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May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust’

Berlin Won’t Name German Companies Involved in Syria’s C-Weapons Program

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Berlin steadfastly refuses to reveal the names of German companies who helped Syria develop its chemical weapons program according to a new report published this week by Der Spiegel. The information was made available in documents that were declassified after a 30 year embargo.

The list of firms involved in the program was handed over to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government coalition 16 months ago by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its “extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.” Last year the OPCW organized and helped destroy Syria’s chemical weapons – those that were uncovered, that is – together with experts from the United Nations.

But 16 months later, Merkel has done nothing with the list, saying that publicizing the names would “significantly impair foreign policy interests and thus the welfare of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

The Merkel government added that doing so would be similar to releasing “trade secrets” and therefore constitute a violation of Germany’s constitution.

According to a lengthy report in Der Spiegel, however, the government did not need the OPCW list to know that German firms were involved in the Syrian chemical weapons program.

Apparently the government-funded Institute for Contemporary History published an inventory dating back to 1984 including a government document with names of companies suspected of supplying the Syrian chemical weapons program.

The release may have been accidental; it was a memo regarding the Dec. 6, 1984 visit to a deupty section head in the German Foreign Ministry by then-Israeli Ambassador to Germany Yitzhak Ben-Ari.

The Israeli official brought with him “intelligence service findings” which showed that since the mid-1970s scientists had been working on producing chemical weapons for Syria, “disguised as agricultural and medical research.”

Included were the glass producer Schott, laboratory equipment producer Kolb, technology company Heraeus, the former Hoechst subsidiary Riedel-de-Haen, pharmaceutical company Merck and the company Gerrit van Delden.

The top secret program was being carried out in the chemistry department at the UNESCO-funded Centre d’Etudes et des Recherches Scientifiques in Damascus. A pilot facility was already built. Contracts were already signed for three production lines and Ben-Ari believed that within the year, Syria would have the capacity to produce 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) of sarin – enough to kill several million people.

On December 12, 1984, a representative of the U.S. State Department told the German Embassy in Washington that Karl Kolb GmbH & Co. KG, from the town of Dreiech in Hesse, had delivered “chemical research and production equipment for the manufacture of large quantities of nerve gas” to Iraq.

At that time, Dictator Saddam Hussein was busy building “the most modern chemical weapons factory of its time,” disguised as a pesticide factory, according to international experts who testified in 2004, Der Spiegel reports. Though only Kolb is mentioned in the files, it turns out that a related firm, Pilot Plant GmbH, delivered four facilities at a total cost of 7.5 million Deutsche marks.

American officials were trying to pressure then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher to force Kolb to withdraw its technicians and “via pressure on the company prevent Iraq from producing C-weapons.”

Germany’s long-standing love affair with chemical weapons was notorious: the Nazis had used hydrocyanic acid, manufactured by German chemical companies, to murder inmates in the death camps during the Holocaust. Millions died, including six million Jews.

As it turns out, Kohl and Genscher did indeed promise to curb the companies and issued orders to that effect. Foreign Ministry internal memos clearly showed the “minister places high value on a complete investigation” and demanded “assurances that nothing more will be delivered” to Samarra.

Today is a Fast Day and not ‘Happy New Year’ Day

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

The Fast of the 10th of Tevet is today, January 1, and Chief Rabbi David Lau has asked Jews all over the world to say the mourner’s Kaddish prayer in memory of Holocaust victims.

He emphasized that with the ever-closer eventuality of the death of Holocaust survivors 70 years after the end of the Nazi death machine, there are less relatives alive to recite the prayer.

The fast marks the day on which the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem began in the year 588 BCE, an event which eventually led to the destruction on the Temple 20 years later and the first exile from Israel.

The fast day, which is observed from slightly before sunrise to after sunset, is commemorated shortly after Hanukkah.

The Chief Rabbinate 64 years ago, declared that the 10th of Tevet also is “Holocaust Day” in memory of the Nazis’ victims whose date of death is unknown.

“According to Jewish Law, if the day of death is unknown, a relative chooses which day on which to say Kaddish.”

The government-mandated Holocaust Day is in Nissan, a month when Jewish law does not allow public eulogies. Israel’s secular media, along with foreign media, have a field day every year photographing Haredim who walk while others stand at attention when a siren sounds nationwide to mark Holocaust Day in Nissan.

Haredim also have a problem with the custom of standing at attention, which they consider a non-Jewish custom.

The same media fail to note that in the Hebrew month of Tevet, Haredim mark Holocaust Day, as well as fast, while most of the secular part of the country acts as if nothing happened, except for this year, when they also party without realizing that the day marks the circumcision of the same man in whose name millions of Jews have been massacred over the centuries.

Preserved Polish Synagogue to Become Jewish Museum

Monday, December 29th, 2014

The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland plans to open a new Jewish museum in a preserved baroque synagogue built in the 17th century in eastern Poland.

Great Synagogue in Leczna, in Lublin province, was mostly destroyed during and after World War II. In the 1950s and 1960s it was reconstructed, retaining the most important architectural elements of the former synagogue, including its wooden ceilings, the bimah and the Torah ark.

Since 1966, the synagogue has housed a regional museum, which has in its collection some valuable Judaica.

In 2013, the synagogue was transferred to Jewish community and was placed under the responsibility of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland.

The Foundation has proposed re-opening the museum in the building with a focus on the Jewish community of the town and plans to open the revamped museum in 2016.

It could become part of the Chassidic Route – the project implemented by the Foundation which traces the Jewish communities of southeastern Poland. The project has been joined by 28 communities.

 

Kindertransport Documentary Selected for Permanent Preservation

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Oscar-winner “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” has been selected for permanent preservation in the Library of Congress by the National Film Registry.

The film, released in 2000, documents the rescue of some 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Nazi-dominated Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia in the months leading up to World War II.

All of them found refuge in Great Britain, but many were scarred by separation from their parents, most of whom subsequently perished in the Holocaust.

Deborah Oppenheimer, producer of the documentary and herself the daughter of a survivor of Kindertransport, or Children’s Transport, said: “With the passing of so many eyewitnesses to that tumultuous period, the preservation of the film will recognize for all time the tremendous resilience of the children, the courage of their parents who were willing to entrust them to strangers, and the compassion of the British families who took them in at a time when so few would help.”

Mark Jonathan Harris, the film’s director, noted, “This recognition is a tribute to the character of our subjects as much as it is to our film. I know that those [survivors] who are still alive will be gratified that their wrenching stories will be preserved for generations to come and that others may be inspired by the courage and resilience they displayed in the face of harrowing circumstances.”

Each year, the Registry adds 25 feature films, documentaries and even home movies judged to be historically, culturally and aesthetically important enough to preserve for future generations.,

Steven Sotloff’s Parents to Light Public Menorah in His Memory

Monday, December 15th, 2014

The parents of Steven Sotloff, the Jewish journalist who was beheaded by a member of ISIS, will light a public menorah in Miami in his memory.

Arthur and Shirley Sotloff will light the first candle of Hanukkah Tuesday night at the Chabad center in Miami.

“Steve was a proud Jew who always enjoyed the holidays,” his father, Arthur Sotloff, told Chabad.org. “It was one of his defining characteristics.”

“Chanukah is a time we commemorate the vanquishing of our enemies who tried to deprive us of our right to live with Torah,” Arthur Sotloff said. “The Maccabees fought for Judaism, and Steve fought for the values they endowed us with.”

The directors of the Chabad center in Miami, Rabbi Yossi and Nechama Harlig, got to know the Sotloffs during the Shiva period for their son. They decided Hanukkah would be the appropriate time to honor the slain journalist “who sought to bring a little more light and truth to the world,” according to Chabad.org

Sotloff, who grew up in Miami, was abducted on Aug. 4, 2013, after crossing the Syrian border from Turkey. On Sept. 2, ISIS released a nearly three-minute video online titled “A Second Message to America” showing the beheading of Sotloff.

Sotloff published articles from Syria, Egypt and Libya in various publications, including Time.com, the World Affairs Journal and Foreign Policy. He also freelanced for The Jerusalem Post and the Jerusalem Report magazine.

It was revealed after his death that Sotloff, 31, held Israeli citizenship. His connections to Israel and the Jewish community reportedly had been sanitized from the Internet and social media in order to keep the information from his radical Islamic captors.

Sotloff, a grandson of Holocaust survivors, made aliyah in 2005.

His parents have established The 2Lives Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Foundation to provide scholarships for journalism students.

Canadian Professor Awarded Yad Vashem Book Prize

Monday, December 8th, 2014

 

Prof. Jan Grabowski of the University of Ottawa in Canada was awarded the 2014 Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research for his book memory of Holocaust survivor Abraham Meir Schwarzbaum and his family members who were murdered in the Holocaust.

His book “Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland” was published by the Indiana University Press and documents the involvement of the local Polish citizens in locating and killing Jews in their midst during the Holocaust. The book draws on materials from Polish, Jewish and German sources and focuses on accounts of the fates of individual Jews.

“When it was first published in Polish in 2011, Grabowski’s book was followed by a vigorous discussion in the mainstream Polish media, showing that his writing can effectively break through a purely academic canon and affect widespread social perceptions of this crucial chapter of Polish and Jewish history,” the judges wrote in their remarks.

“The craftsmanship of Grabowski’s study is exemplary and shows that a careful reading of archival material allows for the detailed reconstruction of personal life (and death) stories of Jews in hiding,” the judges wrote. “The committee found Jan Grabowski’s study groundbreaking and exemplary in its approach and methodology, in its analytical quality and in its contribution to the better understanding of the multi-facetedness of the Shoah.”

 

 

Fashion and Perfume Tycoon Chanel Exposed as Having Been Nazi Spy

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

A French television documentary has dug up World War II documents proving that fashion icon Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel spied on behalf of the Nazi regime’s Germany’s secret military intelligence organization, the Abwehr.

The documents from France’s Defense Ministry archives show that Chanel was known by the Germans as agent F-7124 and was given the code name of Westminster, a reference to the Duke of Westminster with whom she had a romantic affair in the 1920s, only one of her escapades.

“Chanel’s love affairs with high-ranking Nazis, including senior Gestapo officer of Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage, have been widely known for years. But this is the first time a French state broadcaster has admitted that she went so far as to spy for the occupiers,” France 24 reported.

During the Nazi occupation of France, Chanel moved into the hotel that the Luftwaffe used as its headquarters.

She also tried to use her influence to gain access to the perfume business that had been owned by Jews, who she did not know had sold it to non-Jews in an anticipation of Nazi laws forbidding Jews from owning businesses.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/fashion-and-perfume-tycoon-chanel-exposed-as-having-been-nazi-spy/2014/12/04/

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