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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’

Largest Knesset Delegation Ever Tours Auschwitz

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Dozens of lawmakers from Israel, the United States and Europe convened at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau for ceremonies commemorating its liberation 69 years ago.

The largest foreign parliamentary delegation landed in Poland from Israel on Monday, Jan. 27 — the day that the United Nations in 2005 designated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day — and consisted of 58 Knesset members. Constituting nearly half of the Israeli parliament, it is the largest Knesset delegation ever to have visited the Auschwitz compound, organizers said.

Several Knesset members, including Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, attended a solemn prayer led by Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi rabbi, David Lau, near the famous “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will make you free”) sign at the entrance to the Auschwitz camp.

The U.S. delegation is headed by Rep. Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican and first Jewish majority leader of Congress. With Cantor are Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). They are scheduled to be joined by 23 lawmakers from 10 European Union member states who came with European Friends of Israel and the Israeli-Jewish Congress.

In Krakow, the Knesset delegation is scheduled to hold a ceremonial inter-parliamentary session with the Polish parliament, the Sejm.

“When we say ‘Never Again,’ we can say it because there is a Jewish state and a Jewish army,” the event’s Israeli initiator, Johnny Daniels, told JTA on Monday. “The presence of half the Israeli parliament in Auschwitz is a powerful symbol for that reason.”

Daniels, a 28-year-old Britton who immigrated to Israel 10 years ago, began producing the event six months ago as executive director of From the Depths, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to Holocaust education.

“Holocaust survivors are dying fast and it was important for us to create a platform where their voice will be heard,” he said. The ceremony at Auschwitz will be attended by 24 Holocaust survivors.

He also said that the attendance of Sejm lawmakers signifies their government’s dedication to commemorating the Holocaust and that “Poles, too, have been victimized by Nazi Germany.”

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Dannon told JTA he viewed the meeting with Polish and other European lawmakers as “a chance to raise issues which cannot be ignored — the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, whose latest examples were a pig’s head at a synagogue in Rome and attacks on Jews in Kiev.”

‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ – in Detroit Packard Plant

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Jewish groups are outraged over a sign hanging at the Packard Plant in Detroit imitating the infamous sign above the entrance to the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz. The sign, in the original German, promises “Arbeit Macht Frei”—”Work will make you Free.”

“This graffiti is offensive to Jews and particularly to Holocaust survivors,” Heidi Budaj, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Detroit Free Press.

Stephen Goldman, executive director of the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus in Farmington Hills, said: “This message is offensive on so many levels. It … needs to be taken down.” He noted that many Holocaust survivors live in Michigan.

John Bologna, an attorney for the owner of the site, said on Monday the company was going to remove it, but as of Tuesday afternoon, the sign still there.

“I was distressed to hear of the” sign, Budaj told DFP. “The prominent display of this quote at a historic Detroit landmark is disturbing and deeply offensive to victims of the Holocaust and to those who fought valiantly in World War II.”

Niraj Warikoo, writing for DFP, noted that the style of the lettering in the Packard sign “has specific similarities to the Nazi sign at Auschwitz that made it unique: for example, the upper half of the letter ‘B’ in “Arbeit” (“Work”) is bigger than the lower half, just like it is in Auschwitz.”

No one knows who put up the sign and whether it is meant to be an ironic comment on the company’s treatment of its employees.

Regardless of the intent, Goldman said the sign is deeply offensive.

“As an artist, you should know better,” Goldman said. “I see no value to seeing this as a message, … That’s a poor image to use.”

Budaj said: “This message strikes at the very memory of a symbol representing the cruel cynicism of Nazism. This sign greeted more than one million prisoners as they were herded into the Auschwitz nightmare with the duplicitous message that ‘work sets you free.’”

“It’s a form of hate speech,” David Schulman, a Huntington Woods resident, told the Free Press on Monday.

The FBI in Detroit would not comment on whether it is investigating the sign as a hate crime.

It looks to me like this is an expression of a few Packard employees’ deep resentment toward Packard, which must be pretty heated if they went for such a harsh metaphor.

For future references, if you are an employee angry at your company, I recommend “Me ne frego” (“I don’t give a damn!”), which was the Italian Fascist movement’s slogan. It’s just as poignant if you’re a student of history, and it won’t upset the ADL.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/yoris-news-clips/arbeit-macht-frei-in-detroit-packard-plant/2013/02/06/

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