web analytics
June 30, 2016 / 24 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Berlin’

Nazi Policy and Black Victims—Before, During, and After the Holocaust—from Africa to Berlin to North Carolina

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

In recent years, too many in the African American community have expressed a disconnect to Holocaust topics, seeing the genocide of Jews as someone else’s nightmare. After all, African Americans are still struggling to achieve general recognition of the barbarity of the Middle Passage, the inhumanity of slavery, the oppression of Jim Crow, and the battle for modern civil rights. For many in that community, the murder of six million Jews and millions of other Europeans happened to other minorities in a faraway place where they had no involvement.

However, a deeper look shows that proto-Nazi ideology before the Third Reich, the wide net of Nazi-era policy, and Hitler’s post-war legacy deeply impacted Africans, Afro-Germans, and African Americans throughout the twentieth century. America’s Black community has a mighty stake in this topic. Understanding the German Reich and the Holocaust is important for Blacks just as it is for other communities, including Roma, eastern Europeans, people with disabilities, the gay community, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many other groups in addition to Jews. The dots are well known to many scholars—but rarely connected to form a distinct historical nexus for either the Holocaust or the African American communities. This is understandable. The saga behind these connections started decades before the Third Reich came into existence, in a savage episode on another continent that targeted a completely different racial and ethnic group for death and destruction.

But the horrors visited on another defenseless group endured and became a template for the Final Solution. Students of the Holocaust are accustomed to looking backward long before the Third Reich and long after the demise of the Nazi war machine. African Americans should do the same.

It all begins the oft-overlooked first genocide of the twentieth century, Germany’s deliberate extermination in 1904 of the Herrero and Nama tribespeople in colonial Southwest Africa, now known as Namibia. The atrocities included explicit extermination orders, mass shootings, bonfires immolating wounded or starving Africans, the wearing of identification numbers, and organized transport in cattle cars to concentration camps. One of these camps, Shark Island, was considered a “death by labor” camp. In its campaign against the Africans, the German authorities introduced several words and concepts: Konzentrationslager or concentration camp, untermenschen or subhumans, Mischlinge or mixed race and anti-race mixing laws.

Many of the veterans of Germany’s Southwest Africa extermination campaign went on to become key Nazi activists or otherwise inspired major figures in the Third Reich. For example, Hermann Goering idolized his father, Heinrich, for his role as governor of Southwest Africa. Goering’s 1939 official Nazi biography records reveal that the young Goering “was even more thrilled by his [father’s] accounts of his pioneer work as Reichskommissar for South-West Africa … and his fights with the Herero.” Years later, Goering swore under oath that of the leading “points which are significant with relation to my later development,” he counted among the top four as “the position of my father as first Governor of Southwest Africa.”

In the 1920’s, former colonial Trooper Franz Ritter von Epp went on to hire Adolf Hitler, fund the purchase of the Nazi newspaper Völkische Beobachter, and, with Ernst Röhm, helped found the Storm Troopers. The Storm Troopers even adopted the desert sand-colored brown shirt uniforms worn by the troops deployed in Africa.

After the Treaty of Versailles stripped Germany of its African colonies, German citizens were shocked to see African soldiers patrolling their streets. It is not widely known that when France occupied post-Great War Germany, it deployed 20,000 to 40,000 colonial African troops. The Germans reacted with a bitter national protest movement, imbued with sexual imagery, called “Black Shame on the Rhine.” When a generation of Afro-Germans arose, denigrated by Hitler and the Nazis as “Rhineland Bastards,” they were among the first to be forcibly sterilized.

When the Nazis came to power, like throngs of other loyal Germans, some Afro-Germans tried to join the Nazi Party. Hans Massaquoi, son of a Liberian diplomat and a German woman, was among those who wanted to sign up with his local branch of the Hitler Youth, just like the rest of his schoolmates. Young Hans was astonished to discover that the 1935 Nuremburg Laws, defining German blood and racial status, applied to him—denying him admittance. His teacher reluctantly told him that joining the Hitler Youth was now impossible. “But I am German,” implored Hans, “my Mother says I’m German just like anybody else.” Nearly hysterical, he pressured his incredulous mother to take him to the nearest Hitler Youth recruitment home, where he was roundly told to leave.

From that moment on, Massaquoi learned to live with the twin fears that the Gestapo would knock on his door or that Allied bombs would rain down on the roof. After the war, Massaquoi was able to emigrate to the United States, where he became a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. Later, Hans became a marcher alongside Martin Luther King in Chicago. In Chicago, he took a job with Jet Magazine and then Ebony, where he rose to become the managing editor.

Ironically, African Americans were impacted beneficially by Nazi policy again in the thirties when refugee Jewish professors, ousted from their posts in Germany, immigrated to the United States. Some 50 such refugees accepted teaching positions in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, helping to mentor the generation that fought the civil rights struggle. Among the students who credit the inspiration of German-Jewish professors is Joyce Ladner, who went on to organize civil rights protests with Medgar Evers and who would later rise to the leadership of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] and the Congress on Racial Equality [CORE]. Ladner’s mentor was Ernst Borinski, a Jewish sociologist who arrived from Germany in 1938 and eventually taught at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. Others include Dr. Joycelyn Elders, who went from being mentored by a German-Jewish professor to a distinguished career in medicine. In 1993, she became Surgeon General of the United States. “The German-Jewish professors had a tremendous impact on young blacks in the South,” summed up African-American attorney Jim McWilliams, who attended Talladega College.

In the forties, when African American soldiers were deployed to Europe, Nazi soldiers who encountered them treated them mercilessly, often committing massacres and war crimes against POWs.

After the fall of Berlin, returning African American soldiers discovered Nazi racial policy was in force in some 27 U.S. states that had adopted forced sterilization laws based on corrupt German eugenic pseudoscience. Ironically, this race science had been nurtured in America first and then transplanted to Germany. In American state after state, eugenic boards quoted Nazi race theory and statutes as justification to sterilize Blacks, and even confine them in camps as a social protective measure. In Connecticut, one state program even sought to implement Nazi-style race-based expulsions and organized euthanasia of those deemed unworthy of life.

We have only begun to chart the impact of German policy on those of African descent. More would be known, but such research remains almost completely unfunded and indeed unsupported. However, this much is certain: all misery bleeds the same color blood. Any man’s persecution should inspire everyman’s crusade.

Edwin Black

Diplomatic Sources Say Israeli Ties With Germany Are Strong

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Ties between Israel and Germany are strong, according to diplomatic sources in Jerusalaem.

The comment comes in response to a report in Der Spiegel that Germany is increasingly frustrated with the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The magazine wrote a piece claiming that Berlin was upset over an article in Israel HaYom that discussed bilateral relations and the two-state solution.

Ties are quite strong, however, and the source speculated the piece in Der Spiegel may have been linked to internal political dealings within Germany.

Jewish Press News Briefs

90-Yr-Old New Yorker Suing Art Dealer for Info on Paintings Stolen by Nazis

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Attorney David Toren, 90, is asking courts in the State of New York to help him win back two valuable works of art stolen by the Nazis.

Recently Toren found out that the son of Hitler’s favorite art dealer, Cornelius Gurlitt, had for decades owned three of the paintings owned by his family. The story came out when German authorities raided Gurlitt’s Munich apartment in 2013. There they found a $1.3 billion art collection he had been selling off, piece by piece, whenever he needed income.

One of the paintings was Two Riders on the Beach, by Max Liebermann.

Now Toren is searching for two others: Liebermann’s Basket Weavers and Nach House, painted by Franz Skarbiner.

The paintings, worth an estimated $5 million, were stolen from the Breslau mansion of his great uncle, industrialist David Friedmann, during World War II.

Friedmann’s entire collection of 54 pieces of museum quality art in that home was seized by Nazis as they stripped the Jews of everything they owned, selling it to finance the war.

Attorneys for Toren have petitioned the court to order Berlin-based art dealer Villa Grisebach Auctions, Inc., which has a branch in Manhattan, to open its books and reveal the buyer of the two paintings.

Nach House was sold in 1995 and Basket Weavers was sold in 2000, but the court papers indicate the art dealer refused to identify the buyers, citing client confidentiality.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Institutions in Berlin Targeted for Terror by ISIS-Inspired Germans

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Two German-born men of Palestinian Arab descent were charged in Germany with planning to attack either Israel’s embassy or another Israeli institution, according to Benjamin Weinthal, writing in the Jerusalem Post.

The two men are believed to have “been animated” by Islamic State (ISIS), according to Tobiah Kaehni, the spokesperson for Berlin’s Criminal Court.

The two 21-year-old men, identified as Mohamed El-N. and Ali El-I., are charged with “planning a massive act of violence.”

Both men were inspired by internet stories about ISIS, and assembled munitions similar to those used in terrorist attacks in Tunis. ISIS attacked a Tunisian resort hotel in June. Ali Al-I. had ISIS propaganda on his cell phone.

The state prosecutor, who opened his case against the two men on Tuesday, said Ali Al-I. was “determined to detonate explosives targeting Israel’s embassy or another Israeli institution,” Weinthal reported.

Despite the fascination with ISIS and patterning their explosives and attacks on ISIS attacks, the men did not have contact with the Middle East or contact to Salafist circles in Berlin, according to information known thus far.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Berlin’s Newest Kosher Supermarket Ignores EU Anti-Israel Orders

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Germany’s answer to the European Union’s order to label “Green Line” goods was to allow the nation’s biggest kosher supermarket, Daily Markt, to open in Berlin.

In the heart of the nation where Jews once feared to tread, one can shop “blue-and-white” – and find quite a few products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.

The initiative comes as a joint effort by German business owner Asan Mytev – who is not Jewish – along with several Jewish entrepreneurs and the assistance of Berlin Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal.

Located in the Chartlottenburg district, the store stocks only kosher items – a boon for those who until now have had to really search for such products.

“We will not be deterred by the security situation,” said Evgeny Bort, co-partner and store manager. “It doesn’t scare us and we don’t linger on it or pay attention to it. We cannot let terrorism stop us and interfere with our lives.”

Rabbi Teichtal likewise noted, “Although in the past our people have faced very difficult times in Europe in general and in Germany in particular, the necessary arrangements for maintaining Jewish life were always made. Although the situation today is quite different, we are still facing security challenges – but they do not discourage us.

“The new supermarket is another addition to the current line of Jewish institutions in the Berlin community which together enable us to maintain a full Jewish life in the city. As observant Jews we see this not only as a duty but also as a privilege.”

Bort acknowledged that some customers were critical of the decision to stock Israeli items, but dismissed the feedback.

“We have many customers who respond negatively … We tell them that this is none of our concern and that we are here to assist all those who wish to shop for kosher products but find the task to be very difficult.”

Why would a non-Jew want to open such a store? Mytev explained, “Until now, anyone who wanted to buy kosher products was forced to visit several different stores in order to find them all… In fact, for all of those customers who wish to buy only kosher products, the seemingly simple task of grocery shopping is actually a very difficult one.

“The Daily Markt provides them with a solution to this problem, enabling them to buy all kinds of kosher products under one roof.”

Due to the size of the business, the partners say they can also afford to offer “decent prices” despite the cost of imports.

“We have decided to sell everything here and to import goods from all over the world – from Europe, the U.S. and also from Israel,” explained Bort.

Surprisingly, almost half of the store’s non-Jewish clientele shop there “because of our affordable prices, regardless of the kosher issue… Also a large number of our non-Jewish customers come here because of our ‘parve’ products, which are known to be lactose-free.

“Like in the United States, the local population in Germany is also starting to realize that kosher is a standard for high-quality and healthy products.”

Hana Levi Julian

Berlin Rabbi Approves Relocation of Jewish Woman’s Remains

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Love knows no bounds, and in some cases it knows no distance either.

Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, rabbi of the Jewish community of Berlin, Germany, last week authorized the exceptional transfer of a grave from the local community cemetery to Chicago, in the United States.

The grave belongs to a woman who arrived in Berlin with her family from Lithuania in the German city in 1937 while still in transit, at age 67. After she was laid to rest, her family paid their respects but then continuted to the United States where they eventually settled. It was her grandchildren requested their grandmother’s body be transferred to join them, and the body of her husband, in the cemetery in Chicago, explained Rabbi Teichtal.

In an exceptional Halachic ruling on Jewish law, the rabbi states that according the Halacha, usually the Torah forbids the relocation of a grave, even for a more honorable location.

Nevertheless, he added, in the case of reuniting family members, it is allowed by all adjudicators in light of what is written in the book of “Shulchan Aruch”: ‘It is the finest of pleasantries for a man to be buried alongside the bones of his forefathers.’

“In our case we have the grave of both a spouse and a family member. In light of that and after consultations with other major rabbis, I have come to the conclusion: ‘In light of the fact that it is the will of the deceased’s family members to re-bury her in Chicago alongside her husband and family, I will specifically allow it”, wrote Rabbi Teichtal.

In light of this halachic ruling, tritish authorities said this week the coffin was excavated last Wednesday from the burial ground at the Jewish community cemetary in Berlin, under the supervision of Rabbi Teichtal and was flown to Chicago, where a second funeral for the woman took place, 78 years after her death.

Hana Levi Julian

US Secy of State Kerry: ‘Critical to Stop the Incitement, Stop the Violence’

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made a strong statement Thursday condemning the wave of terror that has left 10 Israelis dead and more than 112 wounded since October 1.

Kerry and Netanyahu met together in Berlin along with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

In remarks at a news conference prior to their meeting, Israel’s prime minister first thanked the Secretary and the United States “for condemning the terrorist attacks against Israel, for standing up for Israel’s right of self-defense, and also for standing up for Israel in UNESCO. All of that is deeply appreciated.”

Netanyahu then went on to point out that, “Yesterday was a tough day. We had four terrorist attacks. This morning began – we had an attack in which two terrorists tried to murder a bus full of school children. There is no question that this wave of attacks is driven directly by incitement – incitement from Hamas, incitement from the Islamist movement in Islam, and incitement, I am sorry to say, from President [Mahmoud] Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

“We have to stop the terrorism. To stop the terrorism, we have to stop the incitement,” Netanyahu pointed out. “I think it’s time that the international community told President Abbas to stop the incitement and hold him accountable for his words and his deeds,” he said. “We have to stop the incitement, we have to stop the violence,” Kerry agreed. “I think it’s critical.

“Obviously, this conversation that you and I will have is very important to settle on the steps that will be taken that take us beyond the condemnation and beyond the rhetoric.”

Clearly referring to public Arabic-language speeches by Abbas showing that he is full agreement with other Arab terrorists committed to the murder of Israelis, Kerry said, “It is absolutely critical to end all incitement and all violence, and to find a road forward to build the possibility that is not there today for a larger process.”

The U.S. leader nevertheless added that he still believes there is a chance to dial back the clock and still create a ‘two-state solution.’

“We have been at this, we know each other well. I believe we have the ability to make a difference, and that’s what I came here to do,” he said. “And I hope, in this conversation, we can make progress.

“I talked with King Abdullah (of Jordan) yesterday. I have talked with President [Mahmoud] Abbas. I believe people want this to de-escalate,” Kerry insisted.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-secy-of-state-kerry-critical-to-stop-the-incitement-stop-the-violence/2015/10/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: