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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Western Europe’

France’s ‘No-Go’ Zones: Where Non-Muslims Dare Not Tread

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The French government has announced a plan to boost policing in 15 of the most crime-ridden parts of France in an effort to reassert state control over the country’s so-called “no-go” zones: Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims.

These crime-infested districts, which the French Interior Ministry has officially designated “Priority Security Zones” (zones de sécurité prioritaires, or ZSP), include heavily Muslim parts of Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Lille and Amiens, where Muslim youths recently went on a two-day arson rampage that caused extensive property damage and injured more than a dozen police officers.

The crackdown on lawlessness in the no-go zones is set to begin in September, when French Interior Minister Manuel Valls plans to deploy riot police, detectives and intelligence agents into the selected areas. The hope is that a “North American-style” war on crime can prevent France’s impoverished suburbs from descending into turmoil.

As of now, 15 initial Priority Security Zones have been designated. If the new policy results in a drop in crime, Valls is expected to name up to 40 more Priority Security Zones before the summer of 2013.

Many of these new Priority Security Zones coincide with Muslim neighborhoods that previous French governments have considered to be Sensitive Urban Zones. (Zones Urbaine Sensibles, or ZUS) – which were also “no-go” zones for French police.

At last count, there were a total of 751 Sensitive Urban Zones, a comprehensive list of which can be found on a French government website, complete with satellite maps and precise street demarcations. An estimated five million Muslims live in these “Sensitive Urban Zones” — parts of France over which the French state has essentially lost control.

Consider Seine-Saint-Denis, a notorious northern suburb of Paris, and home to an estimated 500,000 Muslims. Seine-Saint-Denis is divided into 40 administrative districts called communes, 36 of the 40 districts are on the French government’s official list of “no-go” zones.

Seine-Saint-Denis, also known locally as “Department 93” for the first two digits of the postal code for this suburb, witnessed fierce rioting by Muslim youths in 2005, when they torched more than 9,000 cars.

The suburb, which has one of the highest rates of violent crime inFrance, is now among the initial 15 ZSPs because of widespread drug dealing and a rampant black market. It also has one of the highest unemployment rates inFrance– 40% of those under the age of 25 are jobless — and it therefore remains unlikely that a government crackdown will succeed in bringing down the crime rate in any permanent way.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE of an official Priority Security Zone is department of La Somme, which includes the northern French city of Amiens. On August 12 and 13, around 100 Muslim youths in the impoverished Fafet-Brossolette district of Amiens went on a rampage after police arrested a man for driving without a license.

Muslims viewed that arrest as “insensitive” because it came as many residents of the neighborhood were attending a funeral for Nadir Hadji, a 20-year-old Algerian youth who had died in a motorcycle accident on August 9. The reality was that police were called to the scene because of reports that youths were loading fireworks into a car. When the police arrived, they also discovered the ingredients for petrol bombs, including empty bottles and a canister of gasoline.

When the riots of August 12-13 broke out, in response, about 150 policemen and anti-riot police were deployed to the Fafet neighborhood where the youths were rioting and used tear gas, rubber bullets and even a helicopter after the youths shot at them with buckshot, fireworks and other projectiles from nine in the evening until four in the morning.

At least 16 police officers were injured in the melee, one seriously. Youths also torched and destroyed a junior high school canteen, an anti-juvenile delinquency sports room, a leisure center, and a kindergarten, as well as 20 automobiles and 50 trash bins. The cost of repair and rebuilding could run up to $7.4 million (€6 million). (Click here for photos from the French publication, L’Express.)

Gilles Demailly, the Socialist mayor of Amiens, said the violence reflected a descent into lawlessness orchestrated by ever younger troublemakers: “There have been regular incidents here but it has been years since we’ve known a night as violent as this with so much damage done. The confrontations were very, very violent.”

Soeren Kern

‘Give Me Your Children’: Voices From The Lodz Ghetto

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

        The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened an exhibit last week remembering the children of the Lodz Ghetto.


         The story of the fate of the children of the Lodz Ghetto was one of the most tragic of the Shoah.


         At the start of World War II, the city of Lodz had been the second largest Jewish community in all of Poland. The ghetto, known by the German name Litzmannstadt ghetto, was one of the better organized. For a long time, life was kept as normal as possible under horrendous conditions. Records show that there were 160,320 Jews locked into the ghetto, including 39,561 children under the age of 14.


         At first 36 primary schools, two high schools, four religious schools and even a music school continued to operate, with close to a total of 15,000 students attending. In the district of Marsyin there was even a summer camp for the children.


         Chaim Mordechai Rumkoski, known as the  “King of the Ghetto,” ruled with an iron hand. He had the power to assign jobs that would save workers from the dreaded transports. (Jews transported from Lodz were sent at first to Chelmno and later to Auschwitz.)


         Rumkoski was particularly fond of the children. He organized orphanages and summer activities for them and was often honored, especially on his birthday.


         In the autumn of 1941, the schools had to be closed as more and more people were brought to the ghetto and space became scarce.


         In January 1942, the deportations to the Chelmno death camp began in earnest. Fifty-seven thousand people, including 11,000 Jews who had been brought to Lodz from Western Europe, were sent to their deaths. The remaining Jews of the ghetto continued their lives, not knowing the fate of their friends.



         The “Great Round-up” (Grobe-Sperr), as the action was called, lasted for nine days. On the first day of September 1942, word came that the Germans had surrounded the Jewish hospitals, and all the patients were being deported, with no exceptions.


         On September 3, word came that the Germans were now demanding that all the children under the age of 10, and the elderly over the age of 65 be handed over for deportation. It was now obvious that this was not to be a resettlement program as the Germans had claimed, but that the Jews were being sent to their deaths.


         Panic spread through the ghetto as parents tried in vain to register their children for work or bring forged death certificates to the registry offices to try to save as many as possible.


         On September 7, Rumonkoski made a passionate plea to the Jewish mothers and fathers of the ghetto. “It is absolutely necessary to sacrifice the children and the old ones. There is nothing we can do and all we ask is not to interfere with the German deportation action.”


         During the next few days, over 15,000 people, including 5,863 children, were deported to the death camps.


         Children disappeared from the ghetto. Any children who had escaped the round-up had to remain hidden during the rest of the war. They couldn’t go outside The Lodz Ghetto became one large work camp contributing to the German economy. Everybody had to work. If you didn’t work, you did not eat. There are many records, including pictures of young children, working at jobs such as shoemaking and metal work.


         These conditions lasted until May 1944, when the Germans started the final “liquidation” of the ghetto. In the end, there were only 800 people remaining in the ghetto, whom the Germans had left to clean up after the crimes. Even Rumonkoski, the King of the Ghetto, was sent to his death in Auschwitz, where he joined those whom he had sacrificed to save himself.


         The exhibition “Give Me Your Children: Voices from the Lodz Ghetto” presents their voices “preserved in letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral histories” as well as historic photographs, original documents, and objects from collections around the world. It offers a view into the struggle of a community and its young to live in spite of the most difficult circumstances.

Shmuel Ben Eliezer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/give-me-your-children-voices-from-the-lodz-ghetto/2006/12/20/

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