Category Archive: Jerusalem Post


Brussels lawmakers call on Berlin to halt payments.


A bust of dictator Adolf Hitler, among other Nazi artifacts seized in Argentina.

A bust of dictator Adolf Hitler, among other Nazi artifacts seized in the house of an art collector, is on display in Buenos Aires, in this undated handout released on June 20, 2017. . (photo credit: ARGENTINE MINISTRY OF SECURITY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Germany is still paying pensions to dozens of men who served in and collaborated with the Nazi SS forces and currently live in Belgium and the UK, European media reported on Wednesday.

According to Deutsche Welle, the information was revealed when four Belgian parliamentarians submitted a proposal to halt the payments. The lawmakers called on the Belgian government to take up the issue with the German government, the newspaper reported. Deutsche Welle stated that around 30 Belgians who served in or worked with the Nazi SS forces receive between 435 and 1,275 euros a month from the German government.

The EuroNews website, based in France, reported Wednesday that the Belgian lawmakers presented a document to the country’s parliament proving the payments. According to EuroNews, the proposal to halt the payments was approved unanimously in a vote in a parliamentary committee this week. The site said that those receiving money “are citizens who pledged loyalty and obedience to Hitler following Germany’s occupation of Belgium and signed up to serve in the SS” and that many of them “were subsequently found guilty of collaboration by Belgian courts.”

The purported document stated that the pensions to these individuals “were the only decree implemented by Hitler that was not revoked at the Potsdam Conference of 1945,” according to EuroNews.

The RTL TV station in Luxembourg revealed Tuesday that the Belgian government does not know the names of the 27 individuals who are still receiving pensions, but the Germany Embassy does, and, “consequently, the 27 individuals have never been taxed on this additional income.”

Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that the report was in no way surprising.

“I’m not very shocked by this story because this is a story that’s actually much larger than this,” Zuroff said. “This is not just only those in [Belgium] and the UK, it relates to many countries.” Zuroff said he and the Wiesenthal Center worked with the German government for more than a decade to stop pension payments to Nazi war criminals – with limited success.

“We were quite frankly very disappointed by the small number of people who had their pensions canceled,” he said. And he does not have high expectations for the Belgian Parliament’s success in taking the matter up with the German government.

“I think they will be totally unreceptive,” he said.


Not only was Chanel in bed with the Nazi cause, but there is strong evidence to suggest that she actively worked for the Nazis as a secret agent.


Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

(JTA) — If you walk into any wealthy Jewish American neighborhood, a careful eye will spot designer duds – Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton – sported by well-coiffed men and women as they walk through town. But in a sea of expensive excess, one designer’s name is spoken of with an air of reverence: Chanel.

It is a brand that can at once whisper and scream one’s bourgeois status. The boxy tweed jackets and white camellia flower pins are logo-less signatures that boldly state their coveted designer status without saying (or, in this case, embroidering or printing) a word.

It’s that unique mix of modesty and immodesty that makes Chanel a household name among Orthodox and secular Jewish women alike. Chanel provides bewigged and be-hatted Hasidic women with stiff, below-the-knee boucle skirt suits while simultaneously appealing to the languorous Long Island crowd with its less understated interlocked “CC” logo branded crop tops and chokers.

But Chanel wasn’t always beloved by the upwardly mobile Jewish American elite. The namesake French founder Coco Chanel, despite her contributions to the development of modern fashion and luxury sportswear, was, as other writers have put it, a “wretched human being” and an “incorrigible antisemite.”

Not only was she in bed with the Nazi cause, but there is strong evidence to suggest that she actively worked for the Nazis as a secret agent.

And yet it was a wealthy Jewish family, the Wertheimers, who helped finance her prolific rise and still control the company today. And it was Karl Lagerfeld, who died Tuesday at age 85, who has made the brand so iconic and polished that it was easy to forget everything problematic about Chanel herself.

In 1924, the Wertheimer family provided financing to produce Chanel’s first and most iconic fragrance, Chanel No. 5, in exchange for a 70 percent share of the perfume division of her company. Theophile Bader, the Jewish businessman who introduced Chanel to Pierre Wertheimer at a racetrack, received an additional 20 percent  as a finder’s fee, leaving just 10 percent for Chanel herself. Chanel was not involved in the production of the perfume, but she soon came to resent the agreement, both because of her latent antisemitism and the financial success of her perfume business. Chanel began trying to take back control of her company, unsuccessfully suing the family enough times that the Wertheimers reportedly had a lawyer dedicated solely to dealing with her litigious efforts.

Before the Nazis invaded France, the Wertheimers escaped to family in New York. Nazi laws forbade Jewish ownership of property and businesses, and in 1941, after Germany invaded France, Chanel petitioned the Vichy government and Nazi officials for sole ownership of her perfume company. But even that effort proved fruitless — the family, knowing Chanel’s obsessive desire to take control of her perfume business and the Nazi anti-Jewish laws that were already in effect in Germany, took steps to ensure that would never happen. The Wertheimers bequeathed full control of their stake to a French Christian businessman named Felix Amiot, himself a collaborator who sold arms to the Nazis, for the duration of the war.

Chanel, for her part, would go on to spend the rest of the war years as the lover of Nazi officer Hans Gunther von Dincklage. But she was more than just a passive paramour. According to journalist Hal Vaughan in his book “Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War,” there is evidence that Chanel was an active Nazi intelligence operative.

Despite her involvement with Nazis and her underhanded tactics to usurp the Wertheimers’ control of her company, about a decade after the war the Wertheimers – in a move that was part business, part turning the other cheek – helped Chanel re-establish the House of Chanel (which had ceased operations after the Allies invaded France and Chanel moved to Switzerland), even going as far as financing her daily living expenses and paying her taxes for the rest of her life.

It was in her unrepentant postwar years that Chanel really established what would become the design signature that Lagerfeld would later reinvent and recycle again and again until it became almost comically repetitive – the boucle jackets, the flat-topped wide brimmed hats, the pencil skirts and the pearls.

Following Chanel’s death in 1961, the brand languished, searching fruitlessly for an appropriate successor who could be trusted with continuing her legacy.

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It was only in 1983, 22 years after Chanel died, that a young Lagerfeld – by then already known as a fashion wünderkind – was tapped to head up the languishing Chanel house. He was chosen because of his acknowledged creative genius, as well as his innate understanding and respect for what Coco Chanel had created, and had proven his chops while establishing the heritage French brand Chloe as an “it” brand that embodied the bohemian sensibility of the early ’70s.

Lagerfeld’s first couture collection played on the tight-and-trashy look that was in vogue in Paris at that time – a trend that Lagerfeld had helped shape before he was tapped to helm Chanel. The skirt suits were slimmer and sexier and worn with wide obi belts; evening dresses were flounced and tiered and topped with tulle boleros; gems were sewn onto a dress bodice as a trompe l’oeil of a necklace; white pique four leaf clover flowers were pinned onto the shoulders of suits.

This debut collection for Chanel received mixed reviews. Some believed the Chanel brand should have died with its founder, since she and her aesthetic were irreplaceable, while others thought that Lagerfeld’s touch paid proper homage that also showcased how he would shape the brand in the years to come.

It was the latter opinion that proved to be the most accurate.

That initial couture collection, with notes of verve and excitement usually reserved for ready-to-wear collections, was a success, setting in motion a lifetime contract with Chanel. Within a few seasons of his tenure, Chanel became the most exciting and coveted ticket at Paris Fashion Week. The shows were theatrical, the clothes were at once experimental and traditional; both fashion-forward and classic. Over the years, Chanel shows – mostly housed in Lagerfeld’s favored venue of choice, the Grand Palais – became grand productions where a runway could become a dreamy beach, a swanky airport, a French bistro and once even a supermarket in which every product bore the Chanel name and models carried grocery baskets edged in Chanel’s signature braided bag chain.

Under Lagerfeld, Chanel could appeal to a multitude of clients: old and young, staid and trendy. His expertise in taking the classic Chanel tropes, like the camellia and the tweed boucle, and reworking them into the trend of the day – whether that be logos or micro-minis – made the Lagerfeld name synonymous with Chanel. With his hauteur demeanor and rarely changing personal aesthetic – gloved hands, sunglasses even indoors and hair tied in a Beethoven-esque low pony – Lagerfeld wasn’t just the designer at Chanel; he was Chanel.

But Lagerfeld’s greatest service to the Chanel brand was his ability to erase the negative associations with Chanel, including the founder’s anti-Semitism. In fact, his contribution to the brand’s aesthetic and ethos was so extensive that his work often eclipses that of Coco Chanel herself. Many books written about the Chanel collections over the years often overlook the early years pre-Lagerfeld (much to the chagrin of Amazon book reviewers). Indeed it was only in recent years that the depth of Chanel’s involvement in Nazism has come to light. Lagerfeld made the brand so iconic and inclusive that it was easy to forget everything that was problematic about Chanel herself.

This isn’t to say that Lagerfeld hasn’t had his own brushes with antisemitism, racism and bigotry. In 2017, he used the legacy of the Holocaust to attack German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy, saying, “You cannot kill millions of Jews and then take in millions of their worst enemies afterwards, even [after] decades.”

But what Lagerfeld created in the Chanel brand is so iconic, so overwhelmingly representative of wealth and luxury, so removed from controversy and politics (even a runway show dedicated to feminist slogans and protesting felt excessively bland because it lacked edge or controversy), that even Lagerfeld’s most problematic moments somehow got excused and pushed aside — that is the power of Lagerfeld’s Chanel.

But now that Lagerfeld is dead, the future of Chanel is again in peril: Who can replace a man who was such a virtuoso that he made Chanel into the most important, most recognizable brand – both in name and aesthetics – in fashion today? Let’s just hope that Chanel doesn’t languish for decades once more as the company searches for a designer who can respect and understand Lagerfeld’s vision, even as she or he remakes the brand in his or her image.


The museum then displays the government document registering the Franks’ deportation on a cattle car train to Auschwitz.


hotos of Anne Frank are seen at Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018

Photos of Anne Frank are seen at Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS/EVA PLEVIER)

The museum, built around the secret apartment, has opened after being revamped to receive a new generation of visitors whose grandparents were born after World War II.

The museum and tiny apartment where Anne Frank wrote her diary — which has become the most widely-read document to emerge from the Holocaust — attract 1.2 million visitors annually.

Anne’s story is told through simple photos, quotes from her diary and video testimony of survivors. Curators have now added an audio tour.

“We sometimes say that the Anne Frank House Museum is one of the only museums in the world that doesn’t have much more to offer than empty spaces,” said museum director Ronald Leopold.

View of the entrance of the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands November 21, 2018. Picture taken November 21, 2018.

View of the entrance of the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands November 21, 2018. Picture taken November 21, 2018. 

“An audio tour gave us the ability to give information without disturbing what I think is one of the most powerful elements of this house: its emptiness,” he said.

A trip through the museum, which was reopened by Dutch King Willem-Alexander on Thursday, begins with the history of the Frank family, their flight to the Netherlands after Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and their decision to go into hiding on July 6, 1942.

Visitors pass through the swinging bookcase that concealed the cramped secret annex above a warehouse where Anne, her sister Margot, her father Otto, mother Edith and four other Jews hid until they were arrested by German police on August 4, 1944.

The museum then displays the government document registering the Franks’ deportation on a cattle car train to Auschwitz.

Anne was later transferred to the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen, where she died in early 1945 aged 15, one of the six million Jews who lost their life under the Nazi regime.

Photos are seen inside the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018.

Photos are seen inside the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018. 

Of those that hid in the secret apartment, only Otto Frank survived the war. He was given Anne’s diary, which had been preserved by Miep Gies, a member of the tight circle of Dutch friends that helped the Jews in hiding.

In a film clip, Otto Frank describes reading the diary after a period of grieving.

“I must say I was very much surprised about the deep thoughts there she had; her seriousness, especially her self-criticism. It was quite a different Anne I had known as my daughter,” he said.

View of a room inside the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018. Picture taken November 21, 2018.

View of a room inside the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018. Picture taken November 21, 2018.

“My conclusion is, as I had been on very, very good terms with her, that most parents don’t know — don’t know really — their own children,” Frank said.

The museum concludes with a simple room where the original red-and-white bound diary — which outgrew its covers — and several additional pages are on display. Photographs are not allowed due to the fragility of the pages.


In essence, every Jewish building in Berlin is in itself a monument to the Holocaust.


THE JEWISH MUSEUM BERLIN, once known as the City of Berlin Museum.

THE JEWISH MUSEUM BERLIN, once known as the City of Berlin Museum. (photo credit: BECKY FRANK)

There are many museums in the world which are architectural wonders: The Louvre in Paris or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Since I travel the world, I would like to add to the list one of the most remarkable museum buildings you will ever encounter: the Jewish Museum Berlin (Jüdisches Museum Berlin), which was opened in 2001 and is the largest Jewish museum in Europe.

Museums are not static in their presentations. News that the Jewish Museum Berlin is now reinventing itself by creating both a new permanent exhibition and a children’s museum, should not stop the visitor from touring this fabulous structure. Only the two upper levels of architect Daniel Libeskind’s building are not accessible until late 2019. But one can still view the architectural highlights of the Libeskind building, namely, the Axes in the basement, the Garden of Exile, and the impressive Voids – as well as the current exhibitions and art installations.

“One of the great glories of the architectural rebirth of the unified city of Berlin,” exclaimed one writer discussing the museum and the Reichstag. Those two structures stand as perhaps the only pieces of 21st century “avant-gardist architecture” in the city. The outer walls of the building are covered in zinc, pierced by slashes of window that could be lightning or a shattered Star of David.

I remember my first tour of the Jewish Museum 15 years ago when it was empty of exhibits and yet, it was one of the most challenging visits to a museum dealing with the tragedy that befell the Jewish people. More than 350,000 persons came to the museum in the two years before the exhibitions were installed.

Museum officials stress that the museum depicts the history of not only Berlin Jews, but of German Jews as a whole and that it is not a Holocaust memorial – it is a Jewish history museum that shows the creative role that Jews played in Germany before the Nazis took over in 1933. No doubt about it, Jews influenced the city’s cultural life, and that is shown here.

Still, as you walk through this now elongated, sharply angled and folded building, you cannot but recall the Holocaust. The building’s narrow galleries with slanting floors and zig-zag turns evoke a sense of dislocation and are interspersed by voids embodying the vacuum left behind by the destruction of Jewish life.

In essence, every Jewish building in Berlin is in itself a monument to the Holocaust.


The museum consists of three buildings, two of which are new additions specifically built for the museum by Libeskind. The third building, the old City of Berlin Museum, serves as its entrance. After you move through the latter doorway, the floors you walk on in the new building are uneven. You might even fill a little dizzy. At certain points you will be disorientated. You will stand in space voids. You will enter a dark angular tower, an oppressive space that obviously stands as a symbol of the Holocaust. One tourist noted that he found the tower “more powerful than museum images of the reality.”

When I toured the museum, I glanced at the guest book which included quotes in Japanese, Chinese, French, Hebrew and English. They ranged from “with great admiration,” to “I think my grandparents would sigh with relief and grief if they could visit this place. I will lend them my eyes. The Jewish Museum Berlin has ‘lent us its eyes,’” written by a woman from the Netherlands.

A highlight of the museum is the Garden of Exile, consisting of 49 tilted pillars to represent the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, plus one for Berlin. The garden also symbolizes the forced exile of Germany’s Jews. I found the Garden of Exile  very thought-provoking and powerful.

In any discussion of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, mention must be made of the background of 72-year-old Daniel Libeskind, the Polish-American Jewish architect whose buildings also include, among others, the extension to the Denver Art Museum; the Danish Jewish Museum in Copenhagen, and the Wohl Center at the Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan. In 2003, Libeskind won the competition to be the master-plan architect for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. His work has been exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world. Born in Poland, Libeskind moved with his family to Israel in 1957 and then onto the US in 1959.

Opening last December was the new exhibit “Welcome to Jerusalem at the Jewish Museum Berlin,” which will run until April 30, 2019. The 1,000 square-meter exhibition explores aspects of the city’s history, in which religion, politics and everyday life are inextricably intertwined. The exhibition opened in the Old Building.

“Welcome to Jerusalem” tells the history of Jerusalem from Herod’s time until the present day through a wide selection of themes. Ten rooms present Jerusalem’s many and diverse challenges through historic objects, artistic responses, and multimedia installations.

Those stopping at the exhibit will find objects that illuminate cultural history, with loans from private collections and international museums, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Modern, the Musee du Quai Branly, the Uffizi Gallery and the Israel Museum, as well as works by contemporary artists.

Some museum guests, including those who have visited the capital of Israel, said that the “Jerusalem exhibit was so informative and made them feel like they were back in Jerusalem.”

The Jewish Museum is located at Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin.
Tel: +49 (0)30 259 93 300.

Mark Zuckerberg’s sister responds to his Holocaust comments

Randi Zuckerberg denounced Holocaust deniers, citing “their hateful, disgusting rhetoric” but said banning such people from social media “will not make them go away.”


Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, weighed in on his controversial comments about Holocaust deniers on the social media platform.

In a statement provided to CNN, Randi Zuckerberg, who previously served as director of marketing for Facebook and is the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, denounced Holocaust deniers, citing “their hateful, disgusting rhetoric.”

She appeared to agree with her brother, however, adding that banning such people from social media “will not make them go away.”

Her comments came after her brother told Recode’s Kara Swisher that Facebook would not remove the posts of Holocaust deniers because they could include people who “aren’t intentionally getting it wrong.” He said Facebook would only make sure such posts would not get high visibility.

Critics, including the Anti-Defamation League, said a private company should draw the line at tolerating obvious falsehoods and hateful, unfounded conspiracy theories.

In her remarks to CNN, Randi Zuckerberg noted her longtime involvement in numerous Jewish organizations.

“As a leader in the Jewish community, and someone who has worked at the ground floor of social media, I felt a responsibility to weigh in,” she wrote.

She mentioned her involvement in Birthright Israel, PJ Library, Reboot, the Wexner Foundation, the Shalom Hartman Institute, San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum and “JCCs and Federations across the U.S. and Canada.”

Zuckerberg said her brother “could have chosen his words apparently.” She said, however, the difficulty of “navigating this incredibly difficult new world where the notion of free speech is constantly changing.” Citing the positive effect that Facebook has had on the Jewish community, she lamented that the platform has become a tool for detractors as well.

“Unfortunately, when we give a voice to everyone, we give it to people who use that voice for good and to people who abuse that voice,” she wrote. “Organizations doing impactful work now have more powerful tools than ever before, yet the nasty dark underbelly that exists right beneath the surface has access to those exact same tools.”

She suggested that a national debate was needed on Holocaust deniers’ right to a platform.

“As much as I disagree with Holocaust deniers having a voice at all, the reality is that it is not currently considered a crime in the United States, and if we want our social networks to remove this hateful speech and follow the lead of many countries in Europe who denounce it as criminal, we need to expand the conversation more broadly and legislate at a national level,” she wrote.

“I wish that these platforms didn’t give a voice to those who cry out for divestment from Israel, make anti-Jewish remarks, and many of the other issues affecting our community today. But silencing everyone — or worse, silencing selectively — would be far more nefarious.”



Jewish groups decry Facebook CEO’s decision to not delete such posts.


Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California. (photo credit: STEPHEN LAM / REUTERS)

After Jewish groups slammed Mark Zuckerberg over his comments on Holocaust denial, the Facebook CEO somewhat walked back his earlier statement.

“I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that,” he told a reporter from Recode on Wednesday afternoon.

Zuckerberg was doing damage control after a podcast interview he did with the site on Tuesday began picking up steam. In the original interview, Zuckerberg was discussing Facebook’s policy on removing posts from the social media platform for being false.

In explaining why Facebook would choose to “reduce the distribution” of fake or incorrect content, as opposed to deleting it entirely, Zuckerberg brought up the Holocaust.

“I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened,” the Facebook CEO said. “I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.”

Recode reporter Kara Swisher interrupted to say that they very well might be intentionally getting it wrong. But Zuckerberg added, “It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent. I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly… I just don’t think that it is the right thing to say, ‘We’re going to take someone off the platform if they get things wrong, even multiple times.’”

The Facebook founder’s comments drew swift and harsh ire from several Jewish groups. Many focused specifically on Zuckerberg’s intention – which he did not walk back – to not remove such posts from the social media platform.

Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said on Wednesday that Facebook should be taking a more definitive stance.

“Holocaust denial is a willful, deliberate and longstanding deception tactic by antisemites that is incontrovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews,” Greenblatt said. “Facebook has a moral and ethical obligation not to allow its dissemination. ADL will continue to challenge Facebook on this position and call on them to regard Holocaust denial as a violation of their community guidelines.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center said that Zuckerberg was completely wrong about Holocaust denial.

“Holocaust deniers only come in two flavors – those who don’t want to believe there was an Auschwitz and those who want to finish the job, like Iran,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center.

“Holocaust denial is the quintessential ‘fake news’… allowing the canard of Holocaust denial to be posted on Facebook, or any other social media platform cannot be justified in the name of ‘free exchange of ideas’ when the idea itself is based on a falsehood.”

Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt told JTA that it is “ludicrous” to claim Holocaust deniers don’t have the intent to deceive.

“Holocaust denial is no different than Sandy Hook mass-killing denial,” she said, referring to conspiracy theories falsely claiming that the 2012 school shooting was a hoax. “It’s not a ‘mistaken’ notion of history. It is a deliberate distortion made in the name of hatred. Simply put: Denial is a form of antisemitism and racism.”

The social media platform said it would only remove content which “is aimed at or going to induce violence.”

In Israel, the government and Facebook have engaged extensively over posts the country believes are incitement and should be removed.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled the “Facebook bill” from the Knesset agenda before it could be passed into law.

The bill, which was intended to require Facebook, Google and other tech giants to remove content that incites terrorism, was deemed to have been written in a much too broad and far-reaching manner.

An edited version of the bill is likely to be brought up again when the Knesset returns in October.



Almost 71 years to the day after immigrating to US from post-war Europe, Jack Nasielski joins his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as he makes Israel his home.


Jack Nasielski. (photo credit: NEFESH B’NEFESH)

Jerusalem – Jack Nasielski, 92, from Edison, New Jersey, landed in Ben Gurion Airport yesterday on a Nefesh B’Nefesh group Aliyah flight, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah & Integration, the Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel and JNF-USA, together with another 27 new Israeli citizens.

For Jack, this is yet another chapter in his eventful life. Born in Dessau, Germany, Nasielski, a Holocaust survivor, fled the Nazis as a child through Poland, and eventually was captured and sent to four different camps including Auschwitz and Blachhamer where he was finally liberated in 1945. Jack is fulfilling his Aliyah dream almost 71 years to the day since he arrived in New York on a boat as a post-war European immigrant.

For almost 20 years now, Jack has lived in Edison, New Jersey, following his daughter Lilly and her husband Bruce. Now he is following his children again as they all make Aliyah to Rehovot this summer to join Lilly and Bruce’s four children and Jack’s many grandchildren and great- grandchildren who already live in Israel.

“Israel is the Jewish homeland. No one can persecute you for being a Jew in your own country,” explained 92-year-old Shoah and Auschwitz survivor Jack Nasielski upon joining his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in Israel. “Today I am proud to be an Israeli and a real Jew. Israel is my new home and I love it.”



The ambassador acknowledged that for the past month, Poland and Israel have been “in the eye of the storm,” but said the two countries have agreed to discuss the matter.

The controversial law outlawing public discussion of Poles’ collaboration with the Nazis will not be enforced in the near future, Polish Ambassador to Israel Jacek Chodorowicz told the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee on Monday.
“The Polish Justice Ministry committed to not enforcing the new law before there is an in-depth examination of all of its components, including a discussion with Israeli representatives,” Chodorowicz said.
“We will talk about the subject more quietly and peacefully. Too much has been said that was criticized by Israelis,” he stated.
Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee chairman Avraham Neguise (Likud) called for the law to be canceled immediately, and said the Foreign Ministry needs to take steps to fight Holocaust denial.

Yisrael Beytenu MK Yulia Malinovski said, “You can legislate whatever you want, but no one can change history. We appreciate those who helped and saved Jewish lives, but there were also people who participated in the Jewish genocide, and no one has a right to say anything else. It pains me… that there are many who can no longer tell the story of what happened to them.”

Chodorowicz spoke at a discussion on preserving World War II sites, an issue of concern to Soviet-born MKs who called the meeting.

At least one Red Army veteran was in attendance, wearing his war medals affixed to his suit jacket.

The lawmakers and veterans took issue with a Polish law that allows the government to take down Soviet-era monuments.

“It’s revenge for the sake of revenge,” Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova lamented. “These are monuments for the Red Army that liberated Poland; it shouldn’t matter who built them. I’m proud of every person who contributed to the victory over the Nazis,” she said.

Svetlova also said that while the government is not touching Red Army graves, it turns a blind eye to those who desecrate them.

Neguise said the discussion is taking place on the background of increased antisemitism and Holocaust denial in Europe.

“It’s important to prevent any violation of the memory of the Holocaust and those murdered in it, and we must preserve its memory in Israel and the world,” Neguise said. “It’s important to learn about the contribution of the Red Army to the victory over the Nazi beast and the allies’ contribution to that goal.”

Yesh Atid MK Yoel Razbozov accused Poland of trying to “change historic facts and allow the gravestones of Red Army soldiers to be desecrated.”

hodorowicz promised that since Poland declared its independence, no Red Army graves have been moved.

“What changed in the new law gives an opportunity for the authorities to dismantle symbolic sites that are identified with the communist regime that ruled Poland after the war and were built in the 1950s and 60s. It’s very different,” he stated.

In a related event, Svetlova and United Torah Judaism MK Uri Maklev launched a Knesset Caucus for Preserving Jewish Sites and Cemeteries Abroad. The meeting was held to discuss the desecration and misuse of Jewish burial sites in Europe.

“There are no disputes on this issue. We all see eye-to-eye and want to help,” Maklev said. “As the years pass, the worse the problem gets… In many places, there are no longer Jewish people there to protect Jewish sites.”

Paul Packer, chairman of the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, said the US is in dialogue with many countries on this issue and is working on a database to track Jewish and non-Jewish cemeteries across the world.

“I didn’t know what to expect in the Knesset and I’m shocked. Good for you,” Packer said. “What I love about Israel is they talk about the future and pride themselves on helping the world. A strong America means a strong Israel, and a strong Israel means a strong Jewish people. America is here for you.”

The discussion was held in conjunction with the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESJF) and was backed by the US and German governments as well as private donors. It was founded by Rabbi Isaac Schapira, son of a former UTJ leader who was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in 2014. Former justice minister Yossi Beilin has also taken an active part in the organization’s work, helping it connect with foreign governments.

The ESJF’s central goal is to build fences around as many Jewish cemeteries as possible in Eastern and Central Europe. The group has built 102 fences since its founding in 2015 and has found a total of 1200 relevant locations.

Some sites, however, have been plowed over and turned into agricultural land or school grounds.

“In Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, we reach these places and there’s no cemetery anymore,” ESJF CEO Philip Carmel said. “We want to finish our work before all these places disappear. We think we can do it in 10 years.”

Beilin recounted visiting the town of Frampol, in Poland: “We talked to children there and they had no idea there were ever any Jews. They had never met any Jews… We built access roads and fences around the cemetery and the locals took an interest. Now the school nearby is protecting the cemetery. The children researched and wrote reports on the Jews of Frampol. They sang to us [in Hebrew],” he said.

“This project is more than just a cemetery. The unexpected results are bigger than the project itself. Without it, the contribution of Jews to the development of Eastern Europe will simply disappear,” Beilin added.

Chodorowicz, who also attended the caucus launch, said the Polish Ministry of Culture decided last year to create a database of all cemeteries in the country and create “unified and dignified” ways to mark them.