Rare Anne Frank poem fetches €140,000 at Dutch auction

Eight-line ode to friend penned in March 1942 bought by unnamed online bidder for more than four times reserve price

000_ic1u4-e1479907810149-635x357HAARLEM, Netherlands — A very rare handwritten poem by Jewish diarist Anne Frank was sold for €140,000 (NIS 575,000; $150,000) to an unnamed online bidder Wednesday, fetching more than four times its reserve price.

Auctioneers closed the sale after just two minutes of tense bidding at the Bubb Kuyper auction house in the western Dutch city of Haarlem.

Around 20 collectors took their seats in a sales room decorated with antique books, maps and illustrations while others bid by telephone and online.

The reserve price was set at €30,000 (NIS 123,000; $32,000).

“These things are so rare that I’ve never seen anything like it,” Bubb Kuyper co-director Thys Blankevoort said. “Over the last 40 years, only four or five documents signed by the teenager have gone under the hammer.”

“Any document that’s written by Anne Frank is rare,” he told AFP Monday, “there are some chance finds, some books from the libraries. But these are not manuscripts, they are owner entries,” he added, referring to books which have been found with Frank’s name written inside.

Dedicated to “Dear Cri-cri,” the poem, written in Dutch in black ink on a notebook-size piece of white paper which has slightly discolored with age, is signed “in memory, from Anne Frank.”

Frank wrote the eight-line poem, dated March 28, 1942, in a friendship book belonging to the older sister of her best friend only three months before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam.

The poem was sold by Jacqueline van Maarsen, Frank’s primary school friend, who over the years has worked to keep her pal’s story alive. Frank also wrote a poem in Jacqueline’s book, but she is too attached to it to sell it, Blankevoort said.

While the first four lines of the text are well-known among such poems “written by girls, for girls,” the auction house has so far not traced the origins of the final four lines.

“The second half might possibly even be composed by” Anne Frank, Blankevoort acknowledged. It follows the vein of such poems which often contained a moral about love and friendship, calling on girls to work hard and be diligent.

A series of letters between Anne and her sister Margot with American penpals sold for $165,000 in 1988. And a 1925 edition of Grimm’s fairy tales, with both girls’ names written on the title page, went for $62,500 in May in a New York auction — fetching twice the estimated price.

The text, written in Dutch and translated by the Daily Mail, reads in full:

If you did not finish your work properly,
And lost precious time,
Then once again take up your task
And try harder than before.
If others have reproached you
For what you have done wrong,
Then be sure to amend your mistake.
That is the best memory one can make.

“The Diary of a Young Girl,” which Frank penned while in hiding from June 1942 to August 1944, has sold more than 30 million copies in 67 languages.

She and her sister Margot died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany in early 1945 less than a year after the Nazis captured her and just before the end of World War II.

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In Holland, 270-year-old menorah sells for record $440k

Unnamed Jewish collector buys candelabra that belonged to family of Jewish resistance fighter killed by the Nazis

menora-635x357AMSTERDAM — A 270-year-old menorah became the most expensive artifact of its kind sold in the Netherlands in recent memory after it fetched $441,000 at auction.

The menorah, which belonged to the family of a Dutch Jewish resistance fighter killed by the Nazis, was sold last week by the Venduehuis der Notarissen auction house in The Hague to an unnamed Jewish collector, the Omroep West broadcaster reported.

Manufactured in Amsterdam in 1747, the menorah, which used to be part of the collection of the family of George Maduro, triggered an international bidding war that caught the auctioneers unprepared, according to the NOS broadcaster.

“We started it at 20,000 euros but the first bid was already 100,000,” said the auction house’s director Peter Meefout. “Then it went to 200,000 and kept on rising. We watched it all dumbfounded.”

The object in question was estimated to sell for anywhere between $9,000 and $15,000. Dozens of telephone calls came in with bids for the menorah, forcing the auction house to divert all available manpower to deal solely with that sale, Meefout said.

George Maduro, who during World War II helped smuggle stranded British pilots from continental Europe back to Britain, joined the resistance after the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. He was caught and sent to the Dachau concentration camp where he died just three months before its liberation.

To commemorate their only son, Maduro’s parents financed the construction of one of Holland’s best-known tourist attractions: The Madurodam miniature city, which opened in 1952.

According to Omroep West, there is but one known piece that is identical to the Maduro menorah, which is part of the collection of the Dutch Royal House and is currently on display at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam.

The Maduro menorah was the single most expensive item in the auction of the silver and porcelain collection of Rebecca D. Maduro, George Maduro’s mother, which the Venduehuis der Notarissen auction house concluded selling on Friday.

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Wiped out ‘in the blink of an eye’: Only 35 Jews survived from a 2,000-year-old Greek community

A new film from co-producer and director duo Lawrence Russo and Larry Confino documents the WWII decimation of the Jews of Kastoria

allegraconfinocaleveliaou-2-e1480017017376-965x543LOS ANGELES — For the descendants of the Sephardic Jewish community of the idyllic town of Kastoria, Greece, the northern region of West Macedonia inspires memories of picturesque limestone mountains, Byzantine churches, Ottoman architecture, and thriving fur and fishing economies.

It’s a land that has traded hands many times — Norman, Greek, Bulgarian, Byzantine Turkish. In fact, so diverse was this town that it attracted many different ethnic groups, including Jews.

However, during World War II, the previously quiet community, a home for the distinctive Romaniote Jews who settled there 2,000 years before, was extensively damaged and the Jewish population nearly wiped out. Just 35 of the original population survived; it had originally numbered at 900.

A new documentary, “Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria,” chronicles the history of that Sephardic community and documents the destruction of a minority population — one of many communities that had existed in Greece prior to WWII.

In October 1940, Greece was invaded by Axis forces. Initially, under Italian occupation, the Jewish community remained safe. But after Mussolini fell from power, the Nazis seized control of the town, and 763 Kastorian Jews were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Through never-before-seen archival footage, executive producer and director Lawrence Russo and co-director and producer Larry Confino tell the story of a vibrant community that has slowly faded from the consciousness of so many around the world — Jews and non-Jews alike. For the filmmakers, the story is personal, as their families have direct ties to Greece.

“We want the film to educate people,” said Confino. “We want people to feel something, so they feel the sense of loss. There’s a treasure trove of elderly people in my house. There are people that we take for granted. I would hope this film encourages people to gather their oral histories. They may not make a film, but it’s important to know where you come from and know your history.”

“Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria” is told by Jewish survivors of Kastoria, with interviews filmed on location in Kastoria, Thessaloniki, Athens, Tzur Moshe, Tel Aviv, Miami, Los Angeles, and New York. (“Trezoros” is a Ladino term of endearment meaning “Treasures.”)

This is no amateur documentary: Director Russo co-founded the independent studio The Shooting Gallery (“Laws of Gravity,” “Sling Blade”) and directed the Emmy nominated PBS short film showcase “ShortCuts.” Confino is the founder of Synapse Productions and executive director of ImageRescue, Inc.

Based in New York for over 25 years, Confino has produced documentaries and commercial projects on a multitude of subjects for production companies around the world.

In advance of the film’s release, Russo and Confino sat down in Los Angeles with The Times of Israel.

What do you hope to achieve with this documentary?

Russo: We want to bring awareness that there were Jews in Greece. Not only were they there, but they had been part of some of the oldest communities in the world. In almost the blink of an eye during WWII, that was taken away.

Why cover this issue now and what makes it deserving of a documentary?

Confino: We felt a sense of honor to tell the story, along with a sense of responsibility. If we don’t capture it now, when will be able to? We prepared to interview any of the 35 who survived. A couple of people didn’t want to talk about what happened to them, but most of them did. We really needed to capture the oral histories.

How did you fill in missing details that the survivors could not help with?

Confino: At a certain point, we realized that there were certain facets of the story that weren’t there. We were lucky enough to meet a gentleman from Kastoria. He introduced us to Greek Orthodox people who were children at the time, but still had some vivid memories.

Your mother, Lena Russo, is an important part of this documentary and tells much of the story. How did your parents’ experience persuade you to work on this film?

Russo: I grew up with most of those stories. As a kid, I always wondered why I didn’t have grandparents. As I got old and learned about the history, it made an impact. I felt a responsibility to tell their stories. In 1996, there was a monument dedication to the Jews who were killed in WWII, as depicted in the film. At that point, I got together with some of the survivors and realized there’s something here to make a documentary.

Can you tell us about the personal connection you have to the town of Kastoria?

Confino: In the documentary, you see the Confino store. That belonged to my great-grand uncle. My great-grandfather’s brother stayed in the town — some of the Confino family came to the United States, but many stayed. Literally everyone in my family who stayed was lost in the Holocaust.

How did you go about locating survivors? How long did that process take?

Russo: Two of the 35 survivors were my parents. Two more are my uncle and aunt. These are a rare group of people who survived experiences during the war in Greece. They knew everyone else who was alive because they kept in touch.

Do you have plans to partner with any Jewish and Holocaust remembrance museums?

Confino: We realize we’re capturing a portion of WWII history that needs to be seen by the general public. It’s a corner of the Holocaust that should be seen. We’re hoping for partnerships. We’re getting requests from the town of Kastoria to incorporate it into the history curriculum in high schools. This outreach is part of our main objectives. We will also be screening it in Tzur Moshe in Israel, which, as the story goes but needs to be verified, is named in honor of a Kastoria resident.

What were the survivors like?

Confino: The takeaway from meeting them, across the board, is their incredible mental strength. These are people who were determined to survive and are very inspirational. The two sisters, Hanna Kamhi Saady and Solika Kahmi Elias, live down in Florida. You can make a film just about them — about any of these people.

What about other people interviewed for background, such as members of the Christian community?

Confino: Interestingly, we found some of them in the United States only after going to Kastoria. We had to go to Greece to find out about this guy who lives in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. He had a very vivid memory of his childhood. One of the things he told us was that he witnessed how the Nazis rounded up people in the Jewish community. He was in his backyard, and he describes it as an eyewitness. Even though he hadn’t lived there in 50 years, he had very vivid memories of that time.

We found another in Jackson Heights in Queens, New York, and wouldn’t have known about him had we not gone to Greece. Ultimately, it took four trips to Greece to arrange for interviews, film shooting, and more.

Do you see any parallels with what has happened to the Jews during WWII and the conflicts of today that have put communities like the Yazidis in Iraq and others at risk?

Russo: Unfortunately, genocide is an ongoing thing. There is always some part of the world where people are trying to oppress a group of people based on their ethnic background. As far as the film states anything, it’s a reflection of one of the larger examples of genocide.

How do you educate your kids about this topic?

Confino: In the case of this project, I felt like my kids were a little too young to know what I was working on in the beginning. I consciously didn’t involve them. My kids have only seen the film recently. There’s a certain amount of pride in where I come from. That’s something I hope to pass along to my kids. If the Holocaust had not occurred, we’d be traveling back to Greece to visit relatives. Instead, we’re doing what we can to preserve the memories of victims.

The film will run in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall from November 25 to December 1, 2016. Visit www.trezoros.com about upcoming dates in other cities.

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Holocaust Museum Dinner in Philadelphia Demonstrates Power of Artifacts to Convey History

16 November 2016, Philly Dinner.At first glance, the wide-wale corduroy jacket in the box atop the tissue paper might be a gift for Dad or Grandpa — an L.L. Bean special he can wear as fall turns to winter. The cut, the color, the buttons, the pockets — they all look entirely familiar, like the brown corduroy jackets found in countless catalogues and department stores.

Without context, this jacket is a study in banality, as prosaic as they come.

But appearances can be deceiving, especially when it comes to material culture. This particular jacket is, in fact, suffused with meaning, history and a life experience that diverged dramatically from the norm. If it represented banality at all, it was the banality of evil.

Last week, Michael and Peter Feuer, whose late father Otto was one of a small number of Jews to spend 12 years under Nazi rule and survive, presented their father’s brown corduroy jacket at the 2016 Philadelphia “What You Do Matters” Dinner of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The jacket, along with a gray-and-blue striped concentration camp uniform, were worn by Otto at Buchenwald, the last of three concentration camps in which he was imprisoned.

The Feuer family has now donated his clothing (along with other items) to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, whose collection of artifacts is expected to double in size in the next 10 years. Peter Feuer, who lives in Rydal, also donated $1 million to the in-progress David and Fela Shapell Family Collections, Conservation and Research Center, which will have climate-controlled environments, preservation equipment and highly specialized laboratories to house and conserve the collection.

Thirty-three Greater Philadelphia residents have helped that collection grow by donating personal items, and the “What You Do Matters” Dinner was held, in part, to thank them.

About 15 donor-survivors were able to attend, including Eve Przemyski, 93, who seemed a little chagrined about being honored in the evening’s affair.

“I’m not Jewish,” she said, then added, with a laugh, “but it’s not my fault!”

Przemyski gave the museum the diary she kept as a teenager, which she titled Behind the Barbed Wire: A Diary of a Year in a German POW Camp 1944-1945. Though she wrote it in her native Polish, she had it translated in the 1990s.

“It’s a very moving story about a teenage girl who lost it all,” her son-in-law, Jack McFadden, said proudly.

When Przemyski gave her diary to the museum in 2011, she also donated family photographs, identity cards, immigration documents and other ephemera that may be of use to families and researchers, especially given that Przemyski’s mother sheltered two Jewish women during the occupation. “They both survived,” Przemyski said.

Boris Altshtater, 78, who was born in the former Yugoslavia, also gave the museum many documents.

“I donated all kinds of stuff, but the most precious were the letters that my father sent me,” he said in heavily accented English. “They were written from Jasonovec concentration camp [in Croatia]. This was the only country in occupied Europe by Nazis that had their own concentration camps and their own guards and they did their own killing.”

Alshtater said his father was allowed to write 20 words in each letter.

“All he said, ‘I work in economy’ — I didn’t know what it meant — and, ‘send me biscuits and marmalade.’ No ‘how am I doing,’ not normal communication. It had sign of Jasonovec with stamp and date it was sent. And under the letter it was saying, ‘writing is the prize for good behavior.’ They killed him a year later.”

As a toddler, Altshtater was in two concentration camps himself — as well on the run with his family in the forest — but there’s much he doesn’t know about his own history. “My mother didn’t want to tell me anything,” he said, but the family did save photographs of the young Altshtater taken in the camps. Those are now in the museum’s collection.

Przemyski, Altshtater and the other survivor-donors were all praised effusively by the evening’s speakers, including Andres Abril, director of the museum’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office. As a slideshow of artifacts was displayed on video screens behind him, Abril said the museum’s success depended upon the power of these objects to illuminate personal histories.

“As the museum was being conceived, original artifacts were seen as a critical part of how we would share this history,” he said. “And in mid-construction, in the early ’90s, the very first artifact was lowered into the building. … It was as if we were placing into the museum the beating heart of what Elie Wiesel called ‘living memorial.’”

Artifacts, Abril added, “transformed the experience at the museum for millions of people, from a history lesson to something far more tangible, far more personal. … Every artifact represents a human being, a family, and therefore every artifact is also a memorial.”

A chair is not a chair, he said; it is Louisa’s chair that was given to her by her parents on her second birthday while in hiding. Even the smallest items, like a ring found in a mass grave, tell the stories of individuals. “These have become our treasures,” Abril said, “and while they have no intrinsic value, when they’re combined with the history and the humanity of their owners, they are transformed into timeless personal witnesses of history.”

The evening’s next speaker, Elaine Culbertson, has been using the museum’s treasures for many years as an educator.

The program director of the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers’ Program, Culbertson is the daughter of two survivors who heard many stories of tragedy and triumph from her parents and their survivor friends growing up. She became a teacher in the Philadelphia school system, but at the time she didn’t teach the Holocaust because it wasn’t part of the curriculum. Then one day something happened to change her mind.

“When I heard a boy in my class tell another boy that he was going to buy a leather jacket and he hoped he could ‘Jew the guy down,’ I realized that my African-American students — who assured me they knew no Jews, not recognizing that I was Jewish — had no knowledge of any prejudice other than the prejudice directed against them,” she recalled. “That began my search for materials to teach students about the Holocaust.”

In the process of educating herself beyond her family history, she was struck by the weight of historical objects: “The extraordinary power of a baby’s dress in a glass case at Auschwitz. Or a bit of rouge a woman used to redden her cheeks to pass the selection. Or a Star of David that was fashioned out of a tin plate. These things were palpable,” she said. “Who could not be moved by seeing these things and connecting them to real people?”

When she became a teacher of other teachers, Culbertson took them to the museum and had them choose an object that would illuminate history for their students.

“The one that stops the discussion is the shoes,” Culbertson said of the exhibit of victims’ footwear confiscated at Majdanek, “because that is the one [exhibit] that is about individuals more than any other, and that is the one that invites personal stories to become the focus.”

The next speaker also remarked upon the power of the shoes. Rebecca Dupas, a Washington, D.C., native, first visited the museum as a high school student. Now the museum’s coordinator of community partnerships, youth and community initiatives, Dupas said after she saw the shoes as a teenager, “it hit me — the power of those shoes to remind me that this is not necessarily a story of millions, but a story of one person millions and millions and millions of times. The shoes made the story very individual to me, and it is a feeling and lesson I will never forget.”

Last summer Dupas worked with nine students who also found artifacts that resonated for them.

“For me it was the shoes; for them it was the milk can,” she said. One student said the milk can reminded her that these were regular people with regular families. Another said the milk can was important because it wasn’t a replica, because it was real. “Artifacts are extremely important in our ability to connect to the history.”

Dupas then read a poem, “An Unlikely Voice,” about her experience as an African-American woman who chooses to serve as a Holocaust educator. “In speaking for one, I speak for all,” she said. “I must bear witness, and silence can never be my choice.”

The night’s final speaker was Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations. Rosenbaum, a Penn alum, has spent his career pursuing and prosecuting Nazi war criminals, including several who made their lives in Philadelphia. He spoke of the role artifacts play as forensic evidence, without which he could not do his job.

Though the evening was replete with video testimonies and fascinating speakers, there was a sort of reverential awe that was reserved for Otto Feuer’s garments — including that regular, old corduroy jacket.

At the end of the night, attendees were welcomed to the front of the room to see the both the jacket and uniform up close. As they crowded around and peered into the boxes, it was clear: Words and pictures tell us a great deal, but there is nothing that compares with survivor artifacts to convey the experience real people had during the Holocaust — a world event that, without this material testimony, would be too horrific to believe.

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Russian ice skating contest features Holocaust-themed performance

Saturday evening’s chilling performance did not represent the first time Russian TV featured performers dressed in Holocaust-themed decor to perform in a reality show competition.

The social media sphere reacted with a largely cold reception after two “celebrity” ice skaters, donning Holocaust-era Jewish prison uniforms fitted with yellow stars of David, performed Saturday night on the Russian reality television show “Ice Age.”

Olympic ice dance champion Tatiana Navka, along with her skating partner Andrew Burkovsjy, slid and glided across the ice, in their chilling performance accompanied by “Beautiful that Way,” Jewish Israeli singer Acinoam “Noa” Nini’s vocal version of the theme song from the heart-wrenching Italian Holocaust film “Life is Beautiful.”

Eyebrows were further raised as Navka is the wife of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson.

However, Saturday evening’s number did not represent the first time Russian television featured performers dressed in Holocaust-themed decor to perform in a reality show competition.

In April, Russia’s version of “Dancing with the Stars” featured a dance number starring a Nazi officer searching for a young Jewish girl hiding behind a piano.

The piece began with the officer playing the instrument, stopping suddenly and demanding the girl reveal herself before “shooting” his weapon at her feet.

Taken aback at her beauty, he lowers his weapon and the two begin to dance to “Fly me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra.

The piece arrived at a heartbreaking conclusion when an “enemy” assault leaves the Jewish girl dead on the ground while he screams and shoots randomly in no particular direction.

Russia’s ostensibly insensitive posture toads the Jewish community also extended itself earlier this month, when a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson caused controversy after suggesting that the recent US presidential election was influenced by a “Jewish conspiracy,” according to the BBC.

During an interview with a Russian television chat show, Maria Zakharova quipped that the best template to gauge America’s political landscape was the New York Jewish community.

“If you want to know what will happen in America, who do you need to talk to? You have to talk to the Jews, of course. It goes without saying.”

At this, the live studio audience applauded loudly, according to the BBC.

Zakharova added that she had formulated the claim while visiting New York during an official visit with a Russian delegation in September.

“I have a lot of friends and acquaintances there, of course I was interested to find out: how are the elections going, what are the American people’s expectations?”

The Russian state employee than attempted to mimic a Jewish accent and said Russian Jews had told her: “Marochka, understand this – we’ll donate to Clinton, of course. But we’ll give the Republicans twice that amount.’ Enough said! That settled it for me – the picture was clear,” adding that “if you want to know the future, don’t read the mainstream newspapers – our people in Brighton [Beach] will tell you everything.”

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Croatian president poses with pro-Nazi regime symbol

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic photographed with coat-of-arms of Ustasha, which persecuted and killed vast numbers of Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists

15110261_10209507936608588_4074372119233309036_o-e1480201423583-635x357ZAGREB — Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic sparked online debate Saturday as it emerged she posed for a photo during her recent Canada trip with a flag carrying a symbol of her country’s wartime pro-Nazi regime.

Her office shrugged off the incident, insisting there was “nothing questionable” about it.

The photo, posted on Facebook by a Croatian man living in Canada, shows Grabar-Kitarovic posing with him and others in front of a flag bearing the coat of arms used by Croatia’s World War II-era Ustasha regime, which persecuted and killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists.

The checkerboard-patterned shield in the middle of Croatia’s current national flag has 25 red and white squares, starting with a red one in the top-left corner.

A different version with a white square in that corner has been used at other points in Croatia’s history — notably by the Ustasha. It was replaced by the current shield after World War II when Croatia was part of the former Yugoslavia.

Both versions were briefly in use in 1990 ahead of Croatia’s declaration of independence, but under a December 1990 law the national flag bears the red-first version of the shield.

The presidency batted off the row over the photo of Grabar-Kitarovic, telling N1 television, “We see nothing questionable in it.” It noted that such a flag was displayed in front of the Croatian parliament in 1990.

The president’s view on the wartime regime is “clear and she voiced it on several occasions,” it added. Grabar-Kitarovic has condemned the Ustasha in the past.

The row sparked mixed responses online.

“This issue involving our president is more than shameful,” Visnja Skreblin, a woman from Zagreb, commented on online portal Index.

But reader Mario Babic defended the president, saying it was “Croatia’s historic shield, created far before the darkest chapter of Croatia’s history.”

Grabar-Kitarovic took over the presidency — a role with limited powers — in 2015 as the candidate of the ruling conservative HDZ party.

The previous HDZ-led government, which fell in June, was accused by critics of turning a blind eye to a far-right surge in the country, including nostalgia for the pro-Nazi past.

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The Scourge Of White Supremacism, And Why It Matters

Who are Richard Spencer and his friends? What precisely is the so-called “alt-right,” and why should we all be very, very concerned?

First, Spencer. He is the admittedly charismatic and deceptively clean-cut head of a white supremacist think tank called the National Policy Institute which describes itself on its website as “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.”

Spencer is credited with coining the term “alt-right” or “alternative right” to describe, in the words of the Southern Poverty Law Center, “a loose set of far-right ideals centered on ‘white identity’ and the preservation of ‘Western civilization.’”

For “people of European descent” — read whites.” Spencer advocates “the creation of a White Ethno-State on the North American continent,” while railing against what he has referred to as “the Afro-Mestizo-Caribbean Melting Pot.”

Spencer rejects the Jeffersonian concept of human equality and instead bases his ideology on the proposition that “all men are created unequal.”

Embracing the concept of what he characterizes as peaceful “ethnic cleansing,” Spencer has also vilified the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. as “a fraud and degenerate” who “has become the symbol and cynosure of White Dispossession and the deconstruction of Occidental civilization.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder has denounced the alt-right ideologue in no uncertain terms, calling Spencer “one of the worst hatemongers in America, and his white supremacist and other bigoted ideas are sickening.”

Spencer’s most recent bout of notoriety came on November 19, when his National Policy Institute organized a day-long conference in Washington, D.C., at which he quoted Nazi propaganda, in the original German, no less, and shouted out “Hail Victory” — the English translation of the Nazi “Sieg Heil” greeting — to followers stretching out their arms in the equally notorious Nazi salute.

“America,” Spencer declared, “was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

In addition to Spencer, the speakers at the National Policy Institute’s event included white supremacists Peter Brimelow, Jared Taylor, and Kevin MacDonald. They, too, warrant close scrutiny.

Brimelow is founder and editor of VDARE.com, named for Virginia Dare, the first child born to English parents in the American colonies in 1587, and designated as “an anti-immigration hate website” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In a 2012 interview, Brimelow said that even legal immigration was creating a “Spanish speaking underclass parallel to the African American underclass,” that “[t]hese are people who are completely dysfunctional,” and that California was “rapidly turning into Hispanic slum.”

In his 1995 book, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, Brimelow disparaged the Clinton administration as a “black-Hispanic-Jewish-minority white coalition.”

Taylor and MacDonald, meanwhile, have been a recurring noxious presence on both VDARE and the National Policy Institute website. Their corrosive views are instructive.

“Some of us,” Taylor wrote in 2011, “rather like being white, and would like for our children and grandchildren to be white, too. The self-haters are welcome to go extinct if that is what they want. But what would be wrong in wanting a country — even a small country — where whites are the majority and intend to keep it that way?”

MacDonald, the author of a screed entitled Understanding Jewish Influence, has written that in light of the “record of Jews as a very successful but hostile elite, it is possible that the continued demographic and cultural dominance of Western European peoples will not be retained, either in Europe or the United States, without a decline in Jewish influence.”

President elect Donald Trump has unambiguously repudiated Spencer and his ilk. “Of course I condemn [them],” President elect Trump told editors and reporters of The New York Times. “I disavow and condemn.”

We must not lose sight of the fact that fascism, even in unabashed neo-Nazi form, is enjoying a frightening resurgence in many parts of the world. One need only look at the Jobbik Party in Hungary or Golden Dawn in Greece to understand that the ideologies that gave rise to the genocides of the 20th century have not disappeared by any means.

There are objective reasons for Americans to be alarmed as well. According to FBI data, anti-Muslim incidents in the U.S. soared by 67 percent from 2014 to 2015, with anti-Jewish incidents increasing by 9 percent during the same period, and anti-black incidents by 7.7 percent. These are deeply troubling statistics.

In the context of this rising trend in hate crimes, inflammatory anti-minority and anti-immigrant rhetoric can easily morph, if it has not morphed already, into incitement to violence and worse.

Hate speech, whether from the extreme left or the extreme right, whether Jihadist or Hitlerian in orientation, can far too easily result in abhorrent discrimination, persecution, and unspeakable atrocities.

The problem confronting Americans today is not that white supremacist bigots such as Spencer, Brimelow, Taylor and MacDonald are likely to have any formal or informal role or influence in our government. For the time being at least, they, like the erstwhile Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, are outcasts on the malignant fringe of the American body politic.

However, cancers must be eradicated not when they have already metastasized but as soon as they are first diagnosed. Now that the White supremacists of the alt-right are becoming ever more confrontational with their untethered ideology of racial hatred, it is imperative that they be recognized and exposed as a clear and present danger to our democracy and to our very identity as a civil, and civilized, society.

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Does said threefold rise in German antisemitism signal a ‘new era’?

Top European rabbi warns of “new era of antisemitism” amid said rise in German incidents.

showimage-3The world has entered a new era of antisemitism, a top European rabbi warned in response to a report released Tuesday about rising antisemitism in Germany.

Juliane Baer-Henney, a spokeswoman for the German Justice Ministry, confirmed to the Post on the phone Wednesday that antisemitism in Germany has risen threefold in one year – 2,083 cases of attacks on Jews, Jewish property and hate speech against Jews last year, compared with 691 in 2014.

“There is a rejection of mainstream politics, and we need to be aware of the waves of antisemitism sweeping across Europe,” Conference of European Rabbis president Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said. “As a society we must take measures to reject antisemitism and ensure that it does not become a new norm.”

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said: “The recent report published by Süddeutsche Zeitung showing that the number of right-wing extremist offenses has risen is indeed worrying. At the same time, the sensitivity of the population and its willingness to report such incidents have apparently also increased. Moreover, the German government actively supports the fight against hate speech, antisemitism and sedition in social networks and elsewhere. These developments partly explain the rise in the number of offenses. We highly appreciate the civic and government engagement.”

Baer-Henney said the criminal statistics are recorded from the 16 German states based on uniform criteria to measure the criminal acts. The Justice Ministry started to assess antisemitic criminal acts based on a uniform standard for the decentralized system in 2014.

The 16 states prior to 2014 used different criteria to determine criminal antisemitism. When asked how the Justice Ministry defines modern antisemitism, the spokeswoman said she would provide the Post the information by the week’s end.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, top Nazi-hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, does not believe that the reported numbers reflect the true extent of the phenomenon.

“I’m sure there are many incidents that are not reported,” he said, adding that the report is nevertheless cause for serious concern.

“There is no question that the arrival of the millions of immigrants from countries where antisemitism is very rife led to additional problems,” Zuroff said.

The key to effectively tackling the issue of antisemitism, he said, is tied to the extent to which anti-Zionism is identified as a component.

“Invariably, [anti-Zionism] is motivated by antisemitism, and in countries where this is recognized, they understand the nature of the beast,” Zuroff said. He noted that in countries where a link between antisemitism and anti-Zionism is not made, certain incidents are not included in statistics about antisemitic attacks.

“In Germany, in certain quarters, there is an understanding of the link between the two, but there is always a time lapse between understanding something and acting on it, and in some of these countries we are in the time lapse now,” Zuroff said.

Germany is awash in BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) activities targeting the Jewish state. Last week, anti-Israel activists donned inspector uniforms in the city of Bonn and marched into the Galeria Kaufhof department store to isolate “illegal products” from the disputed territories, and ensure Israeli products were labeled correctly based on EU guidelines. Similar anti-Israel actions took place in Frankfurt, Bremen and Berlin.

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