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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘nazi’

Hungarian Jewish Leaders Accuse Government of Minimizing Holocaust

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Hungarian Jewish leaders demanded the resignation of a key government appointee and threatened to boycott government-sponsored events marking the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary.

In an unusually strong statement posted Sunday on its website, the leadership of Mazsihisz, the official Hungarian Jewish umbrella organization, said they were “aghast and find incomprehensible” the “relativization of the Holocaust” by a new historical institute called Veritas, which the government established in November.

Mazsihisz demanded the resignation of Veritas Director Sandor Szakaly, who in a recent interview called the 1941 deportation of Jews to Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine “a police action against aliens.” In July and August 1941, about 18,000 foreign-born Jews who had sought refuge in Hungary at the outbreak of World War II were rounded up and deported to German-held territory in what is now Ukraine. Most of them were among the more than 23,000 Jews murdered by the Nazis at Kamenets-Podolsk at the end of August 1941.

“After the failure of [Szakaly’s] past efforts at falsifying history, we expect him to resign from his position,” the statement said.

Hungary’s conservative government, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has designated 2014 as Holocaust Memorial Year, with a series of events and initiatives planned.

The Mazsihisz statement urged politicians not to use the Holocaust anniversary as a political tool in the run-up to elections this spring, and asked “all concerned” to refrain from “rewriting our past.”

The statement also said: “If the government of Hungary is serious about facing the true history of the Holocaust, it should immediately put an end to the disrespectful behavior that is ruinous for the credibility of the memorial year of 2014.”

The statement added that Mazsihisz is “seriously contemplating refraining from participation in the events of the Holocaust Year” because of Szakaly’s statements and several other issues. These include “the lack of information about the ideology” of a new government-sponsored Holocaust memorial center and museum slated to open in April; the plans to erect a monument to the German occupation of Hungary; what it said was the “falsification of history” in a series of broadcasts on Hungarian Radio, and recent attempts to rehabilitate the memory of Hungary’s World War II leader Miklos Horthy.

Knesset Bill Proposed to Outlaw Nazi Slogans

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

The Knesset easily passed on preliminary reading on Wednesday a bill that would make it illegal to use the word Nazi and Nazi symbols, but Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said the measure violates freedom of speech.

Only 19 Knesset Members voted against the bill, sponsored by Likud Knesset Member Shimon Ohayon, with 44 in favor, but the preliminary passage does not necessarily indicate the fate of the bill, which might end up being buried in a committee. If it reaches the Knesset floor again, the bill needs approval on second and third readings before becoming law.

Several European countries ban the swastika and other Nazi symbols. The Israeli version would mean that even saying that Hitler is a Nazi or comparing former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Hitler could be grounds for arrest, argued Hadash MK Dov Khenin. However, the bill specifically prohibits the use of the word “Nazi” to cases where there is no intention of education, documentation, academic study or reference to history.

The bill would make it a crime to call someone a Nazi or of trying to achieve the aims of Nazis.

Weinstein wrote in his opinion that while there is no question that it the improper use of Nazi symbols is disgusting, that does not mean that everything that offends the public should be a criminal offense.

Ohayon said on Israeli radio that existing laws in Israel concerning the misuse of Nazi symbols are not as strict as many in Europe. Violators would be subject to a fine of nearly $30,000.

Polish Prosecutors Clear Auschwitz Soccer Chanters

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Several Jewish organizations have criticized a Polish prosecutor’s decision not to try soccer fans who chanted about Jews and Auschwitz.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office of Poznan in central Poland said last week that no charges would be brought against the fans because they did not mean to offend Jews when they chanted the slogans, according to the Glos Wielkopolski daily.

The spokesperson, Magdalena Mazur-Prus, was referring to chants at a match in September between the Lech Poznań team and Widzew, a club from the city of Lodz whose population was one-third Jewish before the Holocaust.

The Poznan fans shouted to the Lodz fans: “You belong in Auschwitz,” “ride on, Jews,” and “into the ovens,” according to the daily. It also reported the Poznan fans shouted: “Go to the gas, RTS,” an acronym which refers to the team from Lodz.

But the Poznan prosecutor’s office decided to drop charges because the chants were directed at fans, not Jews, and therefore were not intended as incitement to racial hatred, according to Mazur-Prus. “Of course, such cries are reprehensible and unacceptable, but not every wrongful conduct is a crime,” she said.

In a statement Tuesday, the president of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor said that he was appalled by the decision.

“Unfortunately, extreme anti-Semitic chants like those in Poznan are regularly heard in many European stadiums, including in England and Holland, and the reaction of the authorities is minimal,” Kantor said, adding that this case and others “demonstrate that anti-Semitism has become the last acceptable prejudice in football.”

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, urged the Polish government to intervene and overturn the municipal prosecutor’s decision.

Nazi-Era Soccer Program with Swastika Up for Auction

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Nazi lovers and sports fans now have chance to add a Nazi-era soccer poster, complete with a swastika, to their collections.

A Nazi-era poster of soccer game between Ireland and Germany, represented by a picture of a swastika, is going on sale at an auction in Dublin.The poster is expected to bring in up to $800.

“This is the second time we’ve offered these,” he said. “We sold them in 2010 to a man, but he has since died, and his son is selling them on,” said Ian Whyte, of Whytes auctioneers.

Likely bidders, he said, are sports fans and those interested in European history.

He didn’t mention that lots of neo-Nazis also are interested in beefing up their collection of hate.

“It’s quite chilling to see,” he said about the swastika. “In the past a similar program fetched up to £800 [$1,300]“

French Police Search for Merah Fan over Quenelle Photos

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

French police are searching for an unidentified man who performed an anti-Semitic gesture at three locales connected to the murder of Jews.

A photo of the suspect surfaced last week online in which he performed the quenelle, a quasi-Nazi salute, in front of the Toulouse school where the Muslim extremist Mohammed Merah murdered four Jews in 2012.

The same man was seen performing the quenelle outside the former residence of Merah, who was killed during a shootout with French police, according to research done by the French Jewish news site JSSnews.com. He also posed while performing the quenelle near a monument commemorating the Holocaust in Paris.

The quenelle is the name given to the gesture of placing one’s left palm on one’s right shoulder by its inventor, comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who has been convicted several times for inciting hatred against Jews and who is facing an eighth trial for suggesting a French Jewish journalist belonged in a gas chamber.

It is widely seen as echoing the Nazi salute but is too vague to violate France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols. In recent months, the quenelle’s popularity has soared in France, with several celebrities performing it on national media.

On Tuesday, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls – who last week said he would seek a ban on public performances by Dieudonne — indicated for the first time he may also seek a ban on the gesture, which he said is a form of incitement to hatred despite claims that it is merely anti-establishment rather than anti-Semitic.

Artwork in German Parliament May Have Been Nazi-Looted

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Two artworks hanging in Germany’s parliament building in Berlin may have been confiscated or acquired at artificially depressed prices by the Nazis from the original owners, German newspapers reported.

The Die Welt newspaper suggested that one of the works coincidentally stems from a gallery owned by an uncle of Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazi-era dealer whose huge collection was discovered in the Munich apartment of his elderly son, Cornelius Gurlitt, in 2012 and revealed to the world two months ago.

The Bundestag has responded in a statement that it is looking into the matter. Meanwhile, Die Welt said the Bundestag’s eight-member art advisory council – which includes the German president – already had determined that neither work was so-called “Raubkunst,” art plundered from occupied countries.

The two works in question reportedly are a large-format 1905 oil painting by Georg Waltenberger titled “Chancellor Bülow speaks in the Reichstag,” and a 1918 Lovis Corinth lithograph, “A street in Königsberg.” While the former is hanging in a hallway, the latter is kept out of natural light.

Die Welt reported that the lithograph was printed by the Berlin gallery of Fritz Gurlitt, an uncle of collector Hildebrand Gurlitt.

Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Bild newspaper that the Bundestag should make its collection public and assist investigators in reconnecting possible heirs with long-lost property. Over the years, the Bundestag has returned several works to heirs.

Of the 4,000 works in the German parliament’s collection, about 700 are said to date from before the end of World War II.

NBA’s Tony Parker Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Salute

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

National Basketball Association star Tony Parker has apologized for performing an anti-Semitic salute after a three-year-old photo was published in the French media.

The photo shows Parker, who was born in Belgium and is French by nationality, performing the quenelle salute earlier this year standing next to the gesture’s founder, anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne Mlaba Mlaba, backstage at a theatre in France.

The quenelle is a quasi-Nazi salute designed to circumvent France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League had called on Parker, who plays point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, to apologize for performing the salute.

“While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it,” Parker said in a statement released late Monday by Parker’s team, the San Antonio Spurs.

“When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act, and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful. Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions,” Parker said in the statement.

The ADL praised Parker’s apology. “We call on those who have posed with the quenelle to follow Parker’s lead and stop using it. Responsible public figures should condemn those who use a gesture which was created to express anti-Semitism,” the ADL said in a statement.

Reports of the Parker salute came a day after soccer player Nicolas Anelka, a French national playing for Britain’s West Bromwich Albion soccer team, was roundly condemned for performing the salute during a match on Saturday. Britain’s Football Association has launched an investigation of the Anelka incident.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the Football Association and the UEFA, the governing body of European football, European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor called for a fight against anti-Semitism in football, especially in the wake of the Anelka salute.

“At the European Jewish Congress, we regularly receive reports of attacks on Jews, whether verbal or physical, which also include acts of anti-Semitism at matches involving English and European football clubs,” Kantor wrote in letters to Greg Dyke, chairman of The Football Association and Michel Platini, president of UEFA. “Mr. Anelka’s recent action is a reminder that hatred of Jews in the stands can very easily find its way right on to the pitch. Similarly, the legitimization of anti-Semitic acts by players who are supposed to act as role models for youth is a particularly dangerous phenomenon, and one that is not restricted to Anelka alone,” Kantor’s letter read.

Kantor and the EJC offered their cooperation to the football associations to help fight anti-Semitism.

German Town Revokes Hitler’s Honorary Citizenship

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

The testimony of a woman whose family was exterminated by the Nazi helped convinced a Bavarian town council to vote unanimously to revoke the honorary citizen that the municipality had granted Hitler in 1933.

The town council of Dietramszell was deadlocked over whether to adopt the resolution revoking the honorary citizenship after the discovery of a document in the town archives that both Hitler and Paul von Hindenburg, president of Germany at the time, were awarded the honor as honorary citizens.

An outcry over an 8-8 tie in a council vote last week prompted it to meet again on Tuesday, when it voted 21-0 to strip Hitler of the award.

“It was never our intention to trivialize the crimes of Adolf Hitler. We underestimated that our voting behavior could be understood in such a way,” the council said. It added that the council members were impressed by impassioned testimony of a woman whose family was wiped out in the Holocaust.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/german-town-revokes-hitlers-honorary-citizenship/2013/12/19/

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