Making a difference in people’s lives


The Jerusalem Foundation works with vulnerable populations in the city, from at-risk teens to Holocaust survivors.

group-gathering“‘David’, a 16-year-old with a reputation for violence, was invited for a 4 p.m. interview at the day center,” recalls Eitan Yogev, director of the Yaelim Nature Therapy Center at Ein Yael. “The mother called to say that the boy refused to come, but that we should wait. They finally showed up at seven. His mother was afraid of him, and the staff worried that he lacked motivation.”

The mother promised the center that if David were accepted at Yaelim, she and her husband would get him on the bus.

“In the end,” says Yogev, “David didn’t miss a single session. He started to become successful at Yaelim and he took control of himself at school, too. The school couldn’t believe the difference.”

The Yaelim Nature Therapy Center is just one of several projects funded by the Jerusalem Foundation that make a difference to old and young among the vulnerable populations every day in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Foundation established the Ein Yael Living Museum in 1989, buying the land around a natural spring and ancient settlement in the southwest of the city. The museum houses the Yaelim Nature Therapy Center, which serves 250 at-risk youth each year.

“Yaelim works with teens who are failing at school or ‘acting out,’” explains Oded Regev, director of Ein Yael.

Many have a history of disabilities, abuse, or neglect.

“After we see that the children are connecting with the agriculture, we ask them to train as young counselors. It’s a dramatic turnaround, when a teen about to drop out of school gets asked to become a leader.” Once they graduate the year-long course, counselors work at Yaelim’s day camp and serve as guides at the Ein Yael museum.

Teens at the center learn a range of skills such as gardening, recycling, composting, climatology, ecological systems, use of tools and pest management.

“The welfare services refer the teens to us,” says Yogev.

“After a year of training, they get a salary, along with supervision and support. They don’t just learn agriculture. They learn to take responsibility, work in a team and speak in front of groups.”

At-risk teens attend a day center at Yaelim twice a week.

“This gives them a year to get organized and connect to themselves, to the community,” Yogev explains.

“In addition to the nature program, the teens learn about entrepreneurship, computers, culture, and current events.

Yaelim provides ongoing mentoring to help the children recognize and develop their unique strengths. While accepting the child’s difficulties, we give them supervision and support for making productive choices.”

“A typical child at risk, who dropped out of school, may not only have no money. He likely has no boundaries, no attention, nothing. At Yaelim he builds himself up from scratch, in the field, by completing tasks. He has to make food, he has to learn what he is good at. Gradually he learns what skills he can take with him as an adult.”

“The goal isn’t to throw teens into nature. It’s to provide a safe ‘home’ where they can test boundaries.”

The Welfare Ministry also refers families to Yaelim for therapy. One case involved eight children whose father was in jail for murdering the children’s mother.

“The children lived apart from each other in foster or institutional care,” recalls Yogev. “A few had had private therapy, but the siblings had virtually no connection. The social services decided something had to be done to rehabilitate the family.”

Yaelim provided a young counselor trained by the organization as a Hebrew-Arabic interpreter. When they started, the children barely spoke at all. Through their shared experiences at Yaelim, including activities like hiking, cooking, and crafts, the children developed shared experiences and began to bypass the psychological barriers.

“At first there was some regression, which is typical in cases where victims have not processed trauma,” explains Yogev. “But now the children have begun rebuilding their relationships with one another.

All of us involved in the case found it very emotional.”

Among other projects that the Jerusalem Foundation funds is Café Europa, which runs several programs to serve the approximately 22,000 Holocaust survivors in the Jerusalem area.

According to the Jerusalem Foundation’s community and social welfare project director, Adit Dayan, Café Europa aims to meet the social, not the therapeutic needs of survivors.

“For many, the only thing they remember from their childhood is the war,” says Dayan. “But a culture existed in Europe before the war. Café Europa’s activities trigger positive memories of childhood, by creating a social experience through shared memories.”

Café Europa meets in Rehavia for the general population of survivors, and in Romema for the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector, with separate groups for men and women.

An additional program, called Café Moscow, serves Russian speakers in Pisgat Ze’ev and Neveh Ya‘acov, northern neighborhoods in the capital.

“The Russian speakers are Jewish World War II refugees, yet they were not recognized as survivors,” notes Dayan. “But they also lost everything, and have social issues that were never dealt with. They are telling stories that have never been told. Some of them join a therapeutic group that we have set up for that purpose.”

Ruchami Merenstein, coordinator of the Holocaust division of Misgav Lakashish (“refuge for the elderly”), describes the significance of Café Europa for the group of haredi women.“ The meetings start with each survivor telling about the [happy family events] during the previous week. Many are the matriarchs of large families.

They also ask after friends who didn’t attend.”

The first hour consists of a lecture, musical program, or workshop, with the second hour devoted to an exercise activity or health education.

They are served coffee and cake, and a light hot meal before they go home. About 100 women attend each week, while 40 to 50 attend the men’s program.

Aside from the activity at the café, survivors go on monthly trips around the Jerusalem area and throughout the country.

A range of additional programs, also supported by the Jerusalem Foundation, are available for survivors, according to Tamar Schiff, CEO of Misgav Lakashish. These include a library, computer education and meals for the homebound.

Large numbers of volunteers speaking a variety of languages attend Café Europa to assist the survivors. The volunteers also visit the survivors in their homes, bringing videos of the Café Europa cultural events, teaching computers, or whatever the survivor asks for. “We try never to say no to requests,” says Schiff.

Holocaust survivors can also visit the Center for Verification of Rights and Eligibility for Holocaust Survivors, also supported by the Jerusalem Foundation.

“Every survivor should check,” urges volunteer translator Dr. Ruth Flosshauer, “as new funds continually become available. Survivors from Morocco and survivors who were babies are now eligible.

One can never know.”

Mrs. Glendwar, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, never went out of the house, according to her daughter Shoshi.

“She dedicated her entire life to her children and grandchildren.

Café Europa was the first event she attended just for herself.”

Glendwar’s participation in Café Europa led to her talking about her prewar childhood with her adult children. The cultural activities and trips via Café Europa gave her a peek into her grandchildren’s world, enabling the third generation to form a stronger relationship with their grandmother.

The Jerusalem Foundation’s programs provide services for members of vulnerable populations to lead richer, more productive lives. David, the teen who didn’t want to attend the interview at Yaelim, now works at the center in the summer and visits often.

“At the end-of-the-year party,” recalls Yogev, “when asked how he had changed, David said he no longer ‘causes trouble in the neighborhood.’”


New Ken Burns film spotlights little-known Holocaust rescuers

How a quiet New England couple traveled to Europe on the eve of WWII and saved hundreds through clandestine operations — including money laundering and smuggling

m-and-w-sharp-880x543TA — In 1940, as he was being transported to safety in the lower deck of a ship, the Jewish author Lion Feuchtwanger asked Waitstill Sharp why the American Unitarian minister had bothered to rescue him from the Nazis.

Sharp and his wife, Martha, had spent much of the previous two years smuggling Jews out of Nazi-controlled territory. Saving people from persecution, the clergyman had told Feuchtwanger, was what any able person should do.

“I think something frightful, in addition to what has befallen Europe, is going to befall now,” Sharp later recalled saying. “I’m not a saint. I’m just as capable of the sins of human nature as anyone else. But I believe that the will of God is to be interpreted by the liberty of the human spirit.”

It’s an intimate moment in “Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War,” a documentary co-directed by the renowned filmmaker Ken Burns that takes a highly personal look at the American Christian couple who left a quiet life in New England, traveled to Nazi-occupied Europe and smuggled hundreds of Jews to safety.

The movie, which relies on written recollections of the Sharps (Waitstill is voiced by Tom Hanks), archival footage, and interviews with survivors and historians, premieres September 20 on PBS.

“Defying the Nazis” is a change of pace for Burns, a director best known for sweeping documentaries on broad topics — see: “Civil War,” “Jazz” or “Baseball.” But when confronting the Holocaust’s enormity, Burns said the best approach was to focus on narrow, resonant stories like that of the Sharps rather than statistics that can mask the pain of mass atrocity.

“The number six million has become rather opaque,” Burns told JTA by phone from his office in New Hampshire. “We just say it, and it lacks dimension and specificity. Here you have a story of two people who saved a few hundred people on the edges of that Holocaust.”

However, the final frame of “Defying the Nazis” dedicates the film to all the Holocaust victims who were not saved.

“If the finale does anything, it reminds us that those six million are an amputated limb whose lives we still miss, and who ought to itch and bother us as long as we are human beings,” Burns said.

‘The number six million has become rather opaque. We just say it, and it lacks dimension and specificity’

The film traces the story of the Sharps, who were living in Wellesley, Massachusetts, when the American Unitarian Association asked them to travel to Czechoslovakia in 1939 and France in 1940 to help people persecuted by the Nazis. The couple provided relief to embattled groups, raised money for refugee aid and smuggled Nazi targets, including children, out of the country. They are two of the five Americans who have been inducted by Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, as Righteous Among the Nations.

Burns became connected to the film through his co-director, Artemis Joukowsky, the Sharps’ grandson and a fellow alumnus of Hampshire College. Joukowsky first showed the film to Burns five years ago, and Burns steadily became more involved, beginning as an informal adviser and ending as a co-director.

Burns compared his evolving role in the film to dialing up the heat slowly on a frog in a saucepan. “But this is a good kind of boil,” he added.

“It’s just firing on all cylinders,” he said of the movie. “You have a comfortable middle-class Unitarian minister and his wife [who] live in Wellesley, Mass. The most dramatic thing that happens is what he says on Sunday. They leave their small children behind, go to Prague on the eve of World War II. She’s dodging various Gestapo agents at night; he’s going to European capitals to launder money.”

In the film, much of the Sharps’ story is told through the memories of the now-adult children the couple rescued. Burns said the childhood memories created the personal recollection necessary to capture the narrative’s emotional atmosphere.

‘Those six million are an amputated limb whose lives we still miss, and who ought to itch and bother us as long as we are human beings’

“Children make unusually accurate witnesses,” he said. “You really remember when your parents are happy, and you really, really remember when your parents are anxious and sad.”

The movie adds another personal touch as it turns away from the Sharps’ rescue work and documents the rising tensions in the couple’s marriage after they return to the States. It’s bookended by an excerpt of a letter from Waitstill to Martha hoping to grow closer to her again.

“There was a fear of the messiness of this story,” Burns said, noting that he was undeterred. “The longing for the other sets in motion that this is about two people in a complicated relationship, as well as about the large topics that are involved here.”

Burns said he isn’t done with Holocaust documentation. He’s in the early stages of planning a movie about the US role in preventing the Holocaust — a topic he says most people don’t fully understand. And though his first allegiance in “Defying the Nazis” was to telling an accurate story, he hopes viewers come away with a drive to do more for today’s refugees.

“We are right now in a refugee crisis in the world that is dwarfed only by the Second World War,” he said. “This is a story, ultimately, about sacrifice and its costs.

“These people endangered their lives to save other human beings. They presumed everyone else would do it. What a wonderful presumption. It’s not true, but I hope it does galvanize others.”


Jewish woman in iconic WWII Times Square kiss photo dies at 92

Image of Austrian Holocaust refugee Greta Zimmer Friedman in spontaneous V-J Day celebrations became enduring symbol of war’s end

In this photo provided by the US Navy, sailor George Mendonsa and nurse Greta Zimmer Friedman kiss passionately in Manhattan's Times Square, as New York City celebrates the end of World War II, on August 14, 1945. (US Navy/Victor Jorgensen)

In this photo provided by the US Navy, sailor George Mendonsa and nurse Greta Zimmer Friedman kiss passionately in Manhattan’s Times Square, as New York City celebrates the end of World War II, on August 14, 1945. (US Navy/Victor Jorgensen)

NEW YORK — The woman who was kissed by an ecstatic sailor in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II has died at the age of 92.

Greta Zimmer Friedman’s son says his mother died Thursday at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia. She died from complications of old age, he said.

Friedman, was a 21-year-old dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform on Aug. 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day the Japanese surrendered. People spilled out into the streets from restaurants, bars and movie theaters in New York City when they heard the news. That’s when George Mendonsa spotted Friedman, spun her around and planted a kiss on her. The two had never met.

In fact, Mendonsa was on a date with an actual nurse, Rita Petry, who would later become his wife.

The photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt is called “V-J Day in Times Square” but is known to most the world over as simply, “The Kiss.” Mendonsa says that in some photos of the scene, Petry could be seen smiling in the background.

It was also captured from a slightly different angle by Navy photographer Victor Jorgensen.

Friedman was born in a small town outside Vienna and moved to the US with two sisters in 1939 as conditions worsened for Jews under Nazi rule. A third sister fled to Mandate Palestine and her parents were killed in the Holocaust, according to Lawrence Verria, co-author of “The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II.”

Eisenstaedt’s photo was first published in Life, buried deep within the magazine’s pages. Over the years, the photo gained recognition, and several people claimed to be the kissing couple. In an August 1980 issue of Life, 11 men and three women said they were the subjects. It was years until Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Joshua Friedman says his mother recalled it all happening in an instant.

“It wasn’t that much of a kiss,” Friedman said in an interview with the Veterans History Project in 2005. “It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn’t a romantic event.”

The photograph has become one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century.

Friedman will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, next to her late husband, Dr. Misha Friedman.


After seven decades fighting genocide, this 96-year-old prosecutor is still hard at work

A chief US prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, Benjamin Ferencz has campaigned for justice since — now in the form of a $1m. gift to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum

ferencz-w_papers-e‘If we’re going to be accurate, I’m in my 97th year. I turned 96 last March, so really 96 is over and finished with,” Benjamin Ferencz said, speaking with The Times of Israel via telephone from his home in Del Ray Beach, Florida.

That attention to detail and insistence on precision is what helped Ferencz, a chief prosecutor for the United States during the Nuremberg Trials, successfully secure one of the world’s first convictions for crimes against humanity nearly 70 years ago. It’s also what propels Ferencz to keep fighting for justice.

This time the fight comes in the form of a million-dollar donation to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, which will establish the Ferencz International Justice Initiative. The Ferencz Initiative will work to strengthen the rule of law for atrocity prevention and response, promote justice and accountability in countries where genocide has occurred.

“I have witnessed holocausts and I cannot stop trying to deter future genocides. After Nuremberg I laid out my life plan on how you go about saving the world. People concluded ‘that man is crazy!’ But I wanted to change the way people think. You cannot kill an entrenched ideology with a gun,” said Ferencz.

‘I cannot stop trying to deter future genocides’

“You have to teach compassion and tolerance at a young age. The rule of law must be applied universally to protect humankind universally. It’s a long-range problem, and ‘Law, not war’ is my slogan,” he said.

It has been Ferencz’s mandate ever since at the age of 27 he secured the convictions of 22 defendants, all high-ranking SS officers, in the Einsatzgruppen Case. At the time, the Associated Press called it “the biggest murder trial in history.” Thirteen of the defendants were sentenced to death for their role in murdering more than one million people.

“I think about it every day, but not for the reasons you think. I think about them everyday, but not in terms of anger and vengeance,” Ferencz said. “No, I chose the defendants for their rank and education; they were PhDs and generals. They were individuals who had to be held to account civilly and criminally in national and international court.”

When Ferencz was just 10 months old, his family, Hungarian Jews, moved to the US from the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania. He lived in a small basement apartment in Manhattan’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” His father worked as a janitor in an uptown apartment building. He and his sister moved in with an aunt in Brooklyn after his parents divorced. He was six at the time.

“We were poor, we didn’t have anything. Education became everything,” he said.

Ferencz graduated from the City College of New York. Upon graduating from Harvard Law School in 1943, he joined an anti-aircraft artillery battalion. As a combat soldier Ferencz fought in every major campaign in the European theater, from the invasion of Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge.

‘We were poor, we didn’t have anything. Education became everything’

Then in the winter of 1945 as the Allied forces pushed toward Berlin — the US and UK from the west, the former Soviet Union from the east — Ferencz was tasked with gathering evidence of Nazi brutality. He was to be part of the United States’ first-ever war crimes branch.

He visited concentration and extermination camps, he took photos, and he interviewed witnesses and survivors.

“I once wrote that I had peered into hell, and I had, but I don’t wake up every day screaming ‘Kill all the Germans,”’ Ferencz said.

A remarkable sentiment considering several of his family members perished in Nazi concentration camps. Yet, the search for justice, not vengeance, is a defining characteristic of this nonagenarian.

“He’s an inspirational guy,” said Cameron Hudson, Director of the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide.

Of course Ferencz’s gift is more than inspirational, it will help boost research in the still nascent field of genocide prevention, Hudson said. Literature exists on military response, on whether sanctions are effective tools, but there is less on how to leverage international law.

“While there’s a widely held assumption that holding people accountable for war crimes is a deterrent, there are a lot of gaps in our knowledge of how that works. There is also very little practical understanding of how to pursue justice for crimes that are currently being committed,” Hudson said. “The field of international law and international justice is about as old as Ben Ferencz. It’s still a very young field. The idea is pretty simple — holding people accountable — but it’s still pretty revolutionary at the same time.”

After the trials, Ferencz dedicated his legal expertise to securing restitution for Holocaust survivors, who “had survived with only their tattoos and scarred memories,” he said. As director of the United Restitution Organization he also worked to recover stolen Jewish properties, businesses, art and religious objects and return them to rightful owners.

The field of international law and international justice is about as old as Ben Ferencz’

After an honorable discharge from the US Army, Ferencz built a private practice. However, as the Vietnam War escalated, he found himself once again thinking of the role courts could play to combat genocide.

“I found normal life was rather boring and started studying and writing about world peace and the role of international law,” he said.

Numerous articles and books followed. His writings helped lay the groundwork for the International Criminal Court, established in 1998 to prosecute cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

This isn’t Ferencz’s first gift to the museum. Over the decades he donated one of the largest collections of documents to the Museum’s archives, including diaries, documents from his war crimes work and the Einsatzgruppen Trial, and family history. In 2015 the Museum honored Ferencz with the Elie Wiesel Award, its highest honor.

“He [Ferencz] shares our conviction that genocide can be prevented but when it does occur, its perpetrators must be held accountable. His pioneering work and passion for international justice will continuously inform and inspire our efforts in genocide prevention,” Hudson said.

Indeed Ferencz, who cares for Gertrude, his wife of 68 years, has no intention of slowing down.

“I was 27 when I made the closing argument at Nuremberg for the Einsatzgruppen Case. I was 92 when I made remarks in the closing arguments against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo [former leader of the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo, charged with recruiting child soldiers],” Ferencz said.

“It’s still a prototype, we are trying to reverse thousands of years of war-making mentality. That doesn’t happen overnight. It’s just beginning,” said 96-year-old Ferencz.


Mickey Mouse figurine resurfaces near Auschwitz

Head of Holocaust foundation says child who owned statuette likely died in gas chambers of the Nazi death camp

mikey-mouse-figurineWARSAW, Poland — A porcelain Mickey Mouse figurine that once belonged to a child the Nazis deported to the Auschwitz death camp has been rediscovered after more than 70 years, a local foundation told AFP on Friday.

“It’s a sad object because it reminds us of a child who was probably gassed to death in the camp,” Agnieszka Molenda, who runs the Foundation of Memory Sites near Auschwitz-Birkenau (FPMP), told AFP.

“Farmers found the figurine after the war near the banks of the Vistula River over a kilometer from the camp and then stored it along side other smaller items that we recently received,” she said.

Set up in 2013 by private collectors with a passion for local history, the foundation gathers items related to the death camp and its annexes that covered some 40 square kilometers (15.4 square miles).

Working with the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum on the site of the former Nazi death camp in Osciecim, southern Poland, the foundation has collected thousands of items kept in private homes since the war.

“We’ll probably never know who the figurine belonged to,” Molenda added.

“Experts told us that it was manufactured in Germany in the 1930s, without a Disney copyright.

“It is a model that was sold in Germany between 1929 and 1932 and was exported in large numbers to neighboring European countries.”

micky-7209-305x172The donor, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Molenda that her grandfather dug up the figurine while working in a field after the war.

He also found coins from the Nazi-run Jewish ghetto in the city of Lodz and some small brushes that he stored in the attic of his house.

One million European Jews died at the camp set up by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland in 1940-1945.

More than 100,000 others including non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and anti-Nazi resistance fighters also died there, according to the museum.

An estimated 232,000 of Auschwitz victims were children.


Nazi hand stamps used to mark visitors to Ecuadorean jail

Government condemns warden’s practice of using symbol of swastika; head of security at prison fired

hand-stampQUITO, Ecuador — A prison warden in Ecuador is in hot water after it was discovered that security guards were marking visitors to the penitentiary with hand stamps featuring the Nazi swastika.

Ecuador’s government on Thursday immediately condemned the practice after photos of the hand stamps appeared on social media and caused an immediate uproar.

The Justice Ministry in a statement said the warden of the prison in the capital Quito had been disciplined for negligence and the head of security fired for using a symbol associated with the Holocaust.

The stamps featured the emblem of the Nazi Party with an eagle atop a swastika and the year 1939.


Meet the Holocaust survivor who organized the generals’ endorsement of Trump

2012 Green Beret Foundation Gala DinnerMaj. Gen. (ret.) Sidney Shachnow, who helped initiate the letter released this week by the Trump campaign from 88 military leaders endorsing the Republican nominee, says Trump “has the temperament to be commander-in-chief.”

Shachnow knows from temperament, although not perhaps of the Trumpian variety: As a child, he and his family survived the Holocaust in Lithuania, where he was imprisoned for three years in the Kovno concentration camp, by keeping their heads low and showing restraint. According to his autobiography, “Hope and Honor,” the same level-headedness guided him through the pains of assimilation as a young refugee living in Salem, Massachusetts, and then through a career in the military.

His stint, including a turn in the Green Berets in Viet Nam and as an officer in an undercover unit infiltrating East Germany (he still speaks English with a Baltic lilt, as heard in this 2012 appearance at the Kansas City Public Library), ended with his command of U.S. forces in Berlin when the Wall came down in 1989. Among the medals he has earned is the Bronze Star, the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.

Shachnow is also on the board of advisers of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and has appeared at a Jewish War Veterans event.

His description of his childhood in Lithuania is heartbreaking, and includes the shattering experience of witnessing a Lithuanian partisan rape his mother while his father hid under the bed. His mother had ordered his father into hiding, knowing that the discovery of adult males could mean a death sentence, but it appears as if Shachnow could never shake off the experience.

“I thought my father would go out and help,” he writes. “He didn’t. I thought he was a coward. Maybe I was a coward, too.”

His mother emerges as the hero of the book’s first part, her intuitions and bravery guiding the family to safety.

For 40 years, Shachnow did not speak of the experiences related in the first part of the book, until his youngest daughter nudged him into it – a story typical of Holocaust survivors.

He dedicated his 2006 book to his mother, Rose, his wife, Arlene, and his daughters — which is poignant, because the greatest forbearance he describes in the book is his own, in his dealings with his mother after marrying Arlene. His parents never came around to accepting that he had fallen in love with a non-Jew, and his mother, especially, knew how to cut to the bone.

“I hope the baby looks like you,” his mother tells him after his first daughter is born. “I would hate to have a granddaughter that looks like your wife.”

More often than not, Shachnow kept his counsel at such jibes. Later, telling his mother that he had purchased a home, she asks, “Did you put the house in your name?” and then she explains, “Always keep something of your own. When the divorce comes –“

“I interrupted her,” he writes. “’No divorce, Ma.’ I walked out of the room.”

Shachnow, who knew what fights to pick and when, was right: He’s still married, living on a farm in North Carolina. He has four daughters, 14 grandchildren and at last count, seven great-grandchildren.

The Trump endorsement, more broadly, is about opposition to defense cutbacks under President Barack Obama, and their fears that they will continue under Hillary Clinton.

But against a battery of claims to the contrary, including from an array of national security Republicans, Shachnow’s endorsement of Trump’s temperament, in a release from the campaign, is an extraordinary nod for the Republican nominee.


Daughter of late Rep. Tom Lantos returns state award from Hungary

(JTA) — The daughter of the late Rep. Tom Lantos is returning a state award to Hungary to protest the same award being presented to a nationalist journalist described as racist and anti-Semitic.

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett joins about 100 other Hungarians or people of Hungarian heritage in returning the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit — to protest the recognition last month of the right-wing journalist and columnist Zsolt Bayer for his writings.

Lantos Swett was honored with the award in 2009 for establishing the Budapest-based Tom Lantos Institute, which focuses on minority rights. Tom Lantos, who served as a Democratic congressman for California, died in 2008. A native of Hungary, he was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. Congress.

Lantos Swett told The Associated Press that she had hoped to leave her Knight’s Cross award to her children, but could not keep it after it was awarded to Bayer.

Andras Heisler, the president of Hungary’s main Jewish umbrella organization, Mazsihisz, returned his award last month. He described Bayer as a man “who is a racist, who is an anti-Semite, who is polluting Hungary with his destructive sentiments and his burning hatred of the Roma, who is vigilantly protecting the traditions of the Hungarian extremist right, keeping alive feelings of fear and hatred.”

“I do not wish to belong to any community to which Zsolt Bayer belongs, even virtually,” Heisler said.

Bayer, a co-founder of the ruling Fidesz party, has long angered Jews and others with his articles and op-eds in right-wing publications. In April, the Israeli ambassador to Hungary protested to the editor of the Magyar Hirlap newspaper, saying that Bayer’s columns “openly advocate anti-Semitic sentiments and incite against the Jewish People and the State of Israel.”