AUSTRALIA’S strategies for bringing alleged Nazi war criminals in this country to justice are fundamentally flawed, according to a key anti-Nazi campaigner.
Broadcaster and historian Mark Aarons said Australia deserved to languish in the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s lowest category after the organization gave Australia an “F” in its finding of nations’ efforts to bring fugitive Nazis before court.
Aarons said Australia stood apart from other Western democracies with large intakes of displaced persons (DPs) after World War II, as it did not seek to prosecute alleged Nazis and collaborators for breaches of immigration law, unlike the United States and Canada.
Australia accepted some 180,000 DPs, second only to the US, which took around 250,000, with Canada third. Canada, like Australia, had tried to conduct war-crimes trials but when witnesses and evidence became too old and unreliable, Canada copied the US model of prosecuting individuals for lying about their past to obtain entry permits. Australia did not follow that path, Aarons said.
Under former prime minister Bob Hawke, Australia briefly conducted war-crimes trials from 1986 to 1991 after Aarons’ landmark 1986 ABC radio documentary Nazis In Australia brought the issue to prominence.
“Except for the Hawke period, every other government has been a failure,” Aarons told The AJN this week. “Every other government has thrown up its hands and refused to put any effort into it at all.
“Actuarial mortality rates being what they are, there’s a very good chance that the last Nazi will die peacefully in his bed somewhere in Australia.”
Aarons slammed last year’s High Court ruling rejecting the extradition of Perth man Charles (Karoly) Zentai to his native Hungary over the 1944 murder of 18-year-old Budapest Jew Peter Balazs. The case was cited in the Wiesenthal Centre report as “the most disappointing result in a specific case during the period under review”.
Protesters place pile of shoes in Rabin Square in effort to create awareness for Holocaust survivors’ dire conditions; demand more funding
Tel Aviv’s Rabin square was a site of a rare form of protest on Sunday when a pile of shoes was placed in the square to symbolize Holocaust survivors’ dire conditions.
The protesters are calling on citizens to bring their own shoes to add to the pile. Around the display they posted posters which read “You threw them out like an old pair of shoes” and “Where is their money?”
The State has recently allocated NIS 50 million for Holocaust survivors but protest organizer Rafi Tal says this is not enough. “The idea came to me after realizing the terrible condition of Holocaust survivors whom I hosted in my restaurant,” he said. “Some of them used the expression ‘the state is chucking Us out like an old pair of shoes’ and that’s where the idea came from.” Tal, 29, is demanding that the government increase its budget for the survivors 2.5 times over. Some found the display in poor taste. “There are always those who would think it’s too blunt,” Tal says. “The way I see it you can either sit and do nothing or act for something that you care passionately about.” Another protester, Amir, added: “The display is meant to create awareness. On every Holocaust Remembrance Day, we are reminded of the sad stories but we are all guilty in that we don’t pay attention to them for during the rest of the year.”
Tal claims that the government has received huge amounts of money from Germany which it chose to invest in infrastructure. “There are 200,000 Holocaust survivors that live in poverty and desolation in Israel. We need to see to it that the money reaches those who helped establish the state,” he says.
Charles Krafft’s ceramics were long thought to be ironic — until he was exposed as a Holocaust denier
For decades, iconoclastic Seattle artist Charles Krafft has made references to Nazis in his highly acclaimed, sometimes shocking pieces of art that most critics and art lovers brand as simple, ironic satire pushing the boundaries.
He crafted a ceramic Hitler-bust teapot now in a San Francisco art museum, and put swastikas on other pieces of art, even on a ceramic wedding cake. He made a ceramic Uzi assault rifle, hand grenades and an “assassin’s kit” – a gun and dagger.
Now, the 65-year-old hippie-turned-artist is at the center of a growing controversy following a published report detailing evidence — including his own words — that suggests he is a white nationalist who believes the Holocaust is a myth.
Hundreds of comments about Krafft are being posted on Facebook and Twitter and elsewhere, and the art and culture world — particularly in ceramic art circles — are abuzz over the revelations published in The Stranger, a Seattle alternative paper. The headline on that piece was hard to misunderstand: “Charles Krafft Is a White Nationalist Who Believes the Holocaust Is a Deliberately Exaggerated Myth.”
Germany can bar the animal rights group PETA from comparing the fate of animals today with that of Holocaust victims, Europe’s highest court for human rights ruled. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on Thursday upheld a 2009 German Supreme Court ruling that banned People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals from using photos of concentration camp inmates and other images of the Nazi genocide alongside photos of abused animals in its campaign Holocaust on your Plate. PETA has three months to appeal the ruling, according to German news reports.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany, which had fought the PETA campaign since it was launched here in 2004, welcomed the ruling. “The judges were correct in determining that the ban did not infringe on freedom of expression, but rather trivialized the Holocaust in an irresponsible manner,” Dieter Graumann, head of the council, said.
The German PETA campaign included eight large panels showing black-and-white images of emaciated concentration camp inmates next to full color photos of chickens, turkeys and other animals fattened for the slaughter. One poster bore the slogan, in German, “Final Humiliation” and another read “For animals, all people are Nazis.”
A photo of children in a concentration camp stood next to one of piglets in a stall. Under them was the caption “Child Butcher.” According to reports, the PETA campaign in Germany was even more explicit than the US ad campaign that was launched in 2003.
The Central Council sued PETA in 2004. The late Paul Spiegel, then head of the council, called the ad campaign “the most disgusting abuse of the memory of the Holocaust in recent years.”
Rabbi Menachem Youlus, once dubbed the “Jewish Indiana Jones” for his remarkable tales of rescuing Holocaust-era Torah scrolls, was sentenced in federal court on Thursday to more than four years in prison for fraud.
Youlus had pleaded guilty to having defrauded more than 50 victims, misappropriating some of the donations and secretly depositing them into the bank account of his Wheaton, Md. Jewish Bookstore. Youlus also defrauded his charity, Save A Torah, Inc. and its donors of $862,000, according to prosecutors. His dramatic accounts of rescuing Torahs turned out to be contradicted by historical evidence, witness accounts and records showing that he simply passed off used Torahs sold by local dealers who made no claims as to the scrolls’ provenance. The U.S. Attorney’s office said that during many of the years in which Youlus claimed to be personally rescuing Torahs overseas, the Baltimore resident had not even traveled internationally. “This is extremely important because it sends a message that Holocaust deniers and Holocaust memory exploiters are not part of accepted society,” Menachem Rosensaft, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, told JTA. “There is very little if any difference between a Holocaust denier and someone like Youlus who exploits Holocaust memories in order to enrich himself.”
Germany has been debating circumcision since a German court ruled in June that the ritual was unlawful.
Now Charlotte Knobloch, 79, the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, has had enough. In a furious editorial published on Wednesday in one of the country’s top newspapers, Süddeutsche Zeitung, she said the controversy was calling the existence of Germany’s small Jewish community into question and asked: “Do you still want us Jews?”
“For 60 years I have defended Germany as a survivor of the Shoah. Now I ask myself if that was right,” she wrote. Knobloch is president of the Munich Jewish community and vice president of the World Jewish Congress.
by Menachem Z. Rosensaft
This is really not all that complicated. Once and for all, politicians and pundits of all persuasions should get it into their heads that making analogies to the Holocaust or Nazi Germany in the context of 21st century U.S. politics is not just unseemly but borders on, if not crosses over into, the obscene.
California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton reminds us that Democrats are quite capable of making Nazi analogies that are every bit as odious. Reacting to Representative Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention, he said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle over the weekend that Republicans “lie and they don’t care if people think they lie. As long as you lie, Joseph Goebbels, the big lie, you keep repeating it, you know.” And drove home his ill-conceived point in a radio interview.
Nazi Germany’s Propaganda Minister Goebbels was personally responsible for creating the atmosphere in which millions of Jews, including my grandparents, my brother, and all my parents’ siblings, were brutally murdered in places like Auschwitz, Treblinka and Bergen-Belsen. “The Jews have deserved the catastrophe that has now overtaken them,” Goebbels commented in his diary on February 14, 1942.
French Olympic swimmer Fabien Gilot said the Hebrew tattoo on his left arm is a tribute to his late grandmother’s husband, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz. Gilot, who is not Jewish, said the tattoo is dedicated to his family and honors Max Goldschmidt, who has been a large influence in the Olympic champion’s life. The tattoo says “I’m nothing without them.” He revealed the tattoo, which is on the inside of his left arm, after exiting the pool following his team’s gold medal-winning performance.