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Category : In the News

Hungary’s ‘neo-Nazi’ Jobbik gains with image shift

The New York Times, By Patrick Murphy April 7, 2014

Chairman of the far-right parliamentary Jobbik (Better) party Gabor Vona. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/Peter Kohalmi)

Radical nationalist party’s 20% election success due in part to campaign to shed its anti-Roma and anti-Semitic rhetoric

BUDAPEST (AFP) – Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party, describing itself as the EU’s “most successful radical nationalist party,” was celebrating gains in weekend elections on Monday after a campaign that sought to curb its nastiest rhetoric.

Ahead of European elections next month that are also expected to see strong results for anti-immigration, anti-EU parties, Jobbik increased its support base across many parts of Hungary to come third with 20.5 percent of the national vote.

European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor said the “neo-Nazi” Jobbik’s performance was a “dark day” for Hungary that gives Europe’s far-right a “strong tailwind” ahead of May’s vote. (more…)

Survey: Up to 40 percent of Hungarians accept anti-Semitic attitudes

(JTA) — A new survey of anti-Semitic attitudes in Hungary showed up to 40 percent of respondents accepted some anti-Semitic attitudes.

The results were presented Monday at a news conference organized by the Action and Protection Foundation at its Budapest headquarters.

The foundation, a watchdog on anti-Semitism of the Jewish community, commissioned the poll of 1,200 respondents conducted in December by the Median firm. (more…)

Nazi’s grand-daughter: He would have shot me too

Goeth (right) in the film “Schindler’s List.” / Photo by IPTC

Haaretz, By Ofer Aderet, March 10, 2014

Her grandfather, Amon Goeth, was the notorious commander of Plaszow concentration camp, made famous in ‘Schindler’s List.’

BERLIN – A new and fascinating book landed on the shelves of the giant Dussman bookstore in Berlin a few months ago. On the cover is a picture of a black woman in her 40s with the words “my grandfather would have shot me.”

The new book appears alongside books about World War II and biographies of leading Nazis. But unlike them, this is not a history book. At least not an ordinary one. The author is a Hamburg resident, 43-year-old Jennifer Teege, who discovered a few years ago that she is the granddaughter of Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth, the commander of the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland whose notorious cruelty was made famous in the 1993 film “Schindler’s List.” (more…)

What is Holocaust denial?

International Tracing Service, the world’s biggest Holocaust archive, in the central German town of Bad Arolsen.Photo by REUTERS/Alex Grimm

Haaretz, By Cliff Savren, March 10, 2014

On the origins of the movement to frame the Nazi genocide as a fraud, and in so doing reinforce anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Holocaust denial is based on the idea that the genocide of European Jewry carried out by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II either never happened or occurred on a much smaller scale than actually was the case.

Also called Holocaust revisionism by many proponents – a term which implies a serious scholarly quest to reexamine history to better understand what really happened – this is not considered a serious academic movement. Instead it is viewed as a sometimes subtle and largely failed effort by anti-Semites to undermine sympathy for what the Jews endured during World War II. (more…)

This Day in Jewish History / U.S. apologizes for insulting Hitler

Fiorello La Guardia, left, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, in Hyde Park, New York. Slap on the wrist.Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Haaretz, By David B. Green, March 5, 2014

New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, whose mother was Jewish, called the Fuehrer a ‘brown-shirted fanatic.’

On March 6, 1937, U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull apologized to the German Embassy for the insulting remarks about Adolf Hitler made by New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia three days earlier. La Guardia, speaking on March 3 to the Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress, had proposed building a “chamber of horrors” at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Hizzoner suggested that the pavilion have, “as a climax … a figure of that brown-shirted fanatic who is now menacing the peace of the world.” (more…)

70 Years Ago This Month: The Holocaust Comes To Hungary

Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz

Jewish Press, By Dr. Ervin Birnbaum, March 5th, 2014

(In memory of family members, friends, and residents of my hometown, Kassa (now Kosice), who perished at the hands of the Nazis.)

By the beginning of March 1944, Adolf Hitler had turned his attention to the destruction of the last body of Jewry still in existence within his realm.

He ordered Heinrich Himmler, who in turn authorized Adolf Eichmann, to carry out the mass removal and execution of Hungary’s Jewish community, which during the war years stood at more than 800,000 after the annexations of regions in Slovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia. (more…)

Young and old walk hand in hand: For 25 years the March of the Living has striven to bond high school students with Holocaust survivors

National Post, By Abigale Subdhan, January 27, 2014

A Holocaust survivor takes part in the March of the Living holding a photos of himself as a concentration camp prisoner. A UN-hosted exhibit marking the March of the Living’s efforts will show hundreds of poems, quotes, photos and videos from the experience of students and survivors. Photo: Y. Zeliger

When Holocaust survivor Anita Ekstein first visited the death camp that held her mother, she couldn’t stop shaking.

She walked into the Belzec extermination camp in Poland to visit a newly opened memorial – and found her mother’s name, Ettel, etched into the wall. It was 2005, on Mother’s Day, more than 60 years after she had last seen her mother.

“It’s like my cemetery. We don’t have graves to visit, so now once a year when I go there, it’s like going to the cemetery there for me, my family,” the 79 year old says of her experience at the death camp where almost 435,000 Jews went to die.

Now Mrs. Ekstein’s story will be told at a UN-hosted exhibit in New York celebrating 25 years for an organization that bridges the gap between high school students and Holocaust survivors. (more…)

Shedding Light on a Vast Toll of Jews Killed Away From the Death Camps

The New York Times, By Alison Smale, 

The slogan “Work Makes You Free” is on the gate at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial in Oranienburg, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

OSWIECIM, Poland — As one gazes out from the main watchtower at the grim desert that is the crumbling chimneys and crematories, vanished prisoners’ huts, barbed wire and ditches of Birkenau, it is hard to fathom that there were corners of the Nazi realm where, collectively, more killing occurred than in the death camps.

Monday, the 69th anniversary of the day Soviet forces liberated Auschwitz, was observed as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Yet a third or more of the almost six million Jews killed in the Holocaust perished not in the industrial-scale murder of the camps, but in executions at what historians call killing sites: thousands of villages, quarries, forests, wells, streets and homes that dot the map of Eastern Europe. (more…)

UN Exhibit to Honor March of the Living “When You Listen to a Witness, You Become a Witness”

On Tuesday, January 28th 2014, in the Visitor Centre, Dag Hammarskjold Library Lower Level, the United Nations will begin hosting the International March of the Living Exhibit: When You Listen to a Witness, You Become a Witness. The opening event and reception will take place that evening in the Library gallery from 6PM – 8PM, with Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, The Honorable Ron Prosser, as the keynote speaker.

(more…)

A Race to Preserve the Voices of Holocaust’s Last Survivors

The Wall Street Journal,  December 5, 2013, by Naftali Bendavid

Simon Gronowski was a child when he jumped off a train heading to Auschwitz, after being held in Belgium. Cédric Gerbehaye for The Wall Street Journal

As Witnesses Die, Historians Find Reality of Tragedy Harder to Convey

JEMEPPE-SUR-SAMBRE, Belgium—Simon Gronowski, an 82-year-old Holocaust survivor, mesmerized schoolchildren in this small town recently with a detailed account of jumping off a train to Auschwitz and hiding from the Nazis for three years.

The students lobbed close to 50 questions at him, ranging from the unsophisticated—”Did you meet Hitler ?”—to the sensitive, like his feelings about losing the mother and sister who stayed on the train.

But the talk exhausted Mr. Gronowski. His knees bother him, he doesn’t hear that well, and it isn’t clear how much longer he can deliver such talks, though he has no plans to stop. “My children and my grandchildren will talk about it,” he said. “I can’t do any more than I’m doing.” (more…)