Holocaust’s denial going mainstream if even an Italian publication sees no problem in running an article about “disinfectants such as Zyklon B”?

Holocaust perversion is like the flower of evil, the sign of a rising anti-Semitism. In Italy, a jarring 44% of citizens are “prejudiced or hostile towards Jews,” according to a new study released by the Italian Parliament. A large group of public figures from across the political spectrum signed a petition titled “Hands Off Iran,” which referred to the “so-called Holocaust."
Writers, politicians and journalists have been named on a hit-list as “slaves of the Jewish mafia” by a website called Holywar.org, illustrated using pictures of handcuffs made in the shape of a Star of David (the author of this article is also on the list.)
A few days ago, on the eve of Remembrance Day, an Italian judge condemned a journalist who denounced as anti-Semitic a cartoon, entitled “Fiamma Frankenstein,” depicting Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein, who is Jewish, with a hooked nose, the symbol of fascist Italy and the Star of David.

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Poland demands return of Auschwitz barracks from U.S.

The barracks on view in Washington are half of a wooden building where prisoners slept in cramped, filthy and often freezing conditions as they awaited extermination, often in gas chambers.

February 24, 2012

Haaretz

By The Associated Press

Polish and U.S. officials are engaged in intense talks to determine the fate of a sensitive object: a barrack that once housed doomed prisoners at the Nazis' Auschwitz death camp and is now on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Poland is demanding the return of the artifact, which has been on loan to the Washington museum for more than 20 years and is an important object in its permanent exhibition. But the U.S. museum is resisting the demand, saying the valuable object shouldn't be moved partly because it is too fragile.

"Due to the barrack's size and the complexity of its installation, removing and transporting it to Poland presents special difficulties, including potentially damaging the artifact," the U.S. Holocaust museum said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Both the Museum and our Polish partners have been actively discussing various proposals, and we remain committed to continue working with them to resolve this matter."

The issue has arisen because of a Polish law aimed at safeguarding a cultural heritage ravaged by past wars, particularly World War II. Under the law, passed in 2003, any historic object on loan abroad must return to Poland every five years for inspection. While Poland appears open to renewing the loan, it says the barracks must return — at least temporarily.

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French far right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen convicted over Nazi remark

Founder of France's National Front party is convicted of contesting crimes against humanity for saying the Nazi occupation wasn't 'particularly inhumane.'

February 18, 2012

Haaretz

By The  Associated Press

The founder of France's far right National Front party has been convicted of contesting crimes against humanity for saying the Nazi occupation wasn't "particularly inhumane."

A French appeals court sentenced Jean-Marie Le Pen to a three-month suspended prison sentence on Thursday and a $13,000 fine.

Le Pen, who had made the comments in a magazine in 2005, was not present at the hearing, according to AFP.

France has strict laws against anti-Semitic speech and denying the Holocaust, and Le Pen was originally convicted for the remarks in 2009. A higher court annulled the decision and sent it back to the Paris appeals court, which ruled on Thursday.

According to AFP, Le Pen said he would appeal the ruling to France’s Court of Cassation, the country’s court of last resort, and linked Thursday’s decision with the French presidential election in April.

"I will make an appeal in cassation against this decision, which I’m not surprised comes during the election period," Le Pen told AFP, accusing the courts of "opportunism.”

Vitka Kempner Kovner, Vilna partisan, dies

Widow of poet and partisan leader Abba Kovner was credited with the first act of sabotage against nazis in ghetto.

February 18, 2012

Forward

By Itzik Gottesman

The legendary Vilna partisan Vitka Kempner Kovner died on February 15. Widow of the poet and partisan leader Abba Kovner, she was born in the Polish town of Kalisz in 1920 and escaped from there to Vilna when the Germans invaded Poland.

Faces of Resistance: Vitka Kempner Kovner, right, was credited with the first act of resistance against the Nazis in the Vilna ghetto. She is shown with fellow partisans Rozka Korczak, left, and Abba Kovner, center.

Vitka Kovner was among the founding members of Abba Kovner‘s partisan organization, the FPO (United Partisan Organization) when it was organized in the Vilna ghetto in January 1942.

Vitka Kovner was among the founding members of Abba Kovner‘s partisan organization, the FPO (United Partisan Organization) when it was organized in the Vilna ghetto in January 1942.
Her act of sabotage act, blowing up a Nazi train, was the first carried out by the FPO organization and possibly the first act of resistance by any woman against the Nazis in Eastern Europe.
Hirsh Glik‘s Yiddish song Shtil di nakht iz oysgeshternt(The silent night is full of stars) described her act of resistance. In 1946 she and Abba Kovner came to Palestine and settled in the kibbutz Ein Hakhoresh where they raised two children.

Holocaust cinema: last days?

February 18, 2012

The Globe and Mail

By Liam Lacey

When American Playhouse presented the teleplay Judgment at Nuremberg, in 1959, the sponsoring American Gas Company insisted the word “gas” be bleeped out in all references to concentration-camp deaths. Things have improved since then, but from the silence of the 1950s to the “Holocaust fatigue” of the past decade, things have also grown more complex.

There’s no doubt that Holocaust films have become progressively more prominent with distance from the actual events. In the first edition of Annette Insdorf’s authoritative Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust, published in 1983, she counted about 80 Holocaust-related films in the postwar period, by her second edition (1989) there were 272 , with another 170 added to the filmography by 2003.

Do popular Holocaust dramas really ensure that people never forget the extermination of Jews in World War Two, or do they cloud history with sentimental distortions? Is it even appropriate to consider Holocaust films a genre? And if they are a genre, what is its future in a world with ever-fewer living survivors?

1950s-1970s: Hiding and exposing

In the post-war years, European dramas and documentaries (Distant Journey, Passenger, Night and Fog) dealt directly with the deportation and extermination of Jews and French-Nazi collaboration (The Sorrow and the Pity). In contrast, Hollywood films tended to focus on individual’s dramas, such as The Diary of Anne Frank (nominated for an Oscar in 1959) or The Pawnbroker (1964). Exposing war criminals was both the subject of legal dramas (1961’s Judgment at Nuremberg) and thrillers starring Laurence Oliver, including Marathon Man (1976) and The Boys from Brazil (1978)

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Mormons apologize for posthumous baptism of parents of Jewish rights advocate Wiesenthal

Other religions, including the Catholic church, have also publicly objected to the baptism of its members, and it’s been widely reported that Mormon and GOP presidential nominee front-runner Mitt Romney’s atheist father-in-law Edward Davies was posthumously baptized.

February 15, 2012

Washington Post

By The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Mormon church leaders apologized to the family of Holocaust survivor and Jewish rights advocate Simon Wiesenthal after his parents were posthumously baptized, a controversial ritual that Mormons believe allows deceased people a way to the afterlife but offends members of many other religions.

Wiesenthal died in 2005 after surviving the Nazi death camps and spending his life documenting Holocaust crimes and hunting down perpetrators who remained at large. Jews are particularly offended by an attempt to alter the religion of Holocaust victims, who were murdered because of their religion, and the baptism of Holocaust survivors was supposed to have been barred by a 1995 agreement.

Yet records indicate Wiesenthal’s parents, Asher and Rosa Rapp Wiesenthal, were baptized in proxy ceremonies performed by Mormon church members at temples in Arizona and Utah in late January.

In a statement, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the baptismal rites.

“We are outraged that such insensitive actions continue in the Mormon temples,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the center.

The church immediately apologized, saying it was the actions of an individual member of church — whom they did not name — that led to the submission of Wiesenthal’s name.

“We sincerely regret that the actions of an individual member of the church led to the inappropriate submission of these names,” Michael Purdy, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a statement issued Monday. “We consider this a serious breach of our protocol and we have suspended indefinitely this person’s ability to access our genealogy records.”

Mormons believe posthumous baptism by proxy allows deceased persons to receive the Gospel in the afterlife. The church believes departed souls can then accept or reject the baptismal rites and contends the offerings are not intended to offend anyone.

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Demjanjuk trial lawyer: Germany lacks funds to go after Nazi criminals

Cornelius Nestler, who represented the families of Demjanjuk victims, says: If these kind of cases are not prosecuted in the next two to four years, they will never happen.

February 13, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

"A small fish" is one expression whose literal meaning is identical in German and Hebrew. As in the holy tongue, when someone uses the term in German, the reference is to something of little value. The expression refers to someone low on the totem pole - to a person like John Demjanjuk, the Ukrainian guard at the Sobibor concentration camp who was convicted last May of abetting the murder of tens of thousands of Jews.

"Yes he is a small fish - of course, that's right. He was at the lowest level of the hierarchy. But from the perspective of my clients, who lost their families in Sobibor, there's no doubt that everybody, big fish or small, who participated in murder of their families should be brought to justice," opines Prof. Cornelius Nestler of Cologne University, who represented the victims' families in the Demjanjuk trial in Germany.

Nestler, who is married to a Jewish woman, visited Israel this week for the first time in his life, as a guest of the Hebrew University's Institute for Advanced Studies, where he delivered a lecture entitled "Demjanjuk Trial: the Voice of the Victims."

The problem prosecutors faced in this Demjanjuk trial, Nestler states, "was not to put him on trial for what he did, but rather to put him on trial after they [the prosecutors] have not prosecuted all sorts of higher ranking Nazi culprits in past decades."

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Poland's Jews slam decision to place restitution claims in hands of courts

Jewish community leaders say that making Polish courts responsible for determining the restitution of communal Jewish property will slow down and complicate the process of adjudicating the estimated 3,000 outstanding claims.

February 13, 2012

Haaretz

By Roman Frister

WARSAW - The Polish government's decision to make the courts responsible for determining the restitution of communal Jewish property has sparked harsh criticism from Poland's Jewish community. The change, Jewish community leaders say, will slow down and complicate the process of adjudicating the estimated 3,000 outstanding claims.

Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, told the cabinet member responsible for restitution that the change was not acceptable to the country's Jewish institutions.

Since 1997, the restitution process has been governed by public committees in which the government worked together with the Jewish community to efficiently return nearly 2,000 assets, some quite valuable, that had been seized by either the Nazis or the Communists.

The Polish government is seeking to win the support of the country's Jewish community rather than push through legislation the community opposes, but Kadlcik said Jewish institutions would not willingly sign away their right to apply to the existing committees, as the government was hoping they would do.

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Reporters face trial for ‘invading’ Nazi’s privacy

Two Dutch journalists will stand trial in Germany for allegedly invading the privacy of the escaped Nazi war criminal whom they helped expose.

February 9, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By Cnaan Lipshiz

THE HAGUE – Two Dutch journalists will stand trial in Germany for allegedly invading the privacy of the escaped Nazi war criminal whom they helped expose.

Journalists Jelle Visser and Jan Ponsen are to report on Thursday morning to the courthouse in Eschweiler, a sleepy border town in western Germany. They will have to answer charges that they had violated the privacy and trust of Heinrich Boere, a Dutch Waffen-SS assassin.

The journalists for the investigative show Een Vandaag secretly filmed Boere in September 2009 at his home in Eschweiler, where he was also born. A German court sentenced Boere in March 2010 to life imprisonment for his wartime crimes

He filed a complaint against the journalists for violation of privacy from prison. The investigation into the journalists’ actions began that year.

German authorities began preparing an indictment against Boere in 2008. The Dutch government repeatedly sought Boere’s extradition since the 1980s, to no avail.

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Turkey Marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day

February 6, 2012

Voice of America

By Dorian  Jones

Turkey marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day by becoming the first predominantly Muslim country to screen the iconic holocaust documentary, Shoah.

The screening of the legendary nine-hour documentary on the Jewish Holocaust on Turkish state TV was a key part of Turkey's observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

By video link-up from Paris, Shoah director Claude Lanzmann addressed a ceremony in Istanbul's Neve Shalom Synagogue on Thursday, the eve of the Holocaust commemoration. The meeting was attended by high-level state officials, who joined members of the Jewish community. Lanzmann says the screening in Turkey of Shoah has special significance.

Photo: Reuters
Turkey's Chief Rabbi Izak Haleva (C) and Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu (L) light candles, in memory of Holocaust victims, during a commemoration to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day at Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul, January 26, 2012.

"This is [a] pioneering event, the consequences that Turkey will be followed by other Arab countries and one day by Iran, I am sure," said Lanzmann. "And I want to salute the determination, [the] courage of the people of Turkish television."

It is the first time the film is being shown on state television in a predominantly Muslim country. The screening is part of the French-based Aladdin project that seeks to build greater understanding through culture between Muslims and Jews.

Aladdin director Abraham Radkin says the film is important in raising awareness among Muslims about the Holocaust.

"Over the past 60 years, the Muslim world [has] been excluded from history learning in other parts of the world," said Radkin. "So we are trying to fill a gap, a knowledge gap, and we hope we can promote relations between Jews and Muslims and remove some of the misunderstanding."

That view is shared by Turkish Jews attending Thursday night's ceremony to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This woman says Turkish people are not sufficiently aware about the Holocaust.

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German Commemorations Avoid Iranian Shoah Denial

Analysis: Head of anti-Semitism monitoring watchdog tells 'Post' that Germany not carrying out its declared goal of combating modern anti-Semitism.

February 6, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By Benjamin Weinthal

Germany commemorated the 67th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Friday in the Bundestag. The memorial event mirrored the form of remembrance across Europe’s capitals – a solemn pledge to heighten awareness about the crimes of the Holocaust and nebulous declarations about stopping future genocides.

In one of the more bizarre columns tackling the meaning of Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Bundestag, a journalist with the large daily Die Welt, complained about embarrassment because photographers showed up in jeans and sneakers to take photos of the keynote speaker, Marcel Reich-Ranicki. The journalist called for a dress code at future events.

Though last year Iranian lawmakers, who represent a Holocaust- denying government, appeared in the Bundestag for meetings, there were no media calls for a code of conduct barring Iranian deniers of the Shoah.

The 91-year-old Polish-born Reich-Ranicki spoke about how he survived the Warsaw Ghetto. Reich-Ranicki is widely considered to be one of Germany’s greatest book critics.

While the president of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert of the Christian Democratic Union, admirably urged Germans to combat all expression of radical right-wing extremism, he failed to mention that his party colleague, Ruprecht Polenz, helped make his backyard hospitable for Iranian lawmakers who represent Holocaust denial.

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Germany grants 10m. euros to Yad Vashem

Funds will be used to expand museum's activities to locate, purchase documents; Sa'ar thanks German gov't on behalf of Israel.

February 6, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By Tamara Zieve

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle signed an agreement Wednesday granting 10 million euros to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum over the next decade.

According to the agreement, the German government will transfer one million euros to Yad Vashem every year for the next 10 years. The Education Ministry stated that the agreement reflects the will of the German government to support Yad Vashem's activities, which include collecting archival documentation, research and education in Israel and the world. Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar said that the agreement constitutes an important source of funding, and will be used to expand Yad Vashem's activities and to locate and purchase significant Holocaust documents from archives in Europe, making them accessible to the public via the Internet.

"On behalf of the government of Israel, I express a deep appreciation to the German government for providing funding for this important purpose. This decision reflects the importance that the German government attaches to the subject of the Holocaust. The commemoration of the Holocaust is an endless task," said Sa'ar.

Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev also expressed his gratitude: "The German government sees Yad Vashem as a center for global documentation, education and research of the Holocaust and understands its special significance for both the Jewish nation and the entire world."

He praised the agreement, saying it "strengthens the commitment of the German government and the German nation, to the the commemoration of the Holocaust."

Those helping Holocaust survivors to be honored

Newly established “Medal of Light” award aims to shed light on those who work to improve lives of Shoah survivors.

February 6, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By Ruth Eglash

By Ariel Jerozolimski A new award aimed at honoring those who have worked to help improve the lives of thousands of Holocaust survivors in Israel and highlight the contributions survivors have made to the state will be inaugurated Sunday night in a ceremony in Tel Aviv.

The first “Medal of Light” award, an initiative of The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, will pay tribute to some 16 individuals – either survivors who have contributed greatly to society, volunteers working with the survivor community or officials who have gone above and beyond their positions to improve the lives of survivors in Israel.

Among those to receive the prize, which will be awarded by Welfare and Social Services Minister Moshe Kahalon, are the ministry’s director-general Nahum Itzkovitz, Ministerwithout- Portfolio Yossi Peled, author Aharon Applefeld and the founder of the humanitarian aid agency Latet, Gilles Darmon.

“This is the first ceremony of its kind that will honor the outstanding work of Israeli society,” commented the foundation’s CEO Col. (res.) Rony Kalinsky.

“Despite the fact that such recognition did not take place since the creation of the state, we hope this will bring recognition to those who have made outstanding contributions to society.”

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'Far-right' Vienna ball condemned on Holocaust Day

Protesters in Austria marking Holocaust Remembrance Day have condemned organisers of a ball which was expected to be attended by far-right leaders.

January 29, 2012

BBC News

Greens' Party head Eva Glavischnig said guests at Vienna's WKR event would be "dancing on the graves of Auschwitz" - a reference to the Nazi death camp.But the organisers rejected the accusations, saying the ball was always held on the last Friday in January.

French National Front leader Marine Le Pen was to be among the guests.

Belgium's Philip Claeys of the Vlaams Belang party and other Europe's far-right politicians were also thought to be at the ball at Vienna's imperial Hofburg palace.

'We remind you'
"It is all the more regrettable and perfidious that today of all days, people will dance on the graves of Auschwitz," Ms Glawischnig said at a Holocaust commemoration ceremony in the Austrian capital.

The ceremony was held at Vienna's Heldenplatz, just a few hundred metres from the Hofburg.

"You, who will dance and celebrate here: we remind you of the murder of two-thirds of Europe's Jews," said Holocaust survivor Rudolf Gelbard.

Other protesters shouted, "Nazis out!"

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Care for many Israeli Holocaust survivors is lacking, foundation says

Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel reports that 20 percent of the survivors say they suffer from the cold in the winter, while 5 percent of survivors report not having enough food.

January 29, 2012

Haaretz

By Dana Weiler-Polak

Nearly seven decades after the end of World War II, many Israeli Holocaust survivors are not having their food needs met, a foundation says.

As the world marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel reported that 20 percent of the survivors it surveyed said they suffered from the cold in the winter. A quarter said they had enough food, but it was not always desirable. Five percent said they did not have enough food of any kind.

he foundation is a private organization that provides home health care, volunteer assistance and financial support to Holocaust survivors. Its chairman, Elazar Stern, accused the government of not properly allocating all resources earmarked for Holocaust survivors.

He said the survey reflected the rising needs of Holocaust survivors in Israel - which includes more physical assistance and financial support. "As someone who knows the survivors' situation in Israel, this matter is unacceptable," Stern said.

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Europe gears up to honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day

One in five young Germans has no idea that Auschwitz was a Nazi death camp, poll finds.

January 27, 2012

Haaretz

By Danna Harman

PARIS - As countries across Europe prepare for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, being commemorated on Friday, European Parliament President Martin Schulz spoke of his "specific responsibility" as a German to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.

"I feel that I have a very specific responsibility," said Schulz at European Union headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, addressing a crowd of 500 parliamentarians, ambassadors and other guests at an event organized by the European Jewish Congress, "because what was decided at the so-called Wannsee Conference - the extermination of the Jewish people - was done in the name of the German people," Schulz said, referring to the meeting of Nazi officials in 1942 to decide on the "Final Solution."

"The German people of today is not guilty [of the Holocaust], but responsible for keeping the memory alive," he said. "For me, this means that whoever is representing the German nation has one important duty - to take into account our responsibility for the Jews in the world."Schulz said he had decided that the international day of commemoration, which was established six years ago by the UN General Assembly, will become an official annual event of the European Parliament from now on. The date, January 27, is the same day in 1945 that the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp was liberated by Soviet forces.

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Their Denial and Our Silence Mock International Holocaust Memorial Day

January 27, 2012

Huffington Post

By Rabbi Abraham Cooper

Jan. 27, the anniversary of the day Soviet soldiers liberated the Auschwitz death camp in 1945, is the annual International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. The United Nations, which will convene a solemn ceremony at its world headquarters, features online this statement by Holocaust survivor Nechama Tec: "The Holocaust teaches us that no matter how oppressive life is, some people are able to rise above the cruelty of their times by extending helping hands to one another. It is this ability to risk one's life on behalf of others which ought to give us hope."

But if the grandchildren of the victims of Hitler's Final Solution are to have hope for the future, they'll need the international community to go beyond annual moments of silence by beginning to speak out against mainstream global anti-Semitism, including Holocaust denial. Here are a few examples U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon should consider for his speech:

Iran

While international action is belatedly underway to head off Iran's nuclear ambitions, no government or NGO has tried to bring the regime to The Hague for it's state-sponsored Holocaust denial and pre-genocidal anti-Jewish and anti-Judaic rants. The insidiousness of the recent TV show "Saturday Hunter," starring loathsome religious Jews, would have made Hitler weep tears of joy. Also available are a series of animated cartoons mocking the 6 million victims of the Holocaust, which until last week were available on YouTube.

Egypt

Everyone is courting the electorally victorious, supposedly "moderate" Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Yet the group's first move was to block Jewish prayers at the graveside of a saintly scholar and its Arabic language webpages tout Holocaust denial while a spokesmen observes that the Shoah is "a tale" exploited for politics, and that "the entire world, and Germany in particular, has become yearly scapegoats of world Zionism, and has capitulated to the greatest political extortion in history." No western democracy has condemned the Brotherhood's religious intolerance.

Holland

As European Union members prepared for Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Dutch government rejects calls for an apology for Holland's "indifference" to the fate of more than 100,000 Jews -- 75 percent of Dutch Jewish citizens -- murdered in the Holocaust.

Latvia

A Riga court removed the city council's ban on "Legion Day" paving the way for a march down main street honoring 140,000 Latvians who fought in the Waffen SS during WWII.

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On Holocaust Day, Norway issues apology for arrests and deportations of Jews

772 Norwegian Jews and Jewish refugees were deported to Nazi concentration camps during World War II; U.S. President says he is 'dedicated to give meaning to the words never again.'

January 27, 2012

Haaretz

By DPA

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg Friday expressed "deep regret" that Norwegians took part in the arrests and deportations of Jews from the German-occupied country during World War II.

"Even though the Nazis' were responsible, it is time to see that police officers and other Norwegians took part in the arrests and deportations of Jews," Stoltenberg said in a speech on Holocaust Memorial Day.
"It is time to express our deep regret that this could occur on Norwegian soil," he added.

During the war, 772 Norwegian Jews and Jewish refugees were deported to Nazi concentration camps, only 34 survived.

German forces occupied Norway from April 9, 1940 to May 8, 1945. Holocaust Day marks the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Soviet forces on January 27, 1945.

Also on Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement saying that "Michelle and I join people in the United States, in Israel, and across the globe as we remember the six million Jews and millions of others who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis."

"We commit ourselves to keeping their memories alive not only in our thoughts," the statement read, "but through our actions. As we remember all those who perished in camps from Auschwitz to Treblinka, Dachau to Sobibor, we pledge to speak truth to those who deny the Holocaust… together with the State of Israel, and all our friends around the world, we dedicate ourselves to giving meaning to those powerful words: “Never Forget. Never again.”

The Heroines of Auschwitz

January 27, 2012

National Post

By Bernie M.. Farber

On Jan. 27, 1945, 67 years ago today, the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz. From 1942 to late 1944, the concentration camp became the center of the wholesale murder of European Jewry. There were others — Treblinka, Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec, Majdanek, to name just a few. But it was Auschwitz that was to become the archetype of genocide. The gas chambers of Auschwitz took the lives of an estimated 1.1 million people, almost a million of them Jews.

Yet within Auschwitz’s horror there were unique acts of bravery from which we must always take heart. The courage of Anna (Wajcblum) Heilman and the women of the Auschwitz munitions factory is one such story.

Anna was born to an assimilated middle-class Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland on Dec. 1, 1928. Her childhood ended in September 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. The Nazis established the Warsaw ghetto, where overcrowding, starvation and disease killed many awaiting deportation to the death camps. In 1943, the remnants of Jews trapped in the ghetto fought back to no avail; amongst them were 14-year old Anna and her older sister Ester. (Her oldest sister, Sabina, had escaped with her fiancé to the Soviet Union.)

Anna, Ester and their parents originally were sent to the camp of Majdanek, where Anna’s parents were gassed upon arrival. Anna and Ester then were transported to Auschwitz to work as slave laborers at a munitions factory.

By mid 1944, the inmates knew that Germany was losing the war. Believing they would die anyway, Anna and her friends wanted to find a way to fight back, to give their deaths meaning. Ester, Anna, and a few other female prisoners began to smuggle gunpowder from the factory, a tiny amount at a time, hidden in their kerchiefs or sleeves. Being caught meant instant execution.

The young women gave the smuggled gunpowder to a young Polish Jew named Rosa Robota, who in turn passed it on to the Sonderkommando, a detail of Jewish male slave crematoria workers. These Sonderkommando included Soviet prisoners of war who knew how to make improvised explosives.

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Op Ed: Netanyahu must stop misusing the Holocaust

January 27, 2012

Haaretz

By Carlo Strenger

The Holocaust is one of humanity’s most terrible historical episodes and the greatest horror that has befallen the Jewish people. It must be remembered and it must be studied.

Distinguished Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt has made it her life’s work to document, analyze and research the holocaust. She has condemned the ultra-Orthodox Jews who have called Israeli police Nazis, donned concentration camp clothing and the yellow star to protest simple law enforcement. She condemned settlers who have called Israeli soldiers Nazis, and she has also condemned Glenn Beck’s outrageous claim that George Soros collaborated with the Nazis during WWII.

The Holocaust must, by no means, be used for political purposes. Never, and by no one.
It is time for Benjamin Netanyahu to stop misusing the Holocaust. I want to make it very clear: I do not compare Netanyahu’s use of the Holocaust to either the obscene abuse of Holocaust paraphernalia by Haredi demonstrators, nor to Glenn Beck’s smearing of George Soros.

But in order to protect the memory of the holocaust, Netanyahu must stop using it as a trump card to score political points. Doing so cheapens the Holocaust; it clouds the mind, and it distorts historical and political judgment.
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History After The Witnesses

When the survivors are gone, Holocaust education will lose a powerful tool.

January 27, 2012

The New York Jewish Week

By Deborah E. Lipstadt

When I first began teaching the history of the Holocaust in the 1970s I invited a survivor of Auschwitz to speak to my students. It was the first time she had ever spoken publicly about her experiences, and was a profoundly moving moment for her as well as for the students. After that, having witnessed the power of the voice of the person who can speak in the first-person singular, I invited survivors to the class regularly. Their stories — some would call it testimony — galvanized the students’ interest, putting a human face on the history that they had been studying during the semester. It left far more of an impression than any of my lectures.
I was reminded of the profound power of hearing the story of this genocide told firsthand when I was doing research on the Eichmann trial. The primary legacy of this trial was the testimony offered by close to 100 survivors whom prosecutor Gideon Hausner called as witnesses. Hausner was convinced that the only way he could capture the attention of, not just Israelis and diaspora Jewry, but the world at large, was to have survivors give testimony. Their voice had been virtually absent at Nuremberg, and Hausner was convinced that that was one of the reasons Nuremberg had failed to capture the imagination of the world.
It is often said that prior to Eichmann’s trial in 1961, survivors hardly spoke of their experiences. The trial is credited with having opened up the floodgates of their memories.
As recent scholarship has shown though, the Eichmann trial was not the first time survivors spoke out publicly. There was substantial discussion of the Holocaust during the 1950s. There were memoirs, books, newspaper articles and films. At one Yom HaShoah commemoration in Israel in the mid-1950s, 40,000 people were in attendance. This is hardly a “black hole of silence,” as some commentators have described it.

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Welcome to the fastest-growing Jewish community in the world: Germany

January 27, 2012

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

For 10-year-old Rafael Seligmann, leaving Israel for Germany in 1957 was a trauma, but for his parents it was a return to the homeland they had fled 20 years earlier. Today, Seligmann, 65, a successful journalist and novelist, is a firm believer in the rebirth of German-Jewish life, and has just launched a new quarterly, Jewish Voice from Germany, with the hope of helping the new generation of Jews there.

Seligmann emerged in the German public consciousness in the 1970s through his articles in leading publications such as Der Spiegel, Bild, Die Welt and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He also published six novels - his first, "Rubenstein's Auction" (1988 ), was recognized as the first German novel written by a Jew after the Second World War.

A new Jewish-German publication was appropriate cause for celebration to lure German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to the launch party two weeks ago. He also wrote a glowing tribute in the first issue: "This publication shows the world the new blossoming of Jewish life in Germany," wrote Westerwelle, adding, "Jewish life has once again become an integral part of our society. Seven decades after the Shoah, many different branches of Judaism are again ordaining rabbis in Germany, synagogues are being built, and Jewish schools and preschools opened ... our Jewish community is an inextricable part not only of our history, but also - and above all - of our future ... We need people who are engaged with and knowledgeable about Jewish history in Germany, and who have a vision for the future, and we need media to convey and elucidate this vision."

Some 100,000 Jews are registered within the community, even though the number of Jews in Germany is probably more than double that. Seligmann believes that if one counts the Israelis living in Berlin and other cities, and the Russian and American Jews living in Germany but not active in the community, the number is somewhere around a quarter of a million - roughly half the number of Jews that lived in Germany before the war.

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Jews divided over 'Mein Kampf' reprint
Jews divided over 'Mein Kampf' reprint
As Holocaust survivors hit out at move, historians cheer news that Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto will be reprinted in Germany for first time since Nazi dictator's fall in 1945. Head of Central Council of Jews grudgingly gives his approval

January 23, 2012

Ynet

AFP

Historians have cheered news that Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" will be reprinted in Germany for the first time since the Nazi dictator's fall in 1945, just as Holocaust survivors hit out at the move.
British publisher Peter McGee said he would put out excerpts from the anti-Semitic manifesto, which laid out the Fuehrer's vision long before he took power in 1933, alongside commentary putting the work in historical context.

Academics said the time had come for some of the taboos surrounding the book in Germany to fall.
"I think we have a very inhibited approach to this material in Germany. You can read this book around the world – there is even a Hebrew translation in Israel," Journalism Professor Horst Poettker, who is providing some of the annotation for the project, told AFP.

"I think we should present it to as broad an audience as possible because it is the best way to learn what the National Socialists were thinking and what was so attractive about this ideology."
However Jewish groups were sharply divided about the prospect, with some saying McGee was playing with fire.
"Holocaust survivors are appalled at the insensitivity and crass commercialism that would motivate the publication of Hitler's hate-filled book in the historic cradle of the Nazi terror regime," said Elan Steinberg of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

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Jewish groups slam Argentinean cartoon

B'nai B'rith, Simon Wiesenthal Center outraged by comic strip in local daily portraying Hitler at concentration camp dance party. Following protests, newspaper issues apology on its website

January 23, 2012

Ynet

Ynet News

Jewish groups have condemned an anti-Semitic cartoon strip, “FieSSta” by Gustavo Sala published in Argentine paper Pagina/12 and called on the country’s government to denounce the daily newspaper under Argentina's anti-discrimination law.
Following protests from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and countless activists, the Argentine daily issued an apology on its website.

The cartoon strip’s main character, DJ David Gueto (a caricature of the French DJ David Guetta) plays music in a concentration camp. At first, the prisoners don’t want to dance because they feel there’s nothing to celebrate, saying: “Do you know that they kill us in gas chambers and make soap with us?”
Hitler then appears and convinces them to dance because “life is short.” Hitler thanks the DJ, saying: “If they are relaxed, the soap will be better.”

Antisemitic cartoon strip in Argentinean daily

B’nai B’rith International expressed its deep outrage and revulsion toward the cartoon, its creator and the newspaper that chose to publish it.

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Polish Oscar hopeful revives Shoah ghosts

In "In Darkness", director Agnieszka Holland to take her third shot at Academy Award with dark film that dwells on ambiguous attitudes of her countrymen towards Nazi Holocaust.

January 23, 2012

Ynet

Reuters

Polish director Agnieszka Holland will take her third shot at an Academy Award with a dark film that dwells on the ambiguous attitudes of her countrymen towards the Nazi Holocaust.
Holland's "In Darkness" recounts the World War II exploits of Leopold Socha, whose efforts to help Jews evade capture by the Nazi forces in Poland led Israel's Yad Vashem institute to place him with the Righteous Among the Nations

"The story started to haunt me, I started to dream about it," Holland told Reuters in an interview. "You shoot a movie because you think a story is important, that you can artistically transform it to inspire people today, to tell them that it concerns them too, that they are also responsible."
Poland was home to Europe's largest Jewish community of some 3.3 million people before World War Two. Most of them perished in the Holocaust. Those who managed to survive were later oppressed by Poland's post-war communist authorities.

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Germany Marks Anniversary of Wannsee Conference

Friday was the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, when senior Nazis coordinated plans for the Holocaust. Germany marked the somber occasion with a ceremony at the villa where the meeting took place.

January 21, 2012

Spiegel Online

Germany somberly marked the 70th anniversary of the infamous Wannsee Conference on Friday, with the country's president saying the meeting that laid out plans for the Holocaust still caused "anger and shame."

At the same villa on the shore of Berlin's Wannsee lake where the original meeting took place, now a museum, President Christian Wulff told an audience that even though many years have passed, Germany should never be allowed to forget its responsibility for the genocide of some 6 million European Jews. "Therefore it is important and a national task to keep the memory alive," he said.
On Jan. 20, 1942, high-level members of the Nazi party and other bureaucrats met at the villa to orchestrate large-scale plans for the extermination of Jews. At the time, hundreds of thousands of Jews had already been murdered, but many historians believe that the conference was the point at which Adolf Hitler's plans for their industrialized killing were laid out explicitly for his top officials.

These men included Nazi party members and members of the SS, the party's military force, which was to oversee the plans."This place and the name 'Wannsee' has become a symbol for the bureaucratically organized decision between life worth living and life not worth living, for state-organized extermination, for the planned and official systematic killing of Europe's Jews," Wulff said.

Op-Ed: The "Protocols" Are Alive and Well World Over

January 21, 2012

Arutz Sheva

By Giulio Meotti

Salman Rushdie, the author of “The Satanic Verses”, was quietly deleted from India's Jaipur Literature Festival after the protests of the Darul Uloom Deoband seminary – one of Islam’s most powerful bodies.

Rushdie went into hiding after the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Iranian Shia leader, issued a fatwa calling for his death.

Rushdie’s saga is now, in many parts of the Islamic world, associated with a “Zionist plot” and the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, a short book concocted by the czarist police and presented as minutes of a secret meeting where Jews plotted world domination.

According to Iranian officials, Rushdie is a “mercenary author masterminded by Zionism, Britain and the United States of America”. Today Iran is one of the major world printers of the “Protocols”, the only book that has ever had the perverse distinction of being both globally influential and, at the same time, a forgery.

There is no accurate information on the sales of the “Protocols”, but it is undoubtedly one of the best sellers of all time.

Unfortunately, the “Protocols” rarely attracts Western attention, as we like to think that it is just a bad joke. We closed our eyes for too long.

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No Dutch apology for ‘indifference’ to survivors

The Netherlands will not apologize for its perceived indifference to the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.

January 18, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By Cnaan Liphshiz

THE HAGUE – The Netherlands will not apologize for its perceived indifference to the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. This decision concluded the reply that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gave last week to a parliamentary query on the issue.

There was no “broadly supported counsel from those involved or objective information” that would merit an apology, Rutte wrote in his 88- word reaction. The letter was in response to a question submitted on January 4 by Dutch politician Geert Wilders of the Party for Freedom.

Rutte’s statement was largely understood as a reference to the fact that Holland’s Jewish community never formally asked the government to apologize.

The Dutch queen and government members escaped Germany’s occupation of the country in 1940 by fleeing to London. Queen Wilhelmina devoted five sentences to the fate of her Jewish subjects in five years of radio broadcasts from exile in Britain.

The public debate over the issue started with the recent publication of a book by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Judging The Netherlands: The Renewed Holocaust Restitution Process.

The book quotes two Dutch former ministers who called on Holland to apologize for its “indifference“ to the fate of over 100,000 Dutch Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

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New evidence backs claims KGB stopped probe into Holocaust hero

Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews from Nazis, was said to have been executed on July 17, 1947, but unverified witness accounts and newly uncovered document suggest he may have lived beyond that date.

January  18, 2012

Haaretz

By The  Associated Press

STOCKHOLM - A newly found Swedish document shows how the KGB intervened in the early 1990s to stop an investigation into World War II hero Raoul Wallenberg's fate, two U.S.-based researchers said Monday.

The Swedish diplomat, who would have turned 100 this year, is credited with rescuing tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis. He disappeared after being arrested in Hungary by the Soviet Red Army in 1945.

Raoul Wallenberg   Photo Associated Press

The Russians have said he was executed on July 17, 1947, but unverified witness accounts and newly uncovered evidence suggest he may have lived beyond that date.

Wallenberg researchers were hoping that key pieces of the puzzle would emerge when an international commission was granted access to Soviet prison records as the communist rule was heading toward its end.

But a document from the Swedish Foreign Ministry supports claims that the KGB - the former Soviet secret police and intelligence agency - acted to obstruct that effort, said German researcher Susanne Berger, who consulted a Swedish-Russian working group that conducted a 10-year investigation until 2001.

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Did Pope Pius XII Save the Jews?

In June 1938, more than a year before the outbreak of World War II, Pope Pius XI commissioned a draft papal statement attacking anti-Semitism called “Humani Generis Unitas” (“The Unity of the Human Race.”) He died before it was completed. Pius XII buried it until it was published in France in 1995.

January 16, 2012

Ynet

By Giulio Meotti

Pope Pius XII, the reigning pontiff during the Holocaust, won’t go away. What he did or did not do about the Nazi extermination of Jews has been the subject of debate since the war ended. Now, according to new research by William Doino, a writer for “Inside the Vatican” magazine, the most controversial Pope in modern history helped a group of 500 Italian Jewish refugees escape death at the hands of the Nazis.
The new research might spur Pope Benedict XVI to elevate Pius XII to sainthood, as the Roman Catholic Church has been trying to do for many years. We already know that hundreds of Jews found refuge in Rome’s convents and the in Vatican itself. We are also familiar with the individual acts of heroism of some Catholics who saved Jews across Europe.

The debate has been framed in terms of absolutes: Pius’ critics see him as the epitome of evil; his supporters insist he was a savior of Jews. Pope Pius XII was not “Hitler’s Pope” of British historian John Cornwell nor the “Righteous Gentile” ridiculously evoked by Rabbi David Dallin. More simply, the industrial mass murder of Jews was not on the Pope’s list of priorities.
The same could be said of Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, but they did not claim to be the “Vicar of Christ.” The apologists exonerate Pius XII by saying that he did not understand the meaning of the Holocaust. They are wrong. The Pope knew everything about the Shoah. As brave historian Daniel Goldhagen wrote, "It is not that Pius XII did not understand but that he understood only too well."

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Holocaust drawings by unknown artists to be shown for first time at Auschwitz museum

Drawings, which were found near gas chambers and crematorium at the camp, depict the plight of inmates, scenes from camp life and portraits; pictures also include excerpts from fairy tales written by inmates for their children.

January 13, 2012

Haaretz

By News Agencies

Photos of 20 drawings and other artifacts clandestinely made by inmates at Nazi death camps during World War II are on show at the Auschwitz museum and are to travel next to the United States, an official said Tuesday.

A museum spokesman, Pawel Sawicki, said that the "Forbidden Art" exhibition is on display at the former camp bath building at Auschwitz I, the original, red brick part of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

Large color pictures show drawings and sculptures made by inmates of Auschwitz and of the Buchenwald and Ravensbrueck German Nazi concentration camps.

The drawings, which were found near gas chambers and crematorium at the camp, depict the plight of inmates, scenes from camp life and portraits. Some drawings depict the killing of ill prisoners, and others show the‫ ‬license plates of trucks used by SS forces. They also include excerpts from fairy tales that some inmates wrote for their children left at home, Sawicki said.

"You can clearly see that the artist was hoping that someone might‫ ‬find his drawings and use them as a witness to the Holocaust," said‫ ‬Agnieszka Sieradzka, who oversees the art collection at the museum.

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A quiet drama is taking place among ultra-Orthodox Holocaust survivors

Misgav Lakashish organization providing a supportive environment where ultra-Orthodox survivors can finally open up.

January 9, 2012

Haaretz

By Yair Ettinger

"Maybe you'll reconsider?" Shoshi Horowitz pleads with her mother, Hanna Glendoar. "We have to fill in a Page of Testimony, and we have to do it now." But Glendoar, aged 85, shrugs her shoulders and once again refuses. "It puts me off a little, I don't know why," she says, immediately adding: "It has no connection to the fact that I'm Haredi."

She can't explain the profound internal obstacle. The information she has is a gold mine for quite a number of people - her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, over 200 people, as evidenced by the family tree hanging in her living room - who have never heard from her in any systematic way what happened to her during "that" period, the Holocaust, and the names of her 44 relatives who were killed, out of a total of 48 before the war. She has never given her testimony for documentation in Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Center, or anywhere else.

She knows that Yad Vashem is working on collecting and finding the names of those who were murdered, and openly admits that it is "neglect" that their researchers are not familiar with the names of her relatives. And still, for now it's enough for her that many of her descendants are named after the victims.

Her refusal to share memories and information from the Holocaust period - mainly with official institutions - is not always comprehensible. But Glendoar feels that she has actually undergone a significant process, and recently broke a hermetic silence of over 50 years - even if only in her close inner circle.

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Israel cabinet supports bill to prohibit use of Nazi symbols in protests

Draft bill, which was introduced after Holocaust symbols were used in ultra-Orthodox protest in Jerusalem last week, is expected to pass preliminary vote in Knesset.

January 9, 2012

Haaretz

By Jonathan Lis

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted Monday to support a controversial bill that would make it a crime to call someone a "Nazi" or wear a yellow star as a means of protest. The bill is expected to pass a preliminary vote in the Knesset plenum on Tuesday.

The draft bill, which was introduced a week after symbols of the Holocaust were used in demonstrations by ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem's Mea She'arim neighborhood, calls for a prison sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to NIS 100,000 for anyone convicted of breaking the law.

The bill prohibits use of all forms of the word "Nazi" or similar-sounding words used because of that resemblance; epithets associated with Nazism, the Third Reich or any of its leaders; the wearing of striped clothing resembling that worn by prisoners in World-War-II era concentration camps and yellow stars like the ones Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust or other similar symbols. It would also ban all photographs, drawings, sculptures and the like depicting a swastika or anything else that makes a definitive reference to Nazism.

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Spain's Jew-Hating Majority
"Germans Were Wrong Not to Burn Them All"

January 5, 2012

Stonegate Institute

By Anna Mahjar-Barducci

"The levels of anti-Semitism in Spain are among the highest in Europe," wrote the Spanish daily, El Pais. According to a poll, presented on November 30 during the Fourth International Seminary on Antisemitism hosted at the Caja Navarra Foundation in Madrid, 52% of Spanish students declared that they would not like to have a Jewish classmate sitting next to them, and 58% of adults thought that Jews have too much power and that they are all too rich.

The organizers of the Madrid conference said they were sad an bewildered that anti-Semitism "is a problem that is often denied in the country." The Federation of the Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE) also stated that although surveys indicate that there are high levels of "hostility" towards Jews, "most leaders and media persons believe there is no prejudice whatsoever against Jews." However, sociologist Alejandro Baer explains that the situation has become unbearable and that it is time to face the problem: "In Spain, insults, writings and slogans against Jews are considered normal."

Baer added that anti-Semitism in Spain is particularly surprising, as "there are hardly any Jews." Even though the percentage of Jews in Spain is only the 0.2% of the population, negative stereotypes are very much present and they are the symptom of a "social pathology."

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End of Arab Christianity

Op-ed: In new, Islamic Middle East, Christianity quickly becoming a thing of the past

January 5, 2012

Ynet

By Giulio Meotti

Welcome to a Christians-free Middle East. Arab Christianity is near its extinction everywhere. “Christianity in Iraq could be eradicated in our lifetime, partially as a result of the US troop withdrawal,” declared Leonard Leo, chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Up to 900,000 Christians already fled the country since 2003, according to a recent study by Minority Rights Group International. Benjamin Sleiman, archbishop of Baghdad, also spoke of “the extinction of Christianity in the Middle East.”

n Egypt, 100,000 Christians already left the country after Hosni Mubarak’s fall earlier this year. The Egyptian Union of Human Rights is denouncing this “mass exodus.” This week Egyptian authorities arrested Gamal Massoud, a Coptic Christian student accused of posting a drawing of Islam’s prophet on Facebook that triggered two days of violence in southern Egypt; meanwhile, Muslims were attacking Massoud’s house and chanting “Allahu akbar” or “God is Great.”

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Why Anti-Semitism Is Moving Toward the Mainstream

January 5, 2012

Jerusalem Post

By Alan Dershowitz

For the first time since the end of World War II, classic anti-Semitic tropes – “the Jews” control the world and are to blame for everything that goes wrong, including the financial crisis; “The Jews killed Christian children in order to use the blood to bake matza; the Holocaust never happened – are becoming acceptable and legitimate subjects for academic and political discussion.

To understand why these absurd and reprehensible views, once reserved for the racist fringes of academia and politics, are moving closer to the mainstream, consider the attitudes of two men, one an academic, the other a politician, toward those who express or endorse such bigotry. The academic is Prof. Brian Leiter. The politician is Ron Paul.

You’ve probably never heard of Leiter. He’s a relatively obscure professor of jurisprudence, who is trying to elevate his profile by publishing a gossipy blog about law school professors. He is a colleague of John Mearsheimer, a prominent and world famous professor at the University of Chicago.

Several months ago Mearsheimer enthusiastically endorsed a book, really a pamphlet, that included all the classic anti-Semitic tropes.

It was titled The Wandering Who and written by Gilad Atzmon, a British version of Louisiana’s David Duke, who plays the saxophone and has no academic connections. Atzmon writes that we must take “very seriously” the claim that “the Jewish people are trying to control the world.”

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Israeli politicians decry ultra-Orthodox protesters' use of Holocaust imagery

'Putting on yellow badges on children is a gross offense to Holocaust remembrance,' Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni says on her Facebook page.

January 1, 2012

Haaretz

By Haaretz Staff

Israeli politicians responded to Saturday night‘s ultra-Orthodox demonstration in Jerusalem’s Kikar Hashabbat (Sabbath Square), with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni expressing outrage over protesters use of Holocaust symbolism to protest what they termed the exclusion of Haredim.

“With all due respect to the right of groups in the Haredi world to protest, and it is an elementary right,” Kadima leader Livni posted on Facebook on Sunday morning. “Putting on yellow badges on children is a gross offense to Holocaust remembrance.”

“Even in the debate we are holding today, there are lines we must not cross.” Livni continued. “Hilltop youth calling IDF officers Nazis and now Haredim with yellow badges are sinning against the collective memory of the Holocaust and meaning of the State of Israel”

Ultra-Orthodox demontration in Shabbat Square, Jersualem

Photo by: Olivier Pitoussi

“Prisoner uniforms and yellow badges with the word ‘Jew’ written in German are appalling and shocking,” leader of the Labor Party breakaway party Independence Barak said in a statement issued Sunday morning. “The use of the yellow badge and young children holding their hands up in defeat is crossing the line.”

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UNESCO Stops Funding PA-Hitlerism

“When the United Nations celebrated its 50th anniversary, UNESCO refused to mention the Shoah – the Holocaust – in its World War II resolution, intentionally ignoring Israel’s request to include a reference to the destruction of European Jewry.”

December 28, 2011

New Middle East News

UNESCO has halted its funding of a magazine promoting Hitler as a role model for the PA. It expressed “shock” over the incitement – but only after it was exposed by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) and Arutz Sheva and after the Simon Wiesenthal Center complained.

Zayzafuna, a magazine which ostensibly promotes democracy and tolerance, published an article by a ten-year-old Palestinian girl who said that in her dreams, Hitler told her, “Yes. I killed them [the Jews] so you would all know that they are a nation who spreads destruction all over the world.”

“UNESCO is shocked and dismayed by the content of the February issue, and has requested more detailed information and clarification from the editors of the magazine and the Palestinian Authority,” the United Nations agency said. “UNESCO deplores and condemns the reproduction of such inflammatory statements in a magazine associated with UNESCO’s name and mission and will not provide any further support to the publication in question.”

The magazine is run by a body that is sponsored by a Palestinian Authority agency. The chairman of the PA is Mahmoud Abbas, whose doctorate thesis was on Holocaust denial.

The article on Hitler was published last February and stated that Hitler killed Jews “so you would all know that they are a nation who wreak havoc on Earth”.

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Stop teaching about the Holocaust so that children see Germany in a better light, says Lord Baker

British schools should no longer teach children about the Nazis because it makes them think less favourably of modern Germany, the architect of the National Curriculum has claimed.

December 26, 2011

The Telegraph

Lord Baker of Dorking, who spent three years as Margaret Thatcher’s education secretary, said that he would ban the topic and concentrate on British history instead.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said that schools should concentrate on teaching “the story in our own country” rather than the events of the Second World War, including the Holocaust.
Lord Baker, who introduced the National Curriculum in the 1980s, said: “I would ban the study of Nazism from the history curriculum totally.
“It’s one of the most popular courses because it’s easily taught and I don’t really think that it does anything to learn more about Hitler and Nazism and the Holocaust.
“It doesn’t really make us favourably disposed to Germany for a start, present-day Germany.”
Lord Baker now runs a series of university technical colleges which teach courses on the lives of great British engineers, scientists and inventors, a model he would like to see applied more widely.
"Why I’ve got a thing against the Holocaust and all of that is I think you study your own history first,” he said.
“I’m sure that German children are not studying the British Civil War, right?

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Holocaust victims from FSU to get compensation

After talks with German government, Jewish Shoah victims who fled areas not occupied by Nazis to receive one-time payments.

December 25, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By  JPost Staff

The board of directors of the Conference on Material Claims against Germany (Claims Conference) announced new changes Sunday to the Hardship Fund that will enable thousands of Jewish Holocaust victims to receive one-time payments.

Following talks with the German government, the payments will now be made to certain Jews who fled some areas of the Soviet Union that were not occupied by the Nazis. The changes will come into effect from January 1, 2012. Providing they meet the program's other eligibility criteria, these Jewish victims will now be included in the Claims Conference Hardship fund. The program issues a one-time payment of 2,556 euro.

The agreement applies to Jews who fled between June 22, 1941 and January 27, 1944. It covers areas of the Soviet Union that were generally up to 100 kilometers from the most easterly advance of the German army but were not occupied later by the Nazis. Applicants who meet these criteria may now be eligible for a payment from the Hardship Fund. It is the first time that the experiences of these Jews who fled for their lives have been recognized by Germany.

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France probes Nazi-themed party attended by British MP

French authorities have launched an investigation into a Nazi-themed stag party in the French Alps that was attended by a British Conservative MP. Aiden Burley was later sacked by his party for his "offensive and foolish" behaviour.

December 24, 2011

France 24

By Agence France Presse

French prosecutors said Thursday they had opened a probe into a Nazi-themed party attended by British Conservative MP Aidan Burley that led to him losing his post as a parliamentary aide.

"A preliminary investigation started yesterday," local prosecutor Patrick Quincy told AFP, as authorities opened a case file on a drunken night out by a group of British men in the French Alpine ski resort of Val Thorens.The investigation was launched after a complaint from French anti-racism group SOS Racisme. Quincy said he had been unaware of the incident beforehand.
A lawyer for the restaurant where the party took place, La Fondue, said the establishment was also planning to file a complaint and that investigators had been to there on Thursday.
"We are preparing to hand in a complaint tomorrow," Julien Andrez told AFP, adding that two charges were possible: "inciting racial hatred" or "glorifying crimes against humanity".

[...] A video showed a guest raising a toast to the Third Reich at the party and reports said the group had later chanted "Mein Fuehrer!" and the names of Nazis Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann, who were responsible for the Holocaust.

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Warsaw Jews debate demolition of Holocaust-era building

The old office block, which lies at the center of a Nazi-era ghetto, would be replaced by a 180-meter-tall tower of housing, office spaces, and a hotel for ultra-Orthodox Jews.

December 23, 2011

Haaretz

By Roman Frister

Sixty-six years after the end of the Second World War, Warsaw’s Jewish community is debating whether or not to destroy a building on old ghetto territory, in order to replace it with a 180-meter-tall tower.

The old office block in question is situated in the heart of the city. Plans are in place to demolish the historical building, and replace it with a tower that would include residential and office spaces, as well as a hotel for ultra-Orthodox Jews – a project that is expected to attract significant revenues.

Heads of the community maintain that the building, which underwent certain changes in the 1990s, has practically lost its historical value, and - equally as important, they say - it no longer fulfills the needs of its institutions. According to Poland’s virtual exhibition of Jewish heritage (under construction) the building was built in the mid-19th century and in addition to housing the community offices, which served about 300,000 people, it was a medical clinic for the poor. During the Holocaust it also served as a temporary hospital.

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Op-Ed: Expose: Europes's Judenrein Universities

More than 60% of Spanish university students say they do not want Jewish classmates.

December 21, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By Giulio Meotti

Several days ago the Israeli leftist author Moshe Sakal was booted from an academic conference in Marseilles at the request of Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish.

The director of the conference, French-Jewish author Pierre Assouline, succumbed to the Arab pressure and said Sakal’s participation “was not crucial”.

A year ago, Marseilles’ university was the site of another anti-Jewish boycott, when the septuagenarian Israeli novelist Esther Orner, who is also a Holocaust survivor, was banned from the University of Provence after a group of Arab writers objected to her presence.

[...] According to a recent poll by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 62.2% of university students believe that “the Jews are powerful because they control the economy and the mass media”. More than 60% of Spanish university students say they do not want Jewish classmates.

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Op-Ed: Holland: Both Anti-Semitism and Sympathy for Jews

December 21, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By  Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

“People often insult me in public. It can happen almost anywhere, such as at the train station in Rotterdam or in the center of Amersfoort, the town where I live. For instance, someone may shout at me ‘Yehoud’ — a negative term for a Jew in Arabic. When I walked home from our synagogue a few years ago, a child of about 10 years old shouted out ‘Dirty stinking Jew.’

“At train stations where a lot of youngsters hang out, I am almost always insulted. These shouts do not only come from non-Western immigrants, but from native Dutchmen as well. If I go to the synagogue on Saturday afternoon I am shouted at not only at the mosque but also near the hockey-field.”

Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs is head of the IPOR — the Rabbinate for the Jewish communities outside of Amsterdam — and also the Rabbi of the Sinai Center, the only Jewish psychiatric hospital in Europe. He has been interviewed by several Dutch media on the anti-Semitism he experiences and by Arutz Sheva in the past.

.“I perceive that the aggression against Jews who are recognizable by their dress has increased greatly. On the other hand, there is also an increase in sympathy toward us. When I enter a train, someone may just shake my hand and say ‘Shalom’ or something positive about Jews and Israel.

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Hanukkia lit in spot Hitler decreed Final Solution

Crowds assemble under Brandenburg Gate in Berlin carrying torches was reminiscent of a different era, darker era.

December 21, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Gil Shefler

The large crowd assembled under the imposing Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Tuesday carrying torches was reminiscent of a different era, darker era. But these were not Nazi stormtroopers, and the year was not 1933. Rather, it was 2011 and the gatherers were taking part in a large Hanukka ceremony.

“We’re standing at the same spot where Adolf Hitler announced his plan to annihilate European Jewry,” said Chabad Rabbi Yehuda Tiechtel of Berlin, who organized the event. “In this same spot we’ll be lighting the menorah with German officials, leaders and ambassadors.”

About 1,000 people, including US Ambassador to Germany Phillip Murphy and several other dignitaries were in attendance, said Tiechtel. During the gathering Jewish students simultaneously lit candles and torches symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness.

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Yad Vashem posthumously honors Polish man

Wojciech Woloszczuk hid Frances Schaff, nee Feiga Bader, in his attic during World War II; his daughter will accept medal.

December 20, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Gil Shefler

Yad Vashem on Wednesday will posthumously honor a Polish man who saved the lives of Jews during World War II by hiding them in his attic.

The Holocaust Museum will bestow the title of righteous gentile upon Wojciech Wołoszczuk, a farmer who let Frances Schaff, nee Feiga Bader; her brother, his family and two other Jews secretly stay in his house to avoid persecution by the Nazis and their allies.

Schaff, the sole survivor of her family, grew up in an orphanage in Israel. She later emigrated to the US In 2009 Schaff submitted a request to honor Wołoszczuk, who died in 1963, after visiting Poland with her family.

His daughter, Janina Wołoszczuk, will come from Poland to accept the medal and certificate of honor on his behalf.

Designers draw fire for Holocaust camp replica

Belgians Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel plan to erect Holocaust-themed fence in Amsterdam.

December 17, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Cnaan Liphshiz

AMSTERDAM – Two famous designers from Antwerp have announced plans to erect a flashy, Holocaust-themed fence here featuring a crematoria and replicas from the Buchenwald concentration camp. Designers Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel revealed the project after a Dutch museum rejected their “inappropriate” works on Auschwitz.

The fence, which Smeets, 40, and Tynagel, 34, designed, had been commissioned by a Dutch art collector for the collector’s estate, Smeets said during a performance on a prime time Dutch television show on December 7. He said he would not reveal the collector’s identify. The fence design includes a translation of the German writing on the gates of Buchenwald – Jedem das Seine (“to each his own”).

Smeets and Tynagel – described in a New York Times profile piece as “the poster boy and girl of the new expressionism in design” – designed for the same collector a dining set with a mass-grave motif. They also sent the Groninger Museum prints of tablecloths with an Auschwitz-Birkenau theme to be displayed along with other works by Smeets and Tynagel in the museum’s reception room.

However, the museum – among Holland’s finest contemporary art museums – refused to show the tablecloths, which display an overview of the compound and a heap of reading glasses in the middle. Willemien Bouwer, a spokeswoman for the museum, said the hall is sometimes used to host parties and dinners.

“Placing such tablecloths struck us as inappropriate,” Museum Director Kees van Twist said.

“I cannot treat beauty unless I also treat evil,” Smeets said about his Holocaust works. As an artist, he added, “I try to bring not only good news.”

Merijn Bolink, an acclaimed Dutch visual artist, said he did not oppose controversial treatment of the Holocaust, but said it should also be meaningful. “Smeets’s work seems provocative but hollow.”

Top Holocaust scholar blasts 'Holocaust-abuse' by U.S., Israeli politicians

Deborah Lipstadt lambasts 'unhealthy and embarrassing' pandering of Republican presidential candidates; says U.S. envoy Gutman’s comments on Muslim anti-Semitism were 'stupid.'

December 16, 2011

Haaretz

By Chemi Shalev

Renowned Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt says that American and Israeli politicians who invoke the Holocaust for contemporary political purposes are engaging in “Holocaust abuse”, which is similar to “soft-core denial” of the Holocaust.

“I think it is dangerous, just plain dangerous. It’s a distortion of what Israel is all about, what Zionism is all about,” said Lipstadt, who has just published a retrospective book “The Eichmann Trial” on the 1961 Jerusalem trial of the infamous Nazi criminal.

“When you take these terrible moments in our history, and you use it for contemporary purposes, in order to fulfill your political objectives, you mangle history, you trample on it,” she said.

In a hard-hitting interview with Haaretz, Lipstadt also lashed out at the "over-the-top pandering" of Republican presidential candidates, describing their fawning support for Israel as "embarrassing" and "unhealthy." Of last week’s appearance of the top Republican candidates at a Washington forum organized by the Republican Jewish Committee, she said: “It was unbelievable. It made me cringe. I couldn’t watch it.”

[...] She also used the word “despicable” to describe settlers who use the term “Nazi” against IDF soldiers. “And it’s so inaccurate. And it’s such an abuse of history. The people who started it know it’s not true, but the kids, the yeshiva kids, and the high school kids – they don’t know it’s not true. And so when real Nazism comes around - no one will recognize it.”

[...] Lipstadt described US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman’s controversial comments about the causal connection between the Arab-Israeli conflict and Muslim anti-Semitism as “stupid”, adding that “he sounded as if he was rationalizing anti-Semitism.” But, she said, the reaction to his statements had also been “over the top."

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Israeli, German researchers expose the Nazi past of a prominent historian and 'resistance hero'

Research shows that the historian Karl Bosl swept away his Nazi past and replaced it with the image of a brave opponent of the Nazis.

December 16, 2011

Haaretz

By Nir Hasson

The night of April 17, 1945 was a dramatic one in the Bavarian town of Ansbach. The Third Reich was on the verge of collapse and U.S. forces were besieging the city. They would take it in less than 24 hours. That night a small, courageous group of young anti-Nazis tried to get the town to surrender without bloodshed or destruction.

The tragic events of that night and the following morning would enable one of Germany's most important postwar historians to clear his name of accusations that he was pro-Nazi. Through a web of lies and half-truths, the historian, Karl Bosl, swept away his Nazi past and replaced it with the image of a brave opponent of the Nazis.

Research by Prof. Benjamin Z. Kedar, the vice president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Peter Herde of Wurzburg University in Germany, has exposed what really happened that night, as well as Bosl's true Nazi past. As a result, the government of the Bavarian city where Bosl was born, Cham, announced about two weeks ago that it was changing the name of a square from Dr.-Karl-Bosl-Platz and removing a statue of Bosl from town hall.

The two scholars discovered that Bosl had tried to gain anti-Nazi credentials through his previous contact with Ansbach's true hero, a young man named Robert Limpert, who had been Bosl's student. Limpert, born in 1925, had established an anti-Nazi underground cell in Ansbach.

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Israel museum puts Eichmann artifacts on display

Israel museum puts Eichmann artifacts on display

Exhibit contains cameras used by Mossad agents, the briefcase in which they carried fake license plates, the keys to Eichmann's Buenos Aires apartment among other artifacts.

December 13, 2011

Haaretz

By The Associated Press

Fifty years after Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann was convicted in an epic trial that helped shape Israel's national psyche, the Israeli parliament on Monday put on display for the first time dozens of artifacts from the daring 1960 operation in Argentina that captured the Nazi criminal.

The gripping public testimony during the trial by more than 100 Jews who survived torture and deprivation captured world attention and vividly brought to life the horrors of the Holocaust. It also brought to light stories of Jewish bravery and resistance that shattered the myth of Jews meekly walking to their deaths. As a result, more survivors went public with their experiences, which greatly helped research and commemoration efforts.

"We carried out justice, partial, reduced, even minuscule compared to the crime, but of tremendous symbolism and the symbolism is that those who murder millions and those who plan the murder of millions will pay the price," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the opening of the exhibit. "The capture and the bringing to trial of Eichmann was a turning point in which the state of Israel and the Jewish people began carrying out justice against their tormentors."

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Op-Ed: The Red Cross's War Against the Jews

December 12, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By Giulio Meotti

It's the world’s foremost humanitarian agency and it won the Nobel Peace Prize for its service to victims of warfare and natural disasters, but Red Cross’ relation to Jews is nothing to be proud of.

First the Red Cross boycotted the Magen David Adom for half a century, while it granted full membership to "benefactors of humanity" such as North Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now Israel has surrendered to the demands of the Palestine Red Crescent. As a condition to Magen David Adom joining the International Red Cross in 2006, the Israeli branch agreed to remove its trademark red Star of David from ambulances in Judea and Samaria. The same happened in 1991 during Desert Storm, when US soldiers in Saudi Arabia had to keep their own personal Star of David hidden beneath their uniforms.

[...] In the more than five years that Gilad Shalit was held prisoner in Gaza, the Red Cross filed one request to see him.

It's a moral failure which goes back to the Holocaust. The Red Cross knew about the Nazi massacres of Jews on the Eastern Front during World War II as early as 1941.A booklet published by the Red Cross in 1947 argued that “aid to the Jews, like that to the civilian deportees, rested on no juridical basis” in international law, in contrast to aid to prisoners of war. Therefore the Red Cross did not have “the shadow of a pretext to intervene” for the Jews during the war.

Rather than alerting the world, the Red Cross lied to international public opinion.

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Austria donates $8M to Auschwitz fund

Donation part of target of €120 million earmarked internationally to renovate memorial site for Holocaust victims

December 10, 2011

Ynet

By The Associated Press

Austria's parliament has authorized a donation of €6 million ($8 million) toward helping to renovate a memorial to Holocaust victims who died at Auschwitz. The death camp in Poland was the most infamous of the string of death camps set up by Germany's Nazis. More than one million people, most of the Jews, died there, the majority in gas chambers.

Many Austrians supported Hitler and some of the Nazi dictator's key associates were Austrians.The Austrian donation is part of a target of €120 million ($160.5 million) earmarked internationally to maintain the site. Germany, about 10 times Austria's size, has agreed to contribute €60 million ($80.26 million).

Iran moves on from "Destroy Israel!" to "Destroy all the Jews!"

Quoting from the Qoran as well as the Protocols of Zion on "the Jewish world view," they assert that the persecution of Jews through the ages - including the Nazi Holocaust - was "just punishment for their crimes."

December 4, 2011

Debkafile
Amid international and Israeli controversy over whether or not to attack Iran's nuclear program, the rulers of the Islamic Republic have just "upgraded" their strategic objective of wiping Israel off the map and extended it for the first time to the more ambitious one of annihilating the Jews worldwide. They are using the age-old weapon of anti-Semitism to promote their new goal.
Two weeks ago, as their nuclear bomb moved menacingly up the pipeline, the ayatollahs in Tehran and Qom unleashed a virulent campaign of anti-Semitic propaganda in their sermons. A new book and a film were released for wide distribution on orders from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They draw heavily on the infamous Elders of Zion fiction to accuse the Jews and their rabbis of conspiring to corrupt and rule the world.
Under the title "How Israel should be destroyed," this book was awarded the best book prize at the Khorassan book fair when it was first displayed there on Thursday, Dec. 1.
The authors of its seven chapters, identified only as "seminary students of the Holy City of Qom," set out tactics for destroying Israel and the Jews of the world. They quote the Qoran as well as the Protocols of Zion on "the Jewish world view," asserting that the persecution of Jews through the ages - including the Nazi Holocaust - was "just punishment for their crimes."
The Qoran is cited as urging Muslims to keep their distance from Jews because of their "perfidious and deceitful nature."
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‘Lawfare’ Weapon Fights European Anti-Semitism

European Jewish lawyers have launched a ”lawfare” project to fight anti-Semitism. Prosor: Use the tools that are used against us.

December 4, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

European Jewish lawyers have launched a ”lawfare” project to fight anti-Semitism, modeling the program on the American-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Jewish legal experts announced the program at a conference of Jewish lawyers in Brussels last week, the European Jewish Press reported A task force was established “in light of the increasing and constant growth of anti-Semitism in the whole of Europe and the campaign to delegitimize Israel using traditional and new forms as well as legal means," a resolution said The task force comprises five lawyers from France, Germany and Britain.

Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and formerly the envoy in Britain, told the conference, "One should begin to stand up and use the tools that are used against us.”

ADL National Civil Rights Director Deborah Lauter advised, "Laws will not eliminate anti-Semitism…."We will never eradicate anti-Semitism if we cannot reach people’s hearts and minds. Taking anti-Semites to court is not by itself going to solve the problem.

“We need education and to work with coalition partners, to develop school curricula that teach why anti-Semitism is wrong. But we also need to call on our political, civil and religious leaders to speak out forcefully against anti-Semitism."

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Child prodigy and Holocaust victim Petr Ginz memorialized in film

‘The Last Flight of Petr Ginz’ documents the precocious young life and tragic death of a Prague-born victim of the Holocaust

December 4, 2011

Czechposition.com

By Michael Stein

© Sandy Dickson/Churchill Roberts      ‘The Last Flight of Petr Ginz’

When people think of young victims of the Holocaust it is invariably Anne Frank who comes to mind. The soon to be released documentary “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz” provides a vivid glimpse of another tragically shortened life. Born in Prague, Petr was sent to Terezín and later Auschwitz, but managed to leave behind five novels, over 170 drawings and paintings, a diary and a camp magazine.

The film begins with an astronaut, who seems like he could be a character plucked out of the active imagination of the film’s protagonist. Yet this is real life, and the astronaut, Colonel Ilan Ramon — the first Israeli to go into space — had asked the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial for something from the Holocaust to bring with him on this historic occasion.

They chose a drawing called “Moon Landscape” by Petr, showing the earth as seen from the mountainous landscape of the moon. The gesture of remembrance toward the boy’s tragic fate had unintended consequences when the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded on re-entry, killing Ramon and the six other crew members. The publicity surrounding the tragic accident — and mention of the drawing — led to the discovery of the boy’s diary, as well as some additional artwork and short stories, in a Prague attic.

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Attack on Jewish teen ‘shocking’

Student linked to hate groups

December 3, 2011

Winnipeg Free Press

By Gabrielle Giroday and Mike McIntyre

A POLICE probe is underway into an incident at a Winnipeg high school involving a student with Nazi links who reportedly used a lighter to burn the hair of a Jewish student. The altercation in a hallway at Oak Park High School last month apparently also saw the 15-year-old boy make anti-Semitic slurs toward the 15-year-old girl.
"There was definitely some racial comments made and some physical aggression occurred," said Lawrence Lussier, superintendent of Pembina Trails School Division.
Lussier said the "ends of (the girl’s) hair were singed" by a lighter.
The school became aware of the incident when the girl told a counsellor what happened three days later, said Lussier.
A spokesman for the Winnipeg Police Service said Friday officers were in the midst of an investigation and had no comment.
Lussier said the male student involved in the incident was immediately suspended and has withdrawn from the school while the girl continues to attend the Charleswood-area high school.
"It’s pretty shocking for us that this particular event and the nature of this event happened," said Lussier.
"We are still working with the school principal on educational efforts that will promote respect and acceptance and hopefully prevent any futures action like this. This is not something that happens regularly.
"It happened and we can’t deny that, of course, but it is something that we actively work against and we will continue to make every educational effort we can to diminish or eliminate any future activity like that."
A justice source said no charges have been laid, but the Crown is also looking at what kind of charge might be most appropriate. The source told the Free Press the file is being reviewed by senior members of the Crown attorney’s office because of the rarity of the allegations. The source described the accused as having alleged Nazi and skinhead links, but said authorizing a specific hate crime charge may be difficult.

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Jewish group applauds German arrest of American Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke

Police say Duke, 61, was taken into custody Friday before his speech for breaking a travel ban to many European nations including Germany; Jewish group in Germany says Berlin agrees to double its funding to the Jewish community to 10 million euros starting in 2012.

December 1, 2011

Haaretz

By The Associated Press

BERLIN - An American Jewish group is applauding German police for taking former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke into custody before he could address a far-right gathering.

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said on Wednesday that the move "sends an important signal that firm action against those who advocate hate must remain central to Germany's moral and legal agenda."

Cologne police say Duke, 61, was taken into custody Friday before his speech for breaking a travel ban to many European nations including Germany.

They say the U.S. resident was forced to leave the country and that they do not know where he is now. Duke's website called the incident "thuggish communist-style oppression to suppress the right-wing."

Meanwhile, a Jewish group in Germany says it has reached an agreement that will see Berlin double its funding to the Jewish community to 10 million euros starting in 2012.

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Shunning an academic endorser of anti-Semitism

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz criticizes John Mearsheimer’s praise of a controversial text on Jewish identity.

December 1, 2011

The Chicago Maroon

By Alan Dershowitz

Imagine your son or daughter is admitted to the University of Chicago, one of the world’s most elite institutions of learning, and tells you that he has been lucky enough to have a course with one of the university’s most prominent professors, John Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Then imagine your child tells you that his favorite professor has just recommended that everyone should read a “fascinating and provocative” book that makes the following assertions of fact:
While the Holocaust “was not at all an historical narrative,” the “accusations of Jews making matzo out of young Goyim’s blood,” may be true (page 175, 185).
Jews caused the recent credit crunch, which the author calls “the Zio-punch” (page 22).
The American media “failed to warn the American people of the enemy within” because of money (page 27).
“[M]ore and more Jews are being pulled into an obscure, dangerous and unethical fellowship” (page 21).
If Iran and Israel fight a nuclear war that kills millions of people, “some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all’” (page 179).
The “new Jewish religion…could well be the most sinister religion known to man…” (page 149).
The author of the book containing these statements has told students that he cannot “say whether it’s right or not to burn down a synagogue. I can say that it is a rational act.” He has also apologized to the Nazis for having earlier compared them to Israel:
“Many of us including me tend to equate Israel to Nazi Germany. Rather often I myself join others and argue that Israelis are the Nazis of our time. I want to take this opportunity to amend my statement. Israelis are not the Nazis of our time and the Nazis were not the Israelis of their time. Israel is in fact far worse than Nazi Germany and the above equation is simply meaningless and misleading.”
He has written that we “must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously,” and that “with Fagin and Shylock in mind, Israeli barbarism and organ trafficking seem to be just other events in an endless hellish continuum.”
The scenario described above—a prominent professor endorsing the content of a blatantly anti-Semitic book—is not imaginary. John Mearsheimer has in fact written a glowing endorsement (this “fascinating and provocative” book “should be widely read.”) of a virulently anti-Semitic book by an infamously bigoted author.

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‘ONE DAY WE SHALL KILL ALL THE JEWS’: MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD HOLDS HATEFUL RALLY AT CAIRO MOSQUE

November 27, 2011

The Blaze

By Madeleine Morgenstern

The Muslim Brotherhood turned a prominent Cairo mosque into the site of a hateful anti-Israel rally in Egypt Friday, with participants chanting “Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, judgement day has come“ and vowing ”one day we shall kill all the Jews.”Some 5,000 worshipers had come to the mosque to pray, with the Brotherhood – poised to win big in Egypt’s parliamentary elections next week — then imploring them to stay to support the “battle against Jerusalem’s Judaization,” according to YNet News. The rally coincided with the anniversary of the 1947 U.N. partition plan calling for the establishment of a Jewish state.

A young girl holds banner reading "Death to Israel" during a Muslim Brotherhood rally at a Cairo mosque Friday.

Participants vowed to "kill all the Jews." (AP)

YNet reported: Speakers at the event delivered impassioned, hateful speeches against Israel, slamming the “Zionist occupiers” and the “treacherous Jews.” [...] “In order to build Egypt, we must be one. Politics is insufficient. Faith in Allah is the basis for everything,” he said. “The al-Aqsa Mosque is currently under an offensive by the Jews…we shall not allow the Zionists to Judaize al-Quds (Jerusalem.) We are telling Israel and Europe that we shall not allow even one stone to be moved there. [...] The Koran quote “one day we shall kill all the Jews” was repeated multiple times, and both Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen and Palestinian guest speakers called for jihad and for liberating the whole of Palestine, according to YNet. Additionally, businessmen in the crowd were told to invest their funds in Jerusalem to prevent Jews from acquiring land and homes. Elementary school teacher Ala al-Din told YNet at the rally that “all Egyptian Muslims are willing to embark on Jihad for the sake of Palestine.”

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Holocaust experts spar over Lithuania’s Shoah policies

Speakers heatedly debate whether Vilnius is taking bold steps forward, or whitewashing past.

November 27, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Gil Shefler

An academic debate at a conference about Holocaust remembrance in Lithuania turned into a row on Thursday when two speakers at the gathering in Jerusalem exchanged accusations.

Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, lashed out at Sarunas Liekis, a professor at Vytautas Magnus University and former director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, saying he fired a Yiddish scholar who criticized the government’s Holocaust remembrance policy.

“Dovid Katz, who taught for 11 years at Vilnius and is a leading expert in Yiddish, initially didn’t deal with politics at all,” he said. “But when the Lithuanian government started going after Holocaust survivors [for alleged defamation and war crimes] he got involved.They told him his contract wouldn’t be renewed if he continued and it wasn’t. Liekis told Zuroff he had no part in Katz’s departure, adding that his claims were “unprofessional” and constituted an “ad hominem attack.”

“Dovid Katz was not hired by the institute but by its friends in America,” he said. “When his contract ended it was not renewed for professional reasons, the same reasons it was not renewed at Oxford. I have no influence over people in Santa Monica that I could get him fired.”

“The problem with Efraim is that he’s never interested in the facts,” he added.

The recriminations between the two are part of a broader debate relating to how events that took place in the Baltics during World War Two are remembered. Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have lionized local nationalists who fought the communists alongside the Nazis during the war. But Zuroff and other Jewish groups say the esteem with which the nationalists are held in those countries ignores their complicity in the systematic murder of Jews.

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Germany approves one-time 2,000 Euro grant for ghetto survivors

Decision follows negotiations between the Claims Committee and the German government; grant available to those non-forced labor workers as well.

November 27, 2011

Haaretz

By Dana Weller-Polak

Holocaust survivors who worked in ghettoes will receive a one-time payment of 2,000 Euros from the German government, in addition to the regular monthly payment paid out from the German Ghetto Fund.

The decision follows negotiations between the Claims Committee and the German government. Germany also cancels time restriction on filing claims with the Ghetto Fund.

The German government recently approved the easing of criteria for ghetto survivors to receive pensions from Germany’s social insurance. From now on, Jews who worked in ghettoes, even if not under conditions of “forced labor” will be eligible to receive payments from German social security, as well as, the one-time payment of 2,000 Euros.“We want to make sure that all ghetto survivors eligible for compensation can apply for both payments,” said Rabbi Julius Berman, chairman of the Claims Committee. “This is recognition of the suffering and hardship experienced by Jews working during Nazi-era under unimaginable conditions.”

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The New Spanish "Limpieza de Sangre”

The leader of Izquierda Unida, Gaspar Llamazares, declared his party was fed up with the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, and announced that his party would not take part in any homage paid to their memory.

November 25, 2011

Arutz Sheva 

By Giulio Meotti

The Spanish Inquisition called it “limpieza de sangre”: purity of blood. It was the attempt to create a generation purged of any Jewish contamination.A new limpieza de sangre, the obsession for a kind of anti-Israeli purity, has emerged in Spain and the new government can do little to reverse its hateful course. Despite the fact that in Spain there are only 40,000 Jews out of a population of nearly 46 million, anti-Semitism is growing at an alarming rate.

Jose Louis Zapatero’s party was just thrown out and conservative Mariano Rajoy was elected.

The History of Jews and Spain was rocky for centuries, with Spain giving Jews a “choice” of expulsion, forced conversion or death in 1492. Francisco Franco’s fascist, pro-Arab dictatorship that ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975 stoked anti-Israel sentiments and in 1986 Spain was the last Western European state to recognize Israel.

The left-wing prime minister Zapatero, who refused to visit the Jewish state, aligned with anti-Israeli activists whose agenda includes strong anti-Jewish sentiments.

At a dinner party in the Moncloa Palace (the Spanish White House) in 2005, Zapatero addressed his guests by launching into a tirade that ended with the phrase: “It is understandable that someone might justify the Holocaust”.

The Spanish hatred is not related to a leftist or conservative government, it’s imbued in the fabric of the Spanish society and culture, despite Javier Solana, head of foreign affairs of the European community, who declares that “there is no anti-Semitism in Europe” ...The leader of Izquierda Unida, Gaspar Llamazares, also declared his party was fed up with the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, and announced that his party would not take part in any homage paid to their memory.

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First Graduate Program in Israel for Holocaust Studies

The first Israeli graduate studies program in Holocaust studies is opening next at Haifa University for students from around the world.

November 25, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The first Israeli graduate studies program in Holocaust studies is opening next at Haifa University for students from around the world.

The three-semester program for English speakers allows students to access to Holocaust archives in Israel, Germany and Poland. The program is being headed by Prof. Aryeh J. Kochavi, head of the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa and a prominent scholar of World War II, diplomatic history of the 20th century and prisoners of war.

Holocaust Studies has emerged as a central field of scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences as Holocaust memory has become a global phenomenon, while many questions in Holocaust Studies still remain unanswered.

The recent opening of archives in Eastern Europe of newly uncovered documents has opened up opportunities for further research of the Holocaust as the number of survivors is rapidly dwindling and the number of Holocaust deniers grows.

The Haifa program will include study tours to Germany and Poland where the students will visit museums, archives and historical sites.

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Belgian Jews 'shocked' by anti-Semitic attack against young girl in Brussels

CCOJB, the umbrella group of Jewish organizations in Belgium, expressed "shock" after an anti-Semitic aggression against a 13-year-old girl last Friday in Brussels.

November 23, 2011

European Jewish Press

By EJP

Following an altercation at a sport training centre with five classmates from Moroccan origin, Oceane Sluijzer was beaten by the girls who shouted: 'Shut up, you dirty Jew, and return to your country'.
In shock, the young Jewish girl filed a complaint with the Brussels police. The attackers have been identified and will be questioned. 

In a statement, the CCOJB asked the judicial authorities to make sure that the investigation would proceed quickly conducted without delay and said it might file a civil action in this matter.
The Jewish group requested from the Belgian French community Education Minister "to introduce appropriate educational programs in schools to prevent un justified tensions between communities."
It voiced what it termed the "exasperation" of the Jewish community at the repetition of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist attacks.
As a "moral authority", the central Jewish Consistory, the representative body of Jewish religious congregations in the country, also intervened with the authorities to prevent such acts. 
 
Brussels Jewish parliamentarian Viviane Teitelbaum denounced the "silence" of political leaders and most of media after this attack.

In a related Press release, B’nai Brith Canada has written to His Excellency Ambassador Bruno van der Pluijm to express its concerns following reports of a brutal attack against a 13-year-old Jewish girl in Belgium by her classmates.

Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, commented: “The lack of public condemnation of this attack in Belgium itself is particularly disconcerting. A strong call for investigation is vital given the gravity of the apparent hate crime involved. We have asked the Ambassador to use his good offices to press his countrymen to speak up vocally to condemn the attack, as well as other recent manifestations of antisemitism.


German-Jewish lawmaker shocked to be on neo-Nazi hit list

Polish-born Greens MP Jerzy Montag says 'it doesn't feel good' to be on hit list over his criticism of right-wing extremism and work supporting minority groups in Germany, Israel

November 19, 2011

Ynet

By Reuters

A German Jewish lawmaker spoke on Friday of the "nightmarish" discovery his name was on a hit-list found in a neo-Nazi hideout, as Germany struggled to come to terms with news a right-wing trio had been killing immigrants.

Jerzy Montag, a Polish-born member of parliament for the Greens, told Reuters he assumed he been put on the neo-Nazi list because of his criticism of right-wing extremism and his work supporting minority groups in Germany and Israel.

"It's a nightmarish feeling," said Montag, who has been a member of the Bundestag in Berlin since 2002.

"I try not to think about why I was on their list because it's not going to help me now. But it doesn't feel good."

Germans have been shocked this week by news three neo-Nazis had been killing immigrant shopkeepers for years and police had failed to connect the murders to the right-wing extremists.
Two of the neo-Nazis committed suicide earlier this month after a botched bank robbery and a third is believed to have set their flat on fire. The three went underground after a bungled attempt to arrest them in 1998.
Police found Montag's name on a computer stick recovered from the rubble which contained a hit-list of 88 people -- "88" is a neo-Nazi rallying cry for "Heil Hitler" because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.

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German shul reopens 73 years after pogrom

Glorious synagogue inaugurated in city of Speyer on ruins of old synagogue destroyed by Nazis on Kristallnacht. German president, ministers, hundreds of country's Jews attend ceremony

November 19, 2011

Ynet

By Ynet

A glorious synagogue was inaugurated in the German city of Speyer on the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom. The previous shul was destroyed By the Nazis exactly 73 years ago, in 1938. The synagogue's rebirth marks the revival of Jewish life in the country which gave the world one of the darkest times in human history. The ceremony was attended by hundreds of Germany's Jews, as well as the German president and representatives of the Conference of European rabbis, who inaugurated the synagogue alongside representatives of the German government and municipal district. German President Christian Wulff said that the revival of Jewish life in German was a gift. "We are glad that a new synagogue was built and that people will be able to pray in it," he noted. Speyer's Jewish community has suffered from many anti-Semitic incidents. The town's first synagogue was built in 1104, eight years after the execution of 10 Jews by the Crusaders. Some 600 Jews live in the area, most of them former Soviet Union residents.

Glory and elegance of the new synagogue in Speyer, Germany (photo courtesy of Moshe Friedman, Conference of European Rabbis)

President of the Conference of European Rabbis and Moscow's Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldsmith said that the greatest challenge was training rabbis to provide spiritual guidance to Germany's Jews.

"We have helped greatly in the reestablishment of central Jewish Orthodox educational institutions in Germany, including the Berlin yeshiva which educated Germany's rabbis until the Holocaust," he said.
"In this institute, future rabbis are trained to lead the Jewish community across Germany, and it serves as the spiritual center of the German Jewry today."

Red Cross quits Holocaust victims search

International relief organizations says number of tracing requests has declined as number of survivors, their direct relatives has dwindled in recent years

November 19, 2011

Ynet

By The Associated Press

The Red Cross says it will step down from its role managing the work of a body dedicated to finding Holocaust victims. The group has a long history of helping reunite families separated by war and identifying the remains of people killed in conflict. It was tasked in 1955 with leading the International Tracing Service that was established in Bad Arolsen, Germany, to find victims of Nazi persecution. The International Committee of the Red Cross said Friday that it will withdraw from managing the ITS by the end of 2012 as part of the body's transformation into a research and education center. The ICRC says the number of tracing requests has declined as the number of survivors and their direct relatives has dwindled in recent years.

Qaddafi's Hatred of Jews Turned on Him

In Death, Anti-Semitism Boomeranged on Deposed Dictator

November 18, 2011

Forward

By Andrew Engel

ANDREW ENGEL

Jew and Nazi: Anti-Semitism is so deeply ingrained in the Libyan psyche that Qaddafi is often depicted as a Jew or a Nazi, or both.

During the course of my six days hopscotching over the 1,000-mile-wide country, I had the opportunity to listen to scores of Libyans express themselves freely for the first time in 42 years, whether in person or through other media, such as music and graffiti. What I found, unfortunately, along with freedom of expression, was a virulent and ubiquitous anti-Semitism that looks likely to outlast the ruler who promoted it.
The presence of Jews in Libya dates back to the third century BCE, long predating the Arab conquest of Libya in the seventh century. But most of Libya’s 38,000 Jews fled in the wake of anti-Jewish riots after the creation of the State of Israel, in 1948. The remaining 4,000 to 7,000 Jews fled following the 1967 Six Day War. To ensure that they stayed out, Qaddafi, who came to power in 1969, canceled all debts owed to Jews. He also forbade the departed Jews from returning and confiscated their properties. Jewish cemeteries were bulldozed as if to show that even a dead Jew had no place in Libya.
To be sure, widespread incitement against Libyan Jews pre-dated Qaddafi. But the young dictator successfully channeled prevalent anti-Semitism to effectively make Libya Judenrein, cleansed of Jews, for the first time since Greco-Roman era

....With a new driver in Tripoli, as I desperately sought a hotel at daybreak, came a new CD titled “Rap of the Libyan Revolution.” The first track, “Khalas ya Qaddafi” (“Finished, oh Qaddafi”), rapped in English: “Thank you Obama, thank you Jazeera, thank you Sarkozy for everything you’ve done to me.” It then moved into Arabic: “I’m sorry for Algeria because their leader is Bouteflika, who supports every Jew with his soldiers and weapons. Leave, oh Qaddafi. Every day people die, every day people suffer, every day mothers become widows, every day children fear their house will be destroyed, their toys will be broken, that they will become orphans in their youth, Go out, you Jew!”
Another rap number, “HadHihi al-Thawra” (“This Revolution”), rapped in Arabic: “From the north to the south, from the east to the west, let’s rise up, let’s rise up! The anger won’t die, the one who will die is Qaddafi, his supporters and the Jews.”

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The Left's Cartoon War Against Israel

A repulsive wave of anti-Semitism is dirtying the world of mainstream media with images of Jews portrayed as hairy apes, bloodsucking spiders and greedy merchants.

November 18, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By Giulio Meotti

...Two weeks ago, a drawing was published by Norway’s largest newspaper, Dagbladet. Cartoonist Finn Graff depicted Palestinian prisoners being released for Gilad Shalit into another “prison” - Gaza, and inserted the Buchenwald KZ lager insignia: “Jedem das Seine” (to each what he deserves).

Just a few days later, Jonathan Shapiro in South Africa’s daily Cape Times referred to the incident involving U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, in which the latter called Netanyahu a “liar”. In the cartoon we see a group of downtrodden Palestinians being led away from their homes at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers - marked as such by the Jewish Star of David on their helmets. Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, has come under fire for posting a cartoon on his blog. It shows a dog with “USA” written on his midriff and wearing a kippa, urinating on a depiction of justice while devouring the bones of a skeleton.

During the summer, the San Diego Union-Tribune printed a cartoon showing a murder victim on the ground with a large Jewish Star protruding from his back. Blood seemed to be flowing from the point where the Jewish Star was embedded in the victim’s back.he Italian quality daily La Stampa published a cartoon about the IDF’s siege on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem when terrorists were using it as a hiding place. Ignoring the terrorist sacrilege, it showed an Israeli tank turning on the infant Jesus, who asks: “Surely they don’t want to kill me again?”

The Greek daily Ethnos, close to the Socialist Party, depicted two Israeli soldiers (with stars of David on their helmets) dressed as Nazis stabbing helpless Arabs. The caption says: “Do not feel guilty, my brother. We were not in Auschwitz and Dachau to suffer, but to learn”.

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Rare collection of Nazi documents donated to U.S. Holocaust museum

Collection valued at $260,000, which took 30 years to compile, includes stamps, letters, ID cards and other documents of the Nazi era.

November 17, 2011

Forward

By JTA

A rare collection of stamps, letters, ID cards and other documents of the Nazi era was donated to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.

Valued at $260,000, the Edward Victor Philatelic Holocaust Collection was acquired and organized by Victor, a retired Los Angeles lawyer, over a 30-year period. In many cases the content tracks the fate of a given Jewish family from the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933 to its demise in 1945.
After arriving by cattle car at Auschwitz, many Jews were handed postcards with a uniform message thoughtfully prepared by the Nazis.
“Things are going well and we are enjoying ourselves,” the postcard reads.
The Jews added their signatures and the addresses of relatives still in ghettos or labor camps, thus lulling them into the belief that they had nothing to fear when it was their turn for deportation to the east.
The Germans dubbed this deception “Operation Postcard,” and some of the originals are included in the Victor Collection.
E. Randol Schoenberg, president of the L.A. Holocaust museum, said the Victor collection represents written and photo information on an “enormous swath” of hundreds of concentration and labor camps, sub-camps and ghettos throughout Europe, as well as refugee internment camps in Britain, Switzerland and Canada.

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German music radio host says ‘Holocaust invented as PR’

Radio program heads reject anti-Semitism charge, reinstate DJ; in separate comment, Ken Jebsen says 9/11 was a "warm demolition".

November 12, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Benjamin Weinthal

BERLIN – A popular German radio host is slated to return to his program on Sunday, after being temporarily pulled from his post for writing an email denying the Holocaust and spreading conspiracy theories against the US to a listener earlier this month.Ken Jebsen, who is a host at the publicly funded “Jugendwelle” music program aired by Radio Fritz, wrote, “I know who invented the Holocaust as PR.” In his crude e-mail, Jebsen said Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels implemented the public relations plan of the Holocaust and the Americans provided fuel for the entire Nazi bombing campaign, citing Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller, the American businessman. The rambling e-mail is filled with grammatical and spelling errors.

In a separate comment, which was voiced before the published e-mail, Jebsen termed the destruction of the twin towers on 9/11 a “warm demolition.”

The listener sent Jebsen’s email to journalist Henryk M. Broder who published Jebsen’s convoluted diatribes against Jews and the United States on his website. Broder, who writes for the daily Die Welt paper and has testified as an expert on modern expressions of Jew-hatred in a Bundestag hearing, told Bild newspaper on Friday, “This is clear anti-Semitism.” After the scandal surfaced in early November, Jebsen was removed from the program but will now return to his large youth audience.

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Italian federation probes soccer official for anti-Semitic comment

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini made the comment during an interview with SportMediaset, but said it was meant to be a compliment, not anti-Semitic.

November 12, 2011

Haaretz

By The Associated Press

MILAN - The Italian soccer federation is investigating the president of the Palermo soccer club for comparing a player's agent to "Jewish lawyers."

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini made the comment during an interview with SportMediaset, but said it was meant to be a compliment, not anti-Semitic. "Prosecutor Stefano Palazzi has opened up an investigation and we will send a letter to Zamparini requesting a hearing in the next few days," the federation said. "We will look into all the facts to understand them fully."

Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported on its website that Zamparini has said he will not show up to the hearing.

"It's up to him if he turns up or not," the federation said. "We will send him a letter asking him to, as we are trying to understand all the facts. But then it's his decision."

Zamparini's comment was in reference to Javier Pastore's agent. Pastore moved from Palermo to Paris Saint-Germain in the offseason.Zamparini defended his comments.

"The word 'Jewish' is for me synonymous with admiration for enterprising youngsters who look for work and get it intelligently," Zamparini said in a statement. "It was praise changed into an insult. ... I've never been racist, my life proves it."

ADL slams movie that compares Holocaust to abortion

Video shows images of Jews in mass graves and concentration camps, in attempt to convince U.S. viewers to support pro-life amendments in state legislature.

November 12, 2011

Haaretz

By Aimee Neistat

The Anti-Defamation League slammed Wednesday a movie that compares the murder of Jews in the Holocaust to women having abortions in the United States.The film, "180", shows images of dead bodies piled in concentration camps and Jews being shot in mass graves. It cuts from these images to young people being interviewed about their opinions on the Holocaust and abortion. The narrator, Ray Comfort – who says he is Jewish – tries to convince these interviewees that there is moral equivalence between murdering 11 million people in the Holocaust and conducting abortions. Comfort asks the young people whether they would force innocent Jews into mass graves and bury them alive if it would save their own lives, and then asks them questions about abortion. Comfort challenges those interviewees who answer "No" to the first question and "Yes" to the second, saying they would not kill innocent Jews, but are willing to kill innocent babies.

ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor Abraham H. Foxman harshly criticized the film. "This film is a perverse attempt to make a case against abortion in America through the cynical abuse of the memory of those killed in the Holocaust," he said. "It is, quite frankly, one of the most offensive and outrageous abuses of the memory of the Holocaust we have seen in years."

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'Holocaust denier' set for key role in Greek government?

On a televised debate with Israel's ambassador to Greece he said: "Lets talk about all these tales of Auschwitz and Dachau"; in 2002 during a parliament session he asked the then Greek prime minister: "Is it true that your daughter secretly married a Jew?"

November 11, 2011

Ynet

By Assaf Uni

Jewish organizations in Germany have expressed their shock over plans in Greece to involve the extreme right wing party LAOS, led by Georgios Karatzaferis, in Greece's provisional government.
Greek media reported Thursday that Karatzaferis played a central role in the steps that led to the establishment of a government that would try to navigate Greece out of its debt crisis by implementing a European financial plan. The reports also said he was set to be part of the new government. Reports claim that in the last few years, Karatzaferis made a long line of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli statements. After the 9/11 attacks in New York, the politician posed the question "why were all the Jews warned not to come to work that day?" before the Greek parliament. On a televised debate with Israel's ambassador to Greece he said: "Lets talk about all these tales of Auschwitz and Dachau"; in 2002 during a parliament session he asked the then Greek prime minister: "Is it true that your daughter secretly married a Jew?"; and during Operation Cast Lead in 2008, Karatzaferis said that the IDF was acting "with savage brutality only seen in Hitler's time towards helpless people."

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Germany marks 'day of shame'

On 73rd anniversary of Nazi pogrom that paved way to Holocaust, Chancellor Merkel tells Berlin conference 'Germans hunted Germans because they were Jews'

November 11, 2011

Ynet

By AFP

Germany on Wednesday marked the 73rd anniversary of the Nazi pogrom that paved the way to the Holocaust with solemn ceremonies throughout the country and the opening of a new synagogue. The Kristallnacht pogrom, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, saw Nazi thugs plunder Jewish businesses throughout Germany, torch about 300 synagogues and round up some 30,000 Jewish men for deportation to concentration camps.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called November 9, 1938 a "day of shame".
"Germans hunted Germans because they were Jews," she told a conference in Berlin.
"This insanity culminated in an unprecedented crime, it ravaged the continent and it cost the lives of millions around the world. When we talk here and today about the future, we do it thinking about the victims of this insanity that broke out in our country, in Germany."

Damage caused by a pogrom on Kristallnacht (Courtesty Getty Images)

Some 90 Jews were killed in the Kristallnacht orgy of violence, the pretext for which was the murder of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris by a student, Herschel Grynspan, who sought revenge for the expulsion of his family from Germany with about 15,000 other Polish Jews.Throughout the country Wednesday, commemorations took place at Jewish community centers and the sites of former synagogues.
In the western city of Speyer, famous for a majestic Roman Catholic cathedral, a new synagogue was inaugurated later Wednesday in the presence of German President Christian Wulff as a symbol of the rebirth of Jewish life in the country.
Wulff said the new synagogue carried the promise of a "new and permanent presence of Jewish life" in the city, whose old synagogue was burned down in the pogrom. He added that Wednesday was "a day of confidence and hope" as well as remembrance.

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Lithuania Assaults Holocaust Memory

Recent developments suggest Holocaust remembrance has fallen by the wayside as a key element of Jewish Foreign Policy, at least as far as Lithuania is concerned.Holocaust remembrance is a central plank of Jewish Foreign Policy .

November 5, 2011

Jerusalem Report

By Danny Ben Moshe

(JFP), a term that encompasses how Israel and Diaspora organizations act on issues of common Jewish concern. The establishment of Yad Vashem in 1953 and the Eichmann trial in 1961 showed how central the memory of the Holocaust was to Israeli public and foreign policy.

However, leap forward 60 plus years and recent developments suggest Holocaust remembrance has fallen by the wayside as a key element of JFP, at least as far as Lithuania is concerned, which has become a focus of 21st century Holocaust debates.

This was manifest on August 30 when the Israel Police, acting on an Interpol request from Lithuania, interviewed 86-year-old Joseph Melamed, chairman of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel. In 1999, Melamed sent the Lithuanian prosecutor a list of Lithuanians who allegedly murdered Jews in 1941 and should be investigated for war crimes. For over a decade the Lithuanian authorities ignored Melamed’s document, and instead are now accusing Melamed of defaming those the Lithuanian Ambassador to Israel has described as “national heroes.”

While Lithuanian policy can be explained by their attempts to remove the bloody stain of their past by turning victims into perpetrators and perpetrators into victims, one would expect the Jewish state, established on the tragic foundations of the Holocaust, would be at the forefront of defending the memory of the Holocaust. Yet with few exceptions, the Israeli silence has been disconcertingly deafening.

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Economic downturn leads to rise in anti-Semitism in the U.S.

Anti-Defamation League survey finds 35 million Americans ‘hold deeply anti-Semitic views.’

November 4, 2011

Haaretz

By Shlomo Shamir

The past two years have seen a rise in anti-Semitism among Americans, a new survey released by the Anti-Defamation League at a national activist conference the league is holding in New York this weekend, reveals. According to the survey, 15 percent of Americans, some 35 million people, hold “hold deeply anti-Semitic views,” a 3 percent increase since a similar survey was conducted in 2009, nearly reaching the highest level of anti-Semitism in the U.S. recorded by the league – 17 percent, which the league reported in 2002.

"The fact that anti-Semitic attitudes have increased significantly over the past two years is troubling and raises questions about the impact of broader trends in America – financial insecurity, social uncertainty, the decline in civility and the growth of polarization – on attitudes toward Jews," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "It is disturbing that with all of the strides we have made in becoming a more tolerant society, anti-Semitic beliefs continue to hold a vicegrip on a small but not insubstantial segment of the American public."

19 percent of Americans who participated in the survey said they thought the statement "Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street," was "probably true," a 5 percent increase since 2009. "The stereotypes about Jews and money endure, and the fact that more Americans are now accepting these statements about Jews as true suggests that the downturn in the economy, along with the changing demographics of our society, may have contributed to the rise in anti-Semitic sentiments," said Foxman.

The survey also found that 30% of the respondents believe that Jews are "more loyal to Israel than to America." Nearly half of all respondents agreed with the statement that Jews "stick together more than other Americans, and 33 percent said they believe Jews "always like to be at the head of things." And finely, 31 percent of Americans believe "Jews were responsible for the death of Christ.

New Hungarian Constitution Shirks Responsibility for the Holocaust

November 3, 2011

New English Review

By Thomas Ország-Land

The new Hungarian constitution, which is to come into effect on January 1 2012, denies not the veracity of the Holocaust but the culpability of the state for the organized murder of some 600,000 of its Jewish citizens in 1944/45, mostly in Auschwitz..

Its novel approach to Hungarian history will necessarily affect the decisions of the courts in this country perhaps for decades to come on issues of restitution for Holocaust atrocities. Enshrined by the Hungarian constitution, the new historical interpretation dictated by the populist, ultra-Conservative Fidesz government here will define the attitude of state-controlled cultural institutions on sensitive issues of human rights and personal responsibility at times of national crises.

It will rewrite the national Holocaust curricula from primary to higher education (including teacher training), whose persistent failure to promote tolerance towards the racial, religious and other minorities in Hungarian society is widely blamed for the current resurgence of neo-Nazi power. Museum administrators as well as teachers departing from the official line will risk dismissal. Some have been fired already.

The constitution is the fundamental legislation of any country, the basic reference by which all laws and regulations upheld by the state are interpreted by the courts, government departments and other authorities.

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ANTI-SEMITISM AND ANTI-ISRAELISM IN DUTCH SCHOOLS

November 3, 2011

Institute for Global Jewish Affairs

By Manfred Gerstenfeld

Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in schools or places related to them constitute a significant problem in a number of Western countries. In the coming years, this issue will have to be addressed internationally in much more detail. The major question is how much anti-Semitism do Jewish children encounter in schools? Other important issues are the nature of school curricula, the attitudes of the teachers, the presentation of the Holocaust in schools, security in and around Jewish schools, attacks on Jewish students outside of schools, and so on.
In the Netherlands, substantial research has been undertaken on problems Jewish children encounter in schools. Various projects have been developed to deal with this discrimination. Some information is also available about the harassment of Jewish students outside of schools. As so little is known internationally about these important issues, assessment of the Dutch activities in this field can be useful as a model for similar analyses in other countries.
The arrival of a large, nonselective Muslim immigration is probably the most negative event for Dutch Jewry since the Second World War. Among these immigrants are a significant number who have brought with them far greater prejudices against Jews than were commonly seen previously among the Dutch population. Research findings show that students of Moroccan and Turkish descent are disproportionately anti-Semitic compared to Dutch students. The problems have persisted over a long period.
Dutch programs developed to fight anti-Semitism have had a positive effect on a certain number of Muslim children. However, large percentages of them are not positively influenced. The percentage of Moroccan and Turkish students who remain anti-Semitic is still high. One important drawback of the main program is that it deals with the Holocaust and the situation in the Middle East together. The Jewish community has protested in vain against this several times.

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Poland reopening inquiry into Auschwitz atrocities

Investigation stopped in 1970 because of difficulty in obtaining testimony from outside Communist bloc to which Poland belonged during the Cold War.

November 1, 2011

Haaretz

By Roman Frister

WARSAW - After more than 40 years, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance is renewing its investigation of Nazi atrocities at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

The investigation was stopped in 1970 because of the difficulty involved in obtaining testimony from outside the Communist bloc, to which Poland belonged during the Cold War. Testimonies from 500 survivors will be taken during the first stage. The questioning will take place in Krakow, which is near the site, and will be conducted in full cooperation with the management of the Auschwitz Museum and both Polish and foreign organizations that deal with documentation and research of the activities in the concentration camp.Though the investigators want to bring those who collaborated with the Nazis to justice, they say few can be expected to be found alive.

"We'll have to make do with an exact reenactment of the work methods of the criminals at Auschwitz," said institute chairman Lukasz Kaminski. "We want to document all the methods of execution, all the types of medical experiments conducted on prisoners by Dr. Josef Mengele and his aides, and establish the exact ways that prisoners were transferred from Auschwitz to other camps before they died."

"Full and authorized documentation of this type will be a historic achievement," Kaminski said.

Poland hosts largest gathering of rabbis since Holocaust

Conference of European Rabbis to focus on issues including European attempts to ban Kashrut slaughter methods and the problem of validating the Jewish identity of people who have not practiced Judaism for generations.

November 1, 2011

Haaretz

By The Associated Press

WARSAW — Dozens of rabbis from across Europe have gathered in Warsaw for the largest meeting of Jewish religious leaders in Poland since the community was virtually wiped out during World War II. This year's Conference of European Rabbis will focus on a range of issues affecting European and global Jewry, including attempts in Europe to ban the Jewish method of religious slaughter of animals. But, the rabbis will also discuss the problem of validating the Jewish identity of people who have not practiced Judaism in two or three generations. This has become an issue in countries like Poland, where many people with Jewish ancestry were so traumatized by the Holocaust and postwar anti-Semitism that they lived secular or Christian lives for decades and are only now again embracing a Jewish life. 

Over the last 30 years, the Jewish population in Poland has grown from just a few thousand to over 20,000, the conference said.

Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich called the three-day gathering of about 150 rabbis "a real testament to the revival of Jewish life in Poland."

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Tory MP 'hidden for his own safety' as Muslim extremist group storms his mosque visit after invoking Stephen Timms stabbing on website

Mr. Freer, a member of Conservative Friends of Israel, said he was called a 'Jewish homosexual pig'.

October 30, 2011

Daily Mail

By Daily Mail Reporter

Protesters forced their way in to a north London mosque where an MP was meeting constituents after posting violent warning messages online. Tory MP Mike Freer was forced to pull out of the meeting after being targeted by the Muslims Against Crusades group who had posted messages invoking the Stephen Timms stabbing online.

In a chilling message ahead of the incident on the group's website, they referred to Labour MP Stephen Timms -who was stabbed while holding a surgery in east London last year -warning the attack on him should serve as a 'piercing reminder' to politicians that 'their presence is no longer welcome in any Muslim area'. The disturbance at North Finchley Mosque on Friday afternoon began after internet messages posted on Facebook and the Muslims Against Crusades website urged supporters to target the Finchley and Golders Green MP, who had played a prominent role in the campaign against Palestinian activist Sheikh Raed Salah's visit to the UK earlier this year.

Mr Freer, a member of Conservative Friends of Israel, said he was called a 'Jewish homosexual pig'.

He was escorted by staff at the mosque to a locked part of the building until assistance arrived and described the incident as 'uncomfortable'. But it was only when he was made aware of the website's reference to the attack on East Ham MP Mr Timms that he realised the potential danger. The message also stated that 'as a member of the Conservative Party', Mr Freer 'has the blood of thousands of Muslims on his hands'.

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Samuel Beckett's Letters Reveal Roots of Resistance

New Book Details How Nobel Winner Stood Up for German Jews

October 27, 2011

Forward

By Benjamin Ivry

Although Nobel Prize-winning author Samuel Beckett is known for his tragicomically inert characters, he himself was an anti-Nazi activist during World War II. Unlike the ever-absent Godot, the bedridden vagrant protagonist of his novel “Molloy” or the despairing characters in his play “Endgame” who lack legs and the ability to stand, Beckett — though painfully shy and prone to melancholy — was a dynamic member of the French Résistance. His surprising wartime actions are detailed, if not fully explained, in the 2004 biography from Grove Press, “Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett” by James Knowlson.

New book of letters sheds light on Samuel Beckett’s bravery in the face of Nazism.

                                                                                                           PHOTO BY JOHN HAYNES

Taking us from wartime to the early part of the author’s great achievements, Cambridge University Press has just published “The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 2, 1941–1956” following the first volume in 2009. This adds to insight gleaned from “Samuel Beckett’s German Diaries 1936–1937,” released in June by Continuum. Author Mark Nixon, analyzing still-unpublished journals by Beckett, describes the latter’s reactions to a sojourn in Germany intended to improve his grasp of the language and knowledge of the visual arts.
Together, these books underline how profound Beckett’s ties were with the Jewish people. Some literary studies have suggested how, as Irish writers in self-imposed exile, Beckett and Joyce identified intellectually with Jews as people of the Diaspora. Moreover, “otherness,” a sense of apartness and singularity, was a motivating force in both writers’ work, as explored in such studies as Marilyn Reizbaum’s “James Joyce’s Judaic Other” (1999) from Stanford University Press. Yet Beckett’s attraction to Jewishness was more than just metaphoric otherness — it was inspired by family unity.

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44% of Italians have negative views of Jews

Study finds varying degrees of hostility toward Jews, ranging from traditional stereotypes to "pure anti-Semites."

October 25, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Benjamin Weinthal

BERLIN – Forty-four percent of Italians are prejudiced or hostile toward Jews, according to a study issued last week.

The report was issued by Italian Chamber of Deputies’s Committee for the Inquiry into Anti-Semitism.

Deputy Fiamma Nirenstein, the committee’s chairwoman, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the findings were “very disturbing.” It was a “shock for everybody how much anti-Semitism in Italy and Europe” exists, she said.

“Some 44% of the Italian population harbor some prejudice or have a hostile attitude toward Jews. They can be broken down into four subgroups,” according to the report.

“The first group (10%) holds the ‘traditional’ anti-Jewish stereotypical views, such as that ‘Jews are not fully Italian,’ ‘you can never really trust them,’ and ‘when it comes down to it, they have always lived at the expense of others,’ but reject the ‘contingent’ prejudices (toward Israel and the Shoah).”

The report continued that “the second group (11% of the population) only approve of the ‘modern’ stereotypical views, rejecting the ‘traditional’ and ‘contingent’ ones. They consider that ‘the Jews are rich and powerful,’ ‘they control and direct politics, the media and the banks,’ and moreover ‘they are more faithful to Israel than to the country of their birth.’” A “third group (12%) maintains ‘contingent’ convictions (‘all Jews use the Shoah to justify Israeli policy’), ‘they talk too much about their own tragedies disregarding other people’s,’ ‘Jews behave like Nazis with the Palestinians’), but they do not share the ‘traditional’ prejudices.”

Lastly, the report cites a fourth groups as the “pure anti- Semites” (12% of Italians). This group holds all the elements of the previous three forms of Italian anti-Semitism.

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The Guardian’s Anti-Semitic Explanation For Shalit Deal

Is Orr really suggesting that Israel’s desire to get back one of its soldiers at such a high price is driven by some racist sense of valuing Israeli or Jewish life above all others? Apparently so.

October 24, 2011

Honest Reporting

By Simon Plosker

Over the years, we’ve covered some vicious and despicable pieces in the media, many of them published in The Guardian. But amongst the many commentaries and analyses of the Gilad Shalit prisoner deal, one by Deborah Orr in The Guardian’s print edition really plumbs the depths.

Orr writes:

All this, I fear, is simply an indication of how inured the world has become to the obscene idea that Israeli lives are more important than Palestinian lives. Netanyahu argues that he acted because he values Shalit’s life so greatly.

Yet who is surprised really, to learn that Netanyahu sees one Israeli’s freedom as a fair exchange for the freedom of so many Palestinians? Likewise, Hamas wished to use their human bargaining chip to gain release for as many Palestinians as they could. They don’t have much to bargain with.

Is Orr really suggesting that Israel’s desire to get back one of its soldiers at such a high price is driven by some racist sense of valuing Israeli or Jewish life above all others? Apparently so:

At the same time, however, there is something abject in their eagerness to accept a transfer that tacitly acknowledges what so many Zionists believe – that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbours.

The abuse of the concept of the “chosen people” refers specifically to Jews and is commonly employed by anti-Semites to falsely assert that Jews claim to be superior to non-Jews not only in a theological sense but also in a racial one.

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See also  The Guardian's Abusive Deborah Orr and Orr's article in The Guardian

Follow-up Article:

Deborah Orr’s Disgusting Excuse For an “Apology”

October 26, 2011

Honest Reporting

By Simon Plosker

Deborah Orr’s obscene abuse of the concept of the “chosen people” in a Guardian commentary deriding Israel’s efforts to bring back Gilad Shalit as motivated by Jewish racism rightly upset many people.

Such language is regularly employed by anti-Semites to falsely assert that Jews claim to be superior to non-Jews not only in a theological sense but also in a racial one and it was no surprise that Orr found herself in the eye of a storm of criticism.

This and the deluge of emails from HonestReporting subscribers and other concerned parties to The Guardian has had some effect. The October 27 print edition contains a response from none other than Deborah Orr herself:

Last week, I upset a lot of people by suggesting Zionists saw themselves as “chosen”. My words were badly chosen and poorly used, and I’m sorry for it. But accusations of antisemitism have also been intemperate. One can accept the right of Israel to exist, while still believing that the manner in which the nation was created – against the wishes of many of the people already living there, hundreds of thousands of whom became refugees – was problematic and made a contribution to Israel’s subsequent and terrible troubles. (This, in turn, does not imply that the violence against Israel has been either justified or deserved. It has done the Palestinian cause much damage, and rightly so.)

Nevertheless, it would be absurd to believe that Jewish people are any more or less capable of making geo-political miscalculations than anybody else, or any more or less likely to be called to account for them. Evidence from every corner of the world, throughout the ages, attests to the fact that such behaviour is all too typical of humans, as is reluctance to accept that such actions are bound to have their critics.

Deborah Orr’s response is revealing. Does she even know what she has been accused of?

Continue reading  See also  'Guardian' columnist apologizes for 'anti-Semitic slur'

Pro-Israel activists slam praise of ‘anti-Semitic’ book

“With his glowing endorsement of a book by a known Hitler apologist and Holocaust denier, John Mearsheimer has revealed himself to be an anti- Semite...For years, Mearsheimer paraded as an objective analyst, professor and critic, and for years we were very careful not to label him as an anti-Semite. Now he has clearly aligned himself with the worst kind of anti-Semitism.”

October 23, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Johnny Paul

LONDON – Uproar has broken out since American academics John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk have endorsed a new book by a London-based Israeli musician accused of being an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier.

Chicago University professor John Mearsheimer, author of the 2007 book The Israel Lobby, and Princeton professor Richard Falk, the UN rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, gave promotional words for a book written by Gilad Atzmon. His book, titled The Wondering Who, has been described as contemporary cultural racism and as an attack on Jewish identity inspired by Soviet anti- Semitism, by analysts and experts.

Renowned American law professor Alan Dershowitz said the book has crossed the line from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism and said their endorsement was something he has not seen in his lifetime.

“I challenge Mearsheimer and Falk to a debate on whether they have endorsed an anti-Semitic book,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Friday. He said he plans to expose their action widely, both in the academy and elsewhere.

“Atzmon has adopted all the classical definitions of anti- Semitism, he uses the same tropes borrowed from Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other Nazi publications – that Jews control the world, are responsible for the credit crunch, believe Hitler was right,” he told the Post. "[Mearsheimer and Falk] have crossed a red line that has never been crossed in my lifetime."

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Jewish girl's Polish savior out of Auschwitz dies

Catholic Jerzy Bielecki spirited his Jewish girlfriend Cyla Cybulska out of the Nazi concentration camp in a daring rescue.

October 22, 2011

Haaretz

By Reuters

Jerzy Bielecki, the Polish inmate who helped his Jewish girlfriend escape from Auschwitz in 1944, has died aged 90. Bielecki's daughter, Alicja Januchowski, said yesterday that he died peacefully Thursday at his home in Nowy Targ, southern Poland.

In July 1944, the 23-year-old Bielecki used his relatively privileged position as a German-speaking Catholic Polish inmate of Auschwitz to orchestrate the daring rescue of his Jewish girlfriend, Cyla Cybulska.

Jerzy Bielecki holding photos of him in 1944 and his sweetheart Cyla Cybulska in 1945 at his home in southern Poland

Photo by: AP

He secretly acquired a complete SS uniform and pass from a fellow Pole working at a uniform warehouse. Pretending to take a Jewish inmate out of the camp for interrogation, he led Cybulska to a side gate, where a sleepy SS officer let them through. For more than a week the couple hid in fields during the day and marched during the night, until they reached the house of Bielecki's uncle. There, they were separated as the family wanted Bielecki back home in Krakow, and Cybulska had to hide with a farming family. They failed to meet after the war.

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Yad Vashem Flickers of Light

Excerpts from an essay from Rabbi Abraham Cooper and historian Dr. Harold Brackman on antisemitism on the fringes of the Occupy Wall Streeters

October 19, 2011

Simon Wiesenthal Center

…Unfortunately, the hateful fringe of the Occupy Wall Street Movement is now also coast-to-coast, though you might not know it from the mainstream media. Today’s hate propaganda from the New York protests has gone viral. This includes placards identifying “Wall Street Jews” as “Hitler’s Bankers,” and angry shouts of “Kill/Screw Google Jews.” According to anecdotal evidence, the conspiracy banter that the 9/11 attacks were a U.S. government and/or Israeli plot is also popular among some protestors.

From Wall Street to LA’s City Hall now comes a copycat wave of street posters including one with the headline “End the Fed Spigot” under which are pictures of missiles and Stars of David bombarding innocent victims. Another pseudo-learned poster tells us: “Humanity has been colonized by a Satanic cult called the ILLUMINATI . . . Masonic and Jewish bankers who . . . control the purse strings [and] are conspiring against us. They have orchestrated TWO WORLD WARS and are planning a THIRD.” We are told that it’s “Humanity VS. The Rothschilds”. Protester Patricia McAllister, who says she works for LA Unified Schools exercised her First Amendment Right thus: “I think that the Zionist Jews, who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, . . . need to be run out of this country.”

For almost 200 years, blaming the world’s economic woes on the Rothschilds or Wall Street or Jewish bankers has been “the socialism of fools”—and mother’s milk of every demagogue from Hitler to Henry Ford to the Internet bloggers who still insist that Goldman Sachs’s secret Zionist high-command cunningly engineered the 2008 global financial collapse. Of course, toxic hate is not the motivator of most protestors, many of whom are suffering from orsincerely concerned about real economic hardship. Yet history shows the danger of lunatic fringe ideas spreading from the periphery to the center of a tumultuous movement…

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Libya Remains ‘Judenrein’

David Gerbi forced to leave Libya again after unsuccessfully attempting to reopen the Dar Bishi Synagogue in Tripoli.

“As the Axis solidified in the late 1930s, Rome imposed anti-Semitic race laws on both Italy and Libya, Jews were interned in local labor camps, deported, and, in some cases, transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.”

After the war, the plight of Libya’s Jews only got worse. One pogrom alone in 1945 cost 100 Jews their lives in Tripoli and other towns.

The last Libyan Jew, an 80-year old woman, left the country in 2003, making Libya a “Judenrein” state that would have made Hitler proud.

October 19, 2011

FRONTPAGEMAGE.COM

By Stephen Brown

It is just another sign that the Arab Spring is turning into an autumn of Muslim religious persecution. While the world media is currently focused on the latest Christian murders at a demonstration in Cairo, a much smaller, but equally telling, incident of religious intolerance played itself out in Libya today.

David Gerbi, a Libyan Jew who fled his country for Italy in 1967 to escape the recently deposed Muammar Gaddafi’s persecution, was forced to leave Libya again Tuesday after unsuccessfully attempting to reopen the Dar Bishi Synagogue in Tripoli. Dar Bishi, closed 41 years ago, was to be Libya’s first functioning synagogue in decades. In an indication of the devastation visited on Libya’s Jewish community, in 1941 there were 44 synagogues in Tripoli alone and Jews formed 25 percent of the city’s population.

Gerbi’s desire to re-establish the more than 2,000-year-old Jewish presence in his native land ended in failure when several hundred angry protesters showed up last Thursday to oppose his initial efforts to clean out the abandoned building for prayer. Granted official permission, he broke down the synagogue’s bricked-up entrance. (See   Following calls for deportation, Gerbi to return to Rome (October 10)

There had been a thriving Jewish presence in Libya for 2,300 years. When Libya became an Italian colony in 1911, Jews lived mostly in Tripoli and Benghazi. Italian occupation was a fairly positive experience for Libya’s Jews until Italy’s fascist regime grew more anti-Semitic in the 1930s. And as the anti-Semitism intensified, “anti-Jewish incidents increased in Libya” and Rome “privileged Libya’s Arabs over its Jews.” Worse, however, was yet to come.

“As the Axis solidified in the late 1930s, Rome imposed anti-Semitic race laws on both Italy and Libya,” writes

Michael Rubin in a review of Maurice Roumani’s book, The Jews of Libya. “Libyan Jews were interned in local labor camps, deported, and, in some cases, transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.”

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Israel Law Center hotline to monitor campus anti-Semitism

Hotline could provide evidence for legal action against colleges deemed to have failed to protect Jewish students, Law Center attorneys say.

October 16, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Joanna Paraszczuk

The Israel Law Center (Shurat Hadin) is set to launch a campus hotline on Monday, to help Jewish student victims of college anti-Semitism.

According to attorney Kenneth A. Leitner, the Law Center's director of American affairs, students will be able to call the hotline to report incidents of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel acts on US college campuses, and the Law Center will use the data to take legal action against colleges believed to be breaching Jewish students' legal rights, he added.

"It is time for us to go on the legal offensive," said Leitner, who noted that the trend of campus anti-Semitism is growing. "We want Jewish students to know that there is a number to call when they are victimized by extremist groups promoting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate on American college campuses."

US colleges will also receive a 'report card' grading them according to their commitment to providing Jewish students with a safe and welcoming learning environment, Leitner said.

As well as monitoring how well US campuses are protecting Jewish students from anti-Semitism, the Law Center intends to use the hotline data to evaluate how colleges are complying with stringent US anti-terror funding laws.

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Polish Play About Anti-Semitism Debuts in America

Drama Focuses on Re-Education of a Generation

October 14, 2011

Forward

By Lisa Traiger

A  passing nod. A borrowed cup of sugar. A shared fence. A watchful eye on the house. That’s what neighbors are for. But what happens when neighbors turn and become enemies? That’s the question that consumed Warsaw-based playwright Tadeusz Slobodzianek on learning that the black-and-white Polish Holocaust history he had learned at school was actually blood red. After discovering the truth about Poles who perpetrated acts of violence against Jews, Slobodzianek penned the play “Our Class” in 2009. It takes a hard look at how neighbor can turn against neighbor: On July 10, 1941, in the small town of Jedwabne, Poles murdered 1,600 of their Jewish neighbors. This massacre is the centerpiece of “Our Class” which, since its Warsaw premiere in October 2010, has become among the most controversial of contemporary plays in Poland.

                                                                                                                                                                 ALEXANDER IZILIAEV
From the play, "Our Class" by Tadeusz Slobodzianek

Before its American debut, scheduled October 12 at Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater, Wilma’s artistic director, Blanka Zizka — also the play’s director — said, “I felt that it is worthwhile to look at the history and see… how memory and what is being remembered and what is being committed to history creates national identity and defines who we are.”
This reassessment of history, more than two generations after the Holocaust, ignited a national argument about the actions of Polish citizens toward their Jewish neighbors during World War II, according to the author of “Our Class,” a Catholic-born Pole of the postwar generation.
“I am from the northeast of Poland,” Slobodzianek told the Forward in an e-mail, “and to me the prewar co-existence of many nations in that territory appeared to be a multicultural idyll. In Poland, since about the middle of the 1980s, prevalent was a vision of the Second World War in which the good Poles were hiding Jews from the Nazis and when some traitor came about, then the underground army took care of him. We were raised believing such things.”

That ideal was shattered in the past two decades with the release in Poland of a rare few history-changing articles and movies, among them film director Agnieszka Arnold’s documentary on the 1941 Jedwabne pogrom and historian Jan T. Gross’s 2001 book, both called “Neighbors.” They detail the events leading up to and following the horrific action in which one half of the town massacred the other. Most Jewish residents were burned alive in a wooden barn, leaving just a handful of survivors.

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Polish museum opens exhibit on Warsaw Ghetto Uprising leader

October 12, 2011

JTA

JTA) -- A Polish museum has opened a section dedicated to Marek Edelman, one of the commanders of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against the Nazis.

The exhibit at the Historical Museum in Lodz opened Oct. 2, two years after Edelman died at the age of 90

Edelman, a cardiologist by profession, lived and worked in Lodz after World War II, and the exhibition is arranged to evoke his home and office. The display uses his furniture, books, photographs and other objects

A longtime human and social rights activist, Edelman joined the anti-Communist Solidarity movement in 1980 and was interned by Poland's Martial Law authorities. After the fall of communism, he served as a member of Parliament and was awarded Poland's highest civilian honor, the Order of the White Eagle, as well as the French Legion of Honor.

Attackers Carve Jewish Star Into Back of Iraqi Poet in St. Louis

An Iraqi poet who immigrated to St. Louis and converted from Islam to Christianity has paid the price for supporting Jews and Israel.

October 12, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By Chana Ya'ar

An Iraqi poet who converted from Islam to Christianity, and who expressed pain over the loss of six million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust, has paid the price for his beliefs. More than a month has passed since Alaa Alsaegh was attacked over his Arabic-language poem, Tears at the Heart of the Holocaust, featured on the Arabs For Israel blog.

The site is run by Arabs and Muslims who believe they can “support Israel and still support the Palestinian people...support the state of Israel and the Jewish religion and still treasure our Arab and Islamic culture.”

But the poem apparently inspired attackers in St. Louis to mark the Iraqi immigrant as a target for hate.

Star of David carved into Alaa Alsaegh's back
Israel news photo: courtesy of Alaa Alsaegh

On Aug. 14, Alsaegh was trapped by two cars as he was driving in St. Louis. One sideswiped and struck his car, forcing him to stop, while the other stopped behind, cutting off contact with anyone else.

The two attackers then quickly hopped out of the cars, jerked open Alsaegh’s door and pointed a gun at the poet, reported FrontPage Magazine.

“They pushed his upper body down against the steering wheel, stabbed him and pulled off his shirt to expose his back. Then, with a knife, they carved the Star of David on his back while laughing as they recited his pro-Jewish poem,” the magazine reported.

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'Righteous' Moved to Israel After Saving Jews in Holocaust

Numbers Dwindling, Holocaust Rescuers Gather in new Home

October 10, 2011

Forward

By Nathan Jeffay

TEL AVIV — It’s a bigger sacrifice than most people could ever imagine. But for Hester Grinberg-Boissevain, risking her life by hiding innocent Jews during the Holocaust just wasn’t enough of a contribution to the Jewish people. The Dutch nurse also decided to move to Israel.

Until three years ago, the residents of Ramat Yishai, near Nazareth, knew nothing of the remarkable story that brought their now retired community nurse to Israel. Then, the social charity Atzum urged Grinberg-Boissevain to share it.
As a child, together with her parents and siblings in Haarlem, Netherlands, Grinberg-Boissevain helped to hide a Jewish family. After the war, she trained as a nurse, and at 27, she packed her bags and moved to a kibbutz.
“Israel was a special state, a new state, and there was an opportunity to help build and help care for people,” she told the Forward at a Rosh Hashanah party for so-called Righteous Gentiles, who are known as such for hiding Jews from the Nazis.
Grinberg-Boissevain is one of at least 130 Righteous Gentiles who made the decision after the war to move to Israel. It is only now with the group dwindling fast from old age that members are starting to tell and write down their stories. Grinberg-Boissevain, for example, has a homemade pamphlet that she shares with friends and acquaintances.

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Following calls for deportation, Gerbi to return to Rome

Angry protesters gather in Tripoli to demand deportation of Libyan Jew David Gerbi, who has been trying to reopen a sealed synagogue.

October 10, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Lisa Palmieri-Billig

A few hundred angry protesters gathered in central Tripoli on the eve of Yom Kippur on Friday, calling for the deportation of a Libyan Jew who has been trying to reopen a synagogue sealed since ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi expelled the country’s Jewish community in 1967.

The protesters carried signs reading, “There is no place for the Jews in Libya,” and “We don’t have a place for Zionism.”

The crowds tried to storm Italian Libyan Jewish psychoanalyst David Gerbi’s Corinthia Hotel in central Tripoli. There was also a demonstration in Benghazi in the east of the country.

The demonstrations were ignited by an attempt by Dr.Gerbi to clean the debris and pray in Tripoli’s abandoned Dar Bishi Synagogue. Dr. Gerbi had joined the National Transitional Council (NTC) rebel group last spring, first as a volunteer at the Benghazi Psychiatric Hospital and then joining and helping the rebels themselves.

“This incident has served to expose the dangerous reality simmering beneath the surface,” he said.

“I want to contribute to, not obstruct, the building of a new democratic and pluralistic Libya. It is sad and absurd that my mere presence in Libya, should set off so much hostility and I regret this,” Gerbi said.

“However,” he continued, “what happened reveals the extent of Gaddafi’s anti-Semitic conditioning of an entire generation, those in their forties and fifties. Forty-two years of lies, of hate propaganda falsely accusing Jews of having been paid off to abandon the country in 1967, of having robbed Palestinians of their homes and of planning to colonize Libya.”

“Fortunately, the older generation still recalls warm friendships with former Jewish neighbors,” Gerbi said, “and I will continue to work to restore a 2,300-year-old coexistence and advocate active roles in the NTC for Libyan Jews, for the Libyan Amazigh population, for women and all ethnic and religious minorities.”

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Cooperating with the Nazi enemy

It's hard to know where history ends and the made-up begins in a disturbing novel about the real-life head of the Lodz Ghetto community, who thought he could save Jewish lives by cooperating with the Germans.

October 10, 2011

Haaretz

By Judy Maltz

The Emperor of Lies, by Steve Sem-Sandberg (translated from Swedish by Sarah Death ) Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 664 pages, $30

"The Emperor of Lies," winner of the August Prize, Sweden's largest literary award, is not the first book to grapple with the complex, larger-than-life, and often tyrannical personality of Rumkowski, a man who wheeled and dealed with the Germans out of a deep conviction that the best way to save the Jews, or at least some remnant of the Jewish people, was to cooperate with the enemy rather than resist. The character of I.C. Trumpelman, in Leslie Epstein's 1979 novel "King of the Jews," is also modeled in large part on Rumkowski.

Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski Photo by: Paul Ascherman

Judging by most accounts, the "Eldest of the Jews," as the Nazis dubbed him, was a megalomaniac, who lived a life of luxury, complete with his own horse-driven chariot and bodyguards, while others starved, a man who despite his advanced years, was prone to preying on helpless young women, the younger the better.

At the same time, though, Rumkowski was also known to be an extremely resourceful and skilled administrator. Although he has been treated harshly in most of the literary and eyewitness accounts of the period, had events taken a slightly different turn, as Sem-Sandberg points out, he could as easily have gone down in history as one of the great saviors of the Jewish people. "If von Stauffenberg had succeeded in his coup against Hitler in July 1944, for example, or if Stalin had not agreed to halt the Red Army offensive at the River Wisla, then Poland might conceivably have been freed from German occupation six months earlier, and Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski could have stepped from the ruins of the Jewish ghetto of the city of Lodz as what he perpetually strove to be, the liberator of his imprisoned people..." he writes in the afterword.

Although it is a work of historical fiction, Sem-Sandberg's book features many real characters, among them Rumkowski, Hans Biebow, the German head of the ghetto administration, and Dawid Gertler, commander of the Jewish police. But there were many others, like Schulz, who are at least partly made up, and still others whose identity is unclear.

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'Babi Yar massacre was to test reaction to Jewish genocide'

Rabbi Lau says had the world raised its voice in protest at cold-blooded murder of 33,771 Jews in Ukraine, Holocaust may have been curtailed.

October 9, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Greer Fay Cashman

The chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who is a former Chief Rabbi of Israel and who was a child Holocaust survivor, theorized last Thursday that the massacre at Babi Yar in Kiev 70 years ago may have been an experiment by Hitler to test world reaction to the elimination of the Jewish people.

Had the world raised its voice in protest at this horrendous atrocity, Lau surmised, what ensued afterwards might not have happened, and many more Jews might have survived the Holocaust.

Lau was speaking at the Jerusalem Theater at the close of a day of memorial events marking the 70th anniversary of the cold-blooded murder of 33,771 Jews.

After 70 years, said Lau, people still ask themselves how such a mass murder could have taken place. It was not a murder that was carried out in the concentration camps or the forests beyond the public eye. It happened where everyone could see it “and the world did nothing.”

Retrospectively, said Lau, when he thought about it, he realized that the Babi Yar massacre had taken place prior to the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, at which the top Nazi command had discussed the final solution to the Jewish problem. Babi Yar, he said, may have given Hitler the impetus to continue further.

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Family dynasty behind BMW admits to using 50,000 slave labourers during Nazi era

Guenther Quandt was a member of the Nazi party and benefited from its 'Aryanisation' programme by taking over Jewish firms. His wife, Magda Behrend Rietschel, later divorced him and married Joseph Goebbels, with whom she died in Hitler's bunker in 1945.Quandt factories employed 50,000 slave labourers to churn out weapons and ammunition for the Nazis during World War Two, making the family very rich Family still retains majority of shares in luxury car maker

October 6, 2011

Daily Mail

By Allan Hall

The dynasty behind the BMW luxury car marker has admitted, after decades of silence, using slave labour, taking over Jewish firms and doing business with the highest echelons of the Nazi party during World War Two.
Gabriele Quandt, whose grandfather Guenther employed an estimated 50,000 forced labourers in his arms factories, producing ammunition, rifles, artillery and U-boat batteries, said it was 'wrong' for the family to ignore this chapter of its history.
He spoke out after an in-depth study by Bonn-based historian Joachim Scholtyseck, commissioned by the family, that concluded Guenther Quandt and his son Herbert were responsible for numerous Nazi injustices.
It found Guenther acquired companies through the Nazi programme of 'Aryanisation' of Jewish-owned firms.

Herbert Quandt was 'part of the system', son Stefan Quandt said after the conclusion of the three-year study - forced on the family by public outrage over a German TV documentary - compiled using company files from the 12-year period of the Third Reich.

Guenther was described as an 'opportunist' who enthusiastically helped the regime to rid Berlin industries of Jewish workers before the start of the war.

This was despite his numerous contacts with Jewish bankers in the years before the Nazis began their climb to power.

He was also 'unscrupulous' in his take-overs of Jewish firms which were forcibly sold for a pittance to loyal German industrialists such as himself.

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Germans Weigh More Charges for Nazi Guards

October 6, 2011

The New York Times

By Nicholas Kulish

BERLIN — German officials are considering filing charges against former Nazi death camp guards after a legal precedent set in the John Demjanjuk trial appeared to make it far easier to win a conviction more than 66 years after World War II ended.

Mr. Demjanjuk, 91, was convicted in May by a German court of being an accessory to murder in 28,060 cases, the number of people who died during the time when he was a guard at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Prosecutors in Munich did not present evidence that Mr. Demjanjuk had committed a specific crime. Instead, the case was based on the theory that if Mr. Demjanjuk was working at an extermination camp, his function as a guard automatically made him an accessory to the murders committed there.

It was the first time prosecutors had made such a legal argument in German courts.

As a result, employees at the central office have begun looking through files for additional cases that could be prosecuted against guards at extermination camps and members of “Einsatzgruppen,” or mobile SS killing squads. The Associated Press first reported the reopening of the dormant investigations.

The decision was welcomed by Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal's chief Nazi hunter. “The Demjanjuk conviction has created the possibility to prosecute perhaps as many as several dozen Holocaust perpetrators who served in the most lethal Nazi installations and units, and basically spent as much as two years carrying out mass murder on practically a daily basis,” Mr. Zuroff said.

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Hitler letter offers first glimpse of anti-Semitic passions

"The Gemlich letter proves obsessive hatred of Jews more clearly than in his later book ‘Mein Kampf’" says founder of Wiesenthal Center.

October 3, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Tom Tugend/JTA

LOS ANGELES - Ten months after World War I ended, a 30-year-old German army veteran wrote a two-page letter in which he explained the "Jewish question" on a “rational” and “scientific” basis.

“An anti-semitism based on reason must lead to a systematic combating and elimination of the privileges of the Jews,” he wrote. “The ultimate objective must be the irrevocable removal of Jews in general.”

Signed “Respectfully, Adolf Hitler,” the letter received high marks for the author from his superiors in a military propaganda unit bitterly opposed to the newly established Weimar Republic as the perceived handiwork of Bolsheviks, Socialists and Jews.

As the first written political statement of the future Fuehrer, the letter is considered a document of immense historical value.

It will be shown to the public for the first time on October 4 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center at its Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

UCLA historian Saul Friedlander, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of a two-volume analysis of the Nazi regime, observed that “In his very first written statement about the Jews, Hitler shows that [hatred of Jews] was the very core of his political passion.”

At the behest of his superiors, Hitler wrote the letter to a fellow soldier propagandist named Adolf Gemlich, and the document is known as the Gemlich letter. In contrast to his later public rants, Hitler assumes an almost professorial tone in the letter.

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NGOs demand German Shoah group pay victims

Foundation accused of misusing 20,000 euros to fund programs that delegitimize the Jewish state.

October 3, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Benjamn Weinthal

BERLIN – A German foundation called EVZ, set up to compensate slave workers during the Holocaust and fight contemporary anti- Semitism, is being taken to task by Israeli, US, and German NGOs for its failure to remedy its reported misuse of public funds to support anti- Israel activities

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that “It is very troubling that the Remembrance Responsibility Future (EVZ) Foundation has not provided specific steps to compensate victims of the Nazis and educate about the horrors of the regime.

“Instead of fulfilling this goal and combating anti- Semitism – both part of the Foundation’s mandate – EVZ has funded German and Arab student programs that present distorted views of the Arab-Israeli conflict, compare Israeli policies to those of previous, repressive German governments, and developed student materials with anti-Semitic images and texts,” added Steinberg.

NGO Monitor, a prominent watchdog organization, has exposed over the years European NGOs who misappropriated public funds to undercut Israel’s legitimacy as a state. According to NGO Monitor, the group closely monitors the work of European NGOs and their misallocation of funds “to promote the Palestinian narrative, and not for peace-building measures based on mutual understanding.”

The EVZ was founded in 2000 with a contribution of 5 billion euros by the Federal German government and German industry to compensate former slave and forced laborers during the Nazi period. A segment of the EVZ funds are designed to finance educational projects.

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Babi Yar massacre model for modern mass-killings'

Mass shootings in Ukraine one of Holocaust's biggest massacres and served as "a prototype of contemporary genocide," experts say.

October 2, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By JTA

KIEV - By the time they were close enough to hear gunshots there was no time to turn back. SS soldiers split them into small groups, took away their belongings and pushed them towards the edge of a ravine that would become their mass grave - Babi Yar.

The mass shootings, mainly by automatic gunfire, on the edge of the Ukrainian capital Kiev amounted to one of the biggest single massacres of the Holocaust. A total of 33,771 Jewish men, women and children were killed in a single operation.

t was a precursor of country-wide Nazi ethnic purges and, in the words of researchers, became a grim "model" for modern-day mass killings.

The Babi Yar massacre marked the start of Ukraine's Holocaust in which a pre-war Jewish population of about 1.5 million was virtually wiped out to fulfill Adolf Hitler's ambition of a Jew-free Europe. Gypsies, Russians and Ukrainians were later executed in the ravine as well.

Similar mass killings took place across Ukraine, Belarus and other neighboring countries such as Romania.

"What happened here (in Ukraine) served as a prototype of contemporary genocide," said Patrick Desbois, a Catholic priest who visited Ukraine this month with a grim exhibition called 'Holocaust by Bullets'.

Even after 1945, though the number of Jews killed emerged quickly from Nazi records, the full details of the Babi Yar story remained untold for at least two decades.

The Soviet Union never stressed the ethnic nature of the killings, referring to their victims as "Soviet civilians". A curtain of Soviet silence fell across the region's history.

"It was a taboo subject in the Soviet Union," says Desbois.

One of the reasons was the collaboration of the local population. When Nazi death squads found the psychological pressure of systematic killing difficult to handle, they would instruct Ukrainian guards to take over.

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Survey: Majority of Argentinians hold anti-Semitic beliefs

Poll finds more than half of Argentinians believe Jews more loyal to Israel than Argentina, more than 80% believe Jews largely interested in making money.

October 2, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By JTA

A majority of Argentinians hold anti-Semitic beliefs, according to a new study.

The study, "Attitudes Towards Jews in Argentina," was commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League and the Delegation of Argentinian Jewish Associations. The opinion survey of 1,510 adults in eight Argentina cities found that more than half of Argentinians believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than Argentina, and more than 80 percent believe that Jews are largely interested in making money.

Nearly 70 percent also believe that Jews have "too much power" both in the business world and international financial markets, with 41 percent blaming Jews for various degrees of responsibility for the financial crisis.

“The survey shows that anti-Semitic attitudes are deeply ingrained in Argentina,” Abraham Foxman, ADL's national director, said in a statement.

“It is disturbing that such a large portion of the Argentinian population buys into classical anti-Semitic stereotypes. The notions that Jews have too much power in business, are too concerned with making money or are not loyal to their country are traditional anti-Semitic motifs that have contributed to centuries of persecution against the Jewish people.”

Lithuania Tries to Heal Rift Over Holocaust

Critics Unmoved by Package of Measures Trumpted at YIVO Gala

October 1, 2011

Forward

By Paul Berger

Stung by accusations about Lithuania’s complicity in the Holocaust, the Baltic nation’s foreign minister announced a series of measures aimed at bolstering its Jewish heritage during a concert at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
The measures did little to allay the concerns of critics who had opposed YIVO’s decision to invite the minister to the September 22 gala in New York.

Stung by accusations about Lithuania’s complicity in the Holocaust, the Baltic nation’s foreign minister announced a series of measures aimed at bolstering its Jewish heritage during a concert at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
The measures did little to allay the concerns of critics who had opposed YIVO’s decision to invite the minister to the September 22 gala in New York.

Dovid Katz, a former professor of Yiddish language, literature and culture at Vilnius University and author of defendinghistory.com, a website that is critical of the Lithuanian government, called the measures a “public relations ploy.”
Carl Rheins, a former executive director of YIVO, also was skeptical, particularly of a proposal to restore sections of the old Jewish quarter in Vilna, which was a major center of Jewish culture until it was wiped out in the Holocaust.
But Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, cautiously praised the “spirit and the content” of the address by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis.
“They are still in the midst of denial, and as long as you deny, you can’t really come to grips,” said Foxman, who was raised in Vilna during World War II. But, he added, “if this is a first step of where it will go, that’s fine.”

YIVO’s invitation to Ažubalis to attend a concert of Yiddish music composed in the Vilna Ghetto was fiercely opposed by some Holocaust survivors and their advocates.
They accuse the government of whitewashing Lithuanian involvement in the deaths of 95% of Lithuanian Jewry. Before the war, about 200,000 Jews lived in Lithuania. Today, the community numbers about 3,000.
Writing in The New York Review of Books recently, Yale University historian Timothy Snyder said Lithuanians played a central role in the Lithuanian Holocaust. He said that during the first weeks of the Nazi invasion of the Baltics, Lithuanians killed 24,000 Jews in pogroms. They were also willing accomplices in the Holocaust that followed.
“The mass murder of the Jews of Vilnius could not have taken place without the assistance of Lithuanians,” Snyder wrote.

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'German BND helped wanted Nazi Brunner evade justice'

Berlin's foreign intel agency allegedly misdirected authorities searching for Brunner, 'Der Spiegel' reports, citing declassified documents.

October 1, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By JPost.com Staff

Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, helped Nazi fugitive Alois Brunner avoid capture following WWII, Der Spiegel reported on Friday. The BND allegedly misdirected authorities searching for Brunner on purpose, Der Spiegel reported, citing declassified documents.

Der Spiegel reported in July that the BND shredded more than 500 pages of documents related to Brunner in the 1990s, fueling speculation that he worked for the BND after the war and was being protected by senior German officials.

A deputy to Eichmann, Brunner assisted in implementing the Final Solution and is held directly responsible for the deaths of at least 130,000 Jews. He is believed to have spent some 40 years hiding in Syria and was later rumored to have fled to South America.

Brunner was wounded twice by letter bombs sent to him - reportedly by the Mossad - during the 40 years he spent in Syria. In 1961 he reportedly lost his left eye in an explosion and in 1980 he lost three fingers in a similar blast.

He is at the top of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of wanted Nazis, although it is unknown if he is still alive. He would be 99-years-old. According to Der Spiegel, the documents that were destroyed were mostly from the period from 1954-1964.

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Essays Examine Primo Levi's Humanism

'Answering Auschwitz' Strives to Better Explain Holocaust'

October 1, 2011

Jewish Daily Forward

By Michael J. Feuer

Answering Auschwitz: Primo Levi’s Science and Humanism After the Fall
Stanislao Pugliese, Editor
Fordham University Press, 224 pages, $65

Mass deportation of European Jews to the killing metropolis of Auschwitz began in spring of 1942. By January of 1945, more than a million Jews had been murdered there by gas, torture, starvation, medical experimentation and “natural” causes. The catastrophe (an inadequate descriptor, to be sure) lasted about five years; efforts to understand it have lasted more than half a century. We now have abundant data about what happened; but why it happened stubbornly eludes rational thought.

Maybe that is for the best. To ascribe even a partially satisfying logical explanation to the Shoah means converting it from something necessarily outside the realm of human cognition to just another problem, although one of extreme complexity. We seek rational understanding of Auschwitz and the “concentration camp universe” at our peril.

And yet, not to seek understanding, to suspend rational thought, is equally perilous. Such a suspension would require erasing the event from memory, a heinous assault on the victims and survivors. And it would signal surrender to the very evil that made those acts possible. The predicament — how to sustain one’s faith in humanity and in our capacity for rational thought when consummate despair is a perhaps more logical reaction — was at the core of much of Primo Levi’s writing.

That challenge is at the heart of this new anthology, “Answering Auschwitz: Primo Levi’s Science and Humanism After the Fall,” edited by Hofstra University historian Stanislao Pugliese. The contributors — who come from a range of intellectual disciplines and traditions including history, theology, fine arts, Jewish studies, Italian studies and Holocaust literature — grapple with the fundamental challenge, summarized elegantly by Pugliese as “the necessity of recording, reflecting upon, and representing an event for which we do not have the proper conceptual or linguistic tools.” Varied in their interests and specialties, the authors share a profound respect and love for Levi, who survived Auschwitz, survived remembering and writing about it and fell to his death tragically in the stairwell of his Turin apartment building in 1987.

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'UK: Man arrested for making Nazi salute to Jewish teen'

Zbinigw Lebek approached teenager in hospital, gave Nazi salute and sang the names Birkenau and Auschwitz.

October 1, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By JPost.com Staff

A 49-year-old resident of the UK was detained and tried in court after making a Nazi salute and singing the words Auschwitz and Birkenau to a Jewish teenager at a hospital in Wrexham, the Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Police discovered a Nazi flag draped on the banister and a swastika badge in Zbinigw Lebek's apartment in the city.

"This is a case which exemplifies all that is decent in our society and all that is rotten in our society," the Telegraph quoted Judge Nicolas Parry as saying.

Lebek admitted that his actions constituted a religiously aggravated public order offense, an offense in the UK that warrants jail time.

Lebek made the gesture while the Jewish teenager, who was a camp counselor, was taking one of his campers to the hospital because of an asthma attack, the Telegraph said.

The teenager was wearing a kippah when Lebek noticed him, made the salute and starting singing the names of the Nazi concentration camps. Lebek then approached the teen, and made the salute again.

"For no reason other than sick pleasure you humiliated him and you demeaned him," the Judge told Lebek.

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Holocaust mass graves memorialized

Groundbreaking project commemorates mass murders of Jews in the towns of Ukrainian towns, marking 70 years since Holocaust

September 26, 2011

Ynet

Ynetnews

The Lo Tishkach Foundation, in cooperation with the Association of Jewish Communities of Ukraine (VAAD), and the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, is commemorating the mass murders of Jews in Ukrainian towns, with the setting of memorial stones at these sites, marking 70 years since the mass killings of Jews during the Holocaust.

Renovation and memorialisation projects at these sites have been made possible following surveys at all Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust mass grave sites in Kiev Oblast, undertaken by local youth and students, and coordination by the Lo Tishkach Foundation.

The placing of official memorials at these sites has been enabled by a kind donation from Jonathan J. Rikoon, facilitated by the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.
Memorial stones were to be inaugurated in Baryshivka, Fastiv, Dymer, Brovary and Tarascha.
The memorialisation of these sites marks the first stage in a vast renovation and memorialisation project currently undertaken by the Lo Tishkach Foundation, which was set up in 2006 by the Conference of European Rabbis and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany with a remit to preserve the memory and protect the thousands of Jewish burial sites across the European continent.
Since 2009, the Lo Tishkach Foundation has surveyed hundreds of sites across Ukraine, taking in the Oblasts of Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kiev, Odessa and Zakarpattia, and representing over one third of the territory of Ukraine.

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Ukrainians protest Jewish pilgrimage

Some 300 supporters of country's nationalist party demand that Hasidic Jews not be allowed to gather in town of Uman this week

September 26, 2011

Ynet

AP and Stav Spivak

Police have detained about 100 activists of Ukraine's nationalist party on Sunday who protested the annual pilgrimage of Hasidic Jews in southern Ukraine.

About 300 supporters of the nationalist party Svoboda, or Liberty, demanded that Hasidic Jews not be allowed to gather in the town of Uman, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) south of the capital. The protesters at the rally shouted "Ukraine for Ukrainians." 

A court ordered the activists ahead of time not to stage the demonstration.

"The protesters used fragmentation grenades, slingshots and other assault equipment," Ukrainian Interior Ministry spokesman Victoria Kushnir was quoted as saying by the news agency UNIAN. The activists also wielded signs bearing anti-Semitic messages.

According a statement released by Svoboda, Uman residents have complained that the pilgrims treat them disrespectfully. 

"To say that they had fragmentation grenade and slingshots is a provocation," the party said. "The police abused its power against peace-seeking people."

The right-wing party also claimed that the police attacked the protesters with no prior warning, hitting women, children and the elderly. Moreover, those arrested were not allowed to see a doctor or a lawyer.

Close to 30,000 Hasidic Jews from around the world are expected in Uman this week to celebrate Rosh Hashanah at the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, who died in 1810.

German Shoah fund entangled in anti-Semitic project

Exchange program with Nazareth students highlights ‘rich, violent’ Jews.

September 26, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Benjamin Weinthal

BERLIN – A German foundation that seeks to combat Jew-hatred and carry forward the memories of the victims of the Nazi period has enabled teenage students to draw crude pictures of Israeli Jewish pupils as part of a German and Israeli Arab high-school exchange program.

The revelation that a Holocaust foundation funneled public money to hardcore anti-Israel educational activities unleashed criticism last week from the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor group and German experts on academic anti- Semitism.

The foundation – Remembrance, Responsibility, Future (EVZ) — provided funds to partner agencies to produce a 31-page brochure depicting Orthodox Jewish students wearing yarmulkes and bearing sidelocks while seated in a well-kept classroom with a sign over a world map stating “Jewish School.”

The adjacent drawing shows a dilapidated, overcrowded schoolroom with Palestinian pupils seated below a giant cobweb and a beat-up map lacking countries. A collapsing sign above the students reads “Palestine School.”

A second cartoon apparently shows a light-skinned Israeli asking a dark-skinned Palestinian if he wants to be friends. An imposing tank is positioned behind both students, suggesting that the Israeli student is compelling the Palestinian student to shake his hand.

Anne Herzberg, legal adviser for NGO Monitor, told The Jerusalem Post on Friday, “The reported use of German government funding for a student project that produced anti-Semitic images is deplorable, and shows a complete lack of judgment and oversight.”

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Left-wing anti-Semitism triggers German gov't debate

Discussion addressed what many consider to be the dominant form of modern anti-Semitism in the federal republic: the loathing of Israel.

September 26, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Benjamin Weinthal

BERLIN – The academic study titled “Anti-Semites as a Coalition Partner,” which sharply criticizes entrenched left-wing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attitudes within the German Left Party, sparked a heated debate in the Bundestag on Wednesday.

The debate addressed what many experts consider to be the dominant form of modern anti- Semitism in the federal republic: the loathing of the Jewish state.

Hans-Peter Uhl, from the Bavarian- based Christian Social Union, a sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, accused the Left Party on Wednesday of “fishing for votes in anti-Semitic voter groups.”

A telling example was the Left Party deputy Inge Höger, who appeared in May at a pro- Hamas conference in Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia, wearing a keffiyeh showing a map labeled “Palestine” on the entire territory of the State of Israel. She spoke about the “misuse of the Holocaust” in silencing criticism of Israel’s “occupation policies.”

The study was written before the Left Party’s new wave of aggressive anti-Israel actions, including calls to boycott the Jewish state in March and April and Höger’s appearance in Wuppertal.

“A power has established itself within the parliamentary spectrum of the Left Party, which tolerates anti-Semitic positions,” political scientists Samuel Salzborn from the University of Giessen and Sebastian Voigt from the University of Leipzig wrote in their study about rising hatred of Israel among Left Party politicians.

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Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg may have lived beyond alleged date of death

The disappearance of the 32-year-old Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews before vanishing into Soviet captivity is an abiding mystery of World War II.

September 26, 2011

Haaretz

By The Associated Press

Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews before vanishing into Soviet captivity, may have been alive after the official 1947 date of his death , but only for a few days, according to the chief archivist of Russia's counterintelligence service.

The disappearance of the 32-year-old Swedish diplomat is an abiding mystery of World War II. His defiance of the Nazis is commemorated worldwide in statues, in streets named for him and in postage stamps bearing his likeness, and to this day he inspires scholarly articles, popular books and Hollywood movies.

It also has been a perpetual embarrassment for Moscow, which has failed to dislodge a stubborn belief, supported by credible if unsubstantiated evidence, that Wallenberg lived like a ghost in the Soviet gulag for up to four decades after his alleged death.

In a rare hourlong interview with The Associated Press, Lt. Gen. Vasily Khristoforov acknowledged that the Soviet version of Wallenberg's death of a heart attack could have been fabricated and that his captors may have "helped him die." He sought to counter accusations that his agency was hiding the truth, but his account and comments from independent researchers only underscored the possibility that the Wallenberg riddle will never be fully laid to rest.

Although he stopped short of discarding the official Soviet version of Wallenberg's death, his remarks … coming from a custodian of the country's most closely guarded intelligence secrets … represent a crack in the wall of official Russian reticence about Wallenberg. And while he didn't cite any new evidence, the general said that his statements were based on his knowledge of materials related to the fate of numerous other victims of repression.

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Morocco university holds first Holocaust conference in Arab world

During World War Two, when Morocco was occupied by the French, who were in turn occupied by the Vichy regime that collaborated with the Nazis, Moroccan King Mohammed V is said to have protected the Jews living in his domain from suffering the fate that befell the Jews of Europe.

September 23, 2011

Haaretz

By David Sheen

The world's first colloquium in the Arab world for the study of the Holocaust took place this week, in large measure thanks to the groundwork laid by a program that seeks to educate American high school graduates about the history of cooperation between Jews and the other nations. The symposium, hosted by Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco and co-sponsored by the Israel gap-year program Kivunim, included three days of presentations and panels on the Nazi genocide, its repercussions for Morocco, and the historical relationships between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East.

Kivunim students gathering with Moroccan Muslim students from the Mimouna Club of Al Akhawayn University at the end of the first conference on the Holocaust in the Arab world. (Photo by Rachid Daoudi)

The only Holocaust conference held in the Muslim world prior to this took place in Tehran, Iran in December 2006, and was widely denounced by Jewish leaders as an attempt not to gain a greater understand of those events, but to cast doubt on their ever having taken place. The groundbreaking Ifrane conference received the support of local Jewish community leaders and was attended by mainstream historians of the Holocaust, coexistence facilitators, government representatives - including the American Ambassador and emissaries of the Moroccan king - and ordinary Moroccan Muslims and Jews.

The conference was originally the idea of a group of Muslim students at Al-Akhawayn University in the Atlas Mountains, who formed a "Mimouna Club" -- named for the post-Passover holiday of Jewish-Arab fraternity. The club shared their idea with students from the Kivunim program that they had met who were visiting the country to learn about Moroccan Jewish history. Kivunim Founding Director Peter Geffen, who accompanied the group, realized the historic importance of such an opportunity and agreed to help organize the event, bringing some of those same Kivunim students back to Morocco this week to attend the conference.

During World War Two, when Morocco was occupied by the French, who were in turn occupied by the Vichy regime that collaborated with the Nazis, Moroccan King Mohammed V is said to have protected the Jews living in his domain from suffering the fate that befell the Jews of Europe. On March 18, 2009, his grandson, the ruling monarch Mohammed VI, honored that tradition of inter-religious solidarity when he publicly proclaimed that he and the Moroccan people perceive the Shoah "as a wound to the collective memory, which we know is engraved in one of the most painful chapters in the collective history of mankind."

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Turkish Jews Voice Wary Confidence About Future

At services held on September 16 at Sicli synagogue, the city’s busiest, one man complained of Turkish anti-Semitism, only to respond that everything was fine in Turkey once he was informed that he was speaking to a journalist.

September 22, 2011

Forward

By Ben Hartman

ISTANBUL — The diplomatic clash between Israel and Turkey may be escalating, but many within Turkey’s 23,000-strong Jewish population insist that it is nothing more than politics for them, with no practical effect on their lives or security.
“In daily life, we don’t fear anything from the Turks,” said Nisya Isman Allovi, manager of the Jewish Museum in Istanbul. But, acknowledging the thick protection her institution and many others in the Jewish community receive, she also said, “Security is, it’s done just to be cautious about everything.”

At services held on September 16 at Sicli synagogue, the city’s busiest, one man complained of Turkish anti-Semitism, only to respond that everything was fine in Turkey once he was informed that he was speaking to a journalist. The same scene played out repeatedly: Someone would express apprehension about Turkish attitudes toward Jews, or express no fear whatsoever, while demanding that his or her name not be printed.

“On the left and right, [from] Muslims to atheists they all have a connection to the Palestinian cause. It’s beyond ideology,” Bilgic said. “You may have primitive Islamists who are trying to utilize this emotional bond for their own purposes, but what politician wouldn’t?”
Bilgic added that he believes that Erdogan and many of his base supporters subscribe to a sort of “primitive anti-Semitism.” It is a sentiment that is not common among Turks generally, he said, but could potentially affect the country’s Jewish community if the tension with Israel worsens.
“If the government manages to make its primitive anti-Semitic ideology take root in society, it could spill over on the Jews here, but I don’t think it will. It depends on Israel and what Israel agrees to do about the Palestinians,” he said.

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An everyday tale of anti-Semitism in Cairo

Relations between Israel and Egypt have become increasingly strained in recent weeks, and in the Egyptian capital there is a mounting sense of tension, including incidents of anti-Semitism.

September 20, 2011

BBC News Magazine

By Thomas Dinham

...While walking in the street someone pushed me from behind with such force that I nearly fell over.

Turning around, I found myself surrounded by five men, one of whom tried to punch me in the face. I stopped the attack by pointing out how shameful it was for a Muslim to assault a guest in his country, especially during Ramadan.

Relieved that a seemingly random assault was over, I was appalled by the apology offered by one of my assailants. "Sorry," he said contritely, offering his hand, "we thought you were a Jew."

Shaking his head in disbelief on hearing the news, an Egyptian friend sympathised: "That's stupid, you are obviously not a Jew."

The chilling implication I was left with was that, had I been Jewish, the assault would have apparently been justified...

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France, New Zealand pull out of Durban III over racism

Romania, Finland and Denmark moving forward with participation; New Zealand FM says concerned anti-Semitic debates will be re-opened.

September 17, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post correspondant

BERLIN – In a one-two punch to the UN-sponsored Durban III anti-racism commemoration event, the governments of France and New Zealand announced that they will boycott the event because the September, 22 conference is plagued by anti-Semitism and racism.

Speaking from Paris, a French diplomat, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday that the Durban III conference “became more and more racist” and “just like the Brits,” the French [foreign] minister will not be attending Durban III. He added that the aim of the anti-racism conference has “moved away from its original purpose.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron said last week that the World Conference on Racism saw “open displays” of “deplorable anti-Semitism,” and said it would be “wrong” to engage in such events.

“That’s why the UK will play no part in this conference,” Cameron added.

Th French Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an e-mail statement to the Post saying, “France will not participate in the meeting planned in New York on the 22nd of September commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Durban Conference Against Racism. We remember that the previous meeting led to an unacceptable diversion of the principles and values of the fight against racism. For this reason, as other partners of the European Union, France will not attend the commemoration.”

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'Ahmadinejad insists Zionists started both World Wars'

Iranian president tell 'Washington Post' Israel responsible for "grim picture" of US in the world, US will be sacrificed for "Zionist interests."

September 17, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By JPost Staff

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that "Zionists" were behind the First and Second World War and that Israel is responsible for the "grim picture" of the US in the world.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Ahmadinejad said Iran could never support Israel because "They destroy people’s homes and raze them to the ground. They have created a few major wars. They continue to assassinate and terrorize people," and said that "wherever there is a conflict, [the Zionists] are behind it."

Ahmadinejad criticized Western support for Israel, and said that "the whole [US] population is going to be sacrificed for the interests of a few hundred Zionists."

"I think you should have a referendum in the United States to see if the people want to use their resources and taxes for a number of killers," he said, adding "We are against killing and massacres."

The Iranian president expressed hope that the Palestinian petition for state recognition at the UN next week will be met with success, and said that it would be the "beginning of the liberation of the entire Palestinian land," which had "existed before the Palestinians had unwanted guests pour into Palestine with guns."

Legal group targets Columbia over Ahmadinejad visit

Shurat HaDin sends letter to NYC University warning that inviting Iranian president to banquet would be illegal; Columbia denies invitation exists.

September 17, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post correspondant

The Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin — the Israel Law Center said in a letter that it planned on Wednesday to initiate legal action against Columbia University in New York City for its slated September dinner event with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

According to the letter addressed to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, “Hosting Ahmadinejad at a banquet is not merely morally repulsive: it is illegal and will expose Columbia University and its officers to both criminal prosecution and civil liability to American citizens and others victimized by Iranian-sponsored terrorism.”

The three page letter was written by attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who is the Director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, and the organization's American counsel, Robert J. Tolchin.

Copies of the letter were sent to US Attorney General Eric Holder and NY District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., FBI Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch Sean M. Joyce, as well as FBI Executive Assistant Director of the Criminal Branch Shawn Henry and NY Federal attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan.

Darshan-Leitner and Tolchin added that “Iran is officially designated under US law as a state-sponsor of terrorism, as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and as a perpetrator of human rights abuses. Ahmadinejad is Iran’s chief executive and personally directs Iran’s terrorist and nuclear-proliferation activities and human rights abuse.”

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T.S. Eliot's On-Again, Off-Again Anti-Semitism

Letters to Friends and Colleagues Repeatedly Denigrate Jews

September 17, 2011

Forward

By Benjamin Ivry

Reading T.S. Eliot in high school, we stumbled over his sneering references to Jews. And with the 1989 publication of “T.S. Eliot and Prejudice”(University of California Press) by Christopher Ricks, and 1995’s“T.S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism and Literary Form” by Anthony Julius Thames and Hudson), poetry lovers have a clear account of how Eliot, author of “The Waste Land” and “Four Quartets,” expressed his problem with the Jews.

T.S. Eliot in 1950. Courtesy Getty Images

Anti-Semitism is not visible in these major works of Eliot, but it does recur in earlier poems, as Joseph Black observes in a 2010 edition of “The Waste Land and Other Poems”from Broadway Press: “Few published works displayed the consistency of association that one finds in Eliot’s early poetry between what is Jewish and what is squalid and distasteful.” On September 20,Yale University Presspublishedtwo volumesof Eliot’s “Letters,” shedding further light on the problem. Containing letters from 1898 to 1925, these books, edited by Valerie Eliot, the poet’s second wife, and Hugh Haughton, an English professor at York University, place Eliot’s attitude toward Jews in historical and cultural context.

Ricks and Julius cogently explained the details of how some early Eliot poems have unappealing images of Jews. “Gerontion” recasts the stereotype of Jew as slumlord: “My house is a decayed house, / And the jew squats on the window sill, the owner.” “Burbank With a Baedeker: Bleistein With a Cigar” is an evocation of Venice that seems to refer to Shakespeare’s Shylock: “On the Rialto once. / The rats are underneath the piles. / The jew is underneath the lot.” And in “Sweeney Among the Nightingales”: “Rachel née Rabinovitch / Tears at the grapes with murderous paws.” According to Ricks and Julius, underlying these images was Eliot’s admiration for the French fascist and anti-Semitic author Charles Maurras. During a 1933 lecture in Virginia, published in 1934 as “After Strange Gods,” (which he later refused to reprint) Eliot, following Maurras, stressed the importance of social “unity of religious background…. Reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable,” Eliot declared.

Eliot himself had opted for a bifurcated social identity. St. Louis-born and Harvard-educated, he had relocated to England permanently around the start of World War I, but remained aware of his own status as a transplanted foreigner. Whereas Maurras, in his ultra-conservative periodical, L’Action Française, scoffed at métèques, a pejorative term for Mediterranean immigrants, in his own letters Eliot described himself using the more neutral term “metic,” from the ancient Greek, meaning resident alien. In July 1919, Eliot wrote to a Bloomsbury hostess: “Remember that I am a metic — a foreigner, and that I want to understand you, and all the background and tradition of you.” In a 1925 review for The Nation, excerpted in Volume II of “Letters,” Eliot observes that modern poetry is an urban phenomenon: “Here too the metic plays a large part; for the metic, like the Jew, can only thoroughly naturalize himself in cities.”

'Jew or not Jew' IPhone app riles French anti-racism groups

September 16, 2011

Yahoo News

By Jenny Barchfield The Associated Press

PARIS - A French anti-racism group has threatened to sue Apple over an iPhone application called "A Jew or Not a Jew?" that allows users to consult a database of celebrities and public figures to determine whether they are Jewish or not.

SOS Racisme said the application, sold for 0.79 euro cents ($1.07) on the Apple Store France, violates France's strict laws banning the compiling of people's personal details without their consent.

Under the French penal code, stocking personal details including race, sexuality, political leanings or religious affiliation is punishable by five-year prison sentences and fines of up to euro300,000 ($411,870).

Such laws were enacted in the decades following the Holocaust, which saw some 76,000 Jews deported from Nazi-occupied France to concentration camps. Fewer than 3,000 returned alive.

In a statement, SOS Racisme called on Apple to remove the app the from its online store and be more vigilant about the applications it sells.

Apple France and its European headquarters did not immediately return several calls for comment.

The head of leading French Jewish group CRIF, Richard Prasquier, echoed SOS Racisme's call for the immediate removal of the application.

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Apple retire l'application 'Juif ou pas Juif' de a vente en France

(Apple pulls 'Jew or not Jew' app from sale in France)

September 14, 2011

Agence France-Presse

Le Monde

The following is a translation from an article appearing in Le Monde:

On Wednesday, September 14, Apple announced that it had pulled the application, “Jew or not Jew” which had shocked the country. “”This application violates local legislation and will no longer be available in France’s online Apple Store”, Tom Numayr announced to Apple’s spokesman to Agence France-Presse….

Commemorations to mark 7 decades since Babi Yar in Ukraine

Conference on anti-Semitism coinciding with 70th anniversary of murder of 33,771 Jews at Babi Yar will take place in Kiev on September 20.

September 10, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Gil Shefler

A series of memorial services and conferences will be held across Ukraine over the coming month remembering Jews slain by the Nazis in the aftermath of Operation Barbarossa 70 years ago.

An international conference on anti-Semitism that coincides with the 70th anniversary of the murder of 33,771 Jews at Babi Yar later this month will take place in the capital Kiev on September 20.

The event, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism with the support of the Ukrainian parliament, is aimed at battling anti-Semitism and educating future generations against racism.

“The conference will bring together lawmakers from around the world, with the specific goal of addressing the troubling scourge of Jew-hatred everywhere, especially in the countries of the former Soviet Union,” the organizers said in a statement.

“This conference will therefore present us with a welcome opportunity to highlight a united front, to display a common commitment to fight anti- Semitism to the very best of our abilities, while also designing innovative and necessary strategies to achieve that very goal.”

Meanwhile, memorial services will be held over the coming month by the Lo Tishkach Foundation in several Ukrainian towns and hamlets where thousands of Jews were executed by advancing German forces.

Ceremonies will be held in Baryshivka on September 12; in Fastiv and Dymer on September 14; in Brovary on September 26; and in Tarascha on October 10.

In recent years the foundation has been working in cooperation with the Association of Jewish Communities of Ukraine, and the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, to commemorate the mass murders of Jews with the setting of memorial stones.

Some one million Jews were executed, typically by shooting, by German units called Einsatzgruppen after the Third Reich conquered large swaths of the Soviet Union in 1941. The method of executions was eventually deemed inefficient by the Nazis who created concentration camps with gas chambers the following year.

ESPN removes fantasy leagues with antisemitic names from website

Antisemitic names include 'Jews are Immoral' and 'Jews Are Terrible'.

September 9, 2011

Haaretz

By the Associated Press

ESPN has removed fantasy leagues with anti-Semitic names from its website after the Simon Wiesenthal Center pointed them out.

The Jewish human rights organization praised the sports network for its quick response to the complaint, which it brought to ESPN's attention on Wednesday.

The Wiesenthal Center said that "Jews are Immoral" and "Jews Are Terrible" were among the offensive team names.

Network spokesman Josh Krulewitz said that while ESPN has systems in place to protect against inappropriate team and league names "clearly with millions of users and deceptive ways around the safeguards, we can never completely eliminate it."

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center said Thursday that ESPN responded in good faith to its concerns.


Holocaust Survivors Angry About YIVO's Invitation to Lithuanian Official

Baltic Nation Slow to Come to Grips With Notorious Nazi Past

September 9, 2011

Forward

By Paul Berger

It was supposed to be an evening of celebration and remembrance of the Jews of the Vilna Ghetto. But by hosting the Lithuanian foreign minister as “guest of honor” at a concert of Yiddish songs, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research has instead angered some Holocaust survivors and their advocates.

Audronius Ažubalis, the foreign minister, will attend the New York event, called “The Vilna Ghetto Experience,” on September 22. The invitation — issued as YIVO conducts sensitive negotiations with Lithuania about the return of archives it lost control of during World War II — has rekindled a long-simmering debate about Lithuanian complicity in the Holocaust and what is perceived by some as a failure to achieve an adequate agreement on restitution of Jewish property.

“It is very painful that YIVO would make such an error,” said Dovid Katz, a former professor of Yiddish language, literature and culture at Vilnius University and author of defendinghistory.com, a website that is critical of the Lithuanian government. “This is not the moment to have this guest of honor.”

Almost all of Lithuania’s approximately 210,000 Jews, many of them living in Vilna, perished during World War II. Many were killed by Lithuanian paramilitary units working under the Nazis.

Lithuania has been among the countries that have been slowest to pay restitution for Jewish communal properties, such as schools and synagogues, which were seized during the war. After almost 10 years of wrangling, it agreed in July to pay 38 million Euros, then the equivalent of $53 million, over the next decade. But this is substantially less than the properties are believed to have been worth.

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Némirovsky's Book Reveals Passion for Country That Betrayed Her

Author's Final Novel Is Stunning Tableau of Wartime France

September 9, 2011

Forward

By Steven G. Kellman

All Our Worldly Goods
By Irène Némirovsky, translated from French by Sandra Smith
Vintage, 224 pages, $14.95

‘All Our Worldly Goods” opens with fireworks. Two families, the Hardelots and the Florents, gather on a Normandy beach to watch a pyrotechnical display light up the late-summer sky. Indifferent to Simone Renaudin, the pudgy, sullen heiress his family has chosen to be his fiancée, Pierre Hardelot is secretly in love with Agnès Florent. Because Agnès is merely the daughter of a deceased brewer, she is off-limits to Pierre, whose grandfather owns the paper mill that employs most of the inhabitants of Saint-Elme. Yet Pierre’s passion is as combustible as the rockets bursting in air above the coast of Northern France. Defying the wrath of his wealthy, imperious grandfather and the sting of local gossip, Pierre jilts Simone and marries Agnès. Despite the tribulations of economic hardship and two devastating wars, their love endures.

COURTESY VINTAGE

Like “Suite Française,” the epic account of France at war that, unfinished at Irène Némirovsky’s death, in Auschwitz in 1942, was not published until 2006 (2008 in English), “All Our Worldly Goods” is a posthumous publication. Composed and completed between 1940 and 1941, it languished in manuscript while the Vichy régime banned books by authors of Jewish origin. It was not until 1947 that “Les Biens de ce Monde” appeared in France. And it was not until 2008 that the London firm Chatto & Windus brought out an English translation. Even in its new American edition, that same translation, by Sandra Smith, is both lucid and British; flashlights are “torches,” diapers are “nappies” and characters pursue “honour.”

“All Our Worldly Goods” is more coherent, less ambitious and more fully satisfying than the highly acclaimed “Suite Française.” It, too, offers harrowing spectacles of mass flight from invading German forces, though the shorter novel extends into one World War from another, and Saint-Elme is reduced to ashes in both 1914 and 1940. More remarkable, perhaps, is the fact that, like “Suite Française,” “All Our Worldly Goods” is Judenrein: There is not a hint of a Jew anywhere in Saint-Elme or even Paris, where Hardelots at times take up residence.

Born to a wealthy Jewish family in Kiev in 1903, Némirovsky had by the 1930s reinvented herself in Paris as a successful author of popular French fiction. But even her conversion to Catholicism and her friendships with influential fascists did not enable her to obtain the French citizenship she desperately sought. Nevertheless, after 1940, nothing she could have done would have permitted her to market a novel populated by Jews. Némirovsky’s effort to reject her roots did not spare her the gruesome fate suffered by millions of other European Jews.

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French Minister of Education Denies "Shoah" Banned from Textbook

The following is the translation of an article that appeared in Le Figaro:

September 8, 2011

Le Figaro

The Minister of Education Luc Chatel announced today that the word "Shoah does appear in textbooks" school, as opposed to what Claude Lanzmann claimed in an article Tuesday in "Le Monde”. The writer and filmmaker had criticized the Department of National Education for having "deleted" the term "Shoah" in new history textbooks, which was immediately denied by the Department.
"Never have I opposed the use of the word Shoah in programs or in textbooks" and "the word Shoah appears explicitly in history books being used for this school year,” insisted Chatel.
The Shoah, the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis during World War II, is "taught to all levels of the school system," "History is a duty and moral responsibility," added the Minister. "This government is probably the one who developed the most features" to mark the Department's commitment to the teaching of the history of the Shoah, he added.
In this regard, he recalled the signing in January, of an agreement between the Department and the Mémorial de la Shoah, which broadens their partnership and ensures the continuation of visits of students to the Mémorial, as well as travel to Shoah sites and training for teachers.

300-350 Elderly Greek Jews Can Get Their Citizenship Back

The Greek Government passed an amendment to allow Jews stripped of their citizenship to reclaim it automatically.

September 6, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By Aryeh Ben Hayim

Jews who had to leave Greece during World War II can now reclaim their Greek citizenship. This is the result of an amendment to the new foreign resident law. The amendment  only covers Jews born in or before 1945 (about 300-350) and not their descendants who will have to make applications for citizenship.

Justice Minister Harry Kastanidis defended said: "It is an honor to Greece [to have these people requesting their citizenship back], an honor that Greece would be obligated to reinstate their citizenship no questions asked."

The amendment was opposed by the anti-Semitic LAOS Party and the Communist Party. The latter is fervently opposed to warming ties between Jerusalem and Athens that are calculated to promote "imperialistic plans regarding the natural gas reserves" 

Salonika

The Jews belong to two major categories: Jews who escaped to Turkey during World War II and refused summons to join the government in exile's armed forces in Egypt and Jews who fought on the Communist side in the Greek Civil War between 1946 to 1951 and then went to Israel to escape retribution.

In another sign of the current honeymoon the Israeli Press Association is holding its meeting in Salonika that had a thriving Jewish community of 50,000 till the Holocaust.

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Fighting the Far Right- One German State's Losing Battle Against Extremism

A reporter recently recorded a video of a rusty barbecue inscribed with the words "happy holocaust" -- a flagrant breach, many would argue, of Germany's tough laws against incitement to hatred. But there it stands, behind a barbed-wire fence in the garden of the local NPD office.

September 6, 2011

Spiegel Online

By David Crossland

Neo-Nazis have been left to thrive in the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), which includes prominent members who have glorified the Third Reich, won up to a third of the vote in some districts in Sunday's regional election, say analysts and anti-racism groups.

Far-right supporters are firmly ensconced in rural communities, where they staff the local fire departments, run leisure activities for young people and even provide citizen's advice for welfare claimants. They live in a vacuum, in small towns and villages abandoned by mainstream democratic parties and by overstretched, underfunded local authorites, and are often free to express their ideology unhindered by the police or courts.

The village of Jamel, dominated by neo-Nazis, is a case in point. A signpost by the roadside shows the distance to Hitler's birthplace in Braunau am Inn. A reporter recently recorded a video of a rusty barbecue inscribed with the words "happy holocaust" -- a flagrant breach, many would argue, of Germany's tough laws against incitement to hatred. But there it stands, behind a barbed-wire fence in the garden of the local NPD office.

The NPD won 6.0 percent of the overall vote in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on Sunday, enough to remain represented in the state parliament for a second five-year term. The NPD, which has five seats the Mecklenburg parliament, has been described by the German domestic intelligence agency as being a "racist, anti-Semitic, revisionist" party bent on removing democracy and forming a Fourth Reich. However, the party has not yet succeeded in landing any seats in the federal parliament, the Bundestag.

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Sweden Takes Steps to Protect Local Jews from Hate

The Swedish government has earmarked more than $600,000 to increase security around its Jewish community.

September 6, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By Chana Ya'ar

The Swedish government has earmarked more than $600,000 in its next year's budget to increase security around its Jewish community.

According to a report published in The Local, 4 million kroner ($622,000) has been allocated as a one-time expenditure in the 2012 fiscal year budget to be released on September 20.

The funds are designated as new spending specifically to “increase security and reduce vulnerability for the Jewish minority,” according to a statement by Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag. “Anti-Semitic remarks and other negative treatment based on racist assumptions is never acceptable in a democratic society,” he said.

Speaking with the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper, Ullenhag added that Jewish groups in Sweden had repeatedly expressed security concerns. These had resulted in people sometimes deciding not to attend religious services out of fear for their safety, he said. “Clearly, that is totally unacceptable... Jews are one of our national minorities and the state has a responsibility to ensure that people can go to a synagogue  and participate in Jewish activities and feel they have the security they believe they need. That's a fundamental right.”

Statistics quoted by The Local from Sweden's National Council on Crime Prevention showed there were 161 reported hate crimes with anti-Semitic motives in 2010.

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Austria Remembers Attack on Main Vienna Synagogue

Top members of the Austrian government were in attendance at Vienna's Great Synagogue on the 30th anniversary of an Arab terrorist attack.

September 6, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By David Lev

Top members of the Austrian government were in attendance Monday at Vienna's Great Synagogue, the Stadttempel, on the 30th anniversary of a terrorist attack by Arabs against a Jews who were celebrating a Bar Mitzvah.


Speaking at the ceremony were members of the Austrian parliament, government officials, and the Chief Rabbi of Austria, Paul Haim Eisenberg, who conducted prayers and said Kaddish for the two victims of the August 29, 1981 attack. It was the second time in two years that the synagogue had been attacked by Arab terrorists.


Stadttempel, Vienna


The attack, which security officials said was premeditated, was carried out by by two supporters of the Abu Nidal terror group, against the synagogue as a large group was celebrating the Bar Mitzvah of Jan Stiller, son of Austrian textile magnate Alfred Stiller. Security officials said at the time that the terrorists had been aware of the event, and chose to attack the synagogue on that specific day in order to kill as many Jews as possible.


The attack was unsuccessful, as a group of Austrian commandos, in coordination with Vienna police, managed to keep the terrorists outside the synagogue compound when a quick-thinking officer shut the gate to the building. A gun battle ensued, with two Jews on their way to the synagogue for the Bar Mitzvah killed in the crossfire – a mother trying to protect her baby, and an elderly man - and 21 injured.

Alleged Hungarian Nazi War Criminal Sandor Kepiro Dead at 97

Alleged Hungarian Nazi war criminal Sandor Kepiro has died in Budapest at the age of 97.

September 6, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By Chana Ya'ar

Alleged Hungarian Nazi war criminal Sandor Kepiro has died in Budapest at the age of 97. His family announced his death via the Hungarian news agency NTI.

Kepiro, a former Hungarian police captain, once headed the “most wanted” list of Nazi war criminals of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for rounding up more than 30 Jews and Serbs on a truck and sending them away to be shot.

A total of more than 1,200 Jewish, Serbs and Roma civilians were murdered over a three-day period in the Novi Sad massacre by Hungarian forces.

The Serbian town was then under Hungarian control, when the massacre began on January 23, 1942. At that time, Hungary was a member of the Axis powers with Germany, Japan and Italy.

Kepiro claimed that he was “the only person to refuse the order to use firearms” and instead said he intervened to save five people about to be killed by another officer.

He was twice convicted for his role in the Novi Sad raids. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but served only a few weeks. His sentence was subsequently annulled and his rank reinstated.

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Gov't Holocaust foundation looks abroad for funds

Exclusive: "This is a chance for everyone to help Holocaust survivors because in a few years there will be none left," says chairman.

September 6, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Ruth Eglash

For the first time in its 16- year history, the government funded Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Survivors in Israel is attempting to seek financial support from Jewish and non-Jewish communities around the world, The Jerusalem Post was informed Monday.

In an exclusive interview, (Res. General) Elazar Stern, chairman of the foundation’s board, said that there was no choice but to start fundraising in the international arena.

“This is a chance for everyone to help Holocaust survivors because in a few years there will be none left and then we will be asking ourselves if we really did enough for them,” said Stern, adding that raising more funds for survivors would enable the foundation to increase its programs for the community and improve resources.

The foundation currently receives 40 percent of its budget from the government and the rest from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. Most of that money goes towards home care for the survivors.

The State of Israel is doing all it can to support survivors, commented Stern, highlighting “we are not trying to raise money for food or medicine but more for programs that will afford them respect and honor in their old age.”

According to the organization, there are approximately 207,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel today. It is estimated that 50,000 of those are under the poverty line and close to 35 survivors die each day. Roughly 60 percent of the survivors are Soviet immigrants from the 1990s and are therefore not eligible for certain specific pension funds aimed at helping survivors financially.

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Ukraine Cleanses its History

September 2, 2011

National Post

By Tom Gross

It seems parts of Europe are less tolerant now than they were in the 16th century. Last week, I watched as bulldozers began to demolish the adjacent remnants of what was once one of Europe's most beautiful synagogue complexes, the 16th-century Golden Rose in Lviv. Most of the rest of the synagogue was burned down, with Jews inside, by the Nazis in 1941.

During the war, 42 other synagogues were destroyed in Lviv, which from the middle ages to the 20th century was known by its Austrian (and Yiddish) name, Lemberg, and then called Lvov after the Soviets annexed it in 1945. The remnants of the Golden Rose are one of the few remaining vestiges of Jewish existence in Lviv, the majority of whose residents, in 1940, were Jewish.

It is not only morally wrong for bulldozers to drill through the last traces of this vibrant past without first giving the handful of remaining Jews here a chance to restore this site, or turn it into a place of memorial. It is legally wrong too. Ukraine's own laws are designed to preserve such historic sites.

The Ukrainian authorities are not the only ones at fault. Where is the UN cultural organization UNESCO? The synagogue ruins were designated part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

And where is European soccer body UEFA? The Ukrainians are planning to build a hotel on the site to host fans and players at next year's European soccer championships, the world's third most-watched sporting event, which they are co-hosting with Poland. So much for UEFA's much-hyped campaign to "Kick racism out of football." (In addition to there being residual anti-Semitism in Ukraine, the authorities seem to be motivated by cultural and historical crassness and illiteracy, and denial of the past, as well as real-estate greed.)

During the Holocaust, 420,000 Jews, including over 100,000 children, were murdered in Lviv and its environs, more than in almost any other city in Europe. The killing was so efficient that the Nazis organized transports of Romanian and Hungarian Jews to be brought here to be killed once they were done killing the Polish and Ukrainian Jews. There were almost no survivors.

Yet you will hardly find any reference to this in the official guide books or in the museums of Lviv. There is no monument to the murdered Jews in Lviv's old town.

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Vandals deface monument to Jewish massacre

September 1, 2011

A Polish monument to the more than 300 Jews killed in the Jedwabne pogrom during World War II has been vandalized, as police investigate its connection to an ongoing bout of attacks on minorities.

Deutche Welle

By Darren Mara

One of the inscriptions read, "They were flammable"

A monument commemorating Jews killed in Poland during World War II was desecrated with swastikas and green paint on Thursday, the latest in a series of attacks targeting minorities.

Unknown suspects covered the Jedwabne monument with Nazi symbols and spray painted on a nearby fence, "I am not sorry for Jedwabne," and, "They were flammable."

Jedwabne, in eastern Poland, was the site of the massacre of at least 340 Polish Jews when Nazi officers oversaw a group of ethnic Poles who locked the victims in a barn and burned them alive.

The exact details of the killings went unacknowledged until, in 2004, a Polish government investigation found that Poles, and not German Nazi, were to blame.

A monument was erected at the site to commemorate the pogrom on its 60th anniversary.

Local police said they were investigating the attack in connection with a series of recent incidents targeting Lithuanians and Muslims, after an Islamic cultural center in the nearby city of Bialystock was attacked.

Historians debate: Could more Jews have been saved?

August 28, 2011

Isracast

By Mordechai I. Twersky

Seventy years after the Holocaust, the issue of America's response to it, and whether more Jews could have been saved, still arouses passions. At a July 17 academic conference at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem featuring the institution's leading historians alongside scholars from the U.S.-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, they locked horns over the question.

The historian David S. Wyman, in his book that appeared 28 years ago – “The Abandonment of the Jews” – exposed a pattern of apathy and obstruction at the highest of levels of the U.S. Government and among the Jewish organizational establishment led by Rabbi Steven S. Wise.

In his book, Wyman detailed the actions of an activist named Hillel Kook – who, using the pseudonym Peter Bergson – led a series of political action committees precisely 70 years ago that came to be known collectively as the Bergson Group.

That group was said to be ahead of its time, as it took-out full-page ads in leading American newspapers; planned public rallies; staged theatrical plays with the participation of some of Hollywood's leading stars; planned a dramatic march of 400 Rabbis to the steps of the Capital and to the White House in 1943; and successfully lobbied Congress to introduce a resolution calling for the creation of a federal government agency to rescue refugees.

According to Wyman, the War Refugee Board played a major role in the rescue of more than 200,000 Jews, and among other things, sponsored the work of the heroic Swedish rescuer, Raoul Wallenberg.

Yad Vashem scholars took a different view toward the extent of Bergson's influence and the 200,000 figure cited by Wyman.

In a moment of high drama, Yad Vashem Director of Libraries, Dr. Robert Rozett, read a letter from the noted Yad Vashem historian, Yehuda Bauer –who could not attend the conference – openly refuting Wyman's key contentions.

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Uncertain Future

The Holocaust museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau is charged with preserving the memory of a horrific past. Conservators struggle with the right way to maintain artifacts that never should have existed.

August 27, 2011

Tablet

By Suzanne Rozdeba

Ewelina Bisaga is bent over a worn blue suitcase, Q-tip in hand. A conservator at the Auschwitz Museum, she gently slides the cotton swab along the suitcase’s edges, slowly removing some residue. Almost 70 years ago, that luggage, filled with clothing and personal possessions for what would be its owner’s final journey, was carried into the concentration camp by a prisoner deported there by the Nazis. Today, it lies open, anonymous, never to be claimed, on a table in a whitewashed room at the conservation department in the museum. Its fragile fate is in the hands of Bisaga.

“We try to do the least amount of conservation on an object,” Bisaga, 31, says in Polish, describing how she approaches her daily work. “They are damaged, and their state is telling of their history.”

Bisaga, who lives in Oswiecim, Poland, is one of 11 conservators who work meticulously to preserve the past at the former concentration camp established by the Nazis in occupied Poland during World War II. Bisaga has been working at Auschwitz since 2003.

Photograph by Suzanne Rozdeba

At the museum, and particularly in this conservation department, which handles fragile items like prisoners’ artwork and thousands of documents, shoes, and suitcases, preservation is seen as an ethical as well as a practical issue. But these conservators must also wrestle with questions about the proper role of restoration. “People who come here don’t want to see a replica of how something might have once looked,” says Ewa Cyrulik, another conservator. “They are looking for the original condition, as if the objects exist as guardians of history.”

Conservation work at Auschwitz is unique; while some basic rules of conservation do apply, others defiantly do not. And threading that needle is an ethical conundrum the conservators face daily. “It’s an experiment in doing something unbelievable, but we have to guide ourselves this way, and work in an orthodox way,” Cyrulik says. “Then we have a chance that these objects will affect the people who come here, that they’ll see these original, historical objects.”

A new conservation department, with new workshops, opened at Auschwitz in 2005. Its budget last year was 11.3 million euros, around $15 million. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation is seeking to raise an additional 120 million euros in a two-year campaign ending this year for an endowment to fund future preservation work. So far about 85 million euros, or $122.5 million, has been committed, according to Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for the museum and a Polish radio journalist, including a subsidy from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and a grant from the European Infrastructure and Environment Operating Program.

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Notorious Anti-Semite Louis-Ferdinand Céline and the Jews Who Read Him

August 27, 2011

Forward

By Benjamin Ivry

Fifty years after his death on July 1, 1961, French modernist author and ferocious anti-Semite Louis-Ferdinand Céline is still causing controversy. Last January, an attempt by France’s Ministry of Culture to “celebrate” Céline on this anniversary ran aground after noted Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld pointed out that Céline was not merely the author of such recognized landmarks of modern fiction as 1932’s “Journey to the End of the Night” and 1936’s “Death on the Installment Plan,” but also of three lengthy anti-Semitic tracts, published before and during World War II, that were, as author Pierre Assouline notes, “authentic calls to murder” Jews.

Novelist Catherine Clément resigned from France’s High Commission for National Commemorations to protest Céline’s official celebration, a nationwide uproar ensued and Céline’s name was eventually dropped from the list of cultural figures honored in 2011.

Klarsfeld and Clément had a point: Céline’s three anti-Semitic texts, “Bagatelles pour un Massacre” (“Trifles for a Massacre”) (1937), “L’École des Cadavres” (“The School of Corpses”) (1938) and “Les Beaux Draps” (“A Fine Mess”) (1941) are rife with scatological and crude psycho-sexual descriptions of villainous Jews raping honest Aryan French people like Céline himself. These tracts are unpublished since the war, at the request of Céline and his widow, Lucette Destouches, a retired dance teacher who at 99 still inhabits the house in the southwestern Paris suburb of Meudon where Céline died.

Chronicler of Hopelessness: Céline having seen combat in World War I and being a clinician in poor areas around Paris does not excuse his having plagiarized snippets from “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Readily available for purchase or perusal on the Internet, these texts may someday be published in a scholarly edition, causing even further tumult, when Destouches is no longer around to object. For now, “Céline” (Les Editions Gallimard), is a patient, attentive biography by Henri Godard, an experienced editor of Céline’s work, that offers illumination about this singular anti-Semitic author. A useful complement to Godard’s authoritative study is “Céline, an Exceptional Anti-Semite” (Les Éditions Le Bord de l’eau) by journalist Antoine Peillon, also out in May. A punchy polemic, Peillon’s book offers a gimlet-eyed view of the worst of Céline, skewering the writer’s apologists in France’s literary world.

More judicious in tone, Godard’s book details the complexity and apparent contradictions in Céline’s rabid self-promotion as a racist and anti-Semite, despite having numerous Jewish friends, mentors and even lovers. Less convincingly, Godard claims that Céline’s repeated calls for Jews to disappear entirely from France were not a call for their murder, as if there were some feat of legerdemain by which France’s Jews might simply dematerialize. While not negating by any means the hideousness of Céline’s anti-Semitic tracts, Godard also suggests that the “massacre” in “Bagatelles pour un Massacre” refers to the imminent World War and not to the massacre of the Jews, although Céline could surely have intended both meanings by his title.

Godard and Peillon both underline how Céline, influenced by front-line combat in World War I, where he was severely wounded, and by his later longtime job as clinician in impoverished regions around Paris, saw ghastly things that he recounted in his fiction. More gritty and grim than even Samuel Beckett’s, Céline’s expressions of hopelessness acquire energy through a breathtaking — and sometimes droll — use of language, especially street/army slang, gutter jokes and invective. This vital literary energizing of humble linguistic sources differs from other, more refined 1930s Gallic novelists and won Céline some surprising fans, including French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas who called “Journey to the End of Night” a “revelation” for “marking both the end and the beginning of a form of literature — and a world.”

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AJC Gets It Right on Campus Anti-Semitism, At Last

August 27. 2011

Forward

By Kenneth L. Marcus

In early August, the American Jewish Committee’s executive director, David Harris, finally renounced his organization’s highly controversial joint statement on campus anti-Semitism.

The initial statement, which AJC anti-Semitism expert Kenneth Stern had published four months before, with Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, had generated considerable criticism within the Jewish community. Interestingly, the AJC reversal coincided with disturbing revelations in the University of California, Berkeley campus anti-Semitism case. 

The context for the AJC statement can be found in California. Jessica Felber had gotten national attention earlier this year when she filed a federal lawsuit alleging an anti-Semitic attack at the University of California’s flagship Berkeley campus. In her federal complaint, the recent graduate detailed how a Palestinian activist assaulted her on campus by ramming her from behind with a loaded shopping cart. In mid-August, Felber revealed to the court that this assault was part of an ugly pattern on that campus. In another incident, a campus protester stopped a lecture to berate Felber for the Hebrew lettering on her sweatshirt, yelling that she must be a “terrorist supporter.” In a third, the head of Berkeley’s Students for Justice in Palestine allegedly spat at her.

Felber is not alone; a second Berkeley student, Brian Maissy, has now joined her lawsuit. Maissy submitted a declaration describing the “terrifying” atmosphere on the Berkeley campus during “Apartheid Week,” when protesters toting realistic-looking guns taunt passing students, demanding to know, “Are you Jewish?” Even more disturbing, Mel Gordon, a senior member of the Berkeley faculty, is now supporting Felber’s lawsuit with written testimony that he had been, “savagely beaten and spat upon” by the Students for Justice in Palestine. Gordon described “serious injuries” that he received from blows to the stomach.

Until recently, Felber had faced an unexpected adversary in her battle to hold Berkeley accountable: the American Jewish Committee. The AJC-AAUP statement had charged that some Jewish activists “are making the situation worse by distorting the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and what has been called the ‘working definition of anti-Semitism.’

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Facebook’s Holocaust Problem

The social-networking giant bans hate speech—but allows the proliferation of Holocaust-denial pages, saying it recognizes 'people’s right to be factually wrong about historical events.' Lloyd Grove on the new outcry against the policy.

August 26, 2011

The Daily Beast

By Lloyd Grove

Is Facebook in denial about Holocaust denial?

For years, international organizations opposing anti-Semitism have been urging the planet’s preeminent social-networking platform to delete any content that asserts the Nazi-orchestrated extermination of 6 million Jews never took place.

And for years, officials of Facebook, boasting more than 750 million active users, have refused, insisting that mere denial of the Holocaust, however “repugnant and ignorant,” doesn’t constitute “hate speech” as defined by Facebook’s Terms of Service policy prohibiting “content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” (Which gave a huge opening to TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, who noted that while Facebook was meticulously removing photos of breast-feeding women, it was allowing the proliferation of Holocaust-denial pages. His mordant headline: “Jew Haters Welcome At Facebook, As Long As They Aren’t Lactating.”)

Facebook’s critics—including such groups as the Anti-Defamation League and the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, which describes itself as an Israeli-led “alliance of statesmen, parliamentarians, diplomats, journalists, legal experts, NGOs and scholars”—argue that Holocaust denial is, by definition, an expression of hatred for the Jewish people.

“Holocaust denial is basically a form of classic anti-Semitism,” said Deborah Lauter, ADL’s director of civil rights and its cyber-hate response team. “It’s anti-Semitism per se because it serves as a powerful conspiracy theory that basically says the Jews have manipulated history to advance their own worldview, whether to create sympathy or world domination. In other words, we have fabricated this monstrous event in history in order to further our own hidden agenda.”

Facebook spokesman Simon Axten doesn’t see it that way.

“We find Holocaust denial to be repugnant and ignorant, just as we object to many of the other ideas expressed on Facebook,” Axten told me via email this week. “We’ve come to the conclusion that the mere statement of denying the Holocaust is not a violation of our policies. We recognize people’s right to be factually wrong about historical events.”

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Report: Arsenal football fan site draws fire for anti-Semitic messages

August 20, 2011

Haaretz

By Elka Looks

English club's fan forum comes under harsh criticism for posting 'Jewish stars' next to names of members who donate the least, permitting anti-Semitic comments on site.

 

An Arsenal football club fan website has drawn harsh criticism from anti-racism campaigners for using the Star of David to indicate which members have donated the least to the site, Britain's Jewish Chronicle newspaper reported Thursday.

The Arsenal fan forum, “We are the Herd”, has more than 1,000 members, and mandates that each member must donate money if they wish to access certain parts of the site. The site automatically places Jewish stars next to the posts of members who have not given funds to the site, the JC report said.

The site also has allowed numerous blatantly anti-Semitic postings, the report states, including a message from member Binsey, whose name sported a Jewish star for not contributing money to the site. "I'm not a Jew,” Binsey reportedly wrote, adding “that is as deep a slur as I can imagine. ..."

Another Arsenal fan reportedly posted a message saying "the Jews and their accomplices are draining the wealth and expecting the poorer sections of society to repay their thieving."

Danny Lynch, spokesman for the Football Association's “Kick Racism out of Football” told the Chronicle in response that, "Kick It Out is committed to making football a discrimination-free zone, whether that be on the pitch, the stands or where it exists online.”

The report quoted an Arsenal spokesman as saying that although the club does not tell fans which sites they should and should not visit, it would not stand behind racist and anti-Semitic comments made by fans.

"We are the Herd" states the site "isn't for the politically correct, it isn't aimed at children.”

A Mass Grave, 70 Years Later

The Romanian Army’s withdrawal, and its return a year later with the invading Germans and their mobile S.S. killing units — the notorious Einsatzgruppen — unleashed a systematic Romanian-German campaign of torture, rape and mass murder. Then the Romanians deported some 23,000 Jews from the Khotyn district, which includes the city, to an occupied zone known as Transnistria.

August 19, 2011

The New York Times

By Mordechai I. Twersky

Khotyn, Ukraine

HERE in the land of Tevye, the roosters still crow. Cows graze in open fields. But Tevye doesn’t live here anymore.

I have set out from Israel to Ukraine to trace my ancestors. My first stop is west of Kiev, in a corner of the czarist-era Pale of Settlement for Jews, where “Fiddler on the Roof” was set. Here sits an old Jewish cemetery, now a plowed-over field. It bears not a single headstone, just a house-like memorial for the late-19th-century maggid, or preacher, Mordechai of Chernobyl, my paternal ancestor five generations back.

I continue on, more than 250 miles, to the outskirts of Khotyn, a 1,000-year-old Bessarabian fortress city beside the Dniester River. I enter another open field to connect with a far darker time. I find a 30-foot-long concrete slab, etched at its head with the names, in Hebrew, of 45 men, women and children. First are my grandfather and uncle: “The holy Rabbi Mordechai Israel Twersky and his son, Aaron.”

ANDREA VENTURA NEW YORK TIMES

Following a Jewish tradition, I remove my shoes. This is sacred ground — one of three mass graves in the city, containing in all an estimated 1,900 Jews who perished early in the Holocaust, 70 years ago this summer.

“The earth shifted for days,” an old, toothless man tells me in Russian. He is one of Khotyn’s 15 remaining Jews and among the minyan, or quorum for worship, who accompany me. “They couldn’t bury them fast enough.”

I had never fully understood what happened here in 1941. Growing up in New York, I heard stories from my father, who survived five labor camps before making it to Ellis Island and becoming a rabbi. Not one to subject his three children to horrors, he focused on how his father had lived. On this visit, I wanted also to learn how my grandfather had died.

In the quiet streets of this city, where a Jewish community of 15,000 once thrived, I find no living witnesses. But I carry vivid testimonies written and spoken by Khotyn’s survivors, a guidebook from another era.

The history is complicated; it begins with the Soviet occupation in 1940 of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, which the Nazi-Soviet pact allowed Stalin to detach from Romania. The Romanian Army’s withdrawal, and its return a year later with the invading Germans and their mobile S.S. killing units — the notorious Einsatzgruppen — unleashed a systematic Romanian-German campaign of torture, rape and mass murder. Then the Romanians deported some 23,000 Jews from the Khotyn district, which includes the city, to an occupied zone known as Transnistria.

Over a three-week period in July and August of 1941, approximately 50,000 Jews were murdered in Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, the historian Avigdor Shachan wrote in “Burning Ice: The Ghettos of Transnistria.” According to the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania, 280,000 to 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews died in Transnistria during the war.

They were victims not just of Germany, but at least equally of Romania’s anti-Semitic government. Just days before the dictator Ion Antonescu’s henchmen murdered my grandfather, experts on the Holocaust say, his next in command, Mihai Antonescu, advised top officials about the coming deportation of Jews. The ministers, he said, could be “indifferent if history judges us as barbarians ... This is the most opportune moment in our history. If need be, use machine guns.”

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New book claims Coco Chanel was anti-Semite and Nazi spy; fashion house disputes allegations

It also suggests that Chanel's alleged Antisemitism pushed her to try to capitalize on laws allowing for the expropriation of Jewish property to wrest congrol of the Chanel perfuem lines from the Werheimer brothers, a Jewish family who'd helped maker her Chanel No. 5 a worldwide sucess.

August 18, 2011

Global News

By Jenny Barchfield

PARIS - Coco Chanel: A fashion icon whose name has become shorthand for timeless French chic, a shrewd businesswoman who overcame a childhood of poverty to build a luxury supernova and ... a Nazi spy?

A new book by a Paris-based American historian suggests Chanel not only had a wartime affair with a German aristocrat and spy, but that she herself was also an agent of Germany's Abwehr military intelligence organization and a rabid anti-Semite.

Doubts about Chanel's loyalties during World War II have long festered, but "Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War" goes well beyond those previous allegations, citing as evidence documents culled from archives around the world.

The book, published in the U.S. on Tuesday by Knopf, has ruffled feathers in France, where the luxury industry is a pillar of the economy and Chanel is widely regarded as the crowning jewel.

The House of Chanel was quick to react, saying in a statement that "more than 57 books have been written about Gabrielle Chanel. ... We would encourage you to consult some of the more serious ones."

Hal Vaughan, an 84-year-old World War II veteran and longtime journalist who previously wrote two other history books, insists that he is serious. "Sleeping with the Enemy" is the fruit of more than four years of intense labour born out of an accidental find in France's national police archive, he said.

"I was looking for something else and I come across this document saying 'Chanel is a Nazi agent, her number is blah, blah, blah and her pseudonym is Westminster,'" Vaughan told The Associated Press. "I look at this again and I say, 'What the hell is this?' I couldn't believe my eyes!

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See also: Survivors' group rips Chanel's denial of Coco's Nazi past

Neo-Nazis ready to 'step on gas'

Germany's Far-Right National Democratic Party accused of creating deliberate reference to Holocaust in Berlin election poster

August 15, 2011

Ynet

By Eldad Beck

BERLIN – Just a month before the Berlin state elections, the German capital has been flooded with posters issued by the far-Right National Democratic Party (NPD) with the shocking slogan: "Step on gas."

The election ad shows party leader Udo Voigt sitting on a motorcycle, wearing a black leather jacket (a popular piece of clothing among Neo-Nazis due to its resemblance of SS uniform), with the words "Gas geben!" – literally translated as "give gas".

Voigt hopes to be elected to the Berlin council for the first time. His party representatives are already members of local councils in neighborhoods across the German capital.

Naturally, the allegedly innocent slogan contains a horrifying association with the gas chambers in which the Nazis killed millions of people, most of them Jews, during World War II.

The ad has sparked angry reactions all across the German political spectrum, and some officials said they were looking into the possibility of launching criminal proceedings against the neo-Nazi party.

Meanwhile, Berlin's public radio announced it would not broadcast any NPD ads.

Volter Ratzmann, the Greens' parliamentary leader in Berlin, told Der Spiegel magazine that the ads were a "deliberate provocation". He added that the public of voters in Berlin must clarify in the upcoming elections that the Neo-Nazis are "rat traps".

The representative of the Social-Democrats, which control the Berlin municipality, stated that the ads created "negative publicity for Berlin and Germany" and wondered, "What should tourists, for example from Israel, think about this?"

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Newspaper Article Transforms Lives of Holocaust Survivors, Not Once But Twice

Forverts Story About Polish Orphanage Plays Central Role in Two Families' Journeys

August 13, 2011

Forward

By Rivka Schiller

As an archivist at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, it’s not unusual for me to hear from people who, six decades after World War II, are still searching for information about their relatives.

I try to help, but most of the queries end up in dead ends. A recent request, however, turned out differently because of a single article in the Forverts that — not once, but twice — had an extraordinary impact on several lives. And in the latter case, I was one of those caught up in an amazing circle of fate.

The story begins with George Saltzberg of Toronto, who called me with an inquiry but had only the sketchiest of details. He was hoping to find a story about a Polish orphanage that had appeared shortly after World War II in a New York Yiddish newspaper. According to family lore, the article mentioned his father, a child Holocaust survivor, who was cared for after the war in the children’s home in Otwock, outside Warsaw..

I was familiar with the Otwock orphanage, one of several children’s homes run by the Central Committee of Jews in Poland, because my grandmother, a Holocaust survivor herself, had worked there after her liberation in May 1945. And just by chance, a few months prior, I had run across an article in the Forverts, dated January 24, 1946, about children living there.

Wacek Zalcberg, (Walter Saltzberg) whose leg was broken during the Warsaw Uprising and healed abnormally while he was in hiding, underwent surgery at a Russian military hospital in 1945 in Otwock, Poland.

I remember spotting the piece and fixating on the headline staring back at me from the microfilm reader. It read: “Tsvishn di geratevete kinder in Otwock” or “Among the rescued children in Otwock.” I quickly began to search for my grandmother’s name, which at that time was Tola Pszenica. Even before finishing the article, I hit the print button. Instinctively, I felt that this article could be important — if not for me, then for someone else. I took the copy home, stuck it between the pages of a Yiddish book resting on my kitchen table and promptly forgot about it.

That is, until Saltzberg’s call in late May. I went home that night and took the article out of the book. Much to my delight, I saw that it included a segment on his father, born Wacek Zalcberg, who today goes by the name of Walter Saltzberg, and lives in Winnipeg, Canada. I promptly e-mailed George Saltzberg the good news, along with a brief summary of what the article said about his father.

I was jubilant about the discovery, and the next time I was at the YIVO office, I scanned the entire article and e-mailed it to George Saltzberg. Later that day, he called to express his gratitude. He told me that upon receiving the article, he had phoned his father to tell him about it, too. His father, who had been driving at the time, had had to pull over to the side of the road because he was so overcome with emotion, and so grateful to know that the article had been found.

It was not the first time that this newspaper story had had a big impact. Sixty-five years earlier, it had played a pivotal role in Walter Saltzberg’s life, as I learned from several exchanges with George and his father.

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Noach Flug, champion of Israeli Holocaust survivors, dies at 86

Flug, who survived Auschwitz and two other concentration camps, dedicated his life to fight for reparations for Holocaust survivors.

August 13, 2011

Haaretz

By the Associated Press

Noach Flug, a tireless advocate for the rights of Holocaust survivors, has died in Jerusalem. He was 86.

The Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel said Flug died Thursday morning at Shaare Zedek Hospital. Flug "worked day and night in Israel and around the world for the good of his fellow survivors," center spokesman Uri Arazi said. "He was a man of integrity and a leader."

Born in Poland in 1925, Flug was deported from the Lodz ghetto, where he was a member of the anti-Nazi underground, to the Auschwitz death camp in August 1944. Nearly all his family was killed at that camp, but he managed to survive it and two other concentration camps.

In 1958 he emigrated to Israel, working as an economist and a diplomat. But it was as a champion of Holocaust survivors in their fight for reparations that he left his greatest mark. He held leading positions on the Jewish Claims Conference, the World Jewish Restitution Organization, the International Auschwitz Committee and the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem.

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Flags over the Warsaw Ghetto. The Untold Story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

By Professor Moshe Arens. Gefen Publishing House. 432 pages. $29.95. ISBN: 978-965-229-5279

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising has become a symbol of heroism throughout the world. A short time before the uprising began, Pawel Frenkel addressed a meeting of the Jewish Military fighters: “Of course we will fight with guns in our hands, and most of us will fall. But we will live on in the lives and hearts of future generations and in the pages of their history.... We will die before our time but we are not doomed. We will be alive for as long as Jewish history lives!” On the eve of Passover, April 19, 1943, German forces entered the Warsaw ghetto equipped with tanks, flame throwers, and machine guns. Against them stood an army of a few hundred young Jewish men and women, armed with pistols and Molotov cocktails. Who were these Jewish fighters who dared oppose the armed might of the SS troops under the command of SS General Juergen Stroop? Who commanded them in battle? What were their goals? In this groundbreaking work, Israel’s former Minister of Defense, Prof. Moshe Arens, recounts a true tale of daring, courage, and sacrifice that should be accurately told – out of respect for and in homage to the fighters who rose against the German attempt to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto, and made a last-ditch fight for the honor of the Jewish people. The generally accepted account of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is incomplete. The truth begins with the existence of not one, but two resistance organizations in the ghetto. Two young men, Mordechai Anielewicz of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB), and Pawel Frenkel of the Jewish Military Organization (ZZW), rose to lead separate resistance organizations in the ghetto, which did not unite despite the desperate battle they were facing. Included is the complete text of “The Stroop Report” translated into English.

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1942: Tisha B'Av in the Warsaw Ghetto

On the 22nd of July, at 7:30 in the morning, the Judenrat were told that the deportations were to begin the next day -- Tisha B’Av -- and the expulsions would include children.

August 9, 2011

Arutz Sheva

By Larry Domnitch

Before the Germans captured the city of Warsaw during the 1939 Blitzkrieg, there were 360,000 Jews in the Polish capital. The Jews were forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, which was established on November 15, 1940.

Disease and starvation claimed many of the ghetto's inhabitants but the population was maintained by the continual influx of Jewish refugees. Warsaw’s Jewish population soon reached 460,000. The Jews of the Ghetto initially did not realize that they were being forced into what was a holding pen for the slaughterhouse – Treblinka, the death camp that would destroy eight hundred thousand people, the vast majority of whom were Jews, within the span of a few months.

On July 22, the eve of Tisha B’Av 1942, the death sentence for Warsaw’s Jews was issued.  In the early morning hours the Judenrat was convened and the authorities for 'Resettlement Affairs' ordered the “resettlement in the east of all Jews residing in Warsaw regardless of age and sex.” The order called for six thousand Jews per day to be rounded up and deported.

A   week before the announcement of the deportations, rumors had already spread in the ghetto. The Jews were gripped with terror. Head of the Judenrat, Adam Czerniakow asked the Nazi officials for an explanation, but received nothing but denials. On the 22nd of July, at 7:30 in the morning, Czerniakow, along with the members of the Judenrat, were told that the deportations were to begin the next day -- Tisha B’Av -- and the expulsions would include children.

He immediately understood the gravity of such an order and that his previous cooperation with the Germans was a grievous error. This was an order he refused to sign. The night following the first deportation, he took his own life, leaving the following note, “I am powerless my heart trembles in sorrow and compassion. I can no longer bear all this.

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Diaries of Nazi doctor Mengele may be handed to Yad Vashem

Jewish-American man buys Josef Mengele diaries for $245,000; buyer says diaries are 'a piece of paper that represents evil, but that can be used for good,' not letting people forget the atrocities of the Holocaust.

August 9, 2011

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

He won't reveal his name, age, or city of residence. All he agreed to say was that he is a "modern Orthodox" Jew, a doctor by profession, and that he lives in the Midwest United States. Two weeks ago he purchased, for $245,000 (about NIS 840,000 ), the diaries of Dr. Josef Mengele, one of the most atrocious Nazi war criminals, known for his sadistic experiments on death camp prisoners and nicknamed the "Angel of Death from Auschwitz."

In a phone conversation with Haaretz, the buyer of the diaries sought to explain his motives, lay out his plans, and respond to the criticism expressed regarding the diaries' sale by public auction. He is the son of Holocaust survivors. Both his grandfathers and his uncle were murdered by the Nazis. He defines himself as an "absolute Zionist," understands Hebrew and has relatives living in Israel.

He has already visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum twice, and he would like to come a third time with Mengele's diaries in hand. In fact, about a year ago, before the diaries were put on auction, the auction house offered to sell the diaries to Yad Vashem. A representative came to the U.S. to examine the collection on behalf of the museum's archive, but ultimately Yad Vashem decided to turn the offer down.

"These diaries are one of the most important items in history. They are a major testament of evil. A piece of paper that represents evil, but can be used for good," the buyer said. "People are forgetting the Holocaust. I want to remind them and to preserve and pass on the knowledge."

Mengele's diaries contain some 3,000 pages in 31 notebooks. They include stories, poems, reflections and drawings.

The diaries were written in South America between 1960 and 1975, where Mengele fled after the Holocaust. Four years after they were completed, he drowned, leaving behind Mossad agents in hot pursuit.

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'The White Mouse,' WWII heroine and spy, dies at 98

Raised in Australia, Wake found herself trapped in France when Nazis invaded, became Resistance spy, Gestapo's most wanted person.

August 8, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Reuters

SYDNEY - Nancy Wake, a much-decorated World War Two spy and Resistance heroine known as "The White Mouse" for her ability to remain undetected, and who at one point was the Gestapo's most wanted person, has died in London at the age of 98.

Born in New Zealand, Wake moved to Australia as a toddler, where she was raised. After a brief stint as a nurse, she worked as a journalist in Europe and married a French businessman, Henri Fiocca, in 1939.

Trapped in France when the Nazis invaded, the dark-haired Wake soon became a Resistance courier and later a saboteur and spy. Betrayed, she escaped to London, but her husband was tortured and killed by the Gestapo.

She later parachuted back into France and became a liaison between London and local Resistance groups.

"In my opinion, the only good German was a dead German, and the deader, the better," she said in an interview in her later years.

"I'm only sorry I didn't kill more."

Her lengthy resume of awards included Britain's George Medal, the U.S. Medal of Freedom from the US and the Croix de Guerre from France. In 2004 she was made Companion of the Order of Australia.

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Norway and the Jews

What does future hold for Norway's Jewish community in wake of Breivik murders?

August 8, 2011

Ynet

By Manfred Gerstenfeld

After the Breivik murders, David Katznelson, an Israeli teacher living in Norway, told the Jewish Telegraph Agency: “Norway is not known as a particularly hospitable place for Jews.” He added that a swastika was spray-painted on his mailbox and that Jewish students of his have been afraid to publicly disclose their faith. Katznelson also observed that when Jews are not present, nasty remarks can be made about them, but certainly not in their presence.

Jews in Norway have differing experiences. Those with school age children often wonder how to react to the frequent anti-Semitic harassment in schools or elsewhere. Should one publicize these problems, or will that lead to even more harassment? Other Norwegian Jews claim that they have never encountered open anti-Semitism.

During the Cast Lead war in Gaza, the largest anti-Jewish riots ever in Norway’s history took place in Oslo. Many details thereof are available because Eirik Eiglad, an out of town visitor at the time, wrote a booklet in English about them. After the riots, a Jewish woman published her changed feelings toward the Norwegian authorities anonymously in the country’s largest daily Verdens Gang:

“In a democratic country like Norway where human rights are constantly on the agenda, I always believed that we Jews would be safe... After this winter’s Middle East incidents however, I no longer feel safe and sure…Even some members of our congregation have received death threats and the security in and around the synagogue has been increased… my trust and confidence in those who rule this country is no longer what it was.”

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Holocaust survivor to donate mother's poignant letters

Goldbrenner to donate his mother's letters to the Holocaust museum; 'she did write beautifully,' he says, 'she keeps her dignity to the last letter.'

August 8, 2011

Haaretz

By the Associated Press

Old photos don't stir memories for Jean-Claude Goldbrenner, but words do. He was able to identify himself at age 3 in a picture posted recently on a special U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum website. But his mother's letters - given to him by an aunt - are more poignant reminders of a childhood shaped by tragedy.

Estera (Elsa ) Goldbrenner was arrested by German police in May 1943, at age 28, as she traveled to visit her jailed husband, Willy, in Nice, France. She began writing her family after being shipped to Drancy, a transit camp outside Paris where thousands of French Jews were deported to camps. She wrote about 10 letters that June and July. At first, she was optimistic she'd be released because she was pregnant. Later, she described living conditions in Drancy, urged her family to avoid arrest, and vowed, "I give you my word that ... I will come back."

"What I suffer most," she added, "is to be separated from my little Jean-Claude, of whom I think all the time."

Jean-Claude Goldbrenner with his mother's letters (AP)

Jean-Claude was taken in by his grandparents and an aunt, and also hid with other children on a farm in southwestern France.

Estera Goldbrenner's despair grew as her deportation became inevitable. In her final letter to her husband and family, she admitted to being a "little scared," but was hopeful: "I am leaving tomorrow and ... to say that I accept this very courageously would be a lie, but it does not do any good to lament about it. ... My strongest wish is to see you again, my darling, with my little Jean-Claude and all of you."

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Yale gives anti-Semitic atudies a second try

Will the esteemed university's new program for the study of anti-Semitism get critics as angry as its short-lived predecessor?

August 3, 2011

Haaretz

By Natasha Mozgovaya

WASHINGTON - About two weeks ago, an announcement by Yale University provost Peter Salovey that a new program for the study of anti-Semitism will be created - less than a month after the previous program was closed - raised some eyebrows. Did the university succumb to the critics, including the Palestine Liberation Organization representative to Washington, Maen Rashid Arekat, who claimed the previous program stirred anti-Islamic sentiment because of its focus on contemporary anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world? Are they trying to create a neutered version of the program to appease critics from both sides? Is it even possible to seriously study anti-Semitism without stepping on somebody's sensitive toes?

"I don't want to go over the whole controversy of closing the program," says the director of the new program, Maurice Samuels, a professor of French, in a conversation with Haaretz, but he finally provides some details: "There was a regular review that was scheduled from the very beginning, it's a totally normal review that all programs go through."

He adds: "It included faculty review, very distinguished faculty members made a report - these reports are always confidential, despite the questions some people have been asking: 'Why this secret report?'

"What I can say from my observation - the program didn't have much of a connection with Yale. The director of it wasn't a Yale professor, and for whatever reasons, Yale faculty members and the students almost completely stayed away from all of the activities of it. To me, it wasn't that surprising that they decided to close it down."

Do you intend to make the new program less controversial by dodging some contemporary topics?

"We are not going to shy away from any topic because it's too dangerous or political. We'll be addressing anti-Semitism in the modern world, including the Muslim world. The new program will focus on both historic and contemporary forms of anti-Semitism. We have a very exciting lineup of speakers, already we have commitment from Jan Gross from Princeton, Alvin Rosenfeld, and Meir Litvak - about the reception of the Holocaust in Arab countries and Iran. I think it's going to be great. What makes it so exciting is that people from different departments who use different methodologies, to bring them together, to tackle the problem of anti-Semitism - it's really exciting and important. That's going to be my goal, to bring faculty and students from all kinds of different departments - the history department, sociology, the law school, psychology, Middle Eastern studies - and that the students will be engaged because the speakers I am going to bring will really be the top thinkers in the field in their subjects. We are going to have an annual conference every year, and the first one will be 'anti-Semitism in France, past and present' in April.

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American Cadets Visit Auschwitz in Search of Answers

Future Officers Wrestle With Questions of Morality and Responsibility

July 31, 2011

Forward

By Donald Snyder

OSWIECIM, POLAND — In an upstairs room at the only remaining synagogue in this town, 37 miles west of Krakow, 13 future American military officers wrestled with ethical questions in the actual shadow of Auschwitz.

Clad in jeans and T-shirts, the students from West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy and the Honors Program of the United States Coast Guard Academy listened as Christopher Clifton, a 21-year old Coast Guard midshipman, called the murderers who conceived of and carried out the killings at Auschwitz “evil people who enjoyed doing evil to people.”

It was a viewpoint that drew a quick response from Clifton’s fellow participants in the American Service Academies Program, sponsored by the Auschwitz Jewish Center, in Oswiecim, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in New York.

“This was not carried out by an army of psychopaths,” midshipman Jordan Foley countered. “The Holocaust goes beyond evil.” Foley, a 23-year-old Annapolis senior from Butler, Pa., thought that simply blaming the Holocaust on “evil people” ignored the systemic character of Nazi racist ideology. “If we write the killers off as psychopaths for this event, then we excuse humanity for allowing this to happen.”

Just three miles from where the cadets were holding their discussion stood the red brick barracks of Auschwitz I, the iconic concentration camp with the perverse “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work Sets You Free”) sign at the entrance. The cadets and midshipmen participating in this discussion were chosen this year from among 170 applicants to participate in the annual two-week educational program, begun in 2004, for students from the nation’s top military academies. The program, in which they visit Auschwitz and learn about the Holocaust firsthand, encourages discussion on the implications of what they are learning for their own upcoming careers as warriors.

Inside, the thrust of the discussion seemed to swing toward Foley’s view. Regina DiMarco, a 19-year-old cadet from West Point, said: “It was not an army of psychopaths who did this. It was an army of idealists inspired by dangerous Nazi ideology.” DiMarco, of Fort Leavenworth, Kan., plans to become an Army doctor.

Before World War II, the town of Oswiecim, which the Germans called Auschwitz, where the cadets were staying, was a population center with 20 synagogues. The Germans destroyed all but this one, the Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot Synagogue, which was used to store ammunition. 

The American Service Academies Program was the idea of retired New York businessman Fred Schwartz, who founded the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation. He envisioned a program designed for young leaders who will teach future generations that there must never be another Auschwitz.

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From Mussolini's Estate to Shoah Memorial

A Conversation with Luca Zevi, Architect of Rome's Holocaust Museum

July 31, 2011

Forward

There is a tendency in Italy to blame Nazi Germany for what happened to Italian Jews, a perspective that quietly passes over the fact that in 1938, long before the Nazi occupation, there were “racial laws” promulgated by the Italian state.

By Gavriel D. Rosenfeld

In August, the city of Rome is expected to give its final approval to plans for Italy’s new Holocaust museum, the Museo Nazionale della Shoah. Designed by Rome-based architect Luca Zevi, son of famed architecture critic Bruno Zevi, together with co-designer Giorgio Tamburini, the museum will be built on the historically resonant site of the Villa Torlonia, a neoclassical estate that once served as the home of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Renderings of the museum were released to the public in the spring. Zevi discussed the museum plans and Jewish architecture by e-mail with the Forward.

Gavriel D. Rosefeld: In the United States and in parts of Europe, Holocaust museums have existed for decades. Why has Italy taken so long to create its own national Holocaust museum?

Luca Zevi: The belatedness of the Museo Nazionale della Shoah is emblematic of Italy’s difficult confrontation with its fascist past. There is a tendency in Italy to blame Nazi Germany for what happened to Italian Jews, a perspective that quietly passes over the fact that in 1938, long before the Nazi occupation, there were “racial laws” promulgated by the Italian state. Moreover, while many Italians rescued Jews in the Holocaust, a considerable number collaborated with the Nazis and betrayed Jews who had gone into hiding. Some Italians are willing to admit this, but most see themselves as “brave Italian people,” as victims of history. These difficulties in facing the past help explain the delay in establishing the museum.

COURTESY OF THE MUSEO NAZIONALE DELLA SHOAH
Black Box: The Museo Nazionale della Shoah is inscribed with names of victims

What significance will the institution have in Italian cultural and political life? Is it meant to be primarily a Jewish institution, or one with a broader focus?

When it was originally conceived by the Italian minister of culture in the first Prodi government, Walter Veltroni, the museum was envisioned as a “Museum of Intolerances and Exterminations” dedicated to examining the universal problem of intolerance in a comparative fashion. In this version of the museum, the Holocaust would have been featured as the worst example of a phenomenon to which all human beings are prone. After the Prodi government fell and Veltroni became mayor of Rome, however, this original plan was abandoned and the decision was made to have the museum focus primarily on the history of the Holocaust in Italy. The result is that the museum will have a more particularistic function as an institution devoted to wrestling with a painful chapter in Italy’s past.

Holocaust museums around the world have been built in different architectural styles — modernist, postmodern and deconstructivist. How did you approach your design for the Museo Nazionale della Shoah?

In contrast to many American museums, which use highly explicit concentration camp iconography, or Moshe Safdie’s new museum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, which culminates with a redemptive symbol of Jewish rebirth in Israel, here in Rome we have produced a “black box.” Inscribed with the names of deported Italians, the black box embodies what the Holocaust represents for Europe — the most heinous mass murder history has ever known. This “absolute tragedy” prevents us from searching for any “fashionable” architectural form of consolation. From the modern movement I have learned the need to express architecturally the functions and signifiers that belong to the inner character of a building without any particular obedience to the compositional rules and proper stylistic languages of the past.

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German Left Party resolution ignores modern antisemitism

July 29, 2011

Jerusalem Post

Members have crossed line between legitimate criticism and antisemitism says Berlin community leader.

By Benjamin Weinthal

BERLIN – The German Left Party faced a new round of criticism this week after it passed a resolution on Tuesday that blasted the alleged excessive use of the term “antisemitism” and defended its criticism of Israel.

“Leading members of the Left Party have worked with radical Islamist forces, and that crosses over the lines of legitimate criticism of Israel and turns into antisemitism,” Levi Salomon, who heads a task force combating antisemitism for the 12,000-member Berlin Jewish community, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

“Instead of dealing with these segments of the Left Party, the new resolution comes to their defense. The accusation of antisemitism should be carefully examined before the term is condemned and denounced.”

While the Left Party’s resolution opposes “antisemitism and right-wing extremism,” it does not acknowledge contemporary expression of anti-Semitism, in which critics demonize, delegitimize and apply double standards to Israel, ones they would apply to no other country in the world

Sebastian Voigt, a historian from the University of Leipzig and an expert in modern German antisemitism, told the Post the resolution was meant as a “compromise for the anti- Israel wing of the party.”

Voigt, along with political scientist Samuel Salzborn from the University of Giessen, released last month a section of their academic study titled “Anti-Semites as a Coalition Partner” about Left Party politicians gripped by modern antisemitism.

The party’s “perception of Israeli foreign policy matters is affected by anti-Zionism and antisemitism,” Voigt told the Post.

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‘Antisemitism down in UK in first half of 2011’

July 29, 2011

The Jerusalem Post

Community Security Trust report says antisemitism drops 13%; of 284 incidents, 41 were violent assaults, 35 vandalism.

By Jeremy Sharon

The Community Security Trust, the UK’s body that monitors antisemitism, noted a decrease in antisemitic incidents for the first half of 2011 in a report released on Thursday.

The report, which comes out twice a year, recorded a 13 percent fall in all forms of antisemitic incidents, compared with the same period in 2010.

Of the 283 incidents in the first half of 2011, 41 were violent assaults and 35 were damage and vandalism caused to Jewish property.

There were a further 186 incidents of abusive behavior, such as verbal abuse, hate mail and antisemitic graffiti.

The total for the same period in 2010 was 325.

Of 96 incidents in which a physical description of the perpetrator was provided, 48 were said to be white, six black, 32 were described as [south] Asian and eight as being of Arab appearance.

“We welcome the decline in antisemitic instances,” said director of Communications for CST, Mark Gardner. “But we would however need to see a longer-term decline in the figures to be able to say that the situation in which antisemitism has increased over the past decade is being effectively dealt with. We suspect that another trigger event would send incidents up again.”

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Protestant French Village that Resisted Vichy

July 23, 2011

Forward

With History of Discrimination, Chambon-sur-Lignon Stood Up

By Robert Zaretsky

For most tourists, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon resembles hundreds of vacation resorts in the South of France. Three-star hotels and spas, pizzerias and sports facilities do a furious business during the summer months. They then doze during autumn before slipping into winter hibernation, when the glacial wind called the mistral strips the surrounding Cévennes mountains to an austere beauty.

But the local Protestant church and adjoining school are monuments to an earlier time and a different kind of visitor. During World War II, thousands of foreign and French Jews fled to Chambon from both the German occupiers and the French authorities. While Michelin has never had occasion to rank the village, Yad Vashem has done so: Exactly 40 years ago, 40 local men and women were added to the Righteous Among the Nations.

I was coming to a village that I had researched often but never visited. The route to Chambon is both literally and metaphorically dizzying. Turning west off the national highway, you are faced by climbing, serpentine and narrow roads hemmed between granite cliffs and leafy abysses. Though little more than 40 miles from the tolls, Chambon seems like another time zone.

A two-hour drive through a few scattered hamlets, with window shutters closed fast and an occasional farmer glancing up sharply from his work, clearly explains why Chambon has served as a refuge over the centuries. Not least to Albert Camus whose wartime sojourn nearby was the ostensible reason for my trip.

Ever since the Louis XIV’s revocation in 1685 of the Edict of Nantes, which had imposed a century of religious tolerance, the low and sturdy stone houses had been a haven for the Huguenots, or French Protestants. Hunted by royal troops and hounded by Catholic inquisitors, the Huguenots nevertheless held fast to their faith. Their ministers led Sunday services in the craggy folds of the Cévennes, and their military leaders led a guerrilla war against the Bourbon battalions. As a result, even after the Revolution of 1789, which emancipated and enfranchised both them and French Jews, the Huguenots remained deeply marked by the so-called “years of the desert.”

A remarkable minister, André Trocmé, embodied the historical wisdom accrued over the centuries by the Protestants.

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Ultra-Orthodox man buys diaries of Nazi doctor Mengele for $245,000

July 23, 2011

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet and DPA

The diaries written by Nazi death camp doctor Josef Mengele after he escaped to South America were auctioned off Thursday to an ultra-Orthodox American man for $245,000.

The man, who's name was not disclosed by the auction house, is apparently an avid collector of WWII artifacts.

One of the most infamous and gruesome war criminals of the Holocaust, Mengele, nicknamed the 'Angel of Death', was blamed for tens of thousands of deaths in his role as concentration camp doctor.

Over the objections of Holocaust survivors and historians, the auction took place at Alexander Historical Auctions in Stamford, Connecticut, north of New York City.

The price for Mengele's nearly 3,400 hand-written pages of invective fell short of a widely cited estimate of the value at 400,000 to $ 1 million.

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Hungary Nazi war crimes suspect Sandor Kepiro acquitted

July 21, 2011

BBC News

A Hungarian man has been acquitted by a Budapest court of committing war crimes during a 1942 raid.

Ex-police captain Sandor Kepiro, 97, was found not guilty of ordering the rounding up and execution of more than 30 Jews and Serbs in Serbia in 1942.

The prosecution had demanded at least a prison sentence for Mr Kepiro, but he insisted he had not killed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which listed him as its most wanted Nazi, said the verdict was "outrageous".

Many of the dozens of people attending the court session cheered and clapped after Judge Bela Varga read out the verdict of the three-judge tribunal, AP news agency reported.

The reasoning behind the court's verdict is being read out over two days - Monday and Tuesday - in light of the frailty of the defendant.

Sandor Kepiro

More than 1,200 Jewish, Serb and Roma civilians were murdered over three days by Hungarian forces in a notorious massacre in the city of Novi Sad in 1942.

Prosecutors said Mr Kepiro was directly responsible for the deaths of 36 Jews and Serbs - including 30 who were put on a lorry on the defendant's orders and taken away and shot.

He was convicted of involvement in the killings in Hungary in 1944 but his conviction was quashed by the fascist government.

Mr Kepiro returned to Hungary in 1996 after decades in Argentina. He was first accused in 2006 by Nazi hunters with the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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Holocaust Survivors Want Mormons to Stop Baptizing Dead Jews

July 20, 2011

Fox News

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Holocaust survivors said Monday they are through trying to negotiate with the Mormon church over posthumous baptisms of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps, saying the church has repeatedly violated a 13-year-old agreement barring the practice.
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say they are making changes to their massive genealogical database that will make it more difficult for names of Holocaust victims to be entered for posthumous baptism by proxy, a rite that has been a common Mormon practice for more than a century.

But Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, said that is not enough. At a news conference in New York City on Monday, he said the church also must "implement a mechanism to undo what you have done."
"Baptism of a Jewish Holocaust victim and then merely removing that name from the database is just not acceptable," said Michel, whose parents died at Auschwitz. He spoke on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-incited riots against Jews.
"We ask you to respect us and our Judaism just as we respect your religion," Michel said in a statement released ahead of the news conference. "We ask you to leave our six million Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough."

Michel said talks with Mormon leaders, held as recently as last week, have ended. He said his group will not sue, and that "the only thing left, therefore, is to turn to the court of public opinion."
In 1995, Mormons and Jews inked an agreement to limit the circumstances that allow for the proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims. Ending the practice outright was not part of the agreement and would essentially be asking Mormons to alter their beliefs, church Elder Lance B. Wickman said Monday in an interview with reporters in Salt Lake City.
"We don't think any faith group has the right to ask another to change its doctrines," Wickman said. "If our work for the dead is properly understood ... it should not be a source of friction to anyone. It's merely a freewill offering."
Michel's decision to unilaterally end discussion of the issue through a news conference leaves the church uncertain about how to proceed, Wickman said.
Baptism by proxy allows faithful Mormons to have their ancestors baptized into the 178-year-old church, which they believe reunites families in the afterlife.

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Trove of the 'Norwegian Anne Frank'

July 201, 2011

The sensational literary trove has finally been published in Hebrew − 70 years after her death at Auschwitz.

Haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

On October 16, 1934, Ruth Maier wrote in her diary: “I want to be famous. I don’t want to fall or die like a cog in the machine. I can’t imagine myself in the gloom of anonymity, as it were. People disappear. I want to live! To leave something behind, a document that I was here. Some big, beautiful enterprise.”

Maier was only 14 at the time − a Viennese girl from a bourgeois, intellectual, assimilated Jewish family. Like many girls her age, she envisioned great plans for the life that awaited her. Over the next eight years, her diaries filled up 1,100 pages. In addition to these she wrote some 300 letters. Her notebooks overflowed with philosophical debates, literary musings, poems and the experiences of an adolescent girl living in the shadow of the Nazi regime − unrequited love, first sexual experiences, confusion, fear, despair − as well as with evidence of a full, rich and cultured life.

At 22, Maier was murdered in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. For almost 50 years her diaries lay hidden in the home of her lover, the Norwegian poet Gunvor Hofmo, whom she met during the final years of her life, as a refugee in Norway. The diaries, mostly written in German, were found in Hofmo’s estate following her death in 1995.

Ruth Maier

Processing and editing the material took more than a decade, and the work was completed after the subsequent discovery of Maier’s letters, which her family had saved. “Ruth Maier’s Diary: A Young Girl’s Life Under Nazism” was published four years ago in Norway; the English edition, by Random House, came out in 2009. Now the diaries of “the Norwegian Anne Frank” − as she was dubbed in Europe − have been published in Hebrew ‏as “Yomana shel Ruth Maier” (Schocken Books; translated from German by Arno Baehr‏).

Maier was a person of contradictions, and her diaries are filled with examples of this: her attraction to men as opposed to her love for women; her disgust with religion and Jewish nationality in contrast to her Zionist activity and yearning for the Land of Israel; and also her love of life versus her desire to die. Her father’s death from illness, when she was 13, left its mark. Three years later she wrote in her diary: “Yesterday I lay in the hay wagon and looked at the sky. I asked myself what death feels like. The best thing will be if we are reborn again, if we come back and feel alive. Because it’s so good to be here. But if that isn’t possible, if it goes against reason, then it’s also good if we have lived just once.

Because after you’ve seen it all, the sun, the flowers, the forests, and if you have also loved someone, then in fact you’ve seen it all, and there isn’t any need to go on living.”
After perusing the condolence letters her mother received after her father died, she wrote: “It’s depressing to see that people wrote such pointless and stupid things. It’s sad to think that the turn of the pointless people who wrote such letters will also come ... When I think that all that remains of a beautiful and rich life is a few condolence letters, I feel like throwing up.”

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Jerusalem antisemitism scholar backs Yale's move to ax program

July 20, 2011

Robert Wistrich says closure of Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism result of failure to meet academic standards.

Haaretz

By Raphael Ahren

A Jerusalem scholar who pioneered the study of antisemitism says the recent closure of a ground-breaking institute at Yale University was not done for political reasons, as has been charged, but because it did not meet academic standards.

Robert Wistrich, the director of the International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, the world's first such institution, says the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism, or YIISA, did not survive at the Ivy League school because it ventured too far away from purely academic research into the field of advocacy and policy recommendations.

Yale announced it would shutter the program, which had focused on Muslim antisemitism among other fields of study, last month, leading to calls that the school had caved to political pressure from powerful groups in the Arab world.

Yale has since announced the opening of a new center, but critics claim it will only focus on historical, and not contemporary, antisemitism.

"There's no way that Yale could have come to a different decision," said Wistrich, originally from Britian. "Why? Because their criteria do not depend on how much of a splash a particular institute makes in media terms or through the number of its press releases. They have to think about the short and long-term benefits for the scholarly community at Yale. That includes questions regarding how many students are enrolled and how many people from the university are involved in real terms, and not just on paper. Unfortunately, there was not much student enrollment. That's a fact." Wistrich admitted though that the center highlighted controversial topics that inevitably drew the ire of university administrators. While Wistrich, 66, said it is legitimate to provide academic expertise to governments and organizations, this cannot be a scholarly body's central role.

"YIISA initially was going on the right track, in the sense that it was inviting some serious scholars to present lectures at the institute," Wistrich, who sat on the center's academic advisory board, said. "But over the years it began to mix too much advocacy with scholarship, and the scholarship was at times somewhat thin."

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America's foresight of Hitler's Germany

July 20, 2011

Haaretz

Erik Larson, who wrote 'The Devil in the White City' is the author of a chilling non-fiction account of an American ambassador's 'education' in Hitler's Berlin, 'In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin'.

By David Green

Within a week of its publication in May, Erik Larson's "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin" (Crown, 464 pages, $26 ) had already rocketed to the top of the New York Times' non-fiction best-seller list, where it has hovered ever since. That's no surprise: The book is a riveting and masterfully written account of the time William E. Dodd spent as American ambassador to Nazi Germany. Dodd arrived in Berlin with his family in July 1933, less than a half-year after Adolf Hitler's appointment as chancellor. It is the diaries of Dodd, a straitlaced university historian, and of Martha, his daughter, that serve as the cornerstone for Larson's research. Martha, in her mid-20s, and excited by the "revolutionary" atmosphere in the capital, was an attractive, intelligent and liberated woman who seemed to cast a spell on most men who crossed her path. These included an early head of the Gestapo, a Soviet diplomat (and spy ), Carl Sandburg, and, back in the U.S., her estranged banker husband. One friend even arranged for her to have something of a date with Hitler, though the lack of interest was mutual.

Larson, 57, the author of the mega-best-selling "The Devil in the White City," focuses on the first, critical year the Dodds were in Germany, through the chilling last weekend in June 1934, when Hitler personally oversaw the arrest and murder of the leadership of the Storm Trooper paramilitary militia led by his former ally and friend Ernst Roehm, which threatened his total control of Germany. A month later, President Paul von Hindenburg was dead, and Hitler consolidated his grip on power by having himself declared Fuehrer. Both William and Martha Dodd were obsessive and gifted keepers of diaries, which illustrate how, gradually, they came to understand how Hitler's brutality and lawlessness posed a threat to world peace. This was not a popular message back home, particularly in the State Department, where Dodd's superiors castigated him for not ingratiating himself with the Nazi regime. Their principal concern was Germany's repayment of some $1 billion in loans owed to U.S. banks.

Both father and daughter held mildly anti-Semitic opinions, something, Larson tells us, that was characteristic and even socially acceptable among many well-bred Americans. Nonetheless, the virulence of what they encountered in Germany shocked them both, and by the time he returned to the United States, in late 1937, Dodd was committed to spreading the alarm about Hitler. Haaretz spoke with Erik Larson by phone from his home in Seattle, Washington.

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Leading Egyptian pol calls Holocaust ‘a lie’

July 13, 2011

JTA

(JTA) -- A top official with one of Egypt's leading secular political parties called the Holocaust "a lie" and Anne Frank's diary “a fake.”

Ahmed Ezz El-Arab, a vice chairman of the liberal Wafd party, also said in an interview with The Washington Times that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were “made in the USA."

"The Holocaust is a lie," he told the newspaper while in Hungary for the Conference of Democracy and Human Rights, which was convened June 28. "The Jews under German occupation were 2.4 million. So if they were all exterminated, where does the remaining 3.6 million come from?”

El-Arab conceded that "hundreds of thousands" of Jews had been murdered, but pronounced the gas chambers “fanciful stories.”

He similarly dismissed "The Diary of Anne Frank," explaining that he had studied it as a doctoral student in Sweden.

“I could swear to God it’s fake," he said. "The girl was there, but the memoirs are a fake.”

El-Arab, the chairman of Wafd’s foreign relations committee, also criticized Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"He’s a hateful character, so whatever he says can be criticized,” El-Arab said. “What he says about the Holocaust is true, but he doesn’t say it because it’s true. He says it out of hatred to the Israeli state.”

The Wafd official also said there was “no chance at all” that Egypt would cancel its peace treaty with Israel.

“The Jews are there,” he told The Washington Times. “Good or bad, they are there. You cannot as a human being think of exterminating 6 million or 5 million or whatever. That’s crazy.”

ADL calls on UN human rights chief to condemn Richard Falk for antisemitic cartoon

July 12, 2011

Haaretz

U.S. representative to the Human Rights Council joins ADL in condemnation of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestinian territories, saying his status as UN mandate holder is 'blight on UN system'.

By Haaretz

The Anti-Defamation League has called on the United Nations human rights chief to publicly condemn Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian territories, for posting an antisemitic cartoon on his personal blog.

Falk posted a cartoon depicting the United States as a vicious dog wearing a skullcap, urinating on what is meant to be lady justice while feasting on a pile of blood and bones.

Antisemitic cartoon posted by Richard Falk

Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the ADL, called the cartoon "blatantly antisemitic", adding that it "conveys the message that Jews and Americans care little about what is just and moral."

The ADL director said that although the blog is personal "the message of hatred in this cartoon nonetheless directly contravenes the principles of the Human Rights Council and of the United Nations itself."

In a letter addressed to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, the ADL said that Falk's decision to post the cartoon was part of a much greater trend, adding that this is "only the latest in a pattern of unacceptable and inappropriate politicization of his position."

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Poland asks Jews for forgiveness on 70th anniversary of Yedvabne massacre

July 12, 2011

Haaretz

In 1941, after Nazi Germany's takeover of what till then had been an area under Soviet occupation, a number of pogroms by Poles against their Jewish neighbors took place in the region.

By DPA

WARSAW - Poland yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of a dark spot in the country's history - the massacre of some 340 Jews in a pogrom during World War II.

Poland President Bronislaw Komorowski, in ceremonies attended for the first time by a representative of the Catholic Church, asked Jews for forgiveness for the deed committed by their fellow Poles.

"The Polish republic hears the never-ending scream of their citizens... I again ask for forgiveness," Komorowski said at the ceremonies in the eastern town of Yedvabne.

Former Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki placing a pebble on a monument to victims of the Yedvabne massacre. (Photo by: AP)

In 1941, after Nazi Germany's takeover of what till then had been an area under Soviet occupation, a number of pogroms by Poles against their Jewish neighbors took place in the region. In Yedvabne, at least 340 Jews were murdered, most of the victims having been herded into a barn that was then set on fire. Others were beaten to death.

Public debate over Poland's own role in the Holocaust was only first triggered with a book publication in 2000 on the subject. A year later, then-President Aleksander Kwasniewski apologized for the pogroms on behalf of the Polish people.

Another take on the Eichmann Trial

July 9, 2011

Haaretz

Historian Deborah Lipstadt's overview of the Eichmann trial is a useful summary of an event that can offer some lessons for our own times, and newly declassified U.S. files show that the pursuit of war criminals requires political will.

By Rafael Medoff

The Eichmann Trial by Deborah Lipstadt. Nextbook/Schocken, 272 pages, $25.95 Hitler's Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence and the Cold War, by Richard Breitman & Norman J.W. Goda U.S. National Archives (available online at www.archives.gov/iwg/reports/hitlers-shadow.pdf )

This year's 50th anniversary of the trial of Adolf Eichmann is naturally the springboard for much public conversation about bringing war criminals to justice, but a glance at the headlines makes it clear this issue is not merely of historical interest. Sobibor death camp guard John Demjanjuk was recently convicted in Germany; pastor Francois Bazaramba last year began serving a life sentence in Finland for his role in the Rwandan genocide; and Radovan Karadzic is on trial in The Hague for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims and Croats. And Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his role in the Darfur genocide. Perhaps the Eichmann trial can offer some lessons for our own times.

Adolf Eichmann (background) at his trial in Jerusalem, 1961

The dust jacket of Deborah Lipstadt's new book, "The Eichmann Trial," characterizes it as "an overview" of the trial of the mastermind of the Final Solution, and readers who know little of the events in question may find it useful as a summary.

Making extensive use of secondary source material rather than new research, Lipstadt, a professor of Jewish history at Emory University, begins by recounting the familiar story of Eichmann's escape to Argentina after World War II and his capture in May 1960 by the Mossad.

Israel endured a wave of criticism for bringing the arch-war criminal to justice. The Washington Post condemned David Ben-Gurion's government for practicing "jungle law," while a New York Times editorial called the capture of Eichmann "immoral" as well as "illegal." Leaders of the American Jewish Committee, seeking to cast the Holocaust in more universalist terms, complained to Ben-Gurion that Eichmann should be judged not by a Jewish court but by an international tribunal. Lipstadt supports Ben-Gurion on the propriety of Israel's action, but in general portrays Israel's first prime minister in unflattering terms: He lacks patience, he "bristles" and "explodes," and he has "an over-sized ego."

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The Brief and Full Life of Cannes Film Festival Co-founder and Martyred French Government Minister Jean Zay

July 5, 2011

Forward

By Benjamin Ivry

Equally perverse are incidents such as a 1943 trial at which an arsonist, Jacques Longuet, who burned down the Casino of Royat, outside Clermont-Ferrand, escapes serious punishment by telling the court that he thought the casino “was owned by a Jew.”

On May 29, at the Théâtre d’Orléans, a gala conert, Hommage à Jean Zay, paid tribute to a minister of education and fine arts in the 1930s government of French-Jewish socialist Léon Blum, whose lasting impact on French culture is being newly celebrated. Son of a left-wing Jewish newspaper editor in north-central France, Zay was born in 1904 and was tragically murdered in 1944 by la Milice, France’s Nazi collaborationist paramilitary force that flourished during the Vichy regime.

In only 39 crowded years, Zay was a cultural overachiever who ranged far beyond education to secure lasting cultural advancements. He co-launched France’s still-thriving National Center for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and was one of the co-founders of the Cannes Film Festival, which was set up in 1939 as an alternative to the Venice Film Festival, dominated by Mussolini-era fascists.

The audience in Orléans applauded “July 14,” a 1936 work commissioned by Zay to celebrate France’s national holiday under Blum’s Popular Front government. “July 14” called upon seven leading composers, including Darius Milhaud and Daniel Lazarus, to express their feelings about France. Philippe Ferro, the conductor at the May gala, asked three composers of today, Henri Dutilleux, Michaël Levinas and Tôn-Thất Tiết, to contribute new settings of poetry for baritone and wind ensemble as a further tribute to Zay. Accompanying the concert, the theater housed an exhibit, “Jean Zay and Music,” to complement this year’s reprint of Zay’s moving wartime prison diary, “Memories and Solitude” (“Souvenirs et Solitude”) by Les Éditions Belin.

This essential text, originally edited by Zay’s former chief of staff, Marcel Abraham, and published in 1946, has never been translated into English, surprisingly enough, despite its status as a uniquely insightful look at history and culture. Zay, who was arrested and imprisoned in 1940 on trumped-up charges, was for a time accorded writing paper and family visits, allowing his diary to be gradually smuggled out of prison by his wife, Madeleine.

Along with Dreyfus, Zay identifies with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe — almost considered as a Gallic fictional character since a famous 19th-century translation into French by poet Petrus Borel. Whether rationing his meager food rations like someone “shipwrecked,” or describing the “desert island” aspect of prison, where inmates create makeshift tools and utensils, Zay notes: “One must come to prison to really understand Robinson Crusoe.”

Valiant Spouse: Jean Zay and his wife Madeleine, who smuggled his memoir out of prison, and would later fight heroically to bring her husband’s murderers to justice after the war, visiting a 1938 photography exhibit in Paris.

(GETTY IMAGES)

Completely nonfictional, by contrast, are Zay’s accounts of historical events during his imprisonment, such as the arrest of the French-Jewish aircraft industrialist Marcel Dassault (born Marcel Bloch), who was freed by his Vichy captors for reasons of illness, only to be immediately rearrested “as soon as he reached the sidewalk” outside the prison. Zay observes that this method of administratively toying with a prisoner “recalls one of the cruelest” of the “Cruel Tales” (“Contes Cruels”) by 19th-century author Villiers de l’Isle-Adam. Titled “Torture by Hope” (“La Torture par l’Espérance”), the emotional aura of Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s tale rings savagely true in the context of a sadistic regime. Equally perverse are incidents such as a 1943 trial at which an arsonist, Jacques Longuet, who burned down the Casino of Royat, outside Clermont-Ferrand, escapes serious punishment by telling the court that he thought the casino “was owned by a Jew.”

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Holocaust Forum in Romania raises awareness on mass graves

July 3, 2011

Haaretz

By The Associated Press

Participants from France, Germany, Ukraine, the U.S. and Romania attend symposium in Romania’s capital, during the commemoration of 70 years since about 12,000 Jews were killed in the country’s northeast under the pro-fascist regime of dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu.

Dozens of scholars and historians from across Europe and the U.S. attended a symposium Friday on Holocaust mass graves in Eastern Europe to raise awareness in countries where little information on the subject was available under communism.

Rabbis reburying remains of Holocaust victims found in a mass grave in Iasi. (AP)

Paul Shapiro from the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said well over 1 million Jews were murdered in Eastern Europe before the Nazi concentration camps were operational.

He said the mass graves "lay forgotten, unmarked and unstudied for decades" because of Communist rule and Holocaust denial.

The event in Romania's capital — the first of its kind in a former communist country — coincided with the commemoration of 70 years since about 12,000 Jews were killed in northeastern Romania under the pro-fascist regime of dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu.

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A Wall of Indifference: Italy’s Shoah Memorial

June 29, 2011

Forward

By Bridget Kevane

Milan’s Holocaust Memorial Is Stalled by Italian Indifference

The Milan Central Train Station is a grandiose building and a forceful presence at the heart of the city, used daily by 320,000 people. But this busy European railway hub harbors a dark history: Underneath the station, hidden from view, is the secret track used to deport Italian Jews to Auschwitz.

Opened in 1931, the station was designed, at the request of then Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, to reflect the ideology of Italian fascism. The secret track, rediscovered in 1995, lies down a quiet street a short distance away from the 24 regular platforms, to the east of the station’s main entrance. The entrance opens wide into a warehouse space where stairs lead down to a boxcar, a cargo lift and a single train track.

ROAD TO DEATH: A secret rail line took Milan’s Jews to Auschwitz. (DONATO DI BELLO)

“There is no similar archaeological site in all of Europe,” commented Michele Sarfatti, one of Italy’s most important historians of Italian Jewry. Since 2002, this track of horror has been the official site for the Memoriale della Shoah di Milano, a planned memorial to honor the Jews deported from Milan in 1944. The completion of the memorial has been stalled time and again, partly because funds have been hard to raise. After almost 10 years, the end is still not in sight. But according to many involved in the project, there is another, more insidious force stalling it: an atmosphere of indifference to the idea that Italy was an active participant in the Holocaust.

Paradoxically, Italy is in the midst of a boom in Holocaust memorials. Besides Milan’s Shoah memorial, there are two projects planned to commemorate Italy’s role in the Holocaust, one in Ferrara and one in Rome. Though the recent news of these projects may contradict the alleged indifference, it also may help explain it. For Italy, memorials and museums — like the numerous events the country has held commemorating its role in World War II — can assuage a sense of awkwardness without acknowledging guilt for its actions.

Sarfatti says that the culture of memory is slower in Italy than elsewhere in Europe, because even into the 1970s many Italians believed they were not really involved in the Holocaust; it was, instead, the evil work of German occupiers who invaded northern Italy after the fall of Mussolini. Italians pointed to the documented refusal of soldiers and citizens to participate in the Holocaust under Mussolini or to assist the Nazis after they invaded in 1943. In the end, about 8,000 of Italy’s 50,000 prewar Jews were shipped to the Nazi camps or murdered by the Nazis in Italy.

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Murderous Mutation of Antisemitism

June 27, 2011

Haaretz

By Yehuda Bauer

On the 70th anniversary of Hitler's invasion of the USSR, a senior Holocaust researcher proposes a theory to explain the reason why the Fuehrer led his people into war.

What was the cause of World War II? The standard answer is that Nazi Germany wanted a war. Why? Because it aspired to hegemonic domination over Europe, and perhaps the entire world, and wanted to guarantee "living space" for the German people in the eastern part of the continent, as well as control of grain, coal, iron and oil supplies. Furthermore, Germany's leaders wanted to ensure the future of their people by establishing a mass German settlement in the "East." Was this indeed the case?

As early as 1936, Germany had returned to its production levels of 1929, the last year before the global economic crisis. By 1938-1939, it attained full employment, more or less. There wasn't any real pressure by young Germans to leave the country in favor of some government-sponsored settlement. Trade with the Soviet Union guaranteed all of the grain and industrial raw materials Germany needed, in exchange for the industrial products it manufactured. The whole notion of so-called living space was thus an ideological argument that was free of any real economic or political pressures. In that case, why did the leadership want a war?

German soldiers at the Russian front, during Operation Barbarossa. There is no evidence of any kind of pressure from the business sector to go to war.

Photo by: Courtesy

Was there in 1939 a fierce desire among the German populace to go to war? There is a very large amount of testimony from foreign journalists and diplomats in Germany who all maintain that no such desire existed. This is hardly surprising: We are talking about a people that just 21 years earlier had been traumatized by World War I, which cost it millions of dead and wounded, who left behind widows, orphans and devastated families with men who were not fit to work.

Did the captains of industry and bank presidents want a war? In recent years access has become available to the archives of many of the major industrial and commercial firms, and of the banks. No evidence whatsoever has been found to indicate pressure of any kind from the business sector to go to war. To the contrary: Exports from Germany, particularly to eastern and southeastern Europe, were up again, and profits soared. It is true that industry benefited from the Nazi armament program, but the manufacture of weapons was not accompanied by a strong desire to use them. Perhaps the top military brass wanted a war? In September 1938, when it seemed for a moment that England and France would help Czechoslovakia in a war against Germany, and France had a military treaty with the Soviet Union - an attempted putsch against Hitler was organized by German generals. Heading it was the chief of staff at the time, Ludwig Beck (who would later lead the plot against Hitler in July 1944, as well).

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Here There Is a Why: Primo Levi, Humanist

June 27, 2011

The Chronicle of Higher Education

By Carlin Romano

Writers closely identified with the Holocaust rarely escape their literary cells. Elie Wiesel has written 57 books—try naming a few of them besides Night. When Imre Kertész, the Hungarian-Jewish novelist and Auschwitz survivor, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002, the Swedish Academy understandably cited his "writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history," even as Kertész, the first Hungarian to win the prize, expressed hope that it might more generally shine light on the "ignored literature of Hungary."

And then there is Primo Levi. When he plunged to his death down the stairwell of his Turin apartment building on the morning of April 11, 1987, only minutes after answering the doorbell of his third-floor apartment and thanking the concierge for his morning mail, a single question—"Did he commit suicide?"—threatened to turn Levi's entire life and work into a simplistic verdict on the possibility of a Holocaust survivor's transcending demons of the past.

One triumph of scholarship, however, is that it can ride the force of established reputation like a wave, and take us into new dimensions of a writer or subject. At first glance, Answering Auschwitz: Primo Levi's Science and Humanism After the Fall, a new collection of essays edited by Stanislao G. Pugliese (Fordham University Press, 2011), looks to be more of the same—another deserved monument to 20th-century literature's most disciplined witness to the Holocaust, that flinty, unsentimental voice like no other. But Pugliese, a professor of modern European history and Italian studies at Hofstra University, offers us a fuller portrait.

Levi, he reminds us, undertook "a political stance of consistent, fervent, and ongoing antifascism" throughout his career, and not just against the fascism of Mussolini and Hitler. "Every age has its own fascism," Levi wrote in a 1974 essay that Pugliese aptly quotes, "and we see the warning signs wherever the concentration of power denies citizens the possibility and the means of expressing and acting on their own free will. There are many ways of reaching this point, and not just through the terror of police intimidation, but by denying and distorting information, by undermining systems of justice, by paralyzing the education system, and by spreading in a myriad subtle ways nostalgia for a world where order reigned, and where the security of a privileged few depends on the forced labor and the forced silence of the many."

That fits Syria fairly well. Libya, too. And how about China and Russia? A few years ago, much battling took place in the intellectual world over the idea of "Islamofascism," and whether tossing that term around made any sense except as a kind of cultural hate-speech. Let's be more modest here. How about sticking to good old-fashioned fascism, secular style, and recognizing that writers such as Levi, who confronted it head-on in the Holocaust, can be among our best guides to it in contexts we don't normally associate with them?

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'Egyptian curricula states Jews, Christians are infidels'

June 27, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By Oren Kessler

Drastic reforms needed in Egyptian schools in order to comply with UNESCO standards

Egypt’s school curriculum, laden with anti-Semitic and anti-Christian sentiment, must undergo drastic reform to comply with international standards, according to a new report to be presented this week at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Egypt has to conduct fundamental reforms in its curricula, which present a national identity based solely on the Islamic religion,” said Yohanan Manor, chairman and co-founder of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), the Jerusalem based think-tank that compiled the report.

“Egypt’s schools present Islam as the ‘only true faith,’ and believers in other religions – including Coptic Christians – as infidels,” he said.…A year before the ousting of president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s government announced plans for comprehensive reforms to “purge school curricula of erroneous views and material that incites extreme violence.”… contradictory messages also run deeply through Egypt’s education system. In many textbooks Copts are denigrated as infidels, yet in those same works are praised for participating in Egypt’s independence campaigns throughout history. Students are taught that the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament are holy books, but also taught that those same texts were “forgeries” penned by non-Muslims.

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Jewish Bodies Found in Medieval Well in England

June 24, 2011

Arutz Sheva Israel National News

By Elad Benari

Egypt’s school curriculum, laden with anti-Semitic and anti-Christian sentiment, must undergo drastic reform to comply with international standards, according to a new report to be presented this week at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Egypt has to conduct fundamental reforms in its curricula, which present a national identity based solely on the Islamic religion,” said Yohanan Manor, chairman and co-founder of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), the Jerusalem based think-tank that compiled the report.

“Egypt’s schools present Islam as the ‘only true faith,’ and believers in other religions – including Coptic Christians – as infidels,” he said.…A year before the ousting of president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s government announced plans for comprehensive reforms to “purge school curricula of erroneous views and material that incites extreme violence.”… contradictory messages also run deeply through Egypt’s education system. In many textbooks Copts are denigrated as infidels, yet in those same works are praised for participating in Egypt’s independence campaigns throughout history. Students are taught that the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament are holy books, but also taught that those same texts were “forgeries” penned by non-Muslims.

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Rare photos: Hitler and his victims

June 24, 2011

Ynet

Seventy years after Nazis invaded USSR, New York Times publishes photo album depicting Nazi leaders and victims of brutal campaign known as Operation Barbarossa

Who is the mysterious photo who documented the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and managed to photograph both the first victims of Operation Barbarossa, some of them Jewish, and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in almost intimate pictures?

The New York Times published the intriguing photos on its website, later reporting that readers quickly identified the photographer as Franz Krieger.

                                                                         German soldiers, likely in wrecked Minsk

Two pages in the album show prisoners of war seized by the Nazis on the Eastern Front of World War II. Some are dressed in rags, some in Red Army uniforms or jackets with Star of David patches. They are standing before what appear to be freshly dug graves, which may have been their own.

Four pages later, Hitler is seen waiting at a railway station for the arrival of the regent of Hungary, Admiral Miklos Horthy, ahead of their meeting at the East Prussian war headquarters known as the Wolf’s Lair.

Surprisingly, the photographer stands just a few feet from Hitler, almost the same distance separating him from the Führer’s prisoners.

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Antisemitism in Norway

June 22, 2011

Ynet

Anti-Jew and anti-Israel sentiments in Norway flourish, despite local denials

By Manfred Gerstenfeld

Earlier this month, a survey by the Oslo Municipality found that 33% of Jewish students in the town are physically threatened or abused by other high school teens at least two to three times a month. The group that suffered the next highest amount of bullying was Buddhists at 10%. “Others” were at 7% and Muslims at 5.3%. Furthermore, the survey found that 51% of high school students consider “Jew” a negative expression and 60% had heard other students use the term.

…One infamous case of silence was a letter written by then-US Senator Sam Brownback in August 2010 to Wegger Strommen, the Norwegian ambassador in Washington. In it, the senator complained about antisemitism and anti-Israelism in the country.   A  letter from the Simon Wiesenthal Center was appended and mentioned extreme negative actions of inter alia Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, as well as Ministers Stoere and Halvorsen. Also mentioned was Deputy Environment Minister Fiskaa, who had stated that before she entered the government, she dreamt about the UN launching rockets against Israel. However, only two small papers in Norway gave the letter any attention. When Stoere was asked about it, he brushed it off as if a senator is some kind of irrelevant anonymous American…In January 2009 Trine Lilleng a junior diplomat in the Norwegian embassy in Saudi Arabia sent - via her ministry - email pictures of the Cast Lead Operation in Gaza juxtaposed with those of the Holocaust.

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The Erosion of the Holocaust

June 19, 2011

Forward

By Lawrence L. Langer

Alvin Rosenfeld Takes on the Fading of Consciousness 

THE END OF THE HOLOCAUST Indiana University Press, 328 pages, $29.95

The impact of the Holocaust on contemporary culture has been enormous; less recognized has been the impact of contemporary culture on what we think of as “the Holocaust.” The main thrust of Alvin Rosenfeld’s “The End of the Holocaust” is to examine ways in which popular culture has influenced Holocaust awareness, shaping the content of historical memory and expanding its application to atrocities that had nothing to do with the murder of European Jewry. He balances his discussion of such deflective efforts with a sober analysis of how writers like Elie Wiesel, Jean Améry, Primo Levi and Imre Kertész focus our attention back onto the killing reality of the catastrophe, and its influence on what some of them somberly refer to as “life after Auschwitz.”

“The End of the Holocaust” is a model of critical intelligence, restrained in its judgments, never shrill or accusatory in its disagreements, always illuminating in its insights into the motives and achievements of the major Holocaust writers Rosenfeld discusses. Some readers may be inclined to argue with the alarmed vision of its closing pages, which assemble evidence for the possible coming of a second Holocaust against Israel, but this does not diminish the impact of the preceding chapters.

Rosenfeld’s central thesis is “far from being fixed, the memory of the Holocaust is beset by an array of cultural pressures that challenge its place as a pivotal event in modern European and Jewish history.” Principal among those pressures is the attempt to valorize an episode whose dismal effects do not easily support our national habit of celebrating the triumph of the human spirit. Death and dying have never been congenial subjects to the American imagination, and mass murder even less so.

It is not surprising, therefore, to find Rosenfeld citing with little enthusiasm Rabbi Harold Schulweis’s approval of “Schindler’s List: ”because it enables the viewer to enter the dark cavern without feeling that there is no exit…. Memory of the Holocaust is a sacred act that elicits a double mandate: to expose the depth of evil and to raise goodness from the depth of amnesia. Rosenfeld might have added that expressions like “dark cavern” and “depth of evil” belong to a rhetoric of avoidance that encourages too many commentators to extract hopeful examples from the Holocaust experience while leaving the popular imagination untouched by grim images they might otherwise find unmanageable.

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Sanctioning Jewish deaths

June 18, 2011

Ynet

By Giulio Meotti

… During the German occupation of Paris, (Jean-Paul) Sartre was a cynical profiteer concerned exclusively with his own literary career and ready to compromise with the authorities. Sartre worked for “Comoedia”, a magazine financed by the Nazis; his work “The Flies” got the blessing of the German censors; his companion, the literary goddess Simone de Beauvoir, worked for the national pro-Germans radio.

After the war, Sartre rebuilt his image of grand-resistant. He already was familiar with the horrors of the Soviet Gulag, but did not reveal as "not to discourage the moral of the Billancourt’s workers," while French intellectuals organized a solidarity rally in Paris in support of the official Soviet position that Jewish doctors had assassinated communist leaders.

Much less known is Sartre’s praise for Arab terrorism. When 11 Israeli athletes were butchered at the 1972 Munich Olympics in, Sartre wrote: “Terrorism is a terrible weapon, but the oppressed poor have no others."

… Today such writers’ positions, perhaps unconsciously, echo those of Ahmadinejad and Hamas: Jostein Gaarder, author of “Sophie’s World,” wrote an essay saying that Israel has lost the right to exist; Tom Paulin, an Irish poet, recommended that “Brooklyn-born settlers be shot dead”; and Prominent French sociologist Edgar Morin dubbed Israel “a cancer."… Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer urged her friend, Susan Sontag, to not accept a prize from Israel; much celebrated post-modern philosopher, Slavoj Zizek, nazifies Israel and accuses the Jewish State of “ethnic cleansing”; Italian Noble laureate, writer Dario Fo, endorsed a boycott of Israel’s books in Turin…A.N. Wilson, a prominent British writer, “reluctantly” concluded Israel no longer has a right to exist, while British dramatist David Hare wrote that the Jews have “polluted” the Promised Land and “do not belong here.”

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How to Study Antisemitism

June 17, 2011

Forward

By Deborah Lipstadt

When the news of Yale University’s decision to close its Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism was first made public in early June, the sector of the blogosphere that addresses Jewish issues began to buzz. Discussion, charges and accusations flew. Yale’s critics praised YIISA as a beacon of academic scholarship that had made a significant contribution to this field of study. They charged Yale with caving in to pressure from Arabs and Muslims, both on and off campus, who could not abide the way in which YIISA   boldly shone a spotlight on Muslim antisemitism. To these people, it appeared as if antisemitism itself had brought down an educational institution devoted to the study of this terrible malaise. I registered my initial response on Twitter, describing the shutting down of YIISA as a strange, if not weird, decision and wondering what had happened.

Yale’s response to the wave of criticism constituted a classic reminder that even a place populated by exceptionally smart people can shoot itself in the foot with deadly accuracy. The university defended itself against charges of having succumbed to Muslim pressure by listing the Jewish studies courses taught at the school and stressing its extensive library holdings in the field. (Yale, admittedly, does have an excellent Jewish studies program, and its libraries have one of the best collections in Jewish studies worldwide.) Yale’s clumsy response constituted, as one blogger put it, the academic equivalent of, “Some of our best friends are Jews.”

There is, however, another side to this story . Apparently, there were people on the Yale campus who were associated with YIISA and who were eager to have it succeed. These friends of YIISA counseled the institute’s leadership that some of its efforts had migrated to the world of advocacy from that of scholarship. They warned YIISA that it was providing fodder to the critics’ claim that it was not a truly academic endeavor.

I have twice participated in YIISA’s activities. I gave a paper at one of its weekly seminar sessions on Holocaust denial and attended its conference last August. While serious scholars who work in this field gave the vast majority of the papers — and not dilettantes who dabble in it — there were a few presentations that gave me pause. They were passionate and well argued. But they were not scholarly in nature.

According to sources at Yale, the university’s leadership unsuccessfully worked with YIISA in an attempt to rectify some of these issues. Part of Yale’s discomfort might have come from the fact that a Yale-based scholarly entity was administered by an individual who, while a successful institution builder, was not a Yale faculty member and who had no official position at the university. Yale has indicated that it is intent on axing YIISA and replacing it with an initiative that will address both anti-Semitism and its scholarly concerns. It is crucial that it do so particularly at a time when anti-Semitism worldwide is experiencing a growth spurt.

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Antisemitism and a Classroom 'Jew Count' at University of Toronto's Social Work Faculty

June 16, 2011

Eye on a Crazy Planet

Picture the following: A discussion in a post-graduate university class on the topic of Jews turns ugly. The professor is uncritical when one student says he doesn’t want to be around Jews. Another student complains about “rich Jews,” implying their excessive power.  In a subsequent class, the same professor, as if to validate those points, says half her department faculty are Jews and with her approbation, students conduct a ‘Jew count’. 

While this sounds like an episode in Germany leading up to the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws, it occurred more recently and much closer to home, at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work. Now, more details are emerging under the exceptional circumstance of two U of T professors publicly criticizing a colleague for facilitating classroom anti-Semitism and the university administration’s inadequate response.

 

The controversy began when some visible minority students in a Social Work Master’s program at the University of Toronto expressed discomfort about being around “rich Jews,” in Professor Rupaleem Bhuyan’s class, regarding a proposed outing in 2009 to the Baycrest Centre, an internationally renowned Jewish geriatric and research facility.  They were undoubtedly confident of a sympathetic ear from her. The previous year, Bhuyan denounced Israel as a satellite of the United States, unworthy of distinction as a separate country.

The few Jewish students in Bhuyan’s Master's Program class were intimidated into silence for much of the discussion by a classroom culture slanted against them. Finally, one young woman spoke up, protesting her grandparents had come to Canada with virtually nothing and she was proud her family could now afford the fees for them to reside at Baycrest.

That must have rung an alarm bell for Professor Bhuyan, because startlingly, she then admonished her students not to divulge what transpired in class to outsiders. But her classroom was not Las Vegas and what happened there did not stay there.  Some outraged Jewish students approached Professor Paula David, who in turn consulted senior professors Ernie Lightman and Adrienne Chambon.

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See also – page 363  Journal for the Study of Antisemitism

Struggling To Be Heard – Giving Voice to Victims of Sexual Violence during the Holocaust

June 12, 2011

Forward

By Elissa Strauss

At the end of their workshop about women in the Holocaust at Yad Vashem in 2006, scholars Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel encountered some dissent. The presentation, “Beyond Anne Frank: Teaching About Women and the Holocaust,” looked at the ways in which women experienced the Holocaust differently than men did, and included a discussion on sexual violence at Ravensbrük. Afterward, a few of the conference attendees, including a pre-eminent Holocaust scholar, said there was no evidence on this subject and questioned whether sexual violence had really occurred.

As an answer, Hedgepeth and Saidel got working on the recently published “Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During The Holocaust” (Brandeis, 2010), the first book on the topic in English, which comprises 16 essays examining the rape, forced prostitution, sexual slavery, forced abortion and sterilization that took place during the war.

While the Holocaust has been examined from myriad perspectives in both academia and popular culture, sexual violence, which was largely directed against women, has received little attention. Hedgepeth and Saidel, along with a small group of academics and writers, are fighting to change that.

THE UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MUSEUM
Testimonials: Although the Holocaust has been examined from myriad angles, sexual violence against women during the time has received astonishingly little attention.

“This has been totally neglected in the history of the Holocaust,” Saidel said, explaining that there has been a resistance overall to looking at survivors’ experiences in terms of gender. “For some historians, focusing on women means that you are taking away from the totality of the Holocaust experience.”

“For some,” Hedgepeth added, “there is a false perception that looking at sexual violence is asking the question of who suffered more.”

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See also - Shattering Shame and Silence

Students Learn most about Holocaust from Survivors' Stories

June 12, 2011

Haaretz

By Or Kashti

Poll: 38% of pupils said personal testimonies are most significant source of information on the Holocaust

High school pupils who took seminars at the Massuah International Institute for Holocaust Studies in recent months said survivors' testimonies were the most significant source of information on the subject.

"As the Holocaust survivors' generation moves away from us, the more teenagers feel the personal encounter with a survivor is the main source of information about the Holocaust."

"The survivor's personal story enables the youngsters to deal with the complicated issues of the Jews' response patterns in the Holocaust," she said.

Motion pictures help the young viewers "simulate and feel they're coming close to the real thing," she said.

The survey indicates that the movie with the greatest influence on youngsters' perceptions of the Holocaust was "The Pianist" (36 percent), followed by "Schindler's List" (19 percent).

Only 13 percent listed Holocaust museums as significant information sources and even fewer named plays, books or memorial ceremonies.

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Frenemies

June 12, 2011

Tablet

By Adam Kirsch

An anthology on the concept of philo-Semitism shows that ‘Jew lovers’ have often been just a shade better than anti-Semites—and sometimes no better at all

Books about anti-Semitism are depressingly numerous. New studies of the subject appear in a constant stream, focusing on anti-Semitism in this or that country, in literature or politics, in the past, the present, or the future. In 2010 alone, readers were presented with Robert Wistrich’s A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism From Antiquity to the Global Jihad and Anthony Julius’ Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England, which between them offer 2,100 pages of evidence of how much people used to and still do hate Jews.

If only as a change of pace, then, a book called Philosemitism in History (Cambridge University Press) should be cause for celebration. Never mind that it is a mere 350 pages, and not a continuous history but a collection of academic papers on fairly narrow subjects, from the Christian Hebraists of the 17th century to documentaries on West German TV. At least it promises a chance to hear about Gentiles who admired and praised Jews, instead of hating and killing them. There must have been some, right?

Well, yes and no. As every contributor to Philosemitism in History acknowledges, Jews have never been entirely happy about the idea of philo-Semitism. The volume’s introduction, by editors Adam Sutcliffe and Jonathan Karp, begins with a Jewish joke: “Q: Which is preferable—the antisemite or the philosemite? A: The antisemite—at least he isn’t lying.” This may be too cynical; closer to the bone is the saying that “a philo-Semite is an anti-Semite who loves Jews.” That formulation helps to capture the sense that philo- and anti- share an unhealthy interest in Jews and an unreal notion of who and what Jews are. Both deal not with Jewishness but with “Semitism,” as if being a Jew were the same as embracing a political ideology such as communism or conservatism—rather than what it really is, a religious and historical identity that cuts across political and economic lines.

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Polish Government Saves Sobibor Museum

June 8, 2011

Arutz Sheva Israel National News

by Chana Ya'ar

The Polish government has stepped in to save the museum at the Sobibor concentration camp from closing due to lack of funds.

At least 20,000 people visit the site each year to learn about the camp where some 250,000 Jews and Gentiles were murdered by the Nazis.

        

Public criticism led to a last-minute announcement by the Polish Minister of Culture that the museum would be administered by the Majdanek museum – also the site of a Nazi death camp -- in nearby Lublin.

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Letter shows first-known desire by Hitler to remove Jews

June 8, 2011

Jerusalem Post

By JPost.com staff

Simon Wiesenthal Center unveils in New York a 1919-dated letter penned by Hitler expressing his anti-semitic aspirations for Germany.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center unveiled on Tuesday a signed letter by Adolf Hitler that contains what is believed to be his earliest transcribed calls for the removal of Jews from Germany.

Purchased from a private dealer for $150,000 and presented at a press conference inNew York City, the founder of the Jewish human rights organization Rabbi Marvin Hier said that the letter is "one of the most important documents in the entire history of the Third Reich."

The letter's importance stems from the fact that Hitler, on assignment to assess the German Jewish situation, expressed that the final solution for the German government would be a "removal of Jews" (German: "Entfernung der Juden").

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Egyptian Nazi Party re-establishing. How is Arab Spring working out for freedom and human rights?

June 6, 2011

Barbados Free Press

Muslim Brotherhood announces Sharia law for Egypt

Thousands call for beating of women drivers in Saudi Arabia

Christians, women & gays fear Egypt’s democracy will bring increased repression

The West is about to discover that it should be more careful about what it wishes for.

Most in the West have forgotten (if they ever knew to begin with) that any “democracy” only reflects the values and desires of the population that votes. If the population believes that Jews, Christians, women and gays are lesser people and should not have the rights accorded to Muslims and Muslim men, that will be the end result of electing their “democratic government”.

And then there is the “One man, one vote, but only one time” syndrome where a population elects a totalitarian government that cannot easily be removed. Most people forget that the Nazis and Hitler were democratically elected to power in Germany on a platform of German solidarity, racial superiority and a promise to take care of “the Jewish problem”. No doubt President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron and the other world leaders currently applauding the Arab Spring would have supported “democracy” in the 1932 German elections when the Nazis finally won their majority. Democracy… isn’t it grand?

“Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.”

Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, Leader of the Muslim world and Mufti of Jerusalem on Radio Berlin, March 1, 1944. (Shown having a friendly little chat with Adolf Hitler above)

The Egyptian Nazi Party, held in check under now deposed leader Mubarak, is flourishing since Arab Spring. Blindly fanatical supporters of democracy should rejoice as the Egyptian Nazis return to the political process. Just as the Muslim world embraced the Nazis during the 1930′s and 1940′s, modern Egyptians will find that Nazi ideology is a good partner with the Koran and Islam. After all, the Holy Koran as revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and the hadiths say that the peace of Islam will never happen until the Jews are dealt with:

"The Hour [Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them, and the rock and the tree will say: “Oh, Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, kill him!”

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Holland asks Germany to lock up elderly Nazi fugitive

June 3, 2011

Haaretz

By Reuters

The 89-year-old former SS soldier Klaas Carel Faber escaped in 1952 from a Dutch prison where he was serving a life sentence for killing Jewish prisoners at a Nazi transit camp.

AMSTERDAM - The Dutch government asked Germany yesterday to jail an 89-year-old Dutch Nazi who escaped in 1952 from a Dutch prison where he was serving a life sentence for killing Jewish prisoners at a Nazi transit camp.

The Netherlands had already tried to extradite former SS soldier Klaas Carel Faber using a European Arrest Warrant - a European Union-wide agreed extradition mechanism - but a court in Munich turned down the application on the grounds that Faber is now a German citizen.

Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten wrote to his German counterpart yesterday saying that under European rules, Germany should impose on Faber the life sentence he had been serving in the Netherlands.

"The public prosecutor in Munich has informed the Dutch justice ministry it can apply for enforcement of the sentence to be transferred. Opstelten considers this a sign of willingness to implement the sentence in Germany," the Dutch government said in a statement.

Faber was sentenced to death in 1947 for the killing of at least 11 people in the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands, a staging post for Dutch Jews on their journey to concentration camps in Germany, Poland and Ukraine. His brother, who was also a member of the Dutch SS, was shot by firing squad after the war, but Faber's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He escaped from the prison and fled to Germany in 1952.

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Remember the Farhud

June 1, 2011

Jewish Ideas Daily

By Aryeh Tepper

The end of 2,500 years of Jewish life in Iraq began during two days in June 1941. For 30 terrifying hours, mobs of marauding Iraqi Arabs, soldiers and civilians alike, killed 137 Jews and injured thousands more, pillaged scores of homes, and destroyed more than 600 Jewish-owned businesses. The event came to be known as the Farhud, a Kurdish term for the murderous breakdown of law and order. Within ten years, almost the entire Jewish community of Iraq was gone.

Al-Husseini inspects SS troops (Vienna Illustrated, 1944).

Its exotic name aside, the Farhud wasn't an isolated eruption of anti-Jewish violence in some far corner of the world. According to the historians Shmuel Moreh and Robert Wistrich, it was at least in part an extension of the Nazi war of extermination against the Jews. Moreh is the editor of a 1992 collection of essays on the Farhud, recently revised and updated in English translation. Marking the seventieth anniversary of the attack, he and Wistrich, the distinguished historian of antisemitism, recently chaired a provocatively titled symposium, "Nazism in Iraq," in the hope of raising public awareness of the event and combating "Farhud denial" among today's Iraqi Arabs.

At the symposium, Wistrich noted that in 1941, Iraqi Jews "found themselves in the crossfire of three converging forms of anti-Semitism": the antisemitism of Iraqi nationalists, the anti-Semitism of Palestinian exiles in Iraq, and the antisemitism of German Nazis. Both the Iraqi and the Palestinian versions were deeply influenced by Nazism.

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Egyptian activists 'to form Nazi party', newspaper reports

May 30, 2011

The Jersualem Post

By Yaakov Lappin

'Al-Masry Al-Youm' report says Facebook pages launched to attract followers; Nazi parties operated secretly in Egypt during Mubarak regime

A group of Egyptian political activists have announced plans to set up a local version “of the Nazi party,” an Egyptian newspaper reported on Thursday.

Citing a leftist Egyptian news portal, the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily said that “the party’s founding deputy is a former military official,” and that the party would be aimed at bringing “together prominent figures from the Egyptian society.”

The report cited founding member Emad Abdel Sattar as saying that the unestablished party “believes in vesting all powers in the president after selecting him or her carefully,” and that “preparations are under way to choose the most competent person to represent the party.”

Almasry Alyoum added that an Egyptian Nazi party “operated secretly under former President Hosni Mubarak, whose regime prevented party leaders from carrying out their activities freely.”

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Information on Nazi-Era Mass Graves to be Made Avaiable to the Public

May 28, 2011

Forward

By Nathan Guttman

Father Debois Has Devoted Seven Years To Documenting the S.S. Killing Fields in Eastern Europe

WASHINGTON — For seven years, the Rev. Patrick Debois has devoted his life to locating and marking the mass graves of Jews murdered by the Nazis. Now, the work of the Catholic priest is going online — thanks to a joint initiative between his Paris-based organization and Washington’s United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Yahad — In Unum, founded and directed by Debois, has documented mass graves in some 600 Eastern European villages. Information about those gravesites, as well as videotaped accounts from villagers who witnessed the Nazi roundups and killings, will be available this summer at the U.S. Holocaust museum. Yahad — In Unum has also joined forces with the American Jewish Committee to help ensure that the newly discovered gravesites are protected.

“I have the conviction we cannot build a modern Europe with thousands of mass graves of Jews killed like animals,” Debois said at a May 12 State Department gathering held in his honor. “We cannot build a new world if we keep on being silent.”

Debois now believes he is halfway through the task of locating all of the Nazi-era Jewish mass graves in Eastern Europe. The name of the organization is taken from the Hebrew and Latin words for “together.”

Debois’s work focuses on the lesser-known part of the Nazi killing machine, which was responsible for the murders of hundreds of thousands of Jews. Most of those Jews were not sent to death camps; rather, they were shot to death, between 1941 and 1944 in Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Belarus.

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The Full-Blown Return of Anti-Semitism in Europe

May 27, 2011

Hudson New York

By Guy Millière

On April 19, the Corfu synagogue, in Greece, was burned. How many Jews live in Corfu today? One hundred and fifty. How many Jews live in Greece? Eight thousand, or about 0.8% of the population. For some, it seems these figures are still far too high. Two other synagogues were burned in Greece during the past year. Anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls are spreading all over the country.

What happened in Greece is happening everywhere across the European continent.

During the last decade, synagogues were vandalized or set on fire in Poland, Sweden, Hungary, France. Anti-Semitic inscriptions are being drawn on building walls in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Berlin and Rome. Jewish cemeteries are being ransacked. Jews are being attacked on the streets of most major cities on the continent. In the Netherlands, the police use « decoy Jews » in order to try arrest the perpetrators red-handed.

Jewish schools are being placed under police protection everywhere, and are usually equipped with security gates. Jewish children in public high schools are bullied; when parents complain, they are encouraged to choose another place of learning for their children.

In some cities such as Malmö, Sweden, or Roubaix, France, the persecution suffered by the Jewish community has reached such a degree that people are selling their homes at any price and leaving. Those who stay have the constant feeling that they are risking their lives: they must be extremely streetwise and carry no sign showing who they are. In 1990, approximately 2000 Jewish people lived in Malmö; now there are fewer than 700, and the number is decreasing every year.

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Memorial for Nazi victims, including resistance fighters, reopens in Austria after makeover

May 27, 2011

The Washington Post

By Associated Press

VIENNA — Austria’s president unveiled a newly revamped memorial Thursday commemorating victims of the Nazis, including those who lost their lives because they stood up to the brutal regime.

The remembrance site is situated in the heart of Vienna, the Austrian capital, where a luxury hotel once stood that served as a coordination center for the Gestapo, Adolf Hitler’s secret police.

Dedicated not only to Jewish victims but also to resistance fighters, it includes a small exhibit that shows how Gestapo officials often used torture to torment those they summoned and notes how the feared force was fed information from spies and informants in the Austrian population.

“The fates of thousands of people were decided here,” Austrian President Heinz Fischer told a small crowd. “Thousands became victims of torture and were often sent from here to concentration camps.”

“Never Forget!” is written across the rear of the small space that used to be the back entrance of the Gestapo center. Leading to it are footprints that, according to Fischer, symbolize the helplessness of the men and women who walked through the dreaded doors.

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Holocaust Studies / A picture worth six million names

May 26, 2011

Haaretz

By Judy Maltz

A tour guide’s overheard comment at Yad Vashem sent Holocaust scholar Dan Porat searching to find out if the boy in the iconic Warsaw Ghetto photo could really have survived. What did he learn, and what is its meaning?

The Boy: A Holocaust Story by Dan Porat. 
Hill and Wang, 262 pages, $26
Dan Porat’s obsession with “the boy,” he recounts, began on a visit to Yad Vashem in 2004. He happened to be standing near a foreign delegation touring the museum when their guide pointed to a print of a famous photo and remarked: “Did you know that this picture tells a good story of the Holocaust? This boy survived. After the Holocaust, he studied medicine, became a doctor and settled in New York. A year ago, he immigrated to Israel.”

Text Box: The iconic image of the boy, believed to have been taken in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Photo by: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Porat was enthralled, and suddenly became obsessed with learning the truth behind the guide’s claim. Thus began his quest to uncover the story behind the iconic image of the terrified little boy with the upraised arms from the Warsaw Ghetto ‏(or at least that’s where most of us presume it was taken‏): Under what circumstances was the photograph taken? Did the boy, indeed, survive? What about the other Jewish men, women and children standing nearby? What became of the soldiers in the photo?
One of the most compelling and enduring images of the Holocaust, the photograph of the bare-kneed Jewish boy wearing a coat and cap and holding his hands up in a gesture of surrender, as a Nazi soldier points his gun at him from behind, first appeared in the infamous Stroop Report, a 75-page account of the brutal suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in 1943, and eventually submitted as evidence in the Nuremberg Trials. Juergen Stroop, the Nazi officer who led the operation, wrote the following caption under the photo: “Pulled from the bunkers by force.”

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The Equivalency Canard

May 26 , 2011

Haaretz

By Ephraim Zuroff

An innovative historical approach lumps Nazi and Soviet murder campaigns together, ignoring the implacable ideological roots behind the Shoah and giving Holocaust collaborators a free ride.

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
 by Timothy Snyder. Basic Books, 524 pages, $29.95
In this bold attempt to reframe a critical period in modern Eastern European history, Yale historian Tim Snyder redraws historical boundaries to create an artificial geographic entity that he dubs “the Bloodlands,” taking in the area from central Poland to western Russia through Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltics. It is in this region that, by his account, more than 14 million civilians were murdered as a result of deliberate policies of mass annihilation implemented by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during the years 1932-1945. These murderous campaigns are the central subject of Snyder’s book, which has earned lavish praise from historians, as well as considerable public attention, not normally the case with similar academic studies.
Snyder identifies six major murder campaigns carried out by the German and Soviet dictatorships during the period that roughly corresponds to the existence of the Third Reich.
During the first, some 3.3 million Soviet citizens, mostly Ukrainians, died of starvation as a result of a famine purposely engineered by Stalin to advance collectivization in 1932-1933.
This was followed by the “Great Terror” of 1937-1938, during which the Soviet security apparatus killed 300,000 Soviet citizens, most of them Polish and Ukrainian citizens, in the Bloodlands. From the start of World War II until the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941, an additional 200,000 Poles were executed by both occupiers, and during the German occupation of parts of the Soviet Union ‏(1941-1944‏), 4.2 million local residents were deliberately caused to starve to death. If we add Snyder’s estimate of 5.4 million Jews shot or gassed in the Bloodlands by the Nazis during the same years and 700,000 civilians, mostly Belorussians and Poles, shot by the Germans in reprisals during the same period, we reach a total of 14.1 million, which Snyder considers a conservative estimate of the civilians deliberately murdered in the same territory between 1932 and 1945.
While none of these facts were unknown, the murderous policies of both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union having been extensively researched, Snyder asserts that the “deliberate and direct mass murder by these two regimes in the Bloodlands is a distinct phenomenon worthy of separate treatment.” To reinforce his argument, Snyder presents some startling comparisons that point to the ostensible uniqueness and significance of the extremely high number of victims in the murder campaigns described in the book. Thus, for example, 14 million victims is 13 million more than the number of U.S. and British soldiers killed during World War II, more than 10 million more than the total number of victims who died in Nazi and Soviet concentration − as opposed to death − camps throughout the existence of both regimes, and two million more than the number of German and Soviet soldiers killed in battle in World War II ‏(excluding those who starved to death and POWs executed by shooting‏).
Snyder then proceeds to present his version of the history of the Bloodlands, one that integrates all the murder campaigns into a single narrative.
As shocking as this litany of mass suffering is, the question we must ask is whether Snyder’s decision to combine such disparate tragedies is historically justified. In fact, the only characteristics shared by these murder campaigns are that they were carried out by dictatorships in a specific geographic area ‏(of Snyder’s creation‏) during a specific time period, with similar horrific results. These factors, however, do not necessarily create a true equivalency between them. Their scope was not the same, the motivation to launch them was not the same ‏(aside from the desire of dictators to destroy perceived enemies‏), and their implementation was not the same, neither in principle nor in practice.

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US bill requires French rail company to disclose "truth' of its Holocaust role

May 23, 2011

Haaretz

By The Associated Press

Maryland is the first state to pass such a law, which would require the company to provide complete records of its role in the Holocaust and post them online.

U.S. Governor Martin O'Malley on Thursday signed into law a first-of-its-kind measure that will require the French rail company SNCF to disclose its role in transporting Holocaust victims to Nazi concentration camps if the company seeks a contract to provide train service in the state.

O'Malley described the measure, which will take effect June 1, as an example of thinking globally and acting locally. “We hope this legislation can become a national model sooner rather than later so that Holocaust survivors who are still prying apart the windows of a cattle car, praised the measure."

Text Box: Participants of the memorial service for victims of the Holocaust at the Grunewald deportation site in Berlin, Nov, 13, 2002, cross train track 17, which was used to transport Jews to Auschwitz.  Photo by: AP

 “It's a beginning," said Bretholz, who championed the legislation. "The other states will probably take note and perhaps do the same thing."

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