Category Archive: Nazi Hunters

German Muslim students protest Holocaust remembrance, attack Israel

The school director said that it was good there was student opposition to the memorial event because it “is the basis of discussion.”

ShowImageMuslim students of Arab and Turkish origin protested participation in an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event in Germany, while their high school’s administration showed understanding for their criticism of Israel.

“Some Muslims students said they would not participate in the event,” said Florian Beer, a teacher at the school in the city of Gelsenkirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia state, Der Westen newspaper reported on Thursday.

The Holocaust remembrance event was part of a global commemoration in which participants take selfie photographs along with a sign saying “I Remember“ or “We Remember.“ A blackboard at the school was defaced with the sentence: “F*** Israel, free Palestine.” The school was not able to identify the perpetrator.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Friday, “Muslims students are greatest in need of Holocaust education, so it would be unfortunate if they were excused from those activities.”

Zuroff, who is Wiesenthal’s chief Nazi-hunter, added, “Given that Holocaust consciousness is a central idea of civic identity in the Federal Republic, it is doubly important for families that come from countries with deep antisemitic traditions and no knowledge of the Holocaust and the destruction of European Jewry.”

The Weiterbildungskolleg Emscher-Lippe school, where the protest unfolded, has 500 students, 40% of whom have a migrant background.

School director Günter Jahn told Der Westen it was good that there was student opposition to the remembrance event. “It is important that there is criticism. That is the basis for a discussion.” He added that in certain communities, criticism of Israel is demanded.

The school is located in the northern part of the Ruhr region and Gelsenkirchen’s population in 2015 was roughly 260,000.

Some of the students allowed themselves to be photographed with the remembrance signs but declined to permit the photographs to be displayed on the Internet. A number of students, according to Der Westen, asked, “Why always the Jews?” The students added there are, after all, other problems in world.

Beer said the school likes to be provocative because there are always events at the school that leave an “aftertaste of antisemitism.” He added that representatives from the World Jewish Congress have been invited to come speak at the school.

The number of antisemitic attacks reported in Germany doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to a report the Diaspora Affairs Ministry released last Sunday. The actual number of attacks is believed to be higher because of the lack of standards to identify contemporary antisemitism in the Federal Republic.

In January, a German court reaffirmed a legal decision from the city of Wuppertal stating the torching of a synagogue by three Muslims was not motivated by antisemitism. The court wrote the men only sought via the arson “to clearly draw attention to the blazing conflict between Israel and Palestinians” during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. The original synagogue in Wuppertal was burned by Germans in 1938.

Volker Beck, a German Green Party deputy in the Bundestag, said on Thursday that the memorial day for the victims of National Socialism must not just be about remembering, it must lead to action.

Beck, who has led the parliamentary fight to blunt the mushrooming modern Jew-hatred in Germany, said “antisemitism frequently appears clothed as anti-Zionism.” He cited three German academic institutions that stoked anti-Israel propaganda that delegitimizes the Jewish democratic state. “Whoever boycotts Israelis or Israeli institutions, because they are Jews, acts in an antisemitic way,” said Beck, who appears to be the only Bundestag deputy to connect the remembrance of the Holocaust with efforts to combat contemporary antisemitism targeting the Jewish state.

The University of Hamburg appointed the academic Farid Esack, a leader of the South African anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, to serve as a guest lecturer on Islamic theology. Esack praised Leila Khaled, a convicted terrorist and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, at a BDS fund-raiser in 2015.

“This is a man who expressed antisemitic statements, and who is sympathetic to Holocaust denial,” the Israeli Embassy in Berlin told the Post. “A person with such views has no place as an educator in a university, especially not in Germany, for both professional and moral and probably also legal reasons.”

Post email queries to the University of Hamburg’s president Dr. Dieter Lenzen were not returned.

The Max Planck Institute hosted the American pro-Hezbollah activist Norman Finkelstein on Monday. He delivered a lecture sympathetic to the US- and EU-designated terrorist organization Hamas to more than 30 students. The head of the Max Planck Institute, Dr. Martin Stratmann, declined to respond to Post requests for an interview about the alleged spread of new forms of antisemitism at the Planck Institute branch in the city of Halle.

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Nazi hunter says hundreds could still be at large

Efraim Zuroff expects a spike in convictions in coming years despite most suspects being in their 90s

000_KS3GP-e1485486822551Hundreds or even thousands of Nazi war crimes suspects could still be at large, one of the world’s leading experts on the matter said Thursday, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Efraim Zuroff said he expected a spike in convictions in the coming years despite most suspects being in their 90s, but admitted most were unlikely to face justice as many countries are unwilling to pursue cases.

“There are still hundreds, if not thousands of these Nazis, but the problem is who among them can be brought to justice?” the so-called Nazi hunter told an event ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday.

Since 2001, 104 Nazis have been convicted over their roles in the Holocaust, in which around six million Jews were systematically exterminated, figures from Zuroff’s Simon Wiesenthal Center show.

The annual number has been declining, however, and between April 2015 and March 2016 there was only one conviction, with two new cases filed.

In June a 94-year-old former guard at the Auschwitz death camp was convicted in Germany.

Zuroff said he expected the number to increase in coming years.

“There will be a spike because of the whole change in German prosecution policy,” Zuroff told AFP.

In 2011 German legal policy changed to allow prosecutions of those who worked for the Nazis in the death camps, rather than specifically having carried out a killing, allowing for new trials of men and women in their 90s.

While he hailed Germany’s commitment to prosecuting as many suspects as possible, Zuroff pointed out many other countries have not pursued trials.

Collaborators in many countries had been largely immune from prosecution as their governments were unwilling to push the matter, he said.

“In a country like Ukraine, for example, there are a lot of Ukrainians who were involved,” he said.

“They have never initiated a single investigation.”

Zuroff said in both Norway and Sweden statute limitations mean that Nazi war criminals could not be prosecuted.

“In Norway there were people who volunteered for the SS, were sent to the east and were involved in crimes against humanity in Ukraine,” he added.

Zuroff said it was a race against time to convict people before they die.

“It is drawing to an end for obvious reasons,” he said, calling it the “biological solution”.

Asked how the world would look back on their attempts to bring Nazis to justice across the world, Zuroff said “there is no question it failed.”

“The huge number of people involved made it impossible to bring all the perpetrators to justice, so the question is how many will be brought. I look at it that every person brought to justice is a victory.”

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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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Germany Identifies 20 Former Majdanek Guards

Probe into 1,000 former guards reveals nearly two dozen still alive in Germany

In the latest German probe into Nazi concentration camp guards, investigators have identified 20 suspected former guards at Majdanek who are still alive and living in Germany. The Associated Press reports that the results of the investigation by Germany’s special Nazi war crimes office into more 1,000 former guards at the concentration camp would be handed over to state investigators.

Lead investigator Thomas Will told The Associated Press that about 30 suspects were identified and located, but around ten had already died. The remaining 20 men and women all live in Germany, he said, but refused to elaborate further.

Some 220 others are still being investigated for possible charges but have not been located.

It’s not up to state investigators to decide whether or not to press charges. Yet federal prosecutor Kurt Schrimm, who heads the Nazi war crimes office, told Reuters that even if charges are filed, it’s unlikely that the cases will proceed much further.

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Hitler wine probe launched in Italy

Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into sales of wine with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler on the label.

They were alerted to the wines after Philadelphia lawyer Matthew Hirsch came across the bottles in a small supermarket in the northern town of Garda while on holiday with his wife, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. One of the bottles features Hitler performing the Nazi salute, another the dictator alongside the words Mein Kampf, meaning “my struggle” in German, and a third depicting Hitler posing with a manipulated photo of the late Pope John Paul II.
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French Holocaust records exhibited for first time in history

They are among France’s darkest days: Police dragged over 13,000 Jews from their homes, confined them in a Paris cycling stadium with little food or water, and then deported them to their deaths in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. But even in France, one of the most brazen collaborations between authorities and the Nazis during World War II is unknown to many in the younger generation.
Police are hoping to change that, opening up their archives on France’s biggest single deportation of French Jews for the first time to the public on Thursday.
The often-chilling records are being exhibited in the Paris Jewish district’s city hall to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the two-day “Vel d’Hiv” roundup, named for the Velodrome d’Hiver, or Winter Velodrome. Many thousands were rounded up on July 16 and 17, 1942, then holed up in miserable conditions in the stadium, just a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, before being bused to the French camp at Drancy and then taken by train to Auschwitz.
Tallies list the daily count of men, women and children detained, alongside stark black and white photographs of deportees. A registry of those forced to wear the yellow star and a Jewish census show how police knew who to take. Meticulous handwritten lists detail personal possessions handed over to police. Others list the value of property, such as jewelry, confiscated — often forcibly — during the deportation.
France struggled for years to come to terms with the extent of its wartime collaboration with the Nazis, but over the decades officials have been showing greater willingness to acknowledge the shameful period in its history.
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Hungary arrests the ‘most wanted living Nazi’

Police in Hungary on Tuesday arrested Laszlo Csatary, said to be the world’s most wanted living Nazi, and charged him with war crimes related to the deportation of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz during World War II.
Hungarian prosecution said it indicted the 95-year-old for the part he played in sending 15,700 Jews to Nazi death camps when he was the police chief of Kosice.
Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal center, who tracked Csatary down to a suburb of Budapest late last year, told The Jerusalem Post shortly after the arrest took place that he was overjoyed by the news.
“Hallelujah,” he said. “You can’t understand what this means to me. It is a great victory and a very important one.”
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Elan Steinberg, Fighter for Jews, Dies at 59

By Menachem Z. Rosensaft, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants

Immediately after Elan Steinberg died early on April 6 at age 59, those who understood the tremendous historical role he had played spoke about what he had meant to them and to the Jewish community. Calling him “One of the great Jewish activists of the past decades,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder described him as “probably the most gifted communication professional in the Jewish organizational world.” Remembering Elan as “a friend and an ally,” Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel said that “whenever Jews were in danger or Jewish honor offended, he vigorously yet elegantly spoke up. Whenever Jewish memory was attacked, he attacked the attacker.”
For more than 25 years, Elan fought for Jewish rights throughout the world as one of the key leaders of the WJC, which he first joined in 1978 at age 26 as the organization’s representative at the United Nations. Then, as the WJC’s executive director, he was the political strategist behind many dramatic and unprecedented initiatives to force the international community to confront unresolved and often unacknowledged vestiges from the Holocaust. These included the successful campaigns to obtain billions of dollars in restitution for Holocaust survivors from Swiss banks, European governments and insurance companies, among others, that had profiteered from the persecution and annihilation of European Jewry during World War II. He also led the WJC campaign to unmask Austrian politician and erstwhile U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim for being a former Nazi who had lied about his military affiliation.
The son of Holocaust survivors, Elan was born in Rishon LeZion, Israel, on June 2, 1952. His worldview was shaped by a lifelong Zionism, an unwavering dedication to Holocaust remembrance and a fierce insistence that the survivors were entitled to not just symbolic but also actual justice and, above all else, to respect and dignity. Elan had a brilliant, inquisitive Renaissance-like intellect over a broad range of often unexpected disciplines. He could speak authoritatively about history, politics, philosophical and theological quandaries such as Pascal’s Wager, sports culture and the latest often absurd revelations in the New York Post’s Page 6.
A man of absolute integrity, he categorically refused to compromise on matters of principle, often at significant personal and professional cost. He could be a sharp-tongued opponent. When a prominent New York law firm proclaimed that it had agreed to give “strategic advice” to a leading Swiss bank accused of laundering millions of dollars of assets stolen from Jews by Nazi Germany in order to help the bank “determine what the truth is — what really happened,” Elan countered that the law firm was only representing the bank “to make a buck. Any suggestion that they’re doing it for any other reason is nonsense, pure baloney.”
In 2007, a former arbitrator for the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims alleged that he had been pressured to reject claims by one of ICHEIC’s administrators. Elan, who had been a commissioner until 2004, was outraged. “There should be no statute of limitations on justice,” he said. “There is no question in my mind that these issues, which touch on the moral and ethical obligations we have to our Holocaust martyrs, must remain open.”
One of my favorite Elan stories is about the time the French minister of culture, with whom he was negotiating for the return of several thousand paintings that had been looted from Jews during the Holocaust, told him, “You don’t know anything about art.” Unfazed, Elan replied: “You’re right. I don’t know anything about art. But I’m from Brooklyn. I know stolen goods.”
We first met in 1980, during the preparations for the following year’s World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Jerusalem, and soon discovered that we had a lot in common, not least a similarly irreverent sense of humor and an instinctive desire to bypass conventions in order to get a job done. We were friends for 32 years, and I was privileged to experience firsthand his unshakeable loyalty. Our converging paths and shared mission led us to meet over the years in New York, Jerusalem, Washington, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, Moscow, Oslo, Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest and even Petra, Jordan, where we worked together on an international conference of Nobel laureates on behalf of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.
After he left the WJC in 2004, he became a vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, and we served together on its executive committee. We used to speak almost daily, sometimes several times a day, our conversations ranging from Jewish politics and issues of concern to the survivor community to anything and everything that affected our families and ourselves.
His office was at a Starbucks. Literally. Having set himself up at a table with his iPad and multiple cell phones, he would talk or email with reporters, lay leaders and senior officials at a host of Jewish organizations — all of whom sought his advice or wanted to share information — and, always, to his family and friends. His priorities were never in doubt. He would interrupt any conversation to take a call from one of his children. He gave them his undivided attention, answering their questions or just enjoying their latest news.
His wife, Sharon, and his children, Max, Harry and Lena, were simultaneously the core and the motivating force of his existence. There was nothing Elan would not do for them, and their unconditional devotion to him was clearly evident during his illness. For the two months Elan spent in the hospital after being diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, Sharon did not leave his side. She gave him not only strength, but also a constant reassurance that he was not alone, that he would never be alone. And his children were there throughout, making sure he knew how much and how deeply they loved him. Their presence always made him smile, and perhaps it enabled him to forget, however briefly, about his pain and his fears.
Elan was a blazing comet who taught us the conscience-based imperatives inherent in our moment in history. Even during his final weeks, he remained engaged and wanted to be involved, to make a difference. OThe road ahead will be intellectually and spiritually impoverished for his absence. We will not forget him.

Menachem Z. Rosensaft is the general counsel of the World Jewish Congress and vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants. He teaches about the law of genocide and World War II war crimes trials at the law schools of Columbia, Cornell and Syracuse universities.
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