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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Poland’

Riots in Poland after Murder of Polish Man by Arab Immigrants [video]

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Riots began in the town of Elk in north-eastern Poland following to the murder of a local resident on New Year’s Eve, PAP reported.

According to PAP, on Saturday night, December 31, between 10 and 11 PM, a 21-year-old local resident named Daniel allegedly threw a firecracker at an Elk café called Kebab Prince. The café is owned by a local entrepreneur, and managed by immigrants from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The café staff ran out at Daniel and, according to reports, stabbed him twice, which resulted in his death. The attackers were later arrested in connection with the stabbing murder.

Kebab Prince before it was burned down

Kebab Prince before it was burned down

on Sunday, January 1, according to police, the café building was surrounded by between 200 and 300 locals shouting Nazi slogans. They threw firecrackers and stones into the place, knocked down the glass window, destroyed the equipment inside and eventually set fire to the premises.

When police arrived at the location, the rioters began throwing stones at the officers, damaging several police cars. Next, the angry mob moved on to a second café belonging to the same owner, which they also burned down.

By Sunday evening a few dozen people were arrested in connection with the riots.


Elk Mayor Tomas Andrukevich appealed to local residents to remain calm and to honor the memory of the murdered man.

Before World War II, the Elk (then Lyck) and its surroundings were almost 95% Lutheran. After the majority German population was expelled, the majority religion in Elk became Roman Catholicism.

Lyck was the city where the first-ever weekly newspaper in Hebrew, HaMagid was founded in 1856 by Rabbi Eliezer Lipmann Silbermann. The paper eventually moved to Berlin. The local Jewish population was being persecuted even before the Nazis took power in 1933. In 1932, local pharmacist Leo Frankenstein was attacked – a hand grenade was thrown into his home. The wave of anti-Semitic attacks intensified after 1933 and many local merchants and intellectuals of Jewish descent were arrested. During Kristallnacht, Jewish shops and synagogue were plundered and destroyed in Lyck. Many Jews fled Lyck, some getting as far away as Shanghai. Of the Jews who stayed, 80 were murdered in German death camps on Polish soil.

JNi.Media

First Cousins Reunite at Yad Vashem for the First Time

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Sisters Henia and Rywka Borenstein went through life believing they were alone. Their parents had died when they were young, and they were told that their extended family had been wiped out in the Holocaust.

Over 75 years after their onslaught of the Holocaust, they received a phone call that would change their lives. On Tuesday at Yad Vashem, they met first cousins for the first time, thanks to the efforts of the Reference and Information Services Department in the Yad Vashem Archives Division and a Page of Testimony found on Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names.

First cousins embracing for the first time.

First cousins embracing for the first time.

Born in Warsaw in 1912, Nisan Band had five sisters. In 1939, Nisan and his wife Ida, left behind their extended family and fled the Nazis to the USSR, where he remained until his death in 1983. Throughout the years, Nisan was convinced that his entire family had been murdered in the Holocaust; however, he never gave up hope of finding some remnants of his family. His children, Fania and Gennadi, immigrated to Israel with their families in the 1990s.

Pre-war family photos.

Pre-war family photos.

Earlier this year, following a “roots trip” to Poland, Fania (b. 1949) searched Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Holocaust Victims’ Names, and found a Page of Testimony that a Symcha Borenstein had filled out in memory of Fania’s father, Nisan Band. At the foot of the form, Symcha noted that he was Nisan’s brother-in-law.

Last week, Fania and her son, Evgeni, came to Yad Vashem to find out who, they believed, had mistakenly commemorated Nisan. Sima Velkovich of Yad Vashem’s Reference and Information Services Department conducted a search of the Pages of Testimony as well as the ITS (International Tracing Service) database, where she discovered that, unbeknown to Nisan, his sister Jenta Borenstein (née Band) had also been in the Soviet Union during the war and survived together with her husband and their four children.

Hercz-Lejb (b. 1924), Abram (b. 1927) and Rywka (b. 1931), were all born in Warsaw, and Hana (b. 1942)was born in Siberia. In September 1948, Jenta and Symcha immigrated to Israel together with their two daughters, Rywka and Hana. Sima’s investigation of the story also revealed that Rywka and Hana (known as Henia), still live in Israel today.

On Tuesday at Yad Vashem, Rywka and Henia met with their first cousins, Fania and Gennadi, as well as Fania’s son Evgeni, for the first time.

Nisan Band before the war.

Nisan Band before the war.

“It is difficult to describe how I feel,” remarked Fania Bilkay, who shared old family pictures she had saved of her father Nisan in Poland before the war. “I am deeply moved and very happy. My father always searched for members of his family and dreamed of finding them. He was alone. But ultimately, in this meeting today, his dream has finally come true.”

When Henia received the call from Yad Vashem that she has a cousin who was looking for her, she was in shock. “I grew up believing that our entire family was murdered in Poland. My parents never talked about the Shoah or their past lives. At first, I thought this news was a mistake. However, today when we met, I felt a connection at first sight; my family has grown overnight. Thanks to Yad Vashem, we discovered that we are not alone.”

Evgeni expressed his deep gratitude to Yad Vashem for its “important and meaningful work… this illustrates the connection that exists between all Jews. Here in one place, in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem has the capability of reuniting families even after all hope is lost.”

A family reunion such as this one, which occurred thanks to information filled out on Pages of Testimony, is rare. Nevertheless, Yad Vashem is committed to aiding anyone in search of lost family members.

“Yad Vashem has embarked on a mission to uncover the names of those who have no one to remember them, and we will not rest until our mission is complete,” said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. “I urge families who will be gathering shortly for the holiday of Hanukah to check and make sure that their loved ones who were murdered in the Holocaust are remembered and recorded in Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, and submit Pages of Testimony for those victims whose names are not yet recorded.”

About the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names

To date, Yad Vashem has identified over two-thirds of the Jews murdered during the Holocaust. The names of 4.6 million Shoah victims are recorded on the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names – available online at www.yadvashem.org in English, Hebrew, and Russian, Spanish and German. For more information, or for assistance in filling out Pages of Testimony, please contact the Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project: names.outreach@yadvashem.org.il

Hana Levi Julian

New Exhibition Shows Poland Using Jewish Gravestones to Build Walls, Sidewalks, Playgrounds

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

As numerous signs suggest the current Polish government is attempting to rewrite its role in World War II and the Holocaust, the Florida Holocaust Museum (FHM) announced the North American premiere of a photo exhibition that documents in black and white the lengths that have been taken to wipe out traces of Jewish history and culture in Poland.

Recently, the NY Times reported that, after nearly a decade of planning and five years of construction at a cost of $114 million, the new Polish government may be backing away from its commitment to fund the Museum of the Second World War. The museum was scheduled to open in January but continued funding is now in question.

Last year, the JewishPress.com reported that the Polish government is threatening to prosecute Polish-born American historian Jan Gross for claiming that Poles killed more Jews than Germans during World War II. Gross, a renowned Holocaust scholar and professor at Princeton University, who received the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for outstanding achievement in scholarship in 1996, is now accused of “publicly insulting a nation” and faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Gravestones used to build cowshed, Starowola by Parysów, a village in Mazovia Province, 1942.

Gravestones used to build cowshed, Starowola by Parysów, a village in Mazovia Province, 1942.

The FHM’s exhibition, Matzevot (gravestones) for Everyday Use by photographer Łukasz Baksik (a non-Jew), documents the ways in which Jewish gravestones in Poland have been stolen and reappropriated. The tombstones are now part of Polish fences, pavements, toolsheds and cowsheds. Some have been recycled as Catholic gravestones, others were used to patch roadways and walls. They have even been to build a wall for a basketball court and an elementary school’s sandbox.

Sandbox, Szczecin, a city in West Pomerania Province, 1960s/70s.

Sandbox, Szczecin, a city in West Pomerania Province, 1960s/70s.

“The gravestones that were turned into everyday objects were still being used as such from 2008 to 2012 when I photographed them,” said Baksik, who traveled across his home country of Poland for four years to illuminate the ways “people have gone to wipe out traces of Jewish culture.” He added, “There are still sidewalks and courtyards paved with matzevot; walls, buildings and tools that were made of Jewish gravestones are still being used in public view.”

Crindstone, Brok, a town in Mazovia Province, 2nd half of the 20th century.

Crindstone, Brok, a town in Mazovia Province, 2nd half of the 20th century.

“There was no shortage of ordinary stones in Poland,” said FHM’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Gelman. “The sole goal of the Nazis during the war was to erase all traces of Jewish culture and Jewish history. The practice has been documented as continuing among the local populations for decades.”

The exhibition Matzevot for Everyday Use has been shown in Warsaw and Krakow, Poland and in Minsk, Belarus. Now North American audiences can see it. The exhibition is sponsored by The Gemunder Family Foundation, with additional support from The Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties. It will remain on display at the FHM until January 29, 2017.

JNi.Media

Polish PM Involved in Motor Vehicle Accident in Israel

Monday, November 21st, 2016

The motorcade of the Prime Minister of Poland, PM Beata Szydlo, was involved in a large motor vehicle accident Monday evening (Nov. 21) in which both an ambulance and a police car collided.

The prime minister had just begun her official visit to Israel. Three people were treated for light wounds, according to the United Hatzolah emergency response organization.

The circumstances of the accident are under investigation.

Road safety is a major issue in Israel, one that is tracked by the Or Yarok (“Green Light”) association, which works together in tandem with other major traffic agencies and organizations.

Prime Minister Szydlo was scheduled to attend a private dinner Monday evening with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem.

On Tuesday the Polish leader is to attend Mass at the Franciscan Church in the Old City of Jerusalem. She will then meet with Israeli ministers and PM Netanyahu at the David Citadel Hotel in the capital, where cooperation agreements between the two countries are expected to be signed.

PM Szydlo will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday afternoon, where she will participate in a memorial ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance, visit the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad Vashem Guest Book.

The Polish leader will end her visit to the Jewish State with a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem that will take in the Jaffa Gate, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel’s 9th President Shimon Peres Dead at 93

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth President, former Prime Minister, Nobel Prize winner, who served for nearly five decades as a member of the Knesset, passed away on Wednesday morning at age 93, following a severe stroke. He will be buried in a state funeral in the plot on Mt. Herzl dedicated to the nation’s great leaders. Peres was married to the late Sonia Peres who died in 2011. They had three children: Tsvia Walden, Yonatan (Yoni) Peres, and Nehemia (Chemi) Peres.

Peres was born on August 2, 1923 as Shimon Perski (a relative of Lauren Bacall a.k.a. Joan Persky), in Wiszniew, Poland (now Vishnyeva, Belarus). In 1934, together with his mother Sara and younger brother Gershon, they followed his father, who made aliyah in 1932. Peres grew up in Tel Aviv and studied at the Ben Shemen agricultural school. He met Sonia in Ben Shemen and they got married in 1945.

Peres became active in the Socialist youth movement Hanoar Haoved and in 1947 was recruited by Levy Eshkol to serve in the Hagana underground headquarters, alongside Eshkol and David Ben-Gurion. In 1953, after a stint as head of naval services in the newly formed IDF, Peres was appointed (at age 29) as Director of the Defense Ministry by Ben-Gurion.

His mission, and greatest achievement as head of Israel’s fledgling defense apparatus, was to turn Israel into a nuclear power. Peres began negotiations with the French in October 1956, during the Sinai War, which was a collaboration of Israel, France and Great Britain to take over the Suez Canal from the revolutionary government in Cairo. Peres stressed Israel’s loyalty to France and the fact that a strong Israel is vital to the French national interest, seeing as the Egyptians were supporting the Algerian FLN underground whose aim was to expel the French from North Africa.

According to Peres’ biographer Michael Bar Zohar, the birth of the Dimona nuclear plant was an exciting tale of intrigue, as the promise to provide the technology was made by French Defense Minister Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury, but on the date set for signing the secret deal, the French government collapsed in the National Assembly. Peres was waiting for Bourgès in his chambers with a bottle of whisky, only to discover that his host was out of office and that his likely successor, Gen. Charles de Gaulle, objected to spreading French nuclear know-how. Peres took advantage of the fact that Bourgès would on occasion tell his wife that he was in a meeting with the Israeli visitor when he was actually meeting with his lover, and demanded to cash his chips with the fallen politician. They agreed to backdate the agreement to the day before, when Bourgès still had the authority to sign it. The Frenchman said “D’accord” and the deal to set Israel up as the sole nuclear power in the Middle East was signed — fraudulently.

In 1959, Peres was elected to the Knesset as member of the ruling Mapai Party, and continued to serve as MK and in various ministerial positions, including as prime minister, almost uninterruptedly for 48 years. In 1965, Peres followed his mentor Ben-Gurion out of Mapai, and formed, together with former Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan, the Rafi party. After the 1967 war, an alignment of Mapai, Rafi and Ahdut Haavoda formed the Israel Labor Party, now also known as the Zionist Camp.

In 1973, after the Yom Kippur war which created a wave of anti-Labor sentiment in the public at large, and following the resignation of Prime Minister Golda Meir and Defense Minister Dayan, only two labor senior politicians retained their public prestige: Shimon Peres and former Chief of Staff and Ambassador to the US Yizhak Rabin. Rabin won and went on to become prime minister, with Peres as his defense minister, and their campaign for the leadership of Labor started two decades of enmity combined with forced cooperation which culminated in Peres eventually presenting to Rabin the Oslo agreements as an almost fait accompli.

In 1976, as defense minister, Peres was responsible for the Antebe Operation. Meanwhile, his disagreements with Rabin led to the latter’s resignation and the 1977 elections that, for the first time in Israel’s history, placed Likud’s Menahem Begin at the country’s helm. In the 1980s, as Labor’s leader, Peres failed to gain a resounding victory over his rightwing foes, and ended up in a coalition government with Likud in which he and Yitzhak Shamir rotated in the role of prime minister. While serving as Shamir’s foreign minister, Peres launched the London Agreement, a precursor of the Oslo Accord, which was torpedoed by Shamir.

In 1992, with Rabin once again the leader, Labor won the elections and formed a narrow, leftwing coalition government that relied on the Arab votes in the Knesset. Peres and his emissary Dr. Yossi Beilin began secret, illegal negotiations with the PLO, which resulted in the August 20, 1993 Oslo deal. The agreement, which resuscitated a dying PLO and gave it dominion over the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, resulted, as many had predicted, in rivers of blood, as the Arabs residing in the newly formed Palestinian Authority launched a campaign of bombing and shooting attacks against Israeli civilian centers. In 1995, on the eve of the next elections, Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated and replaced by Peres.

In 1996 Peres lost his final bid for sole possession of the Prime Minister’s office when he lost the election to newcomer Benjamin Netanyahu. The televised debate between them showed the nation a tired, old political hack versus a youthful and well spoken leader. Netanyahu succeeded in forming his first coalition government despite the fact that his party had won by a mere 30,000 votes.

At that point, possibly the lowest in his political life, Shimon Peres reinvented himself and began the next phase in his career, as statesman inspiring an entire world. He founded the Peres Center for Peace, and although he continued to serve in the Knesset and was member of Ehud Barak’s security cabinet, his goals have changed. In 2005 Peres resigned from the Labor party to join Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government, to support the second assault on Jewish life in the 1967 liberated territories: the expulsion of the Jews of Gush Katif. His reward was his election by the Knesset to be Israel’s ninth president in 2007. He gained 58 out of the 120 MK votes in the first round (38 voted for Reuven Rivlin, 21 for Colette Avital). His opponents then threw their support to Peres in the second round and he received 86 votes, with 23 objections.

He spent his seven years in office in an indefatigable global activity, attending conferences, giving speeches around the planet, meeting world leaders and becoming synonymous with the image of Israel’s future as drawn by Israel’s leftwing. He maintained his rigorous schedule after the end of his term in 2014, until, two weeks ago, his body succumbed to a stroke.

His death marks the end of Israel’s generation of founding politicians. He will be remembered for his great contribution to the Jewish State’s military supremacy in the Middle East, but also for his grave mistakes in acting to reverse the same state’s remarkable territorial gains of 1967. May his memory be blessed.

JNi.Media

Israeli Defense Companies Converge on Industry’s Next Big Market — Poland

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Poland is developing an ambitious, multi billion dollar program of modernizing its armed forces, which is attracting several Israeli-based companies, including Elbit Systems, Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), all of which are attending this year’s MSPO exhibition in Kielce in south central Poland (halfway between Częstochowa and Lublin).

Israel Sharon, IAI’s marketing manager for Poland, told Shephard Media that Israel’s defense strategy “seems to be similar to Polish strategic thinking. More emphasis is put on the national indigenous defense capacity, strongly embedded in an alliance, but able to stand alone in deterring any aggression.”

Elbit Systems is looking to sell Poland its Hermes 450 medium size multi-payload unmanned aerial vehicle, designed for tactical long endurance missions.

The Raytheon Company, a major US defense contractor, announced on Tuesday that it had offered to sell to Poland the SkyCeptor interceptor, a modified version of the Stunner interceptor, jointly developed by Israel and the US, which is in production and field testing by the IDF as part of the David’s Sling system, Shephard reported. Skyceptor will be integrated with the Patriot air and missile defense system.

Poland would be using its version of the David’s Sling system as part of the Wisla missile defense program. In July, Poland’s state-run defense group PGZ signed a letter of intent with Raytheon to cooperate on Poland’s new missile defense program Wisla, which included acquisition of Patriot missiles. Now Raytheon expects Wisla to be getting the green light from the Polish Ministry of Defense, which will submit a formal letter of request (LOR) to the US to purchase the Patriot.

John Baird, Raytheon’s VP of Poland programs, told reporters in Kielce that the inclusion of the SkyCeptor interceptor as part of the Patriot package is a cheaper option against “short-to-medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced air defense threats.”

“We have embarked over the past three years to produce and develop a US-compliant variant of Stunner,” Raytheon’s Dave Orr explained, adding “we think we can develop within 36 months of contract award SkyCepter missiles for the Polish Armed Forces.”

IAI is also bidding for the modernization of the Polish MiG-29 fighter jets and legacy helicopters. According to Shephard, IAI has already entered into an agreement with the Czech company Retia to produce air defense radar systems.

JNi.Media

Report: IAF Trained with Pakistani, UAE Air Forces

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Israel Air Force pilots last week trained for the first time with pilots from the Pakistani and United Arab Emirates air forces, as part of the “Red Flag” exercises in Nevada, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Thursday. The teams from the two countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel nevertheless trained and cooperated with the Israeli team during the exercises. The Red Flag exercises also included pilots from the US and Spain and featured dozens of attack sorties, dogfights, bombings, and long-range flight midair refueling.

The report noted that the fact that the Pakistani and UAE teams did not object to flying alongside their Israeli counterparts suggests that they were more interested in studying and exercising than in politics. The lists of participating teams is composed solely by the Pentagon, and participating countries cannot modify it — but they can refuse to participate.

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III addresses Airmen at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. / US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III addresses Airmen at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. / US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman

A senior IAF official told Chanel 2 News that “the Americans are excellent pilots, it’s clear they know how to fly and fight.” He said the Americans downed Israeli planes in dogfights, “but we downed them, too.” Each sortie involved many dozens of fighter planes, as well as refueling and intelligence support aircraft, and took place in day and night-time conditions, testing the teams’ ability to work together.

But the official noted that “this is not just about flying together, but about preparing for the mission ahead of time. You see right away who’s good and who’s not. There’s no place to hide. Everything stands out. We got better all the time, and the real deal was to learn from our mistakes.”

The exercise included IAF F-16I “Sufa” (Heb: Storm) aircraft, and for the first time Boeing 707 refueling aircraft. “It’s the nearest exercise to real warfare you can have,” the official said, “dealing with enemy planes, anti-aircraft missile threats—including the S300 systems Iran has—and cyber attacks on our aircraft. We still need to explore our performance, but the pilots are saying it was good.”

Next year, Israel will host the “Blue Flag” exercises, with the air forces of the US, France and Poland.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-iaf-trained-with-pakistani-uae-air-forces/2016/09/01/

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