NEWS - Archive January 2013

INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY

Holocaust Memorial Day: European Football commemorates its victims

28/1/2013- This weekend the world marked the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp as part of Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) on the 27th January. It was also a day in which football joined the remembrance of the victims of Nazism at matches and through other organised events.

Germany - “Nie Wieder!”
In Germany, clubs from the Bundesliga to amateur level organised activities in a message against anti-Semitism, whilst remembering footballers, coaches and administrators of the game who fell victims to the Nazi’s. These include Julius Hirsch, a Jewish German international killed during the Holocaust, and Gottfried Fuchs, a German Jewish footballer forced to emigrate to Canada after being persecuted . FC Bayern Munich hosted a tour themed as ‘Bayern Munich and National Socialism’ and a lecture with the author Dietrich-Marmeling on his book ‘FC Bayern Munich and its Jews’. The movie ‘Kick it like Kurt’, a prize-winning documentary on the club’s Jewish ex-president was also shown on the day.

Borussia Dortmund paid homage to the club’s former chairman of the handball section Franz Hippler, in the club museum. Hippler, a member of the German resistance against the Nazis, was arrested on February 1945 by the Gestapo and later murdered. FC Schalke 04 unveiled a plaque with the names of nine Jewish members and supporters of the club killed during the Second World War. All activities ran under the umbrella of the Nie Wieder (Never Again) campaign which in 2004, the German Football League (DFL) and the German Football Association (DFB) decided to include in the country’s annual football calendar.

Apart from these activities organised by clubs, fan projects from different parts of Germany also held events along with their football clubs and supporters. Fanprojekt Darmstadt, an anti-fascist fan initiative, hosted a city guide along Darmstadt, remembering its history by pointing out the Nazi crimes that took place there. “Learning from history, means to determinedly take action and put up resistance against anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia in the stadium and everyday life”, explained a representative of the project.

In Hamburg the Fanladen St. Pauli organised a joint march to the stadium, where the news editor of tagesschau.de spoke about recent developments of neo-Nazi groups in Germany. The event ended with the laying of a wreath in the stadium’s memorial plague. In Augsburg, the city’s football club fan project visited a former concentration camp in Haunstetten. On the 31st January Münster’s FANport will host the journalist Werner Skrentny, who wrote a biography of Julius Hirsch.

England
England players and national coach feature in a Holocaust Education Trust (HET) DVD that has been distributed across the country’s secondary schools. The documentary highlights the impact on the England international players when they visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, a former concentration camp, shortly before the kick-off of the Euro 2012 finals. West Ham United joint-Chairman, David Gold, and staff from the club’s Community Sports Trust, represented the club at a Newham Town Hall civic event. The weekend before, the club had commemorated the day at a home match against Queens Park Rangers, with a traditional candle lighting before the kick-off. Both initiatives marked the club’s commitment to promote tolerance and inclusion.

Italy
Earlier this month Inter Milan paid homage to the club’s former coach Arpad Weisz in a match. Weisz was a Hungarian Jew persecuted during the 40’s by anti-Semitic Italian laws and whose family were murdered in Auschwitz. The life of the man who shaped Italian football in the 30’s will also be remembered during a lecture, on January 31, on the Faculty of Economics of the Piemonte Orientale a Novara University. A play on the life of Matthias Sindelar, an Austrian footballer who rebelled against the Third Reich, will be staged in Italian schools to mark the day.

Poland
FARE’s Polish partner NEVER AGAIN joined the Social-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland for a commemoration ceremony at the Umschlagplatz, an historic site from which the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto where deported to the death camp in Treblinka, followed by a lecture and a classical music concert. Other events in Warsaw were also held, such as the reading of names of the Holocaust victims and a special tram ride to commemorate the Warsaw Ghetto where NEVER AGAIN representatives were present.

Other Activities
An extended number of other activities, non-sported related, took place and will continue to be hosted to mark the day during the next few weeks across Europe.
Football Against Racism in Europe

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UK paper posts anti-Israel cartoon on Holocaust day

On Holocaust Memorial Day,'Sunday Times' publishes cartoon depicting PM paving wall with Palestinian blood

27/1/2013- The Sunday Times marked Holocaust Memorial Day in a less-than-traditional manner, running a virulently anti-Israel cartoon depicting a big-nosed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu paving a wall with the blood and limbs of writhing Palestinians. The cartoon included a caption beneath the image entitled "Israeli elections- will cementing peace continue?" Drawn by Gerald Scarfe, the cartoon appeared in the national paper on Sunday. “This cartoon would be offensive at any time of the year, but to publish it on International Holocaust Remembrance Day is sickening and expresses a deeply troubling mindset,” said European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor. “This insensitivity demands an immediate apology from both the cartoonist and the paper’s editors.”

“Amazingly, as this cartoon was published days after the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel, underwent fully democratic elections, as others in the Middle East were being butchered by the tens of thousands, the Sunday Times focuses its imagination solely on the Jewish State. This contravenes many of the criteria laid out in EUMC’s Working Definition of Antisemitism and is part of a worrying trend to legitimize the growing assault on Israel by opinion-shapers.” The Sunday Times defended its cartoon in response to charges of anti-Semitism. "This is a typically robust cartoon by Gerald Scarfe,” a spokesman for the weekly said. “The Sunday Times firmly believes that it is not anti-Semitic. It is aimed squarely at Mr Netanyahu and his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people." The publication added that the cartoon appeared on Sunday because that was its first issue since Netanyahu won reelection, and reiterated that it opposes anti-Semitism in all its forms.

British anti-Semitism has made headlines throughout the week after Liberal Democrat MP David Ward accused “the Jews” of inflicting violence on Palestinians on a daily basis,” and questioned how they could do this so soon after their “liberation from the death camps.” He issued something of a backtrack on Saturday evening, in response to condemnation from his party and a huge backlash on social media. “I was trying to make clear that everybody needs to learn the lessons of the Holocaust,” the MP posted on his website. “I recognize of course the deep sensitivities of these issues at all times, and particularly on occasions of commemoration such as this weekend [Holocaust Memorial Day],” he said. He added that his criticisms of Israel “remain as strong as ever.”

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton paid a special tribute to Holocaust survivors on Sunday, in a statement released on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Ashton said that the survivors of the Holocaust "remind us of this tragedy that we must never forget."
The Jerusalem Post

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Int. Holocaust Remembrance Day statement OSCE Chair

27/1/2013- The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara, marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day today with a call to honour the victims with renewed efforts to fight intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes. “This day is a sad reminder of a horrific crime inflicted on innocent people. In Ukraine alone more than one hundred thousand people were killed in the ravine of Babyn Yar, including nearly 34,000 Jews in a single massacre,” Kozhara said. “Today we are paying tribute to the victims and to those brave who risked their lives to save Jews and members of other minorities at risk.”

“The universal lessons from these terrible events must not be forgotten. We must redouble our efforts to prevent and counter intolerance, hate and discrimination in all its forms, and promote respect for all ethnic and religious groups.” “Educating young people in human rights is an important way of ensuring this,” Kozhara said, adding that youth human rights education focusing on tolerance and non-discrimination is one of the priorities of Ukraine’s 2013 OSCE Chairmanship. Twenty-six OSCE participating States have established 27 January as their official day for remembrance of the Holocaust, according to the overview recently released by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
The OSCE

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27/1/2013- It should never again happen in Hungary that people are discriminated against or humiliated because of their race or religion; the government protects all citizens and condemns all forms of anti-Semitism, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday. The government bows to the victims; the painful anniversary prompts any Hungarian with a good heart to commemorate, Orban said in a statement sent to MTI. Orban noted that Hungary is home to Central Europe’s most populous Jewish community, whose thriving culture has always been an integral part of Hungarian culture.

“The tragedy of the Jewry in 1944-45 was the tragedy of the entire Hungarian nation,” Orban said. The government considers it its moral and political duty to consistently confront itself with the dictatorial regimes of the 20th century and the heinous crimes committed by them, Orban said. The premier noted that Hungary had introduced a Holocaust Memorial Day in schools, founded the House of Terror Museum and established a Holocaust Memorial Centre in Budapest nearly ten years ago. The government has set up a memorial committee to coordinate preparations for the 70th anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust next year, Orban said.
Politics Hungary

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MPs warn of far-right rise in Europe during HMD debate (UK)

25/1/2013- MPs spoke movingly of meeting Holocaust survivors and visiting the sites of Nazi atrocities in a parliamentary debate convened to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. In what has become a tradition since 2008, politicians of all parties acknowledged the annual memorial day, which officially takes place this year on Sunday. They used the debate to raise the question of the rise of extremism in Europe, including in Hungary with the far-right party Jobbik and in Greece with Golden Dawn, and warn of history repeating itself. "When we stop remembering our collective history, because we no longer have first-hand accounts from people who were there, or simply because it shows the unpalatable truth about how we can turn on a minority, we risk making the same mistakes," said Conservative MP Graham Evans. "It is inevitable that they will be repeated. Evil men know that. Adolf Hitler knew it. He frequently referred to the Armenian genocide… the memory of it had all but disappeared by the 1930s.

"The world had moved on, and the vigilance against similar events had all but disappeared. History, it appeared, could simply wash the blood away. "We cannot let people believe that, with the ending of the war, all these attitudes suddenly went away," reiterated Labour's Mark Tami. "There were pogroms in eastern Europe after the second world war. Education is clearly the key to ensuring that future generations never forget what happened." Ilford South MP Mike Gapes also referred to the reported comments of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, deriding the Holocaust as a myth. "It is important for us in this country not to have double standards or pull our punches, but to criticise vehemently and strongly all those who foster holocaust denial internationally-in whatever position in whatever country, whether it be Hungary or in other parts of the world." Throughout the debate, MPs repeatedly underlined the fact that "we must not be complacent".

"Just because society knows what happened before is no reason to believe that it is not capable of repeating those wrongs in the future," said Labour MP Chris Williamson. "We need look no further than the atrocities in Rwanda, Bosnia and Cambodia for proof of that." Many praised the work of organisations including the Holocaust Educational trust. "I went knowing what Auschwitz was, but I left understanding what it meant , " said Mr Evans, who visited the concentration camps in Poland with HET and pupils from his constituency in 2011. He referred to how the understanding of the Shoah had changed over the generations, recalling how as a child he met a soldier who had been at the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. "I had always thought that we had been the plucky Brits who fought the war and beat the Germans," he said. "The idea of the Holocaust had never occurred to me."

One of the points raised was the challenge of Holocaust memorial as numbers of survivors remaining falls. "As time passes… it is important to record testimony," said Labour MP Pat McFadden. "As each year passes, there are fewer and fewer living survivors, and if we are to learn the lessons from the Holocaust before they fade into the distance, it will be important to record as much testimony as possible so that we can remain as vigilant as possible. "As much as we might believe that those atrocities should never happen again, the danger of them happening again has not gone away."

Meanwhile, after signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment, Liberal Democrat MP David Ward compared modern Israel to the Nazi regime. In remarks to Asian Image magazine, reported by The Commentator, he said: "Having visited Auschwitz twice... I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza." Mr Ward, whose Bradford constituency neighbours that of Respect leader George Galloway, is a frequent critic of Israel in the Commons. During the height of the fighting in Gaza last year, he stated that "the blockade of Gaza amounts to an act of aggression perpetrated by the state of Israel". Last year he urged the government to support a protest "at events involving Israeli Olympians to highlight the plight of the Palestinians and to bring to public awareness the apartheid regime in Israel".
The Jewish Chronicle

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Lib Dems condemn MP's criticism of Israel ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day (UK)

The Liberal Democrats have "condemned" their MP David Ward for his "use of language" in a statement about Israel's treatment of Palestinians, issued ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day.

25/1/2013- He accused "the Jews" in Israel of "inflicting atrocities on Palestinians... on a daily basis". Mr Ward has been summoned to a meeting with party whips next week. But the MP told the BBC he had chosen his words carefully and did not regret the timing of the statement. The MP said it was "regrettable" he had been reprimanded by Liberal Democrat officials.

'Sickening'
This Sunday - Holocaust Memorial Day - marks the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, where more than one million people - mostly Jews - died. Mr Ward, who has represented Bradford East since 2010, described Auschwitz as "the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history" on his website. The web page indicated that the MP supported efforts "to combat prejudice and racism today" by the Holocaust Educational Trust and had honoured "those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust" by signing a "Book of Commitment".

But it also included a statement from Mr Ward: "Having visited Auschwitz twice - once with my family and once with local schools - I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza." Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said she was "deeply saddened" that the MP had "deliberately abused the memory of the Holocaust". She added: "These comments are sickening and unacceptable and have no place in British politics."

'Positive response'
A Lib Dem spokesman said: "This is a matter we take extremely seriously. The Liberal Democrats deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language which is unacceptable." Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: "We are outraged and shocked at these offensive comments about Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the suggestion that Jews should have learned a lesson from the experience. "For an MP to have made such comments on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is even more distasteful, and we welcome the fact that the Liberal Democrats have sought to disassociate the party from David Ward's comments." But Mr Ward told the BBC: "I've spoken to the chief whip, and he's got his views. I don't feel bad about it in any way. They consider my comments regrettable; I consider their reprimand regrettable."

The Lib Dem MP said any further disciplinary would be "a sad reflection on the values we all hold so dearly, particularly on free speech". He also said his comments had received an "overwhelmingly positive" response from the public, with 80 unsolicited supportive emails, and just two from detractors. While it was essential to remember the Holocaust as "one of the most horrific examples of man's inhumanity to man", he said, "should we not also remember when there are examples of atrocities being committed in the present?"
BBC News

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Holocaust memory as a fig leaf for modern hate (opinion)

By Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

24/1/2013 - The fall of the Berlin Wall in October 1989 aroused a euphoric debate about the city’s post-Communist future. In a Die Zeit op-ed entitled “Berlin as Federal Capital of Germany, Yes or No,” I argued that political functions should remain anchored in the western city of Bonn, thereby decentralizing any resurgent phantom German ambitions; that Berlin should be the cultural mecca, capitalizing on the best of the Western and post-Soviet liberationist creativity of the Eastern sector; and that federal power should be further diluted by the autobahn democracy linking Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg as financial capitals. Indeed, such bifurcated capitals are common: Washington/New York, Ottawa/Toronto, Canberra/Sydney, Brasilia/Sao Paolo, Jerusalem/Tel Aviv etc. The title of the article became a seminar at Eichstedt University in Bavaria, at which the foreign participants expressed apprehension at Berlin’s reunification.

Over two decades later, I admit that I was wrong. Berlin is a success story culturally and politically. It has also made huge commemorative and pedagogical efforts to honor the victims of the Nazis’ crimes. This process of active memorialization corresponded with the arrival of thousands of Soviet Jews who have revived the city’s communal institutions. The outdoor Topography of Terror museum, The Jewish Museum, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe — all have become stops on the tourist itinerary. The European office of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre participated in the return of the 1930s Institute of Sexual Sciences, today’s Gay Museum, just as we were present, last October, at the inauguration by Chancellor Merkel of the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered under the National Socialist regime. The last victimology in the Nazi chain of horror – the extermination (euphemistically named “euthanasia”) of the disabled – is planned to have its own memorial very soon.

At each of these signposts, survivors have spoken, victims were mourned and political leaders have denounced the perpetrators. Yet, the massive investment in memory has neither prevented nor mitigated the resurgence of anti-Semitism, gypsophobia, homophobia or even skinhead violence against the disabled. Dare one suggest that mourning for the victims of 70 years ago is so much easier than defending the same victim groups of today? As part of the Roma and Sinti ceremony, a book tribute was made to 90-year-old Reinhard Florian, deported in 1941 to the Auschwitz Zigeunerlager. A play was performed about “the Gypsy Boxer” of the death camps and a newly discovered film of brutalized Roma child victims was screened at the opening of Israeli artist Dani Karavan’s magnificent memorial to the murdered Gypsies. Yet, today, gypsophobia is on the rise. Pogroms against Roma are increasing in Eastern Europe while they are deported in the West from Dale Farm in England and murdered in villages across Hungary.

Every November, European anti-racism movements mark “Kristallnacht” (the Night of Broken Glass pogrom prelude to the Holocaust). And yet, their outrage at the synagogues destroyed in 1938 was unmatched in November 2000 when synagogues across Europe were attacked as blow-back from the Middle East Intifada. Twenty years ago, the Museum of Deportation and Resistance was opened in Lyons, France. At that time, Germany was rife with racist attacks. Suzanne Lagrange spoke in Lyons of her deportation together with her father from Paris to Auschwitz, where they were separated on arrival. She recounted how she waved to her father through barbed wire, and a German guard who told her she could embrace her father then shot him in the neck. A young German student stood up to apologize. Lagrange told him to sit down. “There is no intergenerational guilt.” she said. When he sat down, she then rebuked him, saying, “Now apologize! Not for the crimes of your parents, but for the attacks on migrant hostels and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Germany today…. There is no intergenerational guilt, but you bear the burden of intergenerational shame and responsibility to act today.” The audience was hushed.

Jews and Gypsies today share a contemporary victimology. The prejudice of indifference and moral disengagement. Few express outrage at jihadi anti-Semitism against Jewish targets or at Hundary’s neo-fascist Magyar Garda Youth or its sponsor, the Jobbik party’s incitement against Jews and Roma. The Gypsy groups at the 2001 Durban United Nations World Conference against Racism were among our few allies at that Judeo-phobic hatefest. A new moral re-engagement for today’s victims demands that memory and pedagogy be recoupled and applied to the fate of the children and grandchildren of the Jewish Holocaust and the Romani genocide. Otherwise, as the United Nations marks International Holocaust Commemoration Day, memory can ironically serve as a fig leaf for hate.
Times of Israel - blogs

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European representatives must stand up against hatred (press release ENAR)

Ahead of International Holocaust Day on 27 January, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) calls on the European Parliament to take responsibility and stop allocating public money to European political parties who promote racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Roma, Islamophobic and xenophobic ideologies.

25/1/2013– The European Parliament currently awards a yearly grant to the Alliance of European National Movements (AENM), made up of political parties inciting hatred and racism, which include the British National Party in the United Kingdom, Jobbik in Hungary, Ataka in Bulgaria, and the Front National in France.
All political parties have a right to funding, but they need to abide by certain rules set out by the European Parliament, including abiding by the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. The European Commission has recently proposed new rules for the funding of pan-European political parties, requiring EU funding only be given where these parties observe the European Union’s values, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

Yet the parties in the AENM are clearly breaching this rule. For instance, the British National Party states in its programme that it will repeal the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights - a dramatic move away from established universal human rights principles. Jobbik and Ataka members have openly incited hatred against Roma and Jews on repeated occasions. A recent example is the case of a Jobbik member of the Hungarian Parliament urging the government last November to draw up a list of Jews who pose a “national security risk”. The Front National proposes to reintroduce the death penalty in France and its leader, Marine Le Pen, last September called for a ban on the headscarf and the kippa in public space.

ENAR Chair, Chibo Onyeji, said: “Parties whose messages are clearly undermining the core EU values of respect for human rights and equality cannot be supported by tax payers' money within a House that has a mission to protect those very rights. The fact that these parties received an allowance last year and that it's again on the table this year, seems to highlight that some EU representatives have turned their back on the ‘never forget’ promise made after the Holocaust. This contradicts the recent and long due move by the EP to officially commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.”
EUropean Network Against Racism

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Irish Justice Minister denounced the "corrosive rise in racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric by a malign minority of politicians" in some EU member states, as he addressed Tuesday an event commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the European Parliament in Brussels.

24/1/2013- "It is a moral imperative that we unequivocally repudiate the reprehensible rhetoric of those who seek to contaminate our political discourse and attempt to inflame dangerous prejudice," said the minister, whose country currenty chairs the rotating EU presidency. Shatter’s responsibilities also covers equality and defence. Stressing that it is no enough to remember, he said "we must also remember to act. We must do more under the rule of law to end intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism." "The Shoah did not begin in the death camps. It began with words of hate. Those words of hate becamle weapons of mass murder because good people closed their doors and windows shutters and remained silent." "Let us unite in our commitment to the victims of the Shoah and the lost generations to do all we can to ensure that the Holocaust of the 20th century will never again be repeated."
EJP News

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Lights of Coliseum in Rome to dim in protest of right-wing party (Italy)

24/1/2013- The lights of the ancient Colosseum in Rome will be dimmed to protest anti-Semitic and racist acts and statements by Hungary’s ultranationalist Jobbik party. The initiative, sponsored by Rome’s city government and the Rome Jewish community, will take place Jan. 27 on International Holocaust Memorial Day. It will be one of scores of events across Italy marking the day. In a statement Wednesday announcing the initiative, Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno noted “acts of anti-Semitism that are spreading in a disturbing manner in Hungary, prompted by the extreme right-wing Jobbik Party.” “By turning off the lights of the Coliseum, the municipal government and the Jewish community of Rome want to condemn in a symbolic way xenophobic actions and ideologies, not only by the Hungarian extreme right but in all of Europe. It is our duty to protest against any form of incitement to hatred,” Alemanno said. Rome Jewish community President Riccardo Pacifici said that in Hungary, “the nightmare of anti-Semitism lives, with a leap backward into the past that recalls the 1930s. We, Italian and European citizens, can’t tolerate this.” Holocaust Memorial Day is marked throughout Italy with a week of events including educational programs, conferences, exhibitions, lectures, concerts, performances, school events, publications, broadcasts and other activities.
JTA News

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