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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Berlin’

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.

NY Court to Decide Dispute over ‘Holocaust-Ancient Assyrian Link’

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

The fate of a tiny gold tablet in the possession of the estate of a Holocaust survivor and claimed by a Berlin Museum now is in the hands of seven judges on the New York Supreme Court.

The table, if it’s not a hoax, could be worth millions of dollars. It belonged to Holocaust survivor Riven Flamenbaum of Great Neck, New York and was inherited by his children. The history of the tablet is certain as far back as 100 years ago but may go back 3,200 years – or it may not.

German archaeologists discovered it approximately 100 years ago in the Assyrian city of Ashtur, in what is now northern Iraq, Long Island Newsday reported. It went missing after it has been displayed at the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin in 1934 until the end of the war, when the museum’s artifacts were inventoried.

It next showed up in the hands of Flamenbaum, a native Poland who obtained it by trading “either for two packs of cigarettes or a piece of salami,” according to one of his daughters, Hannah Flamenbaum.

After her father died in 2003, his son Israel told the German museum about the presence of the tablet, and it sued for its return. The lower court in New York ruled in favor of the estate, but an appeals court overruled the decision, and the New York Supreme Court concluded hearings on the case Tuesday. A ruling is expected in four to six weeks.

It is not known if the tablet is a forgery or not. His daughter Hannah said her father tried to sell it to an auction house in 1954 but was told it was a worthless forgery.

Her brother Israel disagreed with her account including of the estate and informed the museum of the tablet’s presence, setting off the legal war.

Hannah and a sister claim that so much times has passed since the disappearance of the tablet that the museum has no rightful claim.

Their lawyer says that if the tablet turns out to be true ancient artifact, it could be worth approximately $10 million.

Yair Lapid Tells US Jews They Are Safer than in Israel

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid, fresh from having scolded ex-pats for living in Berlin, told New York Jews Monday afternoon that they are safer living in the Big Apple than they would be in Israel.

Lapid certainly did not intend to encourage Jews to stay in America, but that one little sentence packed enough ammunition to undo weeks or months of hard work by anyone encouraging aliyah.

Even worse, Lapid made his remarks at the 92nd St. Y in Manhattan, which The Jewish Press’ Lori Lowenthal Marcus has exposed time and time again for hosting outright anti-Zionists, as reported here, here and here.

Lapid was speaking at the annual meeting of the international Monetary Fund in New York and was interviewed by Charlie Rose, who asked him why Israel does not divide Jerusalem for a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

“It isn’t always possible to assume that everything is rational. Israel was founded as a refuge for the Jewish people, but today it isn’t a safe place. It is safer to be Jew in New York,” Lapid said.

To be fair, he continued, “I want to live in a country that is not just a place, but also an idea, and Jerusalem is the heart of the idea. There may be practical considerations, but a country cannot exist without an ethos, and Jerusalem is an ethos.

“I like Tel Aviv; I live in Tel Aviv, but our right of return is Jerusalem. We did not return after 2,000 years for Tel Aviv, but for Jerusalem. Jerusalem will not be divided. It will continue to be Israel’s capital.”

Two points for Zionism.

When Lapid said that Israel is not as safe as New York, it is difficult to know what he was referring to. Subways? Murder rate?

No doubt, he was thinking of terror. And how many people have been killed by terrorists in Jerusalem this year?

Zero.

And last year? Off hand, zero.

Have there been terrorist attacks? Yes, dozens if not hundreds. Rock throwing and firebombing are attacks carried out with the intent to murder. Lapid would be correct to say that more Jews in Israel are injured by rocks every year than they are in New York or ever the entire United States.

Let’s say they were attempted murders. And how many actual homicides were there in New York last year? If you answered 414, you were right, and that is 20 percent less than in 2011.

Israel recorded 159 murders in 2012, with a total population that is approximately 15 percent less than that of New York City.

Lapid, as usual, did not define what he meant by “safer.” He likes platitudes and slogans without content. That is how got elected.

But besides the question of whether he has his facts wrong, how could he make such a statement – that New York is safer then Israel – after berating Israelis in Berlin for leaving the homeland?

Lipid, visiting in Budapest, wrote on his Facebook page last week, “I am in Budapest. I came here to speak before parliament about anti-Semitism and to remind them how they tried to murder my father here just because Jews did not have a country of their own.

“So forgive me if I am a bit intolerant of people who are prepared to throw away the only country that the Jews have because Berlin is more comfortable.”

Lapid says Berlin is more comfortable than Israel. New York is safer.

By the way, Lapid emigrated to Los Angeles in 1997 to manage a TV production company

Here is a personal note to the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization that promotes aliyah to Israel: Don’t invite Yair Lapid.

Yad Vashem Cites Egyptian Doctor as Righteous Among the Nations

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Yad Vashem recently recognized Dr. Mohamed Helmy and Frieda Szturmann as Righteous Among the Nations, an honorary title bestowed by Yad Vashem on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Dr. Helmy, an Egyptian physician living in Berlin and Szturmann, a local German woman, worked together in the heart of Nazi Germany to help save a Jewish family during the height of the Holocaust.

Dr. Helmy is the first Egyptian to be recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem is currently searching for the rescuers’ next of kin to posthumously honor their relatives in a ceremony and present them with the certificate and medal of the Righteous.

Dr. Mohamed Helmy was born in Khartoum in 1901 to Egyptian parents. In 1922, Helmy went to Germany to study medicine and settled in Berlin., where, he went to work at the Robert Koch Institute.

According to Nazi racial theory, Dr. Helmy was not being of the Aryan race and was discriminated against.

Despite being targeted by the regime, Helmy spoke out against Nazi policies, and notwithstanding the great danger, risked his life by helping his Jewish friends.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yad-vashem-cites-egyptian-doctor-as-righteous-among-the-nations/2013/09/30/

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