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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘German’

German Court Rules No Jail for Muslim Synagogue Arsonists

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The German court in the city of Wuppertal has upheld the 2015 decision of a lower court validating an attempt by three Muslim attackers who tried in 2014 to burn down a synagogue as a means of “drawing attention to the Gaza conflict” with Israel.

The attack took place on the anniversary of Kristallnacht – the night in which the Nazis hordes burned down more than 1,000 synagogues in Germany, including the original synagogue in Wuppertal, and killed nearly 100 Jews.

At the time of the attack, the 81-year-old former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Charlotte Knobloch, declared, “When synagogues burn, it is time for all leaders to ask, ‘What must we do to protect Jewish citizens!” She also demanded to know why other German citizens were not responding to the anti-Semitic outrages and instead were remaining silent – again – and added, “Whoever is silent now affirms what is happening!”

Several days prior to the firebombing, “Free Palestine” was sprayed in paint on the wall of the synagogue. The case was first reported by Jerusalem Post journalist Benjamin Weinthal.

The German regional court ruled that the actions of the three Muslim perpetrators were governed by “anti-Israelism” and not anti-Semitism. The judge declined to incarcerate the attackers.

Green Party MP Volker Beck protested the ruling, saying, “This is a decision as far as the motives of the perpetrators are concerned. What do Jews in Germany have to do with the Middle East conflict? Every bit as much as Christians, non-religious people or Muslims in Germany, namely, absolutely nothing. The ignorance of the judiciary toward anti-Semitism is for many Jews in Germany especially alarming.”

Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, expressed outrage at the verdict.

“It is unbelievable that attempts to burn a synagogue have been equated with displeasure of Israeli government policies,” said Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC. “This has now given a carte blanche to anti-Semites across Germany to attack Jews because a German court has given them a ready justification.

“This court decision equates to open season on Jews.”

The decision “can also lead to anarchy across Germany because it provides a legal justification for the targeting of any minority, religion and nationality on the basis of a conflict that they could be in some way connected to because of religious or national ties,” Kantor continued. “Is it possible that when Arabs are targeted by far-Right groups then it could be claimed they are reacting to the bloodshed and violence in the Arab world? That of course would be absurd, but like in many other areas, there appears to be a separate rule when it comes to Jews and anti-Semitism.

“In fact, it could be argued that this ruling as it singles out a different way of treating Jews has elements of anti-Semitism,” he said.

A new definition of anti-Semitism was agreed upon last May at a conference of the Berlin-based International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which Germany is a member of, and which stated that “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” is anti-Semitic.

Hana Levi Julian

German Frozen Pizza Maker Returns Painting Nazis Forced Jewish Owner to Sell

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Dr Oetker, a family owned German manufacturer of baking products, muesli and frozen pizza, says it will return a painting by Hans Thoma, Springtime in the Mountains, one of four panels by Thoma depicting the that used top belong to Jewish art collector Hedwig Ullmann, who was forced to sell it before leaving Germany in 1938.

Last October, Dr. Oetker announced it had discovered four works in the company art collection that have been stolen from Jews by the Nazis. The company added that it had contacted Ullmann’s heirs to discuss a settlement.

According to German media, the heirs did not know their painting’s whereabouts before Dr Oetker contacted them, saying they were going to return it “for moral reasons.” According to an official statement, the Dr. Oetker collection includes several hundred paintings, silver and porcelain, mostly acquired in the 1950s by billionaire Rudolf-August Oetker, owner of the private food company Oetker-Gruppe, who died in 2007. Back in 2015, the company assigned a provenance researcher to investigate its art collection, following a study of Dr. Oetker’s history during the Third Reich.

“This is an outstanding example of a private company doing the right thing regarding Nazi-looted art and sets a standard of best practice in this field,” David Rowland, the New York-based lawyer representing the Ullmann heirs, told The Art Newspaper.

In its October 2016 statement, Dr Oetker said that “the goal is to check whether works in the collection were originally owned by people who were persecuted by the Nazis,” promising to settle with the heirs if any of the works is identified as Nazi loot.


Polish Court Orders German TV to Apologize for Claiming Shared Responsibility for Auschwitz

Monday, December 26th, 2016

A Polish court of appeal last week ruled that German public television network ZDF must apologize on its website to Karold Tendera, a Polish Auschwitz survivor, for using the term “Polish death camps” to describe Auschwitz and Majdanek, the Polish Press Agency PPA reported.

Tendera sued over the promotion for a ZDF documentary about the liberation of Majdanek and Auschwitz in occupied Poland. In the promotional material on the zdf.de website, the channel used the expression “Polish death camps.” The description was changed after the Polish authorities had protested.

In August 2016, the Polish cabinet of Prime Minister Beata Szydło and her Law and Justice party approved legislation that would outlaw the use of the phrase “Polish death camps.” It was expected to pass by wide margins in the Parliament, also dominated by Law and Justice. Under the law, a person who uses a phrase such as “Polish death camp” may be sentenced to up to three years in prison. This also includes anyone claiming that the Polish people or state were responsible for the crimes of the Nazis or collaborated with them or with other crimes against humanity or committed war crimes.

Anyone minimizing the role of those “truly responsible” for these crimes, meaning Nazi Germany, would be subject to the same punishment.

The punishment would apply equally to Polish citizens and foreign nationals and would include anyone who violated the law unintentionally, meaning without intending to harm Poland’s reputation. The legislation would also apply to anyone who deliberately or mistakenly refers to the Auschwitz extermination camp, which Nazi Germany built on occupied Polish soil, as a “Polish camp.”

Yad Vashem criticized the Polish bill, warning that its approval in parliament would be considered Holocaust denial and a regression in Poland’s efforts to face its dark past.

Many Jewish Holocaust survivors who grew up in Poland remember the vast majority of Poles as Nazi collaborators who turned-in their Jewish neighbors en mass. They point out that in a country with some three million Jews, fewer than 10,000 Poles risked their lives to save Jews, while most Poles expressed their tacit approval to the rounding up and murdering of their Jewish neighbors, and numerous Poles aided the Nazis in identifying the Jews in their midst.

Many Jewish survivors suggest that the reason the Nazis picked Poland for their hellish death camps was because they expected that Poles, whose government had instituted anti-Semitic racial laws several years before the 1939 invasion, would be hospitable to the death camp enterprise.

In fact after the war had ended, there were reports of pogroms by Poles against Jewish survivors who had returned home from the camps.

Polish journalist Jerzy Haszczyński wrote that when the phrase appears in foreign media, it “insidiously suggests that our state and our people were responsible for German crimes,” but confessed he wasn’t sure whom the law targets. “Almost every use of the phrase that I can recall ended with a profuse apology,” he noted.

The ruling by the court in Kraków overturned part of a verdict by a lower court which last April found that ZDF had damaged Tendera’s dignity as well as his national identity, but cited the fact that ZDF had apologized to the plaintiff in a personal letter as reason to dismiss his complaint.


Anonymous Tip Helps Jewish Dealer’s Estate Recover Two Dutch Masters from German Auction

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

The Max Stern Foundation, overseeing Jewish art dealer Max Stern’s estate for his heirs, expects to take possession of two paintings by Dutch old masters Jan Porcellis and Willem Buytewech the Younger, The Art Newspaper reported Monday.

Stern was forced by the Nazi Chamber of Fine Arts in September 1937 to close his business, because all Jewish citizens had been forbidden from selling art. In November, Stern was forced to auction off a large segment of the Stern Gallery by order of the Nazi government. These artworks were sold in one of Germany’s oldest auction houses, Kunsthaus Lempertz. They went on the block by their lot number, Auktion 392. Not all the pieces were sold, and Stern placed those that remained in storage with shipping agent Josef Roggendorf. Roggendorf stored the artwork close to the Düsseldorf gallery, but eventually it was confiscated by the Nazis.

Jan Porcellis, Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea

Jan Porcellis, Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea

Stern then spent several years trying to track down his 28 confiscated paintings. He advertised in the German art magazine Die Weltkunst, offering a reward for any information pertaining to the location of his paintings. The works Musical Party by Dirck Hals and Landscape with Figures by Salomon van Ruysdael were eventually recovered with help from the Canadian government after the war. Last Judgment by Hieronymus Bosch was returned in 1954. Other works were never found.

Now an anonymous tip from an art trade informer alerted the foundation that Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea by Jan Porcellis (~1584-1632) was for sale at Auktionhaus Metz in Heidelberg. Also, Germany’s Federal Crime Office identified Landscape With Goats by Willem Buytewech the Younger (1625-70) which was advertised at Auktionshaus Stahl in Hamburg.

In both cases, the sellers agreed to return the works in “amicable discussions,” according to the foundation.

The Max Stern Foundation has announced that it is developing a program with the German Friends of Hebrew University, to compensate good-faith holders of Stern’s missing paintings. Under the new program, the foundation would issue holders who turn in Stern’s works a tax-deductible donor’s certificate stating their value, for tax purposes.

“There has been a recurrence of these works being consigned by individuals in good faith,” Clarence Epstein, Senior Director of Urban and Cultural Affairs at Concordia, told The Art Newspaper. “This solution means that they can get some relief despite having a problematic artwork.”


ThyssenKrupp AG, Maker of Israeli Submarines, Suffered ‘Massive’ Cyber Attack

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

ThyssenKrupp, one of Germany’s largest companies, announced it has been the target of a large-scale, sophisticated cyber attack. According to German business magazine Wirtschafts Woche, Martin Hölz, Chief Information Officer at ThyssenKrupp, stated the attack had originated in south-east Asia and resulted in the theft of company secrets.

“ThyssenKrupp has become the target of a massive cyber attack,” the industrial giant said in a statement.

ThyssenKrupp AG is based in Duisburg and Essen, Germany. The enormous corporation owns 670 companies worldwide. It is one of the world’s largest steel makers, but also provides components and systems for the automotive industry, elevators, escalators, material trading and industrial service.

In 2006 Israel signed a contract with ThyssenKrupp to purchase two additional submarines from its HDW subsidiary. In late 2016 reports emerged of negotiations for the purchase of three additional ThyssenKrupp built submarines.

The hacker managed to steal data from two business units at ThyssenKrupp before the attack was noticed and stopped. ThyssenKrupp has reported the attack to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, but the chances of bringing the hackers to justice are negligible.

ThyssenKrupp’s revelation came a week after the attack which hit a million routers, resulting in outages for Deutsche Telekom customers.

According to Wirtschafts Woche, the attacks hit Europe, India, Argentina and the United States in sites operated by ThyssenKrupp’s Industrial Solutions division, which builds large production plants.

The Hagen Hohenlimburg specialty steel mill in western Germany was also targeted.

David Israel

Hamburg Naming Streets after 17th Century Jewish Businesswoman, 21st Century Prostitute

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

The Hamburg municipality is planning to honor 17th-century Jewish businesswoman and diarist Glückel von Hameln (1646 – 1724), whose account of life provides scholars with an intimate picture of German Jewish communal life in the late 17th and early 18th century Jewish ghetto. Written in Yiddish, her diaries were originally intended for her descendants. The first part is actually a living will urging them to live ethical lives. It was only much later that historians discovered the diaries and began to appreciate her account of life at that time.

And speaking of an ethical life, the same Hamburg municipality will also honor with a street named after her a woman named Domenica Niehoff, who died in 2009, a prostitute who became famous in the 1980s by campaigning for sex workers’ rights. She also worked to help women struggling with drug addiction.

Altogether, Hamburg will name 10 streets in its Altona district after famous women, including German comic actress Helga Feddersen (1930 – 1990).

David Israel

German Police Raid 200 ISIS Cells in 10 States

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

German police on Tuesday morning carried out more than 200 raids against the “True Religion” Salafist group, Deutsche Welle reported. The raids took place in more than 200 homes and offices across 10 federal states.

According to Soeren Kern, Salafists make up only a fraction of the estimated five million Muslims in Germany, but authorities believe they attract impressionable young Muslims who are potential candidates for carrying out terrorist acts in the name of Islam. The Salafists, a movement that originated in Saudi Arabia, openly promote replacing German democracy with an Islamic government based on sharia law.

The Interior Ministry at 6:30 AM local time Tuesday confirmed the raids in a tweet, and announced a ban of the organization. Out of the 200 cells, 65 raids were carried out in the state of Hesse, 15 of them in Frankfurt.

Last week, German authorities arrested five men accused of aiding the Islamic State in Germany by recruiting members and providing financial and logistical help. The arrests were made in raids in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the northern state of Lower Saxony. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas called the arrests “an important blow to the extremist scene in Germany.”

Among those arrested a week ago was Ahmad Abdelaziz, an Iraqi citizen known as Abu Walaa, 32, a preacher who has been a leading figure of the Jihadi movement in Germany. Walaa has been at the center of a year- long investigation, which also yielded arrests in the city of Hildesheim in July 2016.

Abu Walaa’s arrest was likely based on information provided by a former ISIS fighter, Anil O., 22, who identified Walaa as Germany’s ISIS leader. The mass raids that followed on Tuesday most likely were based on information received through last week’s arrests.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/german-police-raid-200-isis-cells-in-10-states/2016/11/15/

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