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October 27, 2016 / 25 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Gestapo’

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.


‘Britain’s Schindler’ Dies at the Age of 106

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Nicholas Winton, known as “Britain’s Schindler” for his rescuing 669 Jewish children from the Holocaust, died in England on Wednesday at the age of 106.

He remained silent about his heroism in helping the children escape from Czechoslovakia until his wife found a scrapbook in the attic of their home in 1988. It included a record of names and pictures of the children whom he helped rescue and prompted an exposure of his heroism.

Winton discovered the situation of Jews in Czechoslovakia when he visited there at the behest of a friend in 1938. A stockbroker by trade, Winton bribed German officials and forged document to rescue children, despite the Gestapo’s being on his trail.

He returned to Britain a year later and continued to help rescue efforts by raising money and finding foster homes for more children whom two friends were still working to rescue from within Czechoslovakia. Queen Elizabeth granted Winton knighthood for his work.

The New York Times reported that among “Winton’s children” are film director Karel Reisz, who made “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” and “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” (1960); Lord Alfred Dubs, who became a member of Parliament; Joe Schlesinger, a Canadian broadcast correspondent; Hugo Marom, a founder of the Israeli Air Force; author Vera Gissing; and Renata Laxová, a geneticist who discovered the Neu-Laxová Syndrome, a congenital abnormality.
Winton’s wife died in 1999, and he is survived by two children and grandchildren.

Nicholas Winton was born on 19 May 1909 in Hampstead, London, a son of Barbara (née Wertheimer) and Rudolph Wertheim. His parents were German Jews who had moved to London two years earlier.The family name was Wertheim, but they changed it to Winton in an effort at integration. They also converted to Christianity, and Winton was baptized.

Jewish Press Staff

Boycotters Call Trips to Israel ‘Apartheid-Day Propaganda Tricks’

Friday, June 12th, 2015

South African anti-Israel groups have proven their agenda that freedom belongs to anyone who agrees with them but is a sin if anyone thinks differently.

Several groups , including the Young Communist League of South Africa and the youth wing of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party complained on Friday that the pro-Israel lobby is sponsoring trips to Israel. An e-mail from the groups stated Friday:

The Israeli lobby in South Africa is increasingly turning to old Apartheid-Day tricks to entice young South Africans and distract us from our solidarity with the Palestinian people and their progressive Israeli comrades.

The Israeli lobby is throwing free holiday propaganda trips and other gifts at young South Africans trying to undermine solidarity with the Palestinian people. One such holiday propaganda trip is planned for July 2015.

We view these holiday propaganda trips to Israel…as nothing more than ‘sanctions-busting propaganda trips.’

The statement singled out the South Africa Israel Forum, one of the organizers of trips to Israel, which it said were barred in 2012 from taking local mayors and officials to Israel.

“They now seem to be targeting students after having failed at a government level,” the groups said, obviously upset that private citizens are exposed to anyone having a different opinion.

Instead of countering with an argument, the Israeli boycotters are resorting to thought control.

A senior body of the ANC decided last December to “join the call for a cultural, academic and education boycott of Israel including travel bans for members and leaders of the ANC.”

The South African groups on Friday maintained that even a private citizen flying to Israel on a “holiday propaganda trip” is in “violation of the policies and positions of Palestinian civil society [who] call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.”

It sounded like the old Soviet Bolsheviks or the Gestapo with a stern warning:

Participation in these holiday propaganda trips to Israel, like participation in holiday propaganda trips to Apartheid South Africa, will be viewed as the crossing of a picket line, and will be met with disciplinary action….

As students and young people we should take it upon ourselves to look for un-biased opinions in order to avoid being misled by organizations geared towards spreading Israeli propaganda.

The funniest, if not saddest, line is:

The organizers of the holiday propaganda trips to Israel try to suggest, like Apartheid South Africa apologists used to claim in the 1980s, that the issue of Palestine-Israel is complicated. We maintain that the issue is simple: Israel must end its violations of international law and oppression of the Palestinian people.

The issue is so simple because it has nothing to do with reality.

It brings to mind a story of a widely-known South African woman, now deceased, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature and was part of the anti-Israel movement.

When she wanted to visit Israel for an arts festival, her colleagues berated her and rejected her argument that “she wanted to see things for herself.” Gordimer stood her ground, visited Israel and told Israeli author and leftist Amos Oz that she wanted to meet a “real-life settler.”

Oz called on me because I live near his home in Arad.

After hearing the “settler” telling her about Jewish-owned land in Judea, Gaza and Samaria, and after hearing about the largely false claims of “Palestinian ownership,” she concluded the conversation by stating:

I must say I am confused.

The South African boycotters are cordially invited to our house in the southern Hebron Hills, but I doubt if they are brave enough to hear a different opinion.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Haredi Rabbi Revealed Why Six Million Died

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The ultimate Jewish response to the Holocaust is summarized by the verse: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says God. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9), which Maimonides relies on in his Laws of Repent (5:5): “Man is incapable of perceiving the Creator’s ideas, as the prophet said, “for My thoughts are not your thoughts nor your ways My ways.”

Nevertheless, we accept the notion that God does not base His world on chance. The hand of God is involved in history. No one is claiming to be thinking God’s thoughts and conducting the divine bookkeeping, but we were brought up believing that troubles don’t befall a person by accident, even when they don’t understand it. Everything is a sign from Heaven, including the worst state of “hester panim,” the obscuring of God’s face, in total chaos, in the trampling of Jewish honor and the humiliation of the Torah of Israel.

It would be extremely difficult to suggest that the catastrophe that befell our entire nation – Ashkenazim and Sephardim; Eastern and Western Europeans and North Africans; Torah scholars, sworn heretics and the completely assimilated; Hasidim and Misnagdim; day old babies and the elderly; Capitalists and Communists; the educated and the ignorant – absolutely every strata of the nation – was an accident.

In extremely Haredi circles, those madmen who travel to Tehran to embrace the enemy Ahmajinedad, there are no doubts regarding God’s message: the Holocaust happened because of the creation and the existence of the Zionist movement, whose heavy sin is the breaking of the “three vows.”

According to tractate Ketubot 111a, when the Jews went into the second exile, in the year 70, three vows were taken by them and by God: the Jews would not conquer the land of Israel by force, they would not rebel against the nations of the world, and the non­Jews would not oppress the Jews too much (yoter midai).

That was the view of the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum (who, ironically enough, was saved from death in the Holocaust by Hungarian Zionist official Rudolph Kastner, who made a deal with a deputy of Adolf Eichmann)

In his book, “Va’Yoel Moshe,” Rabbi Teitelbaum argues that even if all the citizens of Israel were adhering to all the commandments, totally righteous, if all the government ministers wore shtreimlach, settling the land of Israel would still constitute the breaking of those vows.


It’s easy to write such delusional things when you’re sitting in New York City, which protects even the rights of crackpots. It was much harder to comment on the same topic from the darkness of a hiding place in an attic in Budapest, Hungary, while Nazi thugs were hunting down the last remaining hidden Jews of the city.

Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal (1885-1945), an extremist Haredi who was close to the Satmar circles, was watching the Gestapo hunters through a narrow crack in his hidden attic, and, through a spiritual and physical review of his terrifyingly lowly reality, reached a brave conclusion: it was the erroneous concept typical of his Haredi pals regarding the resettlement of Eretz Israel that had brought on us those cruel tortures and grotesque deaths.

Rabbi Teichtal began his rabbinic path with an adherence to the philosophy that was common to most Hungarian rabbis: everything new was forbidden by the Torah, including aliyah to Eretz Israel, and certainly coalescing with the secular Zionists to rebuild the land. But following the horrors his eyes had seen, he changed his views 180 degrees. After reexamining his own beliefs, he investigated the issues regarding resettling the land of Israel and natural redemption (“geula b’derech ha’teva), and reached the conclusion that the reason for the Holocaust was that the nation of Israel was called by God to ascend to Eretz Israel, but because it had fallen in love with life in the diaspora it turned its back on Eretz Israel.

He wrote his conclusions while in hiding in his dark attic in Budapest. His books were not with him, and so he had to cite from memory thousands of Torah sources supporting his new position. Unfortunately, the brutes finally reached him, too, and sent him to his death. He was murdered on a transport train during the final days of World War II. But his writing became the monumental, 500-page sefer Eim HaBanim Semeichah – Eretz Yisrael, Redemption and Unity.

He wrote:

The Purpose of our Affliction Is to Arouse Us to Return to Eretz Yisrael

…The sole purpose of all the afflictions that smite us in our exile is to arouse us to return to our Holy Land. This can be inferred from the story of King David and the plague. During the plague, God sent him Gad the prophet. And God came to david…and said to him, “Go up and establish an altar to the Lord” (II Samuel 24:18). The Misrash explains:

This can be likened to a father who beat his son, but the son did not know why he was being punished. After the beating, the father said, “For several days I have been commanding you to do something and you have ignored me. Now go and do it.” So, too, the thousands who fell at the time of David died only because they did not demand the building of the beit haMikdash. From this we can derive a kal vachomer (an a fortiori inference). If they, in whose days the Beit HaMikdash was neither built nor destroyed, were punished for not having demanded its construction; then we, in whose days the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed … certainly [deserve punishment], for we do not mourn nor supplicate (Midrash Tehillim 17).

Rashi on Hoshea (3:5) cites the following:

R. Shimon ben Menassiya said: “The Jewish people will not be shown a good sign until they once again request the kingdom of Heaven, the kingdom of the House of David, and the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash. It is thus written, Afterwards, the Children of Israel will return and seek out the Lord their God and David their king (Hoshea 3:5).

Behold, our desire to return to Eretz Israel encompasses these three elements. Firstly, “He who dwells in Eretz Israel is like one who has a God” (Ketubot 110b). Also, the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash will occur (with God’s help) when we assemble in Eretz Israel, as explained in Megillah 17b-18a. Afterwards, Mashiach, who represents the kingdom of the House of David, will arrive, as I will demonstrate in this volume. First and foremost, though, we must strive to return to Eretz Israel and then, with God’s help, we will attain these three objectives.

Rabbi Teichtal wrote his piercing words literally during the Holocaust. But he was preceded by many gedolim, who warned of the approaching Holocaust, years before it began. The great Meir Simcha Ha’Cohen of Dvinsk (1843–1926), author of the Ohr Somayach, ruled that the “three vows” were nullified by the San Remo Conference of 1920, empowering Great Britain to put into effect the 1917 Balfour Declaration to the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

The latter warned, 25 years before the Holocaust, that the day would come, in which “the Israelite [in diaspora] will forget his origins and be counted as citizen [of the world]… Will think that Berlin is Jerusalem… Then a stormy wind will come, uproot him and subject him before a faraway gentile nation.” (Meshech Chochma, Vayikra 26).

The nation of Israel preferred, sadly, life in diaspora over the promised land, and paid for it an unbearable price. This excessive affection for diaspora was expressed in this popular Jewish joke: One day a Jewish villager comes home and tells his wife that the Rabbi in shul was saying that when Moshiach comes, he will lead all the Jews to Eretz Israel. So his wife becomes very upset, asking what would they do with all their barnyard animals.

We’ll leave them to the Cossacks, says her husband.

Well, if God likes us so much, he should let us stay here and take the Cossacks to Eretz Israel, says his wife.

Much like those two fools, the nation of Israel chose to remain spread among the nations, for which we were sentenced to a reeducation camp the likes of which we will never forget.

Menachem Rahat

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/why-did-six-million-die/2013/04/07/

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