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July 25, 2016 / 19 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Report: Germany Returned Nazi-Looted Art to the Nazis who Looted It

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Germany returned Nazi-looted art to the high-ranking Nazi families who stole it rather than to the families from whom it had been taken, according to a report by the London-based Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE), which says it has recently discovered this remarkable scandal that has been covered up by Germany for decades.

The family of the late Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus of Vienna, represented by CLAE, who are still trying to recover their 160 looted paintings, had good reason to think two of their paintings would be in the state-owned museum in Munich, the Bayerische Staatsgemaeldesammlungen (Bavarian State Paintings Collections). Records show they were handed over to Bavaria by the US government in 1952 for the purpose of restitution. To their shock, they found the paintings had instead been given by the Bavarian State in the early 1960s to Henriette Hoffmann-von Schirach, daughter of Hitler’s close friend and photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, and wife of the notorious Gauleiter of Vienna, Baldur von Schirach. Von Schirach was condemned at Nuremberg for crimes against humanity for the deportation of 60,000 Austrian Jews.

Bavarian State Paintings Collections

Bavarian State Paintings Collections

Gottlieb Kraus (1867-1952) and his wife Mathilde Kraus (1873-1954) were prominent members of Viennese society. Gottlieb Kraus was a businessman and honorary consul for Czechoslovakia in Austria. Beginning in the early years of the 20th century, he and his wife assembled a notable art collection of over 160 paintings, and their apartment was opened as a public museum to display it in 1923.

Gottlieb and Mathilde, together with their daughter Marie, fled Vienna soon after the Nazis took power in March 1938. Their flight took them via Prague, Brussels, England and Canada, before they were eventually able to settle in Washington DC. They discovered after the war that their entire collection left in Vienna had been seized by the Nazis in 1941, some selected for Hitler’s Linz Museum. Their daughter Marie made unsuccessful efforts over decades with both Germany and Austria to find and recover their possessions, but was blocked at every turn. These efforts were continued after her death in 1997 by the several grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Gottlieb and Mathilde.

The Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE), is an international, expert and non-profit representative body which negotiates policies and procedures with governments and cultural institutions and promotes the identification of looted cultural property and the tracing of its rightful owners. It represents families from all over the world, acting on their behalf to locate and recover their looted artworks. It has been instrumental in the return to its rightful owners of over 3,500 items of looted property since it was set up in 1999. It also provides a Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945 at www.lootedart.com to fulfil Washington Principle VI which called for the creation of such a repository of information.

Anne Webber, Co-Chair of CLAE, said CLAE’s research shows that in the 1950s and 1960s Henriette Hoffmann-von Schirach recovered scores of paintings from Bavaria. It seems that Bavaria thought restitution meant restitution to the Nazis rather than to their victims.

Among the high ranking Nazi families negotiating to get back art, some of it looted, were the Goering, Hoffmann, Bormann, von Schirach, Frank and Streicher families. In many cases they negotiated directly with the Director of the Bavarian State Museums and Ministers in the Bavarian government. While their demands were dealt with promptly and efficiently and with little requirement to prove their claims of ownership, the looted families had their claims thrown out or impossible hurdles were created to prevent them recovering their artworks. The families are still experiencing the same barriers to recovery of their looted works of art today.

One of the two Old Master paintings handed over to Mrs Hoffmann-von Schirach in 1962 in exchange for the paltry sum of 300 Deutsch Marks, was sold by her the following year for 16,100 Deutsch Marks to the Catholic Cathedral Association of Xanten in Germany’s North-Rhine Westphalia.

In July 2011, on behalf of the Kraus family, CLAE made a claim to Xanten for the painting, providing extensive proofs of its shocking history: looted by the Gestapo in Vienna in 1941 from the collection of Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus; acquired in Vienna with other paintings from the Kraus collection by Heinrich Hoffman through the good offices of his son-in-law Baldur von Schirach; found by the Allies at the end of the war; returned to Bavaria by the US with the restitution obligation; and then returned to Mrs Hoffmann-von Schirach in 1962 on the flimsiest of grounds.

Despite the Cathedral of Xanten publicly proclaiming its proud ‘anti-Nazi’ past, it seems this attitude does not extend to property stolen from Jewish families. In the five years that CLAE has been trying to achieve an amicable settlement, the Cathedral Association, of which the local Bishop is part, has not once acknowledged the historical injustice perpetrated on this family or the persecution it has suffered. It has provided no documentation of any kind, nor a single proof of evidence of a good faith purchase. It has locked away the painting and only and repeatedly denied settlement of the claim on the grounds that it must have “an index linked return on its investment” of 1963. The last settlement offer by CLAE was made in September 2015 when the family stated their wish that their claim be resolved by the end of October 2015. Anne Webber said there has only been silence from Xanten in the nine months since.

CLAE’s several requests for an explanation of the post-war ‘return-sales’ to the Nazi families, made to the Bavarian State Museums, the Bavarian State government and the German Foreign Ministry, met with equal lack of success, as did its requests for documentation. CLAE was told that there were only four documents consisting of five pages in total. CLAE embarked on its own research, uncovering hundreds of pages of records and the details of this scandalous history.

JNi.Media

Lone Gunman Attacks Theater in Germany

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

At least 20 people were injured Thursday when a gunman opened fire in a theater in Viernham, Germany, and then barricaded himself in the building, taking hostages while doing so.

Police moved fast to respond to the attack, shooting and killing the gunman after firing tear gas into the Viernham Cinema Complex.

Most of the injuries came as a result of the tear gas, sources said. The gunman was shot dead by police, Reuters reported.

Viernheim is about 40 miles south of Frankfurt.

Jewish Press News Briefs

German Jews Irate at Sale of Göring’s Silk Underpants

Friday, June 17th, 2016

The Central Council of Jews in Germany is protesting this weekend’s offering by the Hermann Historica auction house of Nazi memorabilia that includes Hermann Göring’s silk underpants. CCJG president Josef Schuster told DPA the idea of “making business, without any limits, with items of Hitler, Göring and Eva Braun” in the auction was “scandalous and disgusting.”

“Such items belong in museums or archives, they should not be sold for profit,” Schuster told DPA.

Titled “The John K. Lattimer Collection — Hitler and the Nazi Leaders — a unique insight into evil,” the auction, to be conducted this Saturday, “includes for the most part objects from the world-famous collection of John K. Lattimer,” who “as a young boy … started his collection with objects of naval and aviation interest and items relating to Native American culture. In later years he collected important historical objects associated with historical figures such as George Washington, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Lindbergh, John F. Kennedy etc.”

Talk about a brief history.

According to the auction house’s website, Dr. Lattimer served as a medical officer during the War Crimes Trials in Nuremberg, where he cared for the prisoners as well as members of the allied forces staff. His objective was to keep those accused of war crimes in good health for long enough to give them an irrefutably fair trial.

Then grab their intimate apparel.

Indeed, “some notable pieces of his collection originate from this period of his service. During this period he also made detailed observations on the men that he processed, which he later included in his book, ‘Hitler’s Fatal Sickness and other Secrets of the Nazi Leaders’ published in 1999 when he was Head Professor of Urology at Columbia University.”

Everyone would agree that Adolf Hitler was a stain on human history, but only an expert urologist can fully appreciate it.

German law prohibits the open display of Nazi memorabilia, but not their purchase or ownership by researchers, collectors, and folks who just wonder what it would be like to own the Reichsminister of Aviation’s silk shorts.

The auction also offers the brass container Göring used to kill himself with hydrogen cyanide just before his scheduled execution in Nuremberg in 1946.

According to the Hermann Historica website, “Also of historical importance are Hitler’s long black trousers whose pockets were leather lined so that he could carry a gun unobtrusively with him.”

Perhaps a lucky buyer could by both Hitler’s pants and Göring’s underpants for that complete Nazi experience.

JNi.Media

Report: German Culture Minister Backs Jewish Delegate For Art Restitution Commission

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Germany’s minister of culture says she supports the inclusion of a Jewish community member in Germany’s “Advisory Commission on the return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property” — better known as the Limbach Commission.

The committee is named after its chairperson, Prof. Dr. Jutta Limbach, the former head of the German Federal Constitutional Court.

Monika Grütters, Germany’s minister of culture, confirmed her support of a Jewish committee member to Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin, during a meeting last Tuesday at the offices of the Federal Chancellery of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The committee was established 13 years ago by the German federal government together with the German states and municipalities, with the purpose to act as an advisory body in disputes involving the restitution of cultural assets held by German institutions. Even though its resolutions are legally considered non-obligatory, it is viewed as a mediating and intermediary agent. Furthermore, the fact that the head of the committee is a former Federal Constitutional Court judge, along with the high public profile of the rest of the committee members, means that its resolutions are vested with high moral authority.

In recent years, a number of claims made to the committee received a large public and media exposure, which at times led to criticism regarding the committee’s work, with Jewish factors calling to consider adding a member of the Jewish community to the committee.

During her meeting with Rabbi Teichtal, Grütters stated that she views with the utmost importance, the efficient and open handling of restitution claims of cultural and artistic assets of holocaust survivors and their legal heirs. Grütters added that it is the duty of the German government including the ministry of culture, towards the holocaust survivors and their families. Therefore, she intends to positively consider adding a member of the Jewish community to the committee board in her forthcoming talks with the German states and municipalities, in order to boost the confidence in the committee’s work and its transparency.

Rabbi Teichtal thanked the minister for her commitment to the Jewish community in Germany in particular and towards the Holocaust survivors in General.

The rabbi added that minister Grütters is a true friend of the Jewish people and that if there are any arguments regarding certain issues, it is important to verify that they are handled in the way arguments should be handled between friends.

Hana Levi Julian

Cardinal Urging Christians to Convert ISIS Members, Regardless of Obvious Repercussions

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Roman Catholic Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, declared that the mission for Christians to bring other people to the faith includes militants like the Islamic State (ISIS) who are responsible for the highest persecution of Christian believers in the Middle East. Speaking last Sunday in Einsiedeln, Switzerland, the Cardinal argued that 80% of all the people who are persecuted for their faith around the world today are Christians, who are executed without regard to their denominational distinctions.

Cardinal Koch also advocated a thoughtful welcome of refugees knocking on Switzerland’s door. Incidentally, the Swiss have turned sheltering refugees from the Middle East into a lucrative business, as refugees arriving in Switzerland have had to turn over to the state any assets worth more than $1,000 to help pay for their upkeep. It also presents an ingenious pricing policy: whatever you have above a thousand bucks, please. But we digress.

Recalling the words of Tertullian, an emblematic figure of the Christian community in Carthage in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Cardinal Koch told his listeners on Sunday that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of new Christians.” Considering the state of affairs in ISIS controlled areas, this should make for lots of new Christian seeds. Indeed, Koch, formerly the bishop of Basel, Switzerland, suggested that more Christians are persecuted in the world today than they were in the Roman Empire in the first centuries of Christianity.

Since the start of the civil war in Syria, more than 2,000 members of the local Christian minority were killed, and tens of thousands have fled the fighting to seek refuge abroad. More than one hundred churches were damaged or completely destroyed, according to figures provided by AED.

Catholicism is not for the faint of heart, and not for folks seeking self-preservation, never mind a comfortable life. Cardinal Koch noted that while Christians are fleeing the war in the Middle East by the tens of thousands, local bishops have been pleading with them to stay, even at the cost of a swift martyrdom.

But the Church insists on the same disregard for its people’s safety once they have reached European shelters. Faced with the alarming news that about 40,000 Christian refugees are being harassed and threatened by Muslim refugees in shelters in Germany, Church officials have resisted calls to separate the refugees according to their faith. “There’s an educational job to do, it’s a long process to pass the values which are in force in our democracies,” Cardinal Koch said, pointing to the eventual peace that has been reached between Protestants and Catholics in Europe, arguing the bloody conflict between Sunnis and Shiites will inevitably be resolved equally peacefully.

Of course, it’s taken Catholics and Protestants a good six centuries or so to stop murdering each other, and in some parts of Europe and the US the smoke hasn’t yet cleared off of that one completely. But the cardinal is stoic as to the number of victims this approach to conflict resolution will surely exact.

Cardinal Koch told the Daily Telegraph: “We have a mission to convert Muslims to Christianity. We have a mission to convert the people of all the non-Christian religions [except] Judaism.” He also urged Christians to view Judaism as a “mother” – despite key differences between the two faiths – and said they have a unique relationship, unlike the third Abrahamic religion, Islam.

One of the most crucial distinctions in that regard has been that Jews rarely massacre your entire village for daring to invite them to mass.

JNi.Media

Israel Among Top Five Countries on WHO 2015 Life Expectancy Chart

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Only 22 countries around the globe have reached an average life expectancy at birth greater than 80 years, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory (GHO) data, which would suggest that if one is planning to retire abroad, one should consider those countries most seriously.

Life expectancy at birth reflects the overall mortality level of a population. It summarizes the mortality pattern that prevails across all age groups in a given year – children and adolescents, adults and the elderly. Global life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 71.4 years (73.8 years for females and 69.1 years for males), ranging from 60.0 years in the WHO African Region to 76.8 years in the WHO European Region, giving a ratio of 1.3 between the two regions. Women live longer than men all around the world. The gap in life expectancy between the sexes was 4.5 years in 1990 and had remained almost the same by 2015 (4.6).

Global average life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s. Those gains reverse declines during the 1990s, when life expectancy fell in Africa because of the AIDS epidemic, and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The 2000-2015 increase was greatest in the WHO African Region, where life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years, driven mainly by improvements in child survival, and expanded access to antiretrovirals for treatment of HIV.

As to the friendly global race of whose citizens get to live longer, the top countries are, in descending order: Japan – 83.7, Switzerland – 83.4, Singapore – 83.1, Italy – 82.7, and Israel – 82.5. The US did not make the 80+ club in 2015, with only 79.3 years’ life expectancy. Neither did the Russian Federation – 70.5.

Israel’s neighbors are definitely not ideal locations for retirement: Egypt – 70.9, Jordan – 74.1, Lebanon – 74.9, and Syria – 64.5 (if you’re lucky). Nigeria stands out with 54.5 life expectancy, along with Angola – 52.4, Burkina Faso – 59.9, Burundi – 59.6, Cameroon – 57.3, Central African Republic – 52.5, Chad – 53.1, Guinea – 59, and Guinea-Bissau – 58.9.

So, here is the list of world countries where you’ll get to grow older than 80, barring unexpected circumstances:

Japan – 83.7
Switzerland – 83.4
Singapore – 83.1
Italy – 82.7
Israel – 82.5
France – 82.4
Sweden – 82.4
Canada – 82.2
Luxembourg – 82
Netherlands – 81.9
Norway – 81.8
Malta – 81.7
New Zealand – 81.6
Austria – 81.5
Belgium – 81.1
Finland – 81.1
Germany – 81
Denmark – 80.6
Chile – 80.5
Cyprus – 80.5

JNi.Media

Islamist Killer Yelled ‘Allahu Akbar!’ in Attack Near Munich

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

A 50-year-old Wasserburg man was murdered and three others wounded, one seriously, after being stabbed at around 5 am local time Tuesday at a railway station in the suburb of Grafing, 25 miles southeast of central Munich.

Witnesses allege the attacker yelled “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Great! in Arabic) during the incident, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

The 27-year-old suspected attacker captured and arrested by German police shortly after “made remarks at the scene of the crime that indicate a political motive — apparently an Islamist motive,” said a spokesperson for the Bavarian prosecutors’ office who was quoted by The Guardian.

“We are still determining what the exact remarks were,” the spokesperson added. The railway station was cordoned off, leading to restrictions on the Munich S-Bahn rail network.

Germany is participating in the U.S.-led coalition fight against Da’esh (ISIS), which has methodically set about attacking targets in every country participating in the coalition air strikes against its bases in Syria.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/1-dead-in-attack-by-stabber-who-yelled-allahu-akbar-at-railway-station-near-munich/2016/05/10/

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