web analytics
April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Berlin’

Berlin 2015: Jewish Magazines Now Arrive in Plain Paper for Safety

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

In Berlin 2015, Jewish magazines are delivered in plain paper wrapping to minimize the chance of attack.

That’s the plain, unvarnished truth, according to the British-based The Guardian newspaper, quoting the Tagesspiegel, a Berlin newspaper.

The monthly magazine that serves the city’s Jewish community, the Jüdisches Berlin made the decision this year, according to spokesman Ilan Kiesling.

“We decided to do so despite the significant additional costs to reduce the likelihood of hostility towards our more than 10,000 community members,” Kiesling said.

The magazine is published by the Jewish Community of Berlin organization. Gideon Joffe, head of the group, wrote in the latest issue, “Israelis are beaten up in Berlin solely on the grounds that they are Israeli Jews. We are not yet – I repeat, yet – at the stage where Jews are being murdered in Germany just because they are Jews. But measures have to be taken to protect the democratic rule of law.”

According to Jewish Business News, there are an estimated 20,000 Israelis living in Germany. Jewish schools, community builds and cemeteries are guarded at present by police around the clock.

Last November, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told an international conference on anti-Semitism that “hatred of Jews’ was on the rise once more in his country.

The foreign minister said Germany’s Jews were being threatened and attacked at pro-Palestinian demonstrations. He added that the counter terrorism actions by Israel against Gaza could not be used to justify anti-Semitic behavior. Slogans like, ‘Gas the Jews!’ were also used during marches in the summer and a synagogue was firebombed in Wuppertal that had been burned down during Kristallnacht in 1938, but had since been rebuilt.

“Bold and brutal anti-Semitism has shown its ugly face again,” Steinmeier told the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) event.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany reported late last year that anti-Semitism in Germany is on the rise, as it is in other countries across Europe. Dieter Graumann, former president of the organization, said in an interview with BILD newspaper in November 2014, “For a while I noticed that anti-Semitism is becoming increasingly public and is no longer hidden.

“We often receive anti-Semitic messages sent according to name and address. Some people are no longer ashamed and no longer hide their hostility to Jews.

“We have seen… during the war in Gaza, demonstrations of pure, primitive hatred against the Jews that broke out again,” Graumann added. “It is very hard for me to talk about it but, when they are calls in the streets of Germany, ‘Jews to the gas,’ it hurts us greatly.”

In 1935, an anonymous Dutch photographer drove a motorcycle across Germany to document the sentiment about Jews. He was sent by Hans Richman and Alfred Viner, two Jews who escaped the country to the Netherlands, but hoped to expose the truth about the rising Nationalist-Socialist Party.

What they found was that Germany did not want its Jews – he photographed 22 signs along the way, all with one message: ‘Jews are not wanted here.’ Photos found along the sides of the road and at village entrances and in front of houses that today are in the National Archive in Jerusalem read, “Jews are not wanted here,” and “Jews, immigrate to your own country.”

The photos were distributed all over the world, including in Palestine, but did little good. Even the newspapers in Palestine did not print the photographs. Few others bothered.

People were used to seeing anti-Semitic slogans back then, in 1935.

They’re used to seeing them now, too. Even Israelis, unbelievably, who are stupid enough to actually move to the place where it all started just 70 years ago. What’s wrong with you??

Jews, wake up! Even some of your Christian and Muslim friends understand that something is wrong. Wake up, before it’s too late – again.

Berlin Won’t Name German Companies Involved in Syria’s C-Weapons Program

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Berlin steadfastly refuses to reveal the names of German companies who helped Syria develop its chemical weapons program according to a new report published this week by Der Spiegel. The information was made available in documents that were declassified after a 30 year embargo.

The list of firms involved in the program was handed over to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government coalition 16 months ago by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its “extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.” Last year the OPCW organized and helped destroy Syria’s chemical weapons – those that were uncovered, that is – together with experts from the United Nations.

But 16 months later, Merkel has done nothing with the list, saying that publicizing the names would “significantly impair foreign policy interests and thus the welfare of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

The Merkel government added that doing so would be similar to releasing “trade secrets” and therefore constitute a violation of Germany’s constitution.

According to a lengthy report in Der Spiegel, however, the government did not need the OPCW list to know that German firms were involved in the Syrian chemical weapons program.

Apparently the government-funded Institute for Contemporary History published an inventory dating back to 1984 including a government document with names of companies suspected of supplying the Syrian chemical weapons program.

The release may have been accidental; it was a memo regarding the Dec. 6, 1984 visit to a deupty section head in the German Foreign Ministry by then-Israeli Ambassador to Germany Yitzhak Ben-Ari.

The Israeli official brought with him “intelligence service findings” which showed that since the mid-1970s scientists had been working on producing chemical weapons for Syria, “disguised as agricultural and medical research.”

Included were the glass producer Schott, laboratory equipment producer Kolb, technology company Heraeus, the former Hoechst subsidiary Riedel-de-Haen, pharmaceutical company Merck and the company Gerrit van Delden.

The top secret program was being carried out in the chemistry department at the UNESCO-funded Centre d’Etudes et des Recherches Scientifiques in Damascus. A pilot facility was already built. Contracts were already signed for three production lines and Ben-Ari believed that within the year, Syria would have the capacity to produce 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) of sarin – enough to kill several million people.

On December 12, 1984, a representative of the U.S. State Department told the German Embassy in Washington that Karl Kolb GmbH & Co. KG, from the town of Dreiech in Hesse, had delivered “chemical research and production equipment for the manufacture of large quantities of nerve gas” to Iraq.

At that time, Dictator Saddam Hussein was busy building “the most modern chemical weapons factory of its time,” disguised as a pesticide factory, according to international experts who testified in 2004, Der Spiegel reports. Though only Kolb is mentioned in the files, it turns out that a related firm, Pilot Plant GmbH, delivered four facilities at a total cost of 7.5 million Deutsche marks.

American officials were trying to pressure then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher to force Kolb to withdraw its technicians and “via pressure on the company prevent Iraq from producing C-weapons.”

Germany’s long-standing love affair with chemical weapons was notorious: the Nazis had used hydrocyanic acid, manufactured by German chemical companies, to murder inmates in the death camps during the Holocaust. Millions died, including six million Jews.

As it turns out, Kohl and Genscher did indeed promise to curb the companies and issued orders to that effect. Foreign Ministry internal memos clearly showed the “minister places high value on a complete investigation” and demanded “assurances that nothing more will be delivered” to Samarra.

NBA’ Danny Green Post ‘LOL’ Selfie at Berlin Holocaust Memorial

Friday, October 10th, 2014

San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green posted on Twitter a selfie at the Berlin Holocaust memorial along with the caption “LOL” [laughing out loud] in the tweet, “You know I had to do it one time lol #Holocaust.”

That was the funniest line since someone said that America has gotten past its racist past by choosing a black president to clean up the mess.

After Green laughed all by himself at his selfie, he started reading the complaints and quickly deleted the picture and posted apologies in four tweets:

“Yes, mistakes do happen,”

“I want to sincerely apologize for the insensitivity of my post!

“I have great respect n understanding for this country’s history n wanted to continue chronicling my experience in Berlin.

“But showed poor judgement…sorry once again.”

Poor judgment?

Did he really even judge at all? Did he even consider the insensitivity of laughing at the Holocaust memorial for 6 million Jews gassed and butchered by the Nazis?

Would it have been “poor judgment” if some white basketball player took a selfie at a memorial for Martin Luther King with a caption “LOL My dream came true. He’s dead.”?

Green later changed the caption to read, “A lot of history here, more than you could imagine…very sad/tragic things happened #holocaust #berlin.”

Indeed, sad and tragic things are happening today. People like Danny Green are LOL at memories of the Holocaust.

New Jewish Community in Berlin Linked To Pre-War Congregation

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

A new Jewish community was dedicated in the former East Berlin, in the footsteps of one destroyed by the Nazis.

In an odd twist, the community has the same name as another Berlin congregation that is mired in legal limbo and debt after failing to prove it has any members.

In Tuesday’s ceremonies at the century-old Beth Zion synagogue, descendants of pre-war Adass Jisroel rabbis symbolically transferred the spiritual legacy of their forefathers to the new congregation, Kahal Adass Jisroel.

The new group’s 250 members include many young families and students at the Skoblo Synagogue and Education Center and its Orthodox Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin, groups that are under the umbrella of the Lauder Yeshurun. The synagogue is located within the Lauder complex, and the congregation itself is independent of other organizations.

It is not part of the official Berlin Jewish community but hopes to cooperate with it, according to Josh Spinner, a member of the new congregation, and executive vice president and CEO of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. The Central Council of Jews in Germany has given its unequivocal approval.

There is unlikely to be any cooperation with the largely defunct Israelitische Synagogen Gemeinde Adass Jisroel. Its president, Mario Offenberg, told JTA he knows “next to nothing” about the new group and takes “a neutral position.”

Establishing continuity with a pre-war congregation can lead to property restitution, but Spinner said the new congregation is only interested in spiritual continuity.

It is unclear whether there are any properties involved, aside from the synagogue building and cemetery.

New Year’s Revelers Urinate on Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

Monday, January 6th, 2014

New Year’s revelers shot fireworks and urinated in Germany’s Holocaust memorial in Berlin.

Reacting to a disgusting and shocking video that also explicitly showed a man urinating amid young party-goers celebrating among the 2711 stone slabs at the memorial last week, spokesperson Jenifer Stolz told JTA that “we are all quite appalled. But it is not the first time.”

She said she hoped it would be the last time, however. Meetings with Berlin police are planned in the coming days and weeks, at which possible measures to prevent the disrespectful behavior will be on the table. An obvious choice is to put up temporary fencing as is done for Berlin’s central park – the Tiergarten – which, like the memorial, borders on the party scene. But there also are other options to be discussed, Stolz said.

Berlin’s major open-air New Year’s event takes place around the Brandenburg Gate and hundreds of thousands of visitors walk past the memorial on their way there, Stolz noted. “It seems to invite them to such excesses, and it’s not nice.”

Artwork in German Parliament May Have Been Nazi-Looted

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Two artworks hanging in Germany’s parliament building in Berlin may have been confiscated or acquired at artificially depressed prices by the Nazis from the original owners, German newspapers reported.

The Die Welt newspaper suggested that one of the works coincidentally stems from a gallery owned by an uncle of Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazi-era dealer whose huge collection was discovered in the Munich apartment of his elderly son, Cornelius Gurlitt, in 2012 and revealed to the world two months ago.

The Bundestag has responded in a statement that it is looking into the matter. Meanwhile, Die Welt said the Bundestag’s eight-member art advisory council – which includes the German president – already had determined that neither work was so-called “Raubkunst,” art plundered from occupied countries.

The two works in question reportedly are a large-format 1905 oil painting by Georg Waltenberger titled “Chancellor Bülow speaks in the Reichstag,” and a 1918 Lovis Corinth lithograph, “A street in Königsberg.” While the former is hanging in a hallway, the latter is kept out of natural light.

Die Welt reported that the lithograph was printed by the Berlin gallery of Fritz Gurlitt, an uncle of collector Hildebrand Gurlitt.

Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Bild newspaper that the Bundestag should make its collection public and assist investigators in reconnecting possible heirs with long-lost property. Over the years, the Bundestag has returned several works to heirs.

Of the 4,000 works in the German parliament’s collection, about 700 are said to date from before the end of World War II.

New Berlin Jewish Student Center Fights Anti-Israel Trend

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Berlin’s first Jewish student house opened its doors on Sunday for pro-Israel lectures and activities in response to anti-Israel tendencies commonly found on Berlin’s campuses and for cultural and leisure activities for Jewish students in the German capital.

Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, who is behind the effort and serves as a Jewish community rabbi in Berlin, stated during the ceremony, “As Berlin has become a magnet for Jewish students from throughout the world in recent years, it’s time to have a regular home for Jewish students in the city.”

Approximately 150 members of the local Jewish community attended the ceremony, along with senior German government officials. Among them were Jewish philosopher Professor Micha Brumlik, the vice president of the German Bundestag, Petra Pa, and other members of the Bundestag.

The three-story Jewish Student House will also be used as a meeting place for 5,000 male and female Jewish students at Berlin’s three universities and other academic institutions in the city. it is intended to serve as a deterrent to the current 50 percent rate of intermarriage among German Jews.

Rebbitzen Chaya Greenberg, who will be managing the student house alongside the students, said during the ceremony, “We don’t consider you, the students, as guests but as family, and this is not just simply a building, but a family home for all Jewish students.”

The new house will be run by Chabad on Campus and  the KSpace organization, operated by students.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/new-berlin-jewish-student-center-fights-anti-israel-trend/2013/10/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: