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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

German Chancellor Tops Forbes’ 100 List

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been named the world’s most powerful woman by Forbes Magazine.

Merkel topped the magazine’s ‘100 Most Powerful Women in the World’ for the fourth year in a row.

Second on the list was Janet Yellen, chairperson of the American Federal Bank, followed by Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Neo-Nazi Parties Win Seats in 2 European Parliament Elections

Monday, May 26th, 2014

For the first time ever, neo-Nazi political parties have won seats in the Brussels-based European Parliament, according to the latest exit polls. The election took place yesterday (Sunday, May 25), just a day after three Jews were murdered and a fourth person seriously wounded in a terror attack at the city’s Jewish Museum.

Is it a surprise that one of the parties was located in Germany? But a second country also voted in neo-Nazis as well — and not so far from Israel, either.

The neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NDP) won one MEP (Member of the European Parliament) seat in yesterday’s European Union (EU) elections, coming in fourth with one percent of the vote in German polls. In the 1930s, Germany’s Nazi party was officially named the ‘National Socialists.’

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s pro-EU Christian Democratic Union party won 36 percent of Germany’s vote, followed by the Social Democrats, a center-left coalition partner with 27.5 percent. But in third place was the new “Alternative for Germany” with 6.5 percent of the nation’s vote, according to The Daily Mail. And the anti-EU AfD party was reported to have won as many as six MEPs; the party has advocated for ending the country’s use of the euro as currency.

However, Germany was not the only country that flipped to the right, by a long shot.

In Greece, for the first time the extreme-right neo-Nazi ‘Golden Dawn’ party won three seats, coming in third with nine percent of the vote. The anti-EU Syriza party also took the lion’s share of the vote, with 27 percent, an ominous sign, analysts said.

“Euroscepticism,” – a relatively new term – is criticism of the European Union and opposition to the process of political European integration – belief that integration weakens the nation state – and this trend ruled the elections on Sunday, as The Daily Mail pointed out.

In Italy, the anti-EU “Five Star” (M5S) movement, headed by ex-comedian Beppe Grillo, appeared to be headed for a close second place with 25 to 28 percent of the vote. First place was just a shave ahead by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi’s center left Democratic Party (PD) with 29.5 to 32.5 percent of the vote.

In France, Marine Le Pen made headline when her hardline French National Front party proved the most popular with a quarter of the vote, 11 percent ahead of the ruling Socialists. Le Pen called for new elections in France and labeled the EU Public Enemy Number One, saying it is “like the old Soviet Union – it can’t be improved.” In fact, President Francoise Hollande’s party came in third with 14.7 percent of the vote, following the center-right UMP, which garnered 20.3 percent.

In Sweden, the Feminist Initiative Party also won seats in the European Parliament for the first time, with around seven percent of the vote. However, so did far-right Sweden Democrats.

In Belgium, where election coverage competed with coverage of the terror attack at the Brussels Jewish Museum, Flemish separatists were the big winners in the parliamentary elections there. But it will be months before a new government is formed.

The center-right New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) has a third of the votes in Flanders, where 60 percent of Belgian residents live and where Dutch is spoken – this, after 80 percent of the votes are counted. N-VA leader Bart De Wever said he believes the king will grant him the right to attempt to form a coalition, but it will mean finding potential French-speaking allies. Due to the Belgian system, there are effectively two elections, each with at least parties in two languages – French and Dutch. At least two from each side will be needed to form a coalition.

Germany Cancels Gunboat Discount – Because of Peace Talks Breakdown and Obama

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Germany has decided to cancel a promised 30% discount on the price of the three or four gunboats Israel is expected to buy, according to a report in Ha’aretz.

The discount is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Chancellor Angela Merkel made the offer to Prime Minister Netanyahu in February, at a meeting between the German and Israeli cabinets in Jerusalem.

Merkel’s national security advisor Christoph Huesgen told Israel this week that the discount on the boats won’t be approved by the German parliament because of the breakdown in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Huesgen even denied the promise was even made in February.

The peace talks collapsed after the Palestinian Authority decided to merge with the Hamas terrorist organization.

Last week, during her visit to Israel, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice denied that US President Obama had asked Merkel to place pressure on Israel.

German officials said, according to the Ha’aretz report, “Merkel had taken note of Obama’s statements, but that these did not exert a decisive influence on her decision.”

The gunboats are needed to protect Israel’s offshore drilling stations from terror attacks.

Fight Over Long-Lost Holocaust Art Treasure Begins

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

A long-lost Monet and other art treasures stolen from Jews during the Holocaust have been discovered in the home of an 81-year-old German art collector, according to a report Wednesday on ORF Austrian state television.

The works by Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin were discovered last November in Munich among the household items that belong to Cornelius Gurlitt.

One Monet painting alone was estimated to be worth some $14 million (10 million euros). Gurlitt had squirreled away the priceless paintings in his Munich apartment for decades among nearly 1,300 works of art, according to Der Spiegel. More were found by customs officials hidden away in Gurlitt’s house in Salzburg, all stolen during the Nazi era. Hildebrand Gurlitt, his father, was known to have curried favor with the Nazis, Der Spiegel reported.

New York City resident David Toren is waiting for the German government to hand over at least one of those paintings. The octogenarian was a member of one of the last Kindertransports in August 1939 to save Jewish children from the Nazis before the gates to hell crashed shut.

Born in 1925, Toren made it to Sweden; his older brother ended up in Holland and then went on to England one day before the war began. Both of their parents ended their lives in the Nazi gas chambers.

But Toren, 88, is an attorney and the son of an art dealer who was also an attorney — and he is demanding the return of a painting that belonged to his father. The work, an oil painting by German impressionist Max Liebermann, is “Two Riders on the Beach.” It depicts two men riding horses on a beach along the foamy waves.

Toren’s father was arrested by the Gestapo the morning after Kristallnacht, and then asked to come with a Nazi general to his wealthy uncle’s home to finalize “sale” of one of his assets. Later in the day, relates Toren, his father was taken to Buchenwald concentration camp, where he was imprisoned for three weeks — the first time.

A letter by a government official dated in December 1939 documents the attempt by the Nazis to seize the art collection. “Subject: The securing of Jewish-owned art.” Among the works described was Liebermann’s painting – the artist, a “Jewish painter.”

Der Spiegel traced a carbon copy of a letter dated August 1942 showing a Breslau museum director involved in the appraisal and sale of Jewish collections for the Gestapo. In the letter, the museum director offered Hildebrand Gurlitt two Liebermann paintings in exchange for cash, one of which was “Two Riders on the Beach.” The other, “Basket Weavers,” also ended up in Gurlitt’s hands but later was auctioned off in Berlin.

Gurlitt’s lawyers are now demanding that Toren pay $415,890 (300,000 euros) for the return of his father’s painting.

In response, Toren’s son Peter, an attorney,  helped his father file a 19-page complaint demanding the Federal Republic of Germany, and by proxy the Free State of Bavaria, return the painting to Toren and his brother, its rightful inheritors.

The complaint, “David Toren, Plaintiff, v. Federal Republic of Germany and Free State of Bavaria” was filed Wednesday in Washington D.C.

Netanyahu Learns from Merkel How to Stay on Schedule

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Cabinet was “exceptional” because it was on schedule. Considering Israeli’s penchant for “on time” a synonym for running on a clock that does not keep time, that might be the most valuable result of the visit.

“We had a very enjoyable and productive dinner last night in which we covered a breadth of issues,” he said. “I must say that I learned quite a few things, including how to cut bureaucracy and streamline regulations, which is a revelation for me.”

The Prime Minister reiterated his oft-stated positions -  don’t trust Iran, Israel wants a two-state solution and insists on a demilitarized Palestinian Authority that must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

 

German Paper’s Caricature of Hook-Nosed Zuckerberg ‘Anti-Semitic’

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

A caricature of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has drawn charges of anti-Semitism against the artist and newspaper.

As a comment on Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, announced last week, artist Burkhard Mohr depicted the 29-year-old Jewish entrepreneur as an octopus grasping at computers around him. One of his tentacles holds the logo of Whatsapp. reaching, which he purchased last week.

With its exaggerated features, including a long nose and thick lips, the cartoon octopus resembles in more ways than one the cartoons published by the rabidly anti-Semitic Julius Streicher in his Nazi-era Der Stuermer magazine. The caption read, “’Krake Facebook’ – Facebook Octopus and Zuckerberg Octopus.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has protested the depiction, but Mohr denied harboring any anti-Semitic sentiments.

However, Mohr has replaced the caricature of Zuckerberg’s face with a gaping maw, and the newspaper tweeted on Monday, “We apologize for the cartoon.”

Zuckerberg was raised Jewish but now describes himself as an atheist.

Thessaloniki Jews Suing Germany in European Human Rights Court

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki is suing Germany for the return of a ransom paid during the Nazi occupation of Greece.

The papers were filed Friday in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, the community’s president, David Saltiel, told JTA.

The move to the European court comes after a struggle of two decades in Greek courts, including the Supreme Court, which ruled that Germany had immunity under international conventions.

“It is the end of a long process,” Saltiel said. “We have finished with the courts in Greece and now we hope that the Human Rights Court can help restore the ransom money that the Jewish community paid to Germany.”

The ransom was paid to free some 9,000 of Thessaloniki’s Jewish men, aged 18 to 45, from forced labor by the Germans, who took control of the city in 1942. The German civilian administrator of the Thessaloniki , Max Merten, demanded some 2.5 billion drachmas to release them.

“They were sick and dying and starving and working without food, so the community collected the money to pay,” said Saltiel.

In total, 1.9 billion drachmas, or nearly $69 million, was paid before the Germans began transporting Thessaloniki Jews to the death camps. More than 49,000 Jews out of the city’s prewar Jewish population of 55,000 were deported. Fewer than 2,000 survived.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/thessaloniki-jews-suing-germany-in-european-human-rights-court/2014/02/24/

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