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COLUMN-Commentary: How Trump can show he’s tough on anti-Semitism – Thomson Reuters Foundation

(Josh Cohen is a former USAID project officer involved in managing economic reform projects in the former Soviet Union. The opinions expressed here are his own.)

By Josh Cohen

June 20 (Reuters) – Donald Trump just got another chance to fight charges that he’s soft on anti-Semitism. Let’s hope he took it.

The president held talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Washington on Tuesday. The Ukraine leader emerged from the meeting saying Kiev had “received strong support from the U.S. side” over sovereignty, territorial integrity and the “independence of our state.” For Ukraine, the meeting was a win because Poroshenko got to visit the White House ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin. For Trump, it seems to have been a missed opportunity to win political capital at home.

Trump should have spoken out against what many see as Ukraine’s troubling glorification of Nazi collaborators. Poroshenko presumably focused on Russia’s occupation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region. Trump should have broadened the agenda to call out Kiev for its official state policy of honoring controversial figures from World War Two.

The latest example: local authorities in the capital recently voted to rename a major street after a former Nazi collaborator and anti-Semite named Roman Shukhevych. Shukhevych led the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), an organization responsible for the mass slaughter of Poles and Jews during the war. Even inside Ukraine the renaming is a disputed move, with hundreds of people taking to the streets last Friday to protest the decision – only to be attacked by an ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi group called C14.

The renaming plan isn’t an isolated event. In 2015, Ukraine passed a law honoring the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, (OUN-UPA). Since then, other streets have been named after the group and its leaders, and the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) is drafting a law to posthumously exonerate OUN-UPA members convicted of murdering Polish and Jewish civilians during and after the war.

OUN militias played a major role in pogroms in Western Ukraine that killed tens of thousands of Jews after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Many OUN members also joined the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police, where they collaborated with the Nazis to kill Jews in Western Ukraine in 1941-1942. After the OUN violently seized control of the UPA in 1943, the UPA also slaughtered between 70,000 and 100,000 Poles in western Ukraine from 1943-1944 and hunted down Jewish survivors of the Holocaust.

U.S. organizations like the United States Holocaust Museum and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have joined Ukrainian Jewish groups in criticizing Ukraine’s decision to lionize the OUN-UPA. Wiesenthal Center head Efraim Zuroff said that honoring the collaborators “turns Hitler’s henchmen into heroes”; Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi called Kiev’s decision to name a street after Shukhevych “immoral propaganda.”

It’s true many Ukrainians see the OUN-UPA primarily through the lens of the group’s role in the fight for an independent Ukraine, and, indeed, the UPA fought a valiant guerilla war against the Soviet Union into the 1950s. But while UINM’s leader derides criticism of OUN-UPA and its leaders as propaganda, historical documentation contradicts this.

The elevation of OUN-UPA has been accompanied by a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine. Numerous Holocaust memorial sites – including Babi Yar, where over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis – have been vandalized or desecrated by anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas.

Ukrainian officials are also guilty of a number of recent anti-Semitic outbursts. A retired general affiliated with Ukraine’s security services called for the destruction of the country’s Jews; a member of Parliament suggested Ukrainians use the ethnic slur “zhid”; a Ukrainian official called Ukraine’s SS Galizien division – created with the support of Heinrich Himmler – “heroes” and the Poroshenko administration awarded Ukraine’s Order of Freedom to an author of two books considered blatantly anti-Semitic.

Trump has good reason to speak out against Ukraine’s troubling “memory politics.” The most important is that he could counter perceptions that he’s been too tolerant of anti-Semitism.

Although Trump supports the Israeli government and two of his most influential advisers – daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner – are Jewish, many Americans believe Trump failed to disavow the neo-Nazi fringe that supported his presidential campaign. More troublingly, Trump retweeted apparent white supremacists a number of times during the 2016 race and even tweeted what many considered an anti-Semitic meme about Hillary Clinton.

After his election, Trump was seen as slow to condemn the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and threats against Jewish community centers across the U.S. Even more worrisome, the White House’s official statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day did not mention the Holocaust’s 6 million Jewish victims.

Jewish groups are also concerned about reports that the Trump administration will not fill the State Department’s office of the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. While few suggest that Trump personally holds anti-Semitic views, Trump’s condemnation of Kiev’s actions could help dispel perceptions that he doesn’t pay enough attention to anti-Jewish behavior.

Beyond Trump’s own reasons for speaking out, Ukraine’s glorification of OUN-UPA arguably undermines Washington’s foreign policy goal of supporting a democratic Ukraine anchored in the West. Ukraine’s veneration of the OUN-UPA also harms America abroad, with Russia’s state-owned RT routinely carrying reports claiming that the U.S. backs “fascists” in Ukraine. American policy makers don’t need a major Kiev street renamed for a Nazi collaborator.

The historical revisionism could also damage Ukraine’s chances of joining NATO and the European Union. In Poland, where there’s strong support for an independent Ukraine, the decision to honor OUP leaders has angered the families of victims of OUP killings, and the country’s legislature last year passed a resolution officially terming the UPA’s Wolyn massacre of Polish civilians a genocide. A former Polish deputy foreign minister warned that a Ukraine “under the flag” of the OUP “will never join the European Union.” And, as one German commentator points out, honoring Nazi collaborators such as Shukhevych “is out of the question” in modern Germany.

It’s possible, of course, that Trump did raise the issue privately with Poroshenko in Tuesday’s meeting. But if he did, he needs to make it public. For Ukraine’s sake as well as his own. (Reporting by Josh Cohen)

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COLUMN-Commentary: How Trump can show he’s tough on anti-Semitism – Thomson Reuters Foundation

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June 21, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Ketchum, Hill+Knowlton win Grand Prix statues in Creative Data, Cyber Lions – PRWeek

Added 21 hours ago by Frank Washkuch ,

Ketchum won for Whirlpool’s Care Counts campaign, and H+K was awarded for its work for the Bank of Aland.

CANNES, FRANCE: Ketchum and Hill+Knowlton Strategies snagged Grand Prix trophies in non-PR categories on Tuesday night at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Ketchums Chicago office won a Grand Prix for the Care Counts campaign on behalf of Whirlpool alongside creative shop DigitasLBI in the Creative Data category.

Ogilvy Public Relations Melbourne bagged Gold, Silver, and Bronze Lions in the category for its work on the AAMI Smartplates push on behalf of Suncorp, and Edelman Sydney won a Silver and Bronze Lion for the Pocket Patrol campaign for Samsung Australia. Bronze Lions for Creative Data were also won by Burson-Marsteller Millan for Italia Longeva, Edelman London for the No More Excuses campaign for Heineken, and Edelman Significa in Sao Paulo for the Color of Corruption effort for Reclame Aqui.

Hill+Knowlton won a Grand Prix in the Cyber category for its work on behalf of The Bank of Aland in Sweden for Aland Index/Baltic Sea Project.

Ketchum San Francisco and PMK-BNC in Los Angeles won Gold Cyber Lions for the Cheetos Museum by Cheetos and Hostile Takeover on behalf of Activision, respectively. Ketchum also won Silver Lions for the Cheetos Museum and the #NuggsForCarter campaign for Wendys. Dini Von Mueffling Communications won Silver Lions for the Evan campaign for Sandy Hook Promise. Bronze Cyber Lions were awarded to Edelman London for Heinekens World Apart push; Havas PR Milan for Forgetting Auschwitz, Remembering Auschwitz for Holocaust Remembrance Day; and Marina Maher Communications for Tides Super Bowl Stain campaign. Ketchum won another Bronze for the Twitter Beef campaign for Wendys.

Gold Lions in the Direct category went to Edelman Significa in Sao Paulo for the Color of Corruption and Olson Engage for the New and Not Improved campaign for Kraft Heinz. Taylor and MMK won both Silver and Bronze Lions for the Bradshaw Stain campaign for Tide. Current Marketing also won a Silver for the Biggest Sports Endorsement Deal of All Time. Bronze Direct Lions went to Finn PR in Brussels for Child Focus on behalf of Coins of Hope and M Booth for Godivas The Box that Keeps Giving.

In the Mobile category, Burson-Marsteller Milan won Gold, Silver, and Bronze for the Chat Yourself campaign for Italia Longeva, and London-based Unity won Silver for Fleetlights for Direct Line. FleishmanHillard Chicago won Silver and Bronze for the Serena Williams Match Point campaign for Gatorade. Bronze Mobile Lions also went to Ogilvy for AAMI Smartplates and Edelman Deportivo for Give a Beep on behalf of Hovding.

Edelman London also won a Bronze Lion in the Innovation category for Gravitylight: Turning Gravity into Light for Shell Global and the Gravitylight Foundation.

This story was updated on June 21 to include Current’s Silver Lion in the Direct category.

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Right-Wing Calls for Muslim "Internment Camps" Intensify in the US, UK and Germany – Truth-Out

Activists display signs in the No Ban, No Wall protest at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, January 28, 2017. (Photo: Sarah Ji)

White nationalists in the UK and US have once again begun to advocate for Muslim “internment camps” after the recent terrorist attacks in England.

Thanks in part to a viral, critical piece by New York Daily News writerShaun King, these renewed calls for the immoral and unconstitutional mass imprisonment of Muslims have been quickly met with widespread condemnation and shock in the US and online.

The day after the recent attack in London, chief Brexit campaigner and white English nationalist UKIP leader Nigel Farage threatened that ” … if there is not action, then the calls for internment will grow” during aninterview on Fox News.In the immediate aftermath of the London attack, Faragesided with Trumpin disparaging London Mayor Sadiq Khan for not enacting proposed illegal measures against Muslims.

The Fox and Friends panel then turned from Farage to their frequent UK guest contributor, Katie Hopkins, who quickly picked up on the signaling from Farage. “We do need internment camps,” she said, almost seemingly prompted. “Before, I would’ve bought the idea that, no, this gets more people radicalized. You know, that’s not the solution. But we’ve gone beyond the tipping point.”

Only two weeks earlier, after a bombing targeting an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, Hopkinshad faced widespread condemnationfor proposing a “final solution” to what she alluded to as the Muslim “problem” in Europe. The comments led to the cancellation of her talk radio show, and she was fired by Leading Britain’s Conversation — her former employer.

The next day, the argument had already reached conservative talk radio stations. “Why don’t you intern all of them before they run people over on a bridge or stab people in the street?” saidwhite nationalist Michael Savageto his radio listeners. “It was done during World War II.”

This represents an old and sustained argument for imposing FDR-style Japanese internment camps upon Muslim communities in the West — an argument that has been consistently rehashed by white nationalists since 9/11. The idea was first popularized by Michelle Malkin in her 2004 book,In Defense ofInternment: The Case for ‘Racial Profiling’ inWorld War II and the War on Terror.

In fact, Malkin appeared on Fox and Friendsthat dayto add her own endorsement to renewed calls for the mass imprisonment of Muslims made just the day before:

It’s Arnold Toynbee, the historian, who said that civilizations die by suicide — not by outside forces. And this is exactly what’s happening. You’ve got people who are exploiting 21st century technology to try and drag all of us back into the stone ages.

The following day, UK Prime Minister Theresa May appeared for her last interview only 36 hours before the British general election. If human rights lawsstood in the wayof combating terrorism, May stated, then “we will change those laws so we can do it.” To many following the story, particularly far-right voters whom May has been courting for support, the words were seen as even more signaling in favor of rounding up Muslims into camps for subsequent deportation.

The case highlights how rapidly the same old repetitious racist discourse of white nationalists can quickly gain steam nationally before disseminating internationally.

A Renewed “Warsaw Ghetto” Plan Surfaces After Trump

Meanwhile, a similar racist plan for the mass imprisonment of refugees and asylum seekers has been mulled over in Germany by the Holocaust-denying Alternative fr Deutschland (AfD) party, which has gained an alarming degree of support.

In December 2016 former AfD lawmaker Claudia Martindisclosed to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitungthat her faction had been drafting their own legislation for what she called a “Warsaw ghetto” plan. Martin had resigned from the AfD only days prior to disclosing the plan. In the leaked document, AfD parliamentarians outline their plans for the mass imprisonment ofall refugees and asylum seekersinside Germany before deporting them back to their nations of origin — many of which would be hostile to returning individuals.

Much like Theresa May’s calls for changing any human rights laws that get in the way of anti-terrorism measures, the working draft from the AfD advocates the suspension of numerous constitutional human rights articles in German Basic Law. The “inhabitants” of the proposed internment camps for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers — or the mass imprisonments that the leaked document refers to as being placed into separated “communities” — would be afforded only “limited basic rights.”

Since 2015, Germany has accepteda little under 1 millionrefugees, largely from Syria and Afghanistan.

Claudia Martin had uploadedavideo to YouTubeand then spoke to the press. Martin noted somewhat nervously that since Trump’s recent election, her party had now begun “proposing solutions for the refugee crisis that bring the Warsaw ghettos to mind” only a month later.

In her description of the proposed AfD legislation, Martin suggested that it bore striking resemblance to Hitler’s “Madagaskar-Plan” to detain all European Jews for imminent deportation to the former French colony in Africa.

The Madagascar Plan was announced in 1940. It led to the early establishment of enclosed camps and ghettos, such as the Warsaw Ghetto, which imprisoned more than 400,000 Jews. The network of camps and ghettos provided the Nazis with immediate slave labor, along with an expedient transition to the “final solution” after the 1940 plan was discarded to instead implement the Holocaust beginning in January 1942.

“I have to make the observation that we as a party are becoming less and less distinguishable from — but instead slowly becoming — the very thing that we have always been accused of,” Martin remarked in her warning to the German public.

A month later, the same AfD Baden-Wrttemberg factiontriedto block state fundingallocated for field trips to visit former death camp sites teaching German schoolchildren about the history of the Holocaust. AfD lawmakers demanded that the school trips involve “significant German historic sites,” such as medieval German castles, instead of teaching a “one-sided concentration” of Nazi crimes.

These actions were in support of the AfD state leader for Thringen, Bjrn Hcke, who went so far as todenouncethe national Holocaust memorialin Germany as a “monument of disgrace in the heart of our capital.” Much of the speech in a Dresden beer hall involved Hcke denouncing the three-day firebombing of the civilian city in Nazi Germany.

“The big problem is that Hitler is presented as an absolutely evil figure,” Hckedecried while being interviewed by the Wall Street Journalover the matter.

German Jewish groupswere quick to point outthat the speech delivered by Hcke came just three days before the 75th anniversary marking the Wannsee Conference. Nazi SS leaders first gathered in Berlin on January 20, 1942, to coordinate how their various departments would implement the “final solution” of genocide, which was then carried out on top of the existing Madagascar Plan networks of camp and ghetto slave labor that had been enacted only 18 months earlier.

A week later, for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Hcke attempted to enter the Buchenwald death camp during a memorial service that he was already barred from attending. Hckewas kicked out, as everyone anticipated.

Not long after that same day on January 27, President Trump signed the first of his two executive orders implementing a ban for Muslim migrants from legally entering the United States.

“On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, you forget the Jews, and later today you plan to issue new executive orders persecuting refugees and immigrants,” executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, Steven Goldstein, announced ina public statement overFacebookjust hours before the signing.

“Have you no decency?”

Making Germany “Great Again” With a Lingering Nazi Past

AfD supporters andtheir party leadershave sought to normalize Nazi terms such asvlkischand introduce them back into German discourse. National AfD leaders claim that these efforts arean innocent attempt to rehabilitatehighly charged taboo expressions of Nazi fascism “back into a positive light.”

Some of theseNazi-era words, such asLgenpresse(“lying press”), which was favored by Adolf Hitler and Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels, even made its way overseas andonto thenational stagein the US during the 2016 presidential campaign. This term was largely accomplishedthrough Breitbart Newsand the discordant so-called “alt-right” white supremacists online that Breitbart and others feed off of.

The former head of Breitbart News and current chief strategist for the Trump White House, Steve Bannon, has alsosought to legitimizesuch discourse by injecting it into the Islamophobic narratives dominating US politics since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Two days after the recent attack in London, which have led to renewed calls for Muslim “internment camps,” Beatrix von Storch echoed the lingering sentiments of extreme right-wing populism that were once again trending in the international news. In her YouTube videoreplete with erroneous statistics, the AfD politician and member of the European Parliament tweeted out that “capacity is exhausted” in Germany.

“Close the borders! #AfD #Migrants,” the tweet continues.

Three days after Claudia Martin revealed the “Warsaw ghetto” plan from the AfD to German media, the Berlin attack took place and quickly overshadowed all other reporting. Another prominent AfD state leader on Twitter, Marcus Pretzell, quickly blamed German Chancellor Merkelfornot securing the bordersbefore the attacks by tweeting out, “These are Merkel’s dead!”

This new approach by the AfD leadership has been described as the partyshifting toward anembraceof “Trump-style” politics beginning in early 2015. Parallel to the AfD’s recent shift in messaging, anunprecedented wave of xenophobic terrorismhas risen in Germany since 2014 that currently amounts to10daily hate crime attackstargeting refugees or their housing.

Last May, at its national party conference, the AfDadopted a new party platformcalling for an immediate halt to migrants entering Germany, the mass deportation ofrefugees, and the banning of all mosques and Muslim calls to prayer. In the same breath, the AfD went on to adopt the slogan: “Islam does not belong in Germany” — a statement that up to60percent of Germanadultsreportedly agree with.

At their most recent party conference in April 2017, AfD members shot down their less extremist leadership and reaffirmed their previous platform. The AfD had instead nominated a Holocaust-denying Trump supporteras its main candidatefor the upcoming federal elections, Alexander Gauland, who was elected alongside the little-known Alice Weidel.

Weidel harshly criticized German Chancellor Merkel for only banning burqas and has instead proposed thatall headscarves should be bannedin Germany.

However, one of the rebuffed national AfD leaders chairing the party, Frauke Petry, is still mostly known for advocating thatGerman national police shoot refugeesif they cross the border into Germany without permission.

“What are we to think of these ‘Germany is colorful’ campaigns?” Petryasked her party membersin attendance at one rally. “A garbage dump is also colorful,” she responded to her own prompted question.

The top AfD candidate is viewed as a strong defender of the party, no matter the controversy, as opposed to the current AfD national chair. While Petry denounced Bjrn Hcke over his public Nazi apologism and attacks upon Holocaust victims, Gauland stated that Hcke had “not said anything for which he must be ashamed.”

Alexander Gauland has also embraced the calls for a Muslim travel ban issued by Trump since late 2015.

In a speech the following Monday after Trump signed his first Muslim travel ban on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Gauland castigated Chancellor Merkel for exposing Germany to the dangers of terrorism and economic inequality. According to Gauland, the current German leader was unable to “get a grip” on either the economy or security of the homeland.

“Trump’s voters are opposed to immigration from Southern nations like Mexico. We are opposed to immigration from Islamic countries that are geographically, so to speak, Europe’s Mexico,” Gauland statedwhen pressed to contrast developmentsin his party and Germany to the success of Trump in the US.

“Trump is against the establishment. We are also in line with him.”

The AfD had been polling at 16 percent of the national vote, althoughit has since fallento 8 percent in March 2017. The party is still widely expected to pass the required 5 percent threshold of the national vote to enter German parliament for the first time later this September. Currently, the AfDhas members seatedin 13 out of 16 German state parliaments, and even two members representing Germany in the EU parliament.

Upon entering the national lower house, AfD members would then be able to introduce and vote upon legislation for the country with their fellow German lawmakers in the Bundestag.

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Holocaust Remembrance Day | The Statesman Examiner

This Friday, Jan. 27, is Holocaust Remembrance Day. The United Nations declared it a day for observance in 2005, to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazis Auschwitz death camp in Poland. Prior to WWII there were 18 million Jews, with an estimated six million killed due to Adolph Hitlers extermination plan, The Final Solution.

Soviet troops liberated the few inmates they found at Auschwitz; before their arrival, the Nazis sent the other inmates on a death march, trying to avoid discovery of what was happening at the facility. At Auschwitz, 1.1 million people were gassed with the cyanide-based insecticide Zyklon B. Ninety percent of Auschwitz victims were Jews.

Germany itself saw the death of 4.3 million Nazi soldiers and the loss of up to a half million civilians. Of U.S. soldiers who fought in WWII, 291,557 died in combat. All told, a desire for inordinate control led to the deaths of 60 million people worldwide.

Beyond six million Jews perishing, there were another 11 million Holocaust victims: people who were deaf, mentally or physically disabled, drug and alcohol addicted, Freemasons (regarded then as part of a Jewish conspiracy), Jehovahs Witnesses, LGBT, Roman Catholics, Romany gypsies, Slavs, Soviet POWs, prostitutes, Spanish Republicans, people of color (especially African-Germans), vagrants, anarchists, communists, dissidents, leftists, socialists, trade unionists, common criminals (often recruited to become guards) or, people otherwise considered non-Aryan, or not useful to the Aryan concept of a Master Race.

The rise of Hitler

When Soviet civilian deaths are added, which included many Jews, the number of holocaust victims is 17 million.

Hitler came to power in 1933, having learned to tone down his frowned-upon anti-Semitism, and to focus on jobs, and making Germany great again. But his true sentiments quickly showed when, in spring of 1933, he instituted boycotts of Jewish businesses, barred Jews from the national health plan, and then restricted Jews from going to school. (The thinking class at first ignored boycott orders, until Hitler called for death or imprisonment for failure to obey.)

In 1941, Hitler decided to proceed with extermination of the Jews. The massacres began in June, with transport from ghettos to concentration-death camps: Aushwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Maly Tostenets, Sobibor, Treblinka and others. Priests who spoke out about Nazi actions 1,700 of them — were sent to the first established camp, Dachau.

Those with a moral calling to hide Jews faced the death penalty.

The Nazis Solution was intentionally secretive. In the beginning, many Jews had no idea what awaited them after their transport. Husbands would be sent away, then wives and children were told they could join them on the next transport. Often they were told they were going East, to be resettled; some were forced to write home and tell how wonderful their new lives were.

Those not sent to the gas chambers were starved, worked to death or died from disease. The first report about the Jews treatment was in 1942 in The New York Times; they had a front-page story about the unconfirmed fate of the people sent to the camps. Slaughter was speculated. But camp escapees had such horrific stories–they were hard to believe.

Read the full story in the Jan. 25 edition of the Statesman-Examiner. An e-edition will be available Jan. 25 at http://www.statesmanexaminer.com/e-edition.

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Holocaust survivors share Stories of Strength at remembrance forum – The Island Now

Memories of the Holocaust are as fresh as they were decades ago for the women who were forced into World War II concentration camps as children and miraculously lived to tell the tale as adults.

When you look at these survivors, know youre looking at miracles, Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Senior Director of Education Beth Lilach said. For any child to have survived the Holocaust is nothing less than a miracle because it was a very intentional plan by the Nazis to destroy every single Jewish child, so these people represent the tiny percent of Jewish children that survived.

Parker Jewish Institute hosted Stories of Strength: a Holocaust Remembrance Thursday afternoon to document the stories of three survivors.

Chana Pfeifen, Alice Tenenbaum and Mia Feuer, wife of survivor Samuel Feuer, shared memories with a heartbroken audience as they recounted tales of gas chambers, death marches and the traumatic loss of their parents at the hands of the guards and doctors who imprisoned them.

Lilach opened the forum with a presentation focused around what can be learned from the Holocaust and how many times history could have gone differently with earlier help from countries around the world.

By looking at the evolution of Nazism, you see so many red flags when the Holocaust could have been stopped, Lilach said. We need to look to see if our country is experiencing any of these red flags, and we need to act on it. We cant be silent that was an incredibly destructive force during the Holocaust, and we need to speak up.

Tenenbaum was a young teenager when she was forced into a ghetto before being taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where an estimated 1.1 million people were killed before the Soviet Union liberated the prisoners in January 1945.

Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the Angel of Death for his role in sending prisoners to gas chambers and performing inhumane experiments on people, frequented the camp and tried his hardest to execute 14-year-old Tenenbaum, but an unlikely savior appeared.

Irma Grese, this horrible creature they called the beautiful beast, she somehow to this day, I dont know why she saved me 16 times when Dr. (Josef) Mangele sent me to the gas chamber. She would come and take me out (of the chamber), Tenenbaum said. People I spoke to who knew her said she had a sister around my age and I looked a little bit like her. The reason she saved me so many times was because I looked like her sister. Thats how I survived Auschwitz.

Grese was among the 45 people accused of war crimes at the Bergen Trial in 1945 and was executed for her actions later that year.

Without access to a clock, prisoners never knew what time it was or what day it was after a few weeks in the 1,000-man barracks. Tenenbaum said the daily routine revolved around a strict schedule, including the repetitive counting of prisoners for hours in the morning before the once-daily bathroom break given in a large room filled with holes in the ground.

They told us when we arrived if we took our clothes and hung them on a hook, remember the number of the hook because well come back to it, she said. Of course, you never saw your clothes again. My parents shoved all kinds of gems and jewelry into the shoulder pads, they hidAmerican currency in the belt.

I had the same dress for one solid year. I never changed and I never washed it. Every so often, they took the dress, sprayed it with DDT and gave it back. For one year, I that one dress, no underwear, winter and summer.

As soldiers began to fear the camps would be invaded nearing the end of the war, prisoners were moved from camp to camp. Tenenbaum, her mother and her sisters were sent on a 40,000-man death march to Berlin that only approximately 6,000 people survived due to harsh conditions on the prisoners already deteriorating bodies.

After the march, she was moved to the Bergen-Belsen camp. Tenenbaum said this alone felt like a brief spell of liberation because she no longer had to fear the looming gas chambers of Auschwitz.

When the British troops liberated the camp in April 1945, Tenenbaum took refuge in Sweden, where she was very well taken care of and sent to a private school. Not long before her 18th birthday, she met her future husband at a college dance and managed a normal life after a tragic childhood.

Pfeifenwas 8 years old when her parents and 4-year-oldsister were taken from their home without warning.

We were sitting at the Shabbat table, eating, and all of a sudden people marched in and said Leave everything behind, youre going with us, Pfeifen said. We had no idea where they were taking us.

Her family and hundreds more were marched through the Ukranian streets and separated from their loved ones. The men were stripped, tortured and killed almost immediately, Pfeifer said, and their bodies thrown into a mass grave.

They told us some of the men were still alive, she said.

Pfeiferand her family took another death march to the Dniester River before being imprisoned in Transnistria, a horrific ghetto-camp hybrid, by the Romanians. They were given no clothes, shoes, or food and have to scavenge for whatever scraps they could find. Pfeifer recalled a story when her mother brought her a frozen potato.

It had a worm. I said, Mom, Im not going to eat that. She said, Eat it before it eats you,’ she said. Thats how angry she was. She wanted us to stay alive, and she would do everything she could for us.

After her liberation, she attempted to sneak into Palestine but was caught by the British soldiers and sent to an internment camp in Cyprus for Jews trying to illegally cross the border.

When she was finally freed from Cyprus, she returned to Palestine and joined the army to fight in the war for independence.

Pfeifer told her two sons about her experiences once they were old enough, and she believes the story alone impacted her boys as well as a generation of Jews.

Yes, it had an affect on my sons. It had an impact, she said. They felt guilty, especially my oldest son. It did have an impact on the second generation. I dont think its going to have an impact on the third generation, but on the second it did.

Miaspoke on behalf of her husband, recounting the stories of his experiences during the war hes told over their many years of marriage.

Samuel was also 14 when his parents and two sisters were taken to Auschwitz in late May of 1944. The soldiers separated the family immediately after arrival and saidthey would meet again and shouldnt worry. A few days later, Samuel learned his parents had been burned to death and was told to remember the smoke from the chimney on June 2 as part of their final moments.

Despite all of the horrific things Samuel saw and experienced in the most infamousconcentration camp of World War II, Mia said he didnt let the past affect his future.

It was very hard, but he became the nicest person on Earth when he came home, she said emotionally. We managed to have a beautiful family, and he was the happiest man when our son was born. Our life was the most beautiful life. The only thing that bothers me is right now, he cannot remember.

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Trump calls Romanian Holocaust remembrance a ‘vital cause’ – The Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump saluted the Holocaust remembrance efforts in Romania as a vital cause.

Trump made the remarks during a joint news conference Friday in Washington, DC, with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

Romanians have made many contributions to the United States, and to the world, Trump said. Very notable among them was Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who was born in Romania and, sadly, passed away almost one year ago. And I understand that earlier this week, the American Jewish Committee presented President Iohannis with its very prestigious Light Unto the Nations Award for his work to further Holocaust remembrance and education in Romania. I join the AJC in saluting your leadership in that vital cause.

In January, Trump drew sharp criticism from an array of Jewish organizations after neglecting to mention Jews in his International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement. He has since more robustly embraced the Jewish meaning of the Holocaust, particularly in a speech in the Capitol in April at the US Holocaust Memorial Museums Days of Remembrance commemoration.

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With Trump in the White House, Deborah Lipstadt stands up for facts – The Times of Israel

History professor Deborah Lipstadt was relatively well known before being portrayed by superstar actor Rachel Weisz in last years Hollywood feature film Denial. The movie was based on Lipstadts experiences in a landmark British legal case in which she fought a libel suit brought by Holocaust denier David Irving.

The film has kicked her notoriety up a notch, leading to more opportunities to publicly speak her mind and she has plenty to say about a perceived assault on facts and truth in the United States under the Trump Administration.

One such opportunity was a TED Talk titled, Behind the Lies of Holocaust Denial, that Lipstadt gave in the UK earlier this spring. In the 15-minute clip posted last month, she warned about those who dress lies up as opinions to encroach on facts. Lipstadt spoke mainly of Holocaust deniers, but she left no doubt she was also talking about contemporary Twitter-friendly political leaders playing fast and loose with the truth.

Today, as we well know, truth and facts are under assault. Social media, for all the gifts it has given us, has also allowed the difference between facts established facts and lies to be flattened, she said in the TED Talk.

We live in an age where truth is on the defensive

We live in an age where truth is on the defensive Truth is not relative. Many of us have grown up in the world of the academy and enlightened liberal thought, where were taught everything is open to debate. But thats not the case. There are certain things that are true. There are indisputable facts objective truths The Earth is not flat. The climate is changing. Elvis is not alive, she said.

The viral reach of the TED Talk was on Lipstadts mind when she sat down for an interview with The Times of Israel this week in Jerusalem, where she had come to participate in an author event at the Jerusalem International Book Fair. The Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Lipstadt was also in Israel to receive an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Haifa on June 6.

Its up to more than 540,000 views. I checked right before meeting with you, since I thought you might ask about it, Lipstadt, 70, said about the TED Talk video.

In a broad-ranging interview, the popular professor spoke on a variety of topics, including what she said was the White Houses flirtation with softcore Holocaust denial, free speech on college campuses, and the pitfalls of making analogies between the Holocaust and current atrocities like the war in Syria.

What has it been like for you since Denial was made and released?

Its been an out-of-body experience. I look at the film and I see my story, but its not like Im walking around thinking I was depicted on the screen. Its been very weird and a lot of fun, but the hoopla ends very quickly. Whats more important are the increased opportunities I have had to speak and write. It happened as a result of the trial, but even more so as a result of the movie.

We all want to be heard beyond the echo chamber

Im getting invitations to write, to speak, to participate in things that are not Jewish. Im saying the same thing. My views havent changed, but my megaphone is a bit larger. For instance, I was at West Point right after Pesach [Passover] to talk to the cadet corps not just an event in the Jewish chapel.

When Sean Spicer made that statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day [that omitted mention of Jews and anti-Semitism], I got a call within 15 minutes of it happening from The New York Times for comment, and then from the Atlantic to write about it. Its happening now on a really regular basis. Im very gratified by this because we all want to be heard beyond the echo chamber. Its not that I didnt have that access before, but that access has expanded.

US President Donald Trump (C-R) and First Lady Melania Trump (C-L) lay a wreath during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum on May 23, 2017, in Jerusalem. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

In that Atlantic piece published January 30, you accused the Trump Administration of softcore Holocaust denial.

I still stand by that. Im standing by the statement that the way that the administration handled that January 27 statement was an example of softcore Holocaust denial. Im not saying that Donald Trump is a softcore Holocaust denier, but that was an example of softcore denial. And as I said in the article, I was [initially] sure it was a mistake. But the way they doubled and tripled and down on it I wrote the article before [National Security Advisor Sebastian] Gorka made his statement. He made it worse.

There has never been any explanation or apology. And you couple that with the presidents reluctance through much of the beginning of his administration to condemn anti-Semitism. It was a disturbing trend. Eventually, in his State of the Union [address] he condemned the anti-Semitism, and then he condemned it in a speech at the Museum of African History.

But when you put it together with Bannons record on alt-right and Gorka and some of the others Again I am not saying they are anti-Semites. I have no proof of that. But for that incident it was disturbing and I stand by it.

As a historian, do you think it is helpful to draw analogies between todays Syrian refugee crisis and the Holocaust, as many in the Jewish community are doing?

Assad is a horrible man who gasses his own people, but what hes doing is not considered by scholars of genocide to be genocide

At the beginning of the Trump Administration, you were hearing, Its fascism! Its just like Hitler! Or you heard it on the right about the left. The analogies were all over the place. I hate those analogies. That doesnt mean that thoughtful comparisons are not in place. What I hate are the glib comparisons, so I am very careful with analogies, because I think too often they are used glibly and in utilitarian fashion.

Assad is a horrible man who gasses his own people, but what hes doing is not considered by scholars of genocide to be genocide. Genocide is a unique crime. Im calling for careful differentiation.

An unconscious Syrian child receives treatment at a hospital in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province, following a suspected toxic gas attack on April 4, 2017. (AFP/Omar Haj Kadour)

So what should be the response to Assad?

We condemn. I dont know what to do. The guy is horrible. Given my druthers I would have liked to have seen him overthrown four years ago. I have nothing good at all to say about Assad, but what he is doing is not a Holocaust.

Im not engaging in comparative pain

Why I feel so passionately about these comparisons is that I am not saying that its okay or that its not as bad. Im not engaging in comparative pain. I hate comparative pain. I think its useless. It doesnt take us anywhere.

There is room for analogies, but I hate the glib, easy comparisons. They start with Israel and the Nazi-like tactics of the IDF. You can be against the IDFs policies, you can be against Israels policies vis vis the Palestinians, you can think they are wrong or immoral, but its not a genocide but thats whats been used.

Can any comparison be made between the Jews who fled Nazi persecution and faced American anti-immigration policies and the Syrian refugees facing Trumps attempted Muslim ban?

[The analogy] works to a certain extent, because they didnt want Jews there. But the people being banned [today] are not facing genocide. They are living in terrible situations, but I still think it is different when the country from which you are coming from is out to destroy you.

Anybody who ignores the fact that ISIS et al will use this refugee situation to try to get people in is problematic

I think the US should let in more refugees. The country has greatly benefited from refugees. Anybody who ignores the fact that opposition to refugees coming to this country has possibly until the last 15 years included inherent anti-Semitism is blind. I also know that anybody who ignores the fact that ISIS et al will use this refugee situation to try to get people in is also problematic.

I think [German Chancellor] Merkel made a big mistake when she said two years ago, We can let a million people in. They just walked in. It was crazy.

Demonstrators at OHare Airport, Chicago, protest President Donald Trumps executive order which imposes a freeze on admitting refugees into the United States and a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, January 29, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

What is your take on free speech issues on American college campuses these days? Students are demanding safe spaces, conservatives claim they are being discriminated against, and invitations to speakers are being rescinded due to pressure and security concerns.

Im very disturbed from all perspectives. I think this idea that we cant have voices to campus with which we disagree because campus has to be a safe space is antithetical to what the campus is all about. The campus should be a place where you encounter all sorts of ideas. Does that mean that someone who preaches racism, anti-Semitism, or bigotry should be invited? No, of course not.

So where do you draw the line?

Where do you draw the line? Wherever you draw the line its not for an official body to say, He comes and she doesnt, or she comes and he doesnt. First of all, I would expect the students would have sechel (common sense) as to who was invited. If it was someone who has a track record of every place they go violence follows, then think twice about inviting them.

Prof. Deborah Lipstadt receives honorary doctor of philosophy degree from University of Haifa, June 6, 2017. Left to right: Prof. Ron Robin, President of the University of Haifa; Prof. Deborah E. Lipstadt; Prof. Gustavo Mesch, Rector of the University of Haifa; Ilana Livnat. (University of Haifa)

Do you find that people are reluctant these days to speak out against anti-Semitism within their own political camps?

Progressive Jews feel they are being forced to make a choice

When Trump came into office, especially in the first few couple of months with the [Holocaust Remembrance Day] statement and his refusing to condemn anti-Semtism, the left was having a heyday. And I said to a lot of my friends on the left, Excuse me, where were you when the left was engaging in anti-Semitism? And the right defend Breitbart and attack the left, but dont criticize the right. If youre going to criticize Trump, Bannon and others for the anti-Semitism and you havet spoken out on Corbyn or Ken Livingstone or BDS or Linda Sarsour, you have no credibility in my eyes. Weve got to criticize those whose outlooks we generally share.

Students in progressive groups, like at Oberlin or the No Red Tape group at Columbia are chanting Free Palestine at protests. Progressive Jews feel they are being forced to make a choice.

Its the intersectionality issue.

Intersectionality started out as a good thing. African American women auto workers brought a law suit claiming they were discriminated against as women on the assembly line and as blacks regarding front office jobs. It started out as a very legitimate thing as a way of staying that sometimes people straddle more than one pigeon hole, but now its used to bring together a geo-political fight with a racial fight.

Moreover, the way its being used, it degrades the African American experience, because African Americans who have been stopped by police officers who engaged in racist behavior and shot them, were shot for being black. Here [in Israel and the Palestinian Territories], maybe you shouldnt be shot for throwing a stone, but youve done something, youve thrown a stone, youve pulled a knife. It degrades the experience of the discrimination directed against African Americans.

A woman holds a banner during a protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in New York on July 09, 2016. (AFP Photo/Kena Betancur)

At the end of your TED Talk you urge people to go on the offensive and to act now, because truth and facts are under assault. How do you suggest this be done?

Cry out, but responsibly, not emotionally

Little things. You see something on Facebook and it agrees with you; Trump did this awful thing. Before you repost it, check if its true. Check your sources. The internet is a great gift, but youve got to use it wisely. Investigate and ask questions. Ask: Is this possible? We have to be much more careful in things we repeat. Weve got to educate ourselves on the facts. We cant be beguiled by appearances. Somebody looks very good, sounds very good and sounds rational, but think about what theyre saying. It calls for setting up more barriers. Show me the evidence, who says it? Where did you get that information? I dont know what else we can do. Those of us who have media access have to be part of it. Cry out, but responsibly, not emotionally.

Do you recommend engaging an anti-Semite or Holocaust denier directly?

I dont engage them because at the heart they are anti-Semites, but I engage what they say because I have to disprove it to others who might be influenced by it. Thats why I dont debate David Irving. Its a waste of time, but in my trial we proved that what he said was a load of falsehoods and lies. Thats a different kind of thing.

Holocaust denial, and by extension anti-Semitism, is not a cognitive error. Its not like they miss one fact. Its that theyre looking at the world through the prism of an anti-Semite. Theyre conspiracy theorists.

Deborah Lipstadt at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem, June 11, 2017. (Renee Ghert-Zand/TOI)

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Testimony of the survivors – Jewish Chronicle


Jewish Chronicle
Testimony of the survivors
Jewish Chronicle
While the UN designated January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, not a day passes when Mosberg doesn't remember. On his bedroom wall, photographs of his slaughtered relatives hang like religious icons. When I get up in the morning, …

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Basic Human Decency Shouldn’t Be Political, But It Is – The Federalist

After a two-year investigation, the Department of Justice recently announced charges against 15 people who trafficked in eagle body parts.

U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler described one operation as basically a chop-shop for eagles in which eagle feathers were stuffed into garbage bags. He said it was clear that it was a moneymaking operation and that the feathers and eagle parts such as talons and beaks were treated as merchandise. There was no cultural sensitivity. There was no spirituality, Seiler said. There was no tradition in the manner in which these defendants handled these birds.

As yet, none of these charges allege the actual killing of an eagle. They are purely centered on merchandizing carcasses already dead. As I was told after an unfortunate encounter on the highway, even if an eagle-killing is purely accidental, it would be a federal offense to leave the scene with even a single eagle feather on ones person or in ones vehicle.

The Bald Eagle Protection Act was originally passed in 1940. In 1962 it was amended to include golden eagles. This law prescribes criminal penalties for anyone to take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof.

Notice the thoroughly religious tone of Seilers remarks at the press conference. The U.S. attorney, rather than presenting these crimes in the terms of the law, such as sell, purchase, barter, instead said, There was no cultural sensitivity. There was no spirituality. There was no tradition in the manner in which these defendants handled these birds.

All of this starkly contrasts another headline two days later. Lamborghini Mary Gatter was back in the news. She was the medical director of Planned Parenthood in Pasadena, California who was caught on tape last year joking about her desire for a Lamborghini while haggling over the prices she charges for various baby parts from aborted human remains.

The video, released from the Center for Medical Progress, again features her working to increase the asking price from $50 to $75 per specimen. She first says she will not offer any baby parts past the 16th week of gestation, then quickly changes her mind when the potential customer wants older babies. Whether or not she violated any statutory language from the state of California, I am interested in something else. As an observer of culture, my interest lies in the way these two events were covered.

For starters, the Associated Press attended the news conference about eagle body parts, and published a national story about it. But they have yet to publish one word about the investigation into people body parts. Nor has any other major media outlet even mentioned the latest video showing Planned Parenthood employees haggling over baby parts.

Honestly, this does not surprise me. For the better part of two years we have seen an orchestrated news blackout on the work of the Center for Medical Progress. Clearly Planned Parenthood has a good deal of clout in Americas newsrooms. Abortion has become so politicized that many ordinary, decent people are culturally conditioned to ignore anything and everything that might call its ethics into question. Simple questions that are treated as no-brainers when applied to eagles must not even be raised if it could touch on abortion in any way.

Is it culturally, spiritually, or traditionally insensitive to treat eagle parts as merchandise? The U.S. attorney from South Dakota is so certain of it that he said so in a press conference without anyone questioning him. Is it culturally, spiritually, or traditionally insensitive to treat human parts as merchandise? Any sane person or society would instinctively say: Of course! Whatever is true of an animal is infinitely more true of a human being. But we have come to a place and time where this question is unasked, and unaskable.

Its time for us all to step back from the political fray and seriously ask: what has happened to us? This is an especially poignant question since the eagle feather press conference happened on the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 24. These occasions offer a substantial time to set down our frantic activities and think more deeply than shallow condemnations of Adolph Hitler or the Ottoman Empire.

Yes, Hitler did murder 11 or 12 million Jews, Russians, Poles, and undesirables. The Ottoman Empire was merciless in slaughtering 1.5 million Armenian Christians. But have you ever wondered what happened to the millions of ordinary Germans and ordinary Turks? How did they ever become people who would quietly turn a blind eye to such evil?

If you had been living in those days, would you have spoken out at the risk of your livelihood and life? Would you have boldly called out the evil? Of course, we all would like to think of ourselves doing just that. But now ask yourself seriously if there are any things that you consider evil that you dont publicly condemn, or dont really want to know about, for fear that it might undermine your public standing, job prospects, or political partys strength.

More to the point, many of us are sick and tired of politics. We would like to find a place that is purely non-political. We want to be left alone to live our lives without being drawn into every Internet screaming match and conspiratorial conversation. But you must recognize that this, too, can become the very mechanism which stifles your opposition to evil. If my highest goal becomes to avoid politics, all thats needed to silence me is for someone to say, Thats political. As a pastor of an historically non-political church body, I have seen this work on me.

At some point, even well-meaning non-political people need to question the label. When, exactly, did it become political to say that marriage is between a man and a woman? Even two decades ago, this was so ordinary that it was hardly worth saying. When, exactly, did it become political to say that babies shouldnt be killed? Would even one person have thought so even 50 years ago?

Back to question of eagle feathers and people parts. When did the decent treatment of a dead human being become political? I am not the first to ask this question. In pre-Christian Greece (441BC), Sophocles wrote the play Antigone, which explores this very question. At the beginning of the play, two of Antigones brothers died fighting on opposite sides of a civil war. King Creon, of the victorious side, decided he would honor the one who died fighting for his cause, while publicly shaming the brother who fought against him.

He ordered that Polyneices body should remain unburied on the battlefield to be eaten by eagles and dogs. By this decree, he made the proper burial of Polyneices body a capital offense. Anybody caught burying it or treating it with reverence would be sentenced to death.

Antigone is the leading character in the play who recognizes that such a decree, even if backed by the highest political order in the land, is simply wrong. It is against all culture, spirituality, and tradition. In several brilliant dialogues, Sophocles explores why she was willing to give her own life and speak out for decency that politics should never touch. Its time for everyone to step back from partisan politics and be Antigone.

Jonathan G. Lange is a pastor of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. He has raised his family in Wyoming for two decades, serving parishes in Evanston and Kemmerer. He is a leader of the Wyoming Pastors Network.

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COLUMN-Commentary: How Trump can show he’s tough on anti-Semitism – Thomson Reuters Foundation

(Josh Cohen is a former USAID project officer involved in managing economic reform projects in the former Soviet Union. The opinions expressed here are his own.) By Josh Cohen June 20 (Reuters) – Donald Trump just got another chance to fight charges that he’s soft on anti-Semitism. Let’s hope he took it. The president held talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Washington on Tuesday. The Ukraine leader emerged from the meeting saying Kiev had “received strong support from the U.S. side” over sovereignty, territorial integrity and the “independence of our state.” For Ukraine, the meeting was a win because Poroshenko got to visit the White House ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin. For Trump, it seems to have been a missed opportunity to win political capital at home. Trump should have spoken out against what many see as Ukraine’s troubling glorification of Nazi collaborators. Poroshenko presumably focused on Russia’s occupation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region. Trump should have broadened the agenda to call out Kiev for its official state policy of honoring controversial figures from World War Two. The latest example: local authorities in the capital recently voted to rename a major street after a former Nazi collaborator and anti-Semite named Roman Shukhevych. Shukhevych led the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), an organization responsible for the mass slaughter of Poles and Jews during the war. Even inside Ukraine the renaming is a disputed move, with hundreds of people taking to the streets last Friday to protest the decision – only to be attacked by an ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi group called C14. The renaming plan isn’t an isolated event. In 2015, Ukraine passed a law honoring the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, (OUN-UPA). Since then, other streets have been named after the group and its leaders, and the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) is drafting a law to posthumously exonerate OUN-UPA members convicted of murdering Polish and Jewish civilians during and after the war. OUN militias played a major role in pogroms in Western Ukraine that killed tens of thousands of Jews after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Many OUN members also joined the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police, where they collaborated with the Nazis to kill Jews in Western Ukraine in 1941-1942. After the OUN violently seized control of the UPA in 1943, the UPA also slaughtered between 70,000 and 100,000 Poles in western Ukraine from 1943-1944 and hunted down Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. U.S. organizations like the United States Holocaust Museum and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have joined Ukrainian Jewish groups in criticizing Ukraine’s decision to lionize the OUN-UPA. Wiesenthal Center head Efraim Zuroff said that honoring the collaborators “turns Hitler’s henchmen into heroes”; Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi called Kiev’s decision to name a street after Shukhevych “immoral propaganda.” It’s true many Ukrainians see the OUN-UPA primarily through the lens of the group’s role in the fight for an independent Ukraine, and, indeed, the UPA fought a valiant guerilla war against the Soviet Union into the 1950s. But while UINM’s leader derides criticism of OUN-UPA and its leaders as propaganda, historical documentation contradicts this. The elevation of OUN-UPA has been accompanied by a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine. Numerous Holocaust memorial sites – including Babi Yar, where over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis – have been vandalized or desecrated by anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas. Ukrainian officials are also guilty of a number of recent anti-Semitic outbursts. A retired general affiliated with Ukraine’s security services called for the destruction of the country’s Jews; a member of Parliament suggested Ukrainians use the ethnic slur “zhid”; a Ukrainian official called Ukraine’s SS Galizien division – created with the support of Heinrich Himmler – “heroes” and the Poroshenko administration awarded Ukraine’s Order of Freedom to an author of two books considered blatantly anti-Semitic. Trump has good reason to speak out against Ukraine’s troubling “memory politics.” The most important is that he could counter perceptions that he’s been too tolerant of anti-Semitism. Although Trump supports the Israeli government and two of his most influential advisers – daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner – are Jewish, many Americans believe Trump failed to disavow the neo-Nazi fringe that supported his presidential campaign. More troublingly, Trump retweeted apparent white supremacists a number of times during the 2016 race and even tweeted what many considered an anti-Semitic meme about Hillary Clinton. After his election, Trump was seen as slow to condemn the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and threats against Jewish community centers across the U.S. Even more worrisome, the White House’s official statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day did not mention the Holocaust’s 6 million Jewish victims. Jewish groups are also concerned about reports that the Trump administration will not fill the State Department’s office of the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. While few suggest that Trump personally holds anti-Semitic views, Trump’s condemnation of Kiev’s actions could help dispel perceptions that he doesn’t pay enough attention to anti-Jewish behavior. Beyond Trump’s own reasons for speaking out, Ukraine’s glorification of OUN-UPA arguably undermines Washington’s foreign policy goal of supporting a democratic Ukraine anchored in the West. Ukraine’s veneration of the OUN-UPA also harms America abroad, with Russia’s state-owned RT routinely carrying reports claiming that the U.S. backs “fascists” in Ukraine. American policy makers don’t need a major Kiev street renamed for a Nazi collaborator. The historical revisionism could also damage Ukraine’s chances of joining NATO and the European Union. In Poland, where there’s strong support for an independent Ukraine, the decision to honor OUP leaders has angered the families of victims of OUP killings, and the country’s legislature last year passed a resolution officially terming the UPA’s Wolyn massacre of Polish civilians a genocide. A former Polish deputy foreign minister warned that a Ukraine “under the flag” of the OUP “will never join the European Union.” And, as one German commentator points out, honoring Nazi collaborators such as Shukhevych “is out of the question” in modern Germany. It’s possible, of course, that Trump did raise the issue privately with Poroshenko in Tuesday’s meeting. But if he did, he needs to make it public. For Ukraine’s sake as well as his own. (Reporting by Josh Cohen)

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Ketchum, Hill+Knowlton win Grand Prix statues in Creative Data, Cyber Lions – PRWeek

Added 21 hours ago by Frank Washkuch , Ketchum won for Whirlpool’s Care Counts campaign, and H+K was awarded for its work for the Bank of Aland. CANNES, FRANCE: Ketchum and Hill+Knowlton Strategies snagged Grand Prix trophies in non-PR categories on Tuesday night at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Ketchums Chicago office won a Grand Prix for the Care Counts campaign on behalf of Whirlpool alongside creative shop DigitasLBI in the Creative Data category. Ogilvy Public Relations Melbourne bagged Gold, Silver, and Bronze Lions in the category for its work on the AAMI Smartplates push on behalf of Suncorp, and Edelman Sydney won a Silver and Bronze Lion for the Pocket Patrol campaign for Samsung Australia. Bronze Lions for Creative Data were also won by Burson-Marsteller Millan for Italia Longeva, Edelman London for the No More Excuses campaign for Heineken, and Edelman Significa in Sao Paulo for the Color of Corruption effort for Reclame Aqui. Hill+Knowlton won a Grand Prix in the Cyber category for its work on behalf of The Bank of Aland in Sweden for Aland Index/Baltic Sea Project. Ketchum San Francisco and PMK-BNC in Los Angeles won Gold Cyber Lions for the Cheetos Museum by Cheetos and Hostile Takeover on behalf of Activision, respectively. Ketchum also won Silver Lions for the Cheetos Museum and the #NuggsForCarter campaign for Wendys. Dini Von Mueffling Communications won Silver Lions for the Evan campaign for Sandy Hook Promise. Bronze Cyber Lions were awarded to Edelman London for Heinekens World Apart push; Havas PR Milan for Forgetting Auschwitz, Remembering Auschwitz for Holocaust Remembrance Day; and Marina Maher Communications for Tides Super Bowl Stain campaign. Ketchum won another Bronze for the Twitter Beef campaign for Wendys. Gold Lions in the Direct category went to Edelman Significa in Sao Paulo for the Color of Corruption and Olson Engage for the New and Not Improved campaign for Kraft Heinz. Taylor and MMK won both Silver and Bronze Lions for the Bradshaw Stain campaign for Tide. Current Marketing also won a Silver for the Biggest Sports Endorsement Deal of All Time. Bronze Direct Lions went to Finn PR in Brussels for Child Focus on behalf of Coins of Hope and M Booth for Godivas The Box that Keeps Giving. In the Mobile category, Burson-Marsteller Milan won Gold, Silver, and Bronze for the Chat Yourself campaign for Italia Longeva, and London-based Unity won Silver for Fleetlights for Direct Line. FleishmanHillard Chicago won Silver and Bronze for the Serena Williams Match Point campaign for Gatorade. Bronze Mobile Lions also went to Ogilvy for AAMI Smartplates and Edelman Deportivo for Give a Beep on behalf of Hovding. Edelman London also won a Bronze Lion in the Innovation category for Gravitylight: Turning Gravity into Light for Shell Global and the Gravitylight Foundation. This story was updated on June 21 to include Current’s Silver Lion in the Direct category. Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

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Right-Wing Calls for Muslim "Internment Camps" Intensify in the US, UK and Germany – Truth-Out

Activists display signs in the No Ban, No Wall protest at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, January 28, 2017. (Photo: Sarah Ji) White nationalists in the UK and US have once again begun to advocate for Muslim “internment camps” after the recent terrorist attacks in England. Thanks in part to a viral, critical piece by New York Daily News writerShaun King, these renewed calls for the immoral and unconstitutional mass imprisonment of Muslims have been quickly met with widespread condemnation and shock in the US and online. The day after the recent attack in London, chief Brexit campaigner and white English nationalist UKIP leader Nigel Farage threatened that ” … if there is not action, then the calls for internment will grow” during aninterview on Fox News.In the immediate aftermath of the London attack, Faragesided with Trumpin disparaging London Mayor Sadiq Khan for not enacting proposed illegal measures against Muslims. The Fox and Friends panel then turned from Farage to their frequent UK guest contributor, Katie Hopkins, who quickly picked up on the signaling from Farage. “We do need internment camps,” she said, almost seemingly prompted. “Before, I would’ve bought the idea that, no, this gets more people radicalized. You know, that’s not the solution. But we’ve gone beyond the tipping point.” Only two weeks earlier, after a bombing targeting an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, Hopkinshad faced widespread condemnationfor proposing a “final solution” to what she alluded to as the Muslim “problem” in Europe. The comments led to the cancellation of her talk radio show, and she was fired by Leading Britain’s Conversation — her former employer. The next day, the argument had already reached conservative talk radio stations. “Why don’t you intern all of them before they run people over on a bridge or stab people in the street?” saidwhite nationalist Michael Savageto his radio listeners. “It was done during World War II.” This represents an old and sustained argument for imposing FDR-style Japanese internment camps upon Muslim communities in the West — an argument that has been consistently rehashed by white nationalists since 9/11. The idea was first popularized by Michelle Malkin in her 2004 book,In Defense ofInternment: The Case for ‘Racial Profiling’ inWorld War II and the War on Terror. In fact, Malkin appeared on Fox and Friendsthat dayto add her own endorsement to renewed calls for the mass imprisonment of Muslims made just the day before: It’s Arnold Toynbee, the historian, who said that civilizations die by suicide — not by outside forces. And this is exactly what’s happening. You’ve got people who are exploiting 21st century technology to try and drag all of us back into the stone ages. The following day, UK Prime Minister Theresa May appeared for her last interview only 36 hours before the British general election. If human rights lawsstood in the wayof combating terrorism, May stated, then “we will change those laws so we can do it.” To many following the story, particularly far-right voters whom May has been courting for support, the words were seen as even more signaling in favor of rounding up Muslims into camps for subsequent deportation. The case highlights how rapidly the same old repetitious racist discourse of white nationalists can quickly gain steam nationally before disseminating internationally. A Renewed “Warsaw Ghetto” Plan Surfaces After Trump Meanwhile, a similar racist plan for the mass imprisonment of refugees and asylum seekers has been mulled over in Germany by the Holocaust-denying Alternative fr Deutschland (AfD) party, which has gained an alarming degree of support. In December 2016 former AfD lawmaker Claudia Martindisclosed to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitungthat her faction had been drafting their own legislation for what she called a “Warsaw ghetto” plan. Martin had resigned from the AfD only days prior to disclosing the plan. In the leaked document, AfD parliamentarians outline their plans for the mass imprisonment ofall refugees and asylum seekersinside Germany before deporting them back to their nations of origin — many of which would be hostile to returning individuals. Much like Theresa May’s calls for changing any human rights laws that get in the way of anti-terrorism measures, the working draft from the AfD advocates the suspension of numerous constitutional human rights articles in German Basic Law. The “inhabitants” of the proposed internment camps for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers — or the mass imprisonments that the leaked document refers to as being placed into separated “communities” — would be afforded only “limited basic rights.” Since 2015, Germany has accepteda little under 1 millionrefugees, largely from Syria and Afghanistan. Claudia Martin had uploadedavideo to YouTubeand then spoke to the press. Martin noted somewhat nervously that since Trump’s recent election, her party had now begun “proposing solutions for the refugee crisis that bring the Warsaw ghettos to mind” only a month later. In her description of the proposed AfD legislation, Martin suggested that it bore striking resemblance to Hitler’s “Madagaskar-Plan” to detain all European Jews for imminent deportation to the former French colony in Africa. The Madagascar Plan was announced in 1940. It led to the early establishment of enclosed camps and ghettos, such as the Warsaw Ghetto, which imprisoned more than 400,000 Jews. The network of camps and ghettos provided the Nazis with immediate slave labor, along with an expedient transition to the “final solution” after the 1940 plan was discarded to instead implement the Holocaust beginning in January 1942. “I have to make the observation that we as a party are becoming less and less distinguishable from — but instead slowly becoming — the very thing that we have always been accused of,” Martin remarked in her warning to the German public. A month later, the same AfD Baden-Wrttemberg factiontriedto block state fundingallocated for field trips to visit former death camp sites teaching German schoolchildren about the history of the Holocaust. AfD lawmakers demanded that the school trips involve “significant German historic sites,” such as medieval German castles, instead of teaching a “one-sided concentration” of Nazi crimes. These actions were in support of the AfD state leader for Thringen, Bjrn Hcke, who went so far as todenouncethe national Holocaust memorialin Germany as a “monument of disgrace in the heart of our capital.” Much of the speech in a Dresden beer hall involved Hcke denouncing the three-day firebombing of the civilian city in Nazi Germany. “The big problem is that Hitler is presented as an absolutely evil figure,” Hckedecried while being interviewed by the Wall Street Journalover the matter. German Jewish groupswere quick to point outthat the speech delivered by Hcke came just three days before the 75th anniversary marking the Wannsee Conference. Nazi SS leaders first gathered in Berlin on January 20, 1942, to coordinate how their various departments would implement the “final solution” of genocide, which was then carried out on top of the existing Madagascar Plan networks of camp and ghetto slave labor that had been enacted only 18 months earlier. A week later, for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Hcke attempted to enter the Buchenwald death camp during a memorial service that he was already barred from attending. Hckewas kicked out, as everyone anticipated. Not long after that same day on January 27, President Trump signed the first of his two executive orders implementing a ban for Muslim migrants from legally entering the United States. “On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, you forget the Jews, and later today you plan to issue new executive orders persecuting refugees and immigrants,” executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, Steven Goldstein, announced ina public statement overFacebookjust hours before the signing. “Have you no decency?” Making Germany “Great Again” With a Lingering Nazi Past AfD supporters andtheir party leadershave sought to normalize Nazi terms such asvlkischand introduce them back into German discourse. National AfD leaders claim that these efforts arean innocent attempt to rehabilitatehighly charged taboo expressions of Nazi fascism “back into a positive light.” Some of theseNazi-era words, such asLgenpresse(“lying press”), which was favored by Adolf Hitler and Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels, even made its way overseas andonto thenational stagein the US during the 2016 presidential campaign. This term was largely accomplishedthrough Breitbart Newsand the discordant so-called “alt-right” white supremacists online that Breitbart and others feed off of. The former head of Breitbart News and current chief strategist for the Trump White House, Steve Bannon, has alsosought to legitimizesuch discourse by injecting it into the Islamophobic narratives dominating US politics since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Two days after the recent attack in London, which have led to renewed calls for Muslim “internment camps,” Beatrix von Storch echoed the lingering sentiments of extreme right-wing populism that were once again trending in the international news. In her YouTube videoreplete with erroneous statistics, the AfD politician and member of the European Parliament tweeted out that “capacity is exhausted” in Germany. “Close the borders! #AfD #Migrants,” the tweet continues. Three days after Claudia Martin revealed the “Warsaw ghetto” plan from the AfD to German media, the Berlin attack took place and quickly overshadowed all other reporting. Another prominent AfD state leader on Twitter, Marcus Pretzell, quickly blamed German Chancellor Merkelfornot securing the bordersbefore the attacks by tweeting out, “These are Merkel’s dead!” This new approach by the AfD leadership has been described as the partyshifting toward anembraceof “Trump-style” politics beginning in early 2015. Parallel to the AfD’s recent shift in messaging, anunprecedented wave of xenophobic terrorismhas risen in Germany since 2014 that currently amounts to10daily hate crime attackstargeting refugees or their housing. Last May, at its national party conference, the AfDadopted a new party platformcalling for an immediate halt to migrants entering Germany, the mass deportation ofrefugees, and the banning of all mosques and Muslim calls to prayer. In the same breath, the AfD went on to adopt the slogan: “Islam does not belong in Germany” — a statement that up to60percent of Germanadultsreportedly agree with. At their most recent party conference in April 2017, AfD members shot down their less extremist leadership and reaffirmed their previous platform. The AfD had instead nominated a Holocaust-denying Trump supporteras its main candidatefor the upcoming federal elections, Alexander Gauland, who was elected alongside the little-known Alice Weidel. Weidel harshly criticized German Chancellor Merkel for only banning burqas and has instead proposed thatall headscarves should be bannedin Germany. However, one of the rebuffed national AfD leaders chairing the party, Frauke Petry, is still mostly known for advocating thatGerman national police shoot refugeesif they cross the border into Germany without permission. “What are we to think of these ‘Germany is colorful’ campaigns?” Petryasked her party membersin attendance at one rally. “A garbage dump is also colorful,” she responded to her own prompted question. The top AfD candidate is viewed as a strong defender of the party, no matter the controversy, as opposed to the current AfD national chair. While Petry denounced Bjrn Hcke over his public Nazi apologism and attacks upon Holocaust victims, Gauland stated that Hcke had “not said anything for which he must be ashamed.” Alexander Gauland has also embraced the calls for a Muslim travel ban issued by Trump since late 2015. In a speech the following Monday after Trump signed his first Muslim travel ban on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Gauland castigated Chancellor Merkel for exposing Germany to the dangers of terrorism and economic inequality. According to Gauland, the current German leader was unable to “get a grip” on either the economy or security of the homeland. “Trump’s voters are opposed to immigration from Southern nations like Mexico. We are opposed to immigration from Islamic countries that are geographically, so to speak, Europe’s Mexico,” Gauland statedwhen pressed to contrast developmentsin his party and Germany to the success of Trump in the US. “Trump is against the establishment. We are also in line with him.” The AfD had been polling at 16 percent of the national vote, althoughit has since fallento 8 percent in March 2017. The party is still widely expected to pass the required 5 percent threshold of the national vote to enter German parliament for the first time later this September. Currently, the AfDhas members seatedin 13 out of 16 German state parliaments, and even two members representing Germany in the EU parliament. Upon entering the national lower house, AfD members would then be able to introduce and vote upon legislation for the country with their fellow German lawmakers in the Bundestag.

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June 20, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Holocaust Remembrance Day | The Statesman Examiner

This Friday, Jan. 27, is Holocaust Remembrance Day. The United Nations declared it a day for observance in 2005, to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazis Auschwitz death camp in Poland. Prior to WWII there were 18 million Jews, with an estimated six million killed due to Adolph Hitlers extermination plan, The Final Solution. Soviet troops liberated the few inmates they found at Auschwitz; before their arrival, the Nazis sent the other inmates on a death march, trying to avoid discovery of what was happening at the facility. At Auschwitz, 1.1 million people were gassed with the cyanide-based insecticide Zyklon B. Ninety percent of Auschwitz victims were Jews. Germany itself saw the death of 4.3 million Nazi soldiers and the loss of up to a half million civilians. Of U.S. soldiers who fought in WWII, 291,557 died in combat. All told, a desire for inordinate control led to the deaths of 60 million people worldwide. Beyond six million Jews perishing, there were another 11 million Holocaust victims: people who were deaf, mentally or physically disabled, drug and alcohol addicted, Freemasons (regarded then as part of a Jewish conspiracy), Jehovahs Witnesses, LGBT, Roman Catholics, Romany gypsies, Slavs, Soviet POWs, prostitutes, Spanish Republicans, people of color (especially African-Germans), vagrants, anarchists, communists, dissidents, leftists, socialists, trade unionists, common criminals (often recruited to become guards) or, people otherwise considered non-Aryan, or not useful to the Aryan concept of a Master Race. The rise of Hitler When Soviet civilian deaths are added, which included many Jews, the number of holocaust victims is 17 million. Hitler came to power in 1933, having learned to tone down his frowned-upon anti-Semitism, and to focus on jobs, and making Germany great again. But his true sentiments quickly showed when, in spring of 1933, he instituted boycotts of Jewish businesses, barred Jews from the national health plan, and then restricted Jews from going to school. (The thinking class at first ignored boycott orders, until Hitler called for death or imprisonment for failure to obey.) In 1941, Hitler decided to proceed with extermination of the Jews. The massacres began in June, with transport from ghettos to concentration-death camps: Aushwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Maly Tostenets, Sobibor, Treblinka and others. Priests who spoke out about Nazi actions 1,700 of them — were sent to the first established camp, Dachau. Those with a moral calling to hide Jews faced the death penalty. The Nazis Solution was intentionally secretive. In the beginning, many Jews had no idea what awaited them after their transport. Husbands would be sent away, then wives and children were told they could join them on the next transport. Often they were told they were going East, to be resettled; some were forced to write home and tell how wonderful their new lives were. Those not sent to the gas chambers were starved, worked to death or died from disease. The first report about the Jews treatment was in 1942 in The New York Times; they had a front-page story about the unconfirmed fate of the people sent to the camps. Slaughter was speculated. But camp escapees had such horrific stories–they were hard to believe. Read the full story in the Jan. 25 edition of the Statesman-Examiner. An e-edition will be available Jan. 25 at http://www.statesmanexaminer.com/e-edition.

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June 19, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Holocaust survivors share Stories of Strength at remembrance forum – The Island Now

Memories of the Holocaust are as fresh as they were decades ago for the women who were forced into World War II concentration camps as children and miraculously lived to tell the tale as adults. When you look at these survivors, know youre looking at miracles, Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Senior Director of Education Beth Lilach said. For any child to have survived the Holocaust is nothing less than a miracle because it was a very intentional plan by the Nazis to destroy every single Jewish child, so these people represent the tiny percent of Jewish children that survived. Parker Jewish Institute hosted Stories of Strength: a Holocaust Remembrance Thursday afternoon to document the stories of three survivors. Chana Pfeifen, Alice Tenenbaum and Mia Feuer, wife of survivor Samuel Feuer, shared memories with a heartbroken audience as they recounted tales of gas chambers, death marches and the traumatic loss of their parents at the hands of the guards and doctors who imprisoned them. Lilach opened the forum with a presentation focused around what can be learned from the Holocaust and how many times history could have gone differently with earlier help from countries around the world. By looking at the evolution of Nazism, you see so many red flags when the Holocaust could have been stopped, Lilach said. We need to look to see if our country is experiencing any of these red flags, and we need to act on it. We cant be silent that was an incredibly destructive force during the Holocaust, and we need to speak up. Tenenbaum was a young teenager when she was forced into a ghetto before being taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where an estimated 1.1 million people were killed before the Soviet Union liberated the prisoners in January 1945. Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the Angel of Death for his role in sending prisoners to gas chambers and performing inhumane experiments on people, frequented the camp and tried his hardest to execute 14-year-old Tenenbaum, but an unlikely savior appeared. Irma Grese, this horrible creature they called the beautiful beast, she somehow to this day, I dont know why she saved me 16 times when Dr. (Josef) Mangele sent me to the gas chamber. She would come and take me out (of the chamber), Tenenbaum said. People I spoke to who knew her said she had a sister around my age and I looked a little bit like her. The reason she saved me so many times was because I looked like her sister. Thats how I survived Auschwitz. Grese was among the 45 people accused of war crimes at the Bergen Trial in 1945 and was executed for her actions later that year. Without access to a clock, prisoners never knew what time it was or what day it was after a few weeks in the 1,000-man barracks. Tenenbaum said the daily routine revolved around a strict schedule, including the repetitive counting of prisoners for hours in the morning before the once-daily bathroom break given in a large room filled with holes in the ground. They told us when we arrived if we took our clothes and hung them on a hook, remember the number of the hook because well come back to it, she said. Of course, you never saw your clothes again. My parents shoved all kinds of gems and jewelry into the shoulder pads, they hidAmerican currency in the belt. I had the same dress for one solid year. I never changed and I never washed it. Every so often, they took the dress, sprayed it with DDT and gave it back. For one year, I that one dress, no underwear, winter and summer. As soldiers began to fear the camps would be invaded nearing the end of the war, prisoners were moved from camp to camp. Tenenbaum, her mother and her sisters were sent on a 40,000-man death march to Berlin that only approximately 6,000 people survived due to harsh conditions on the prisoners already deteriorating bodies. After the march, she was moved to the Bergen-Belsen camp. Tenenbaum said this alone felt like a brief spell of liberation because she no longer had to fear the looming gas chambers of Auschwitz. When the British troops liberated the camp in April 1945, Tenenbaum took refuge in Sweden, where she was very well taken care of and sent to a private school. Not long before her 18th birthday, she met her future husband at a college dance and managed a normal life after a tragic childhood. Pfeifenwas 8 years old when her parents and 4-year-oldsister were taken from their home without warning. We were sitting at the Shabbat table, eating, and all of a sudden people marched in and said Leave everything behind, youre going with us, Pfeifen said. We had no idea where they were taking us. Her family and hundreds more were marched through the Ukranian streets and separated from their loved ones. The men were stripped, tortured and killed almost immediately, Pfeifer said, and their bodies thrown into a mass grave. They told us some of the men were still alive, she said. Pfeiferand her family took another death march to the Dniester River before being imprisoned in Transnistria, a horrific ghetto-camp hybrid, by the Romanians. They were given no clothes, shoes, or food and have to scavenge for whatever scraps they could find. Pfeifer recalled a story when her mother brought her a frozen potato. It had a worm. I said, Mom, Im not going to eat that. She said, Eat it before it eats you,’ she said. Thats how angry she was. She wanted us to stay alive, and she would do everything she could for us. After her liberation, she attempted to sneak into Palestine but was caught by the British soldiers and sent to an internment camp in Cyprus for Jews trying to illegally cross the border. When she was finally freed from Cyprus, she returned to Palestine and joined the army to fight in the war for independence. Pfeifer told her two sons about her experiences once they were old enough, and she believes the story alone impacted her boys as well as a generation of Jews. Yes, it had an affect on my sons. It had an impact, she said. They felt guilty, especially my oldest son. It did have an impact on the second generation. I dont think its going to have an impact on the third generation, but on the second it did. Miaspoke on behalf of her husband, recounting the stories of his experiences during the war hes told over their many years of marriage. Samuel was also 14 when his parents and two sisters were taken to Auschwitz in late May of 1944. The soldiers separated the family immediately after arrival and saidthey would meet again and shouldnt worry. A few days later, Samuel learned his parents had been burned to death and was told to remember the smoke from the chimney on June 2 as part of their final moments. Despite all of the horrific things Samuel saw and experienced in the most infamousconcentration camp of World War II, Mia said he didnt let the past affect his future. It was very hard, but he became the nicest person on Earth when he came home, she said emotionally. We managed to have a beautiful family, and he was the happiest man when our son was born. Our life was the most beautiful life. The only thing that bothers me is right now, he cannot remember.

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June 16, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Trump calls Romanian Holocaust remembrance a ‘vital cause’ – The Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump saluted the Holocaust remembrance efforts in Romania as a vital cause. Trump made the remarks during a joint news conference Friday in Washington, DC, with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Romanians have made many contributions to the United States, and to the world, Trump said. Very notable among them was Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who was born in Romania and, sadly, passed away almost one year ago. And I understand that earlier this week, the American Jewish Committee presented President Iohannis with its very prestigious Light Unto the Nations Award for his work to further Holocaust remembrance and education in Romania. I join the AJC in saluting your leadership in that vital cause. In January, Trump drew sharp criticism from an array of Jewish organizations after neglecting to mention Jews in his International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement. He has since more robustly embraced the Jewish meaning of the Holocaust, particularly in a speech in the Capitol in April at the US Holocaust Memorial Museums Days of Remembrance commemoration.

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June 15, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

With Trump in the White House, Deborah Lipstadt stands up for facts – The Times of Israel

History professor Deborah Lipstadt was relatively well known before being portrayed by superstar actor Rachel Weisz in last years Hollywood feature film Denial. The movie was based on Lipstadts experiences in a landmark British legal case in which she fought a libel suit brought by Holocaust denier David Irving. The film has kicked her notoriety up a notch, leading to more opportunities to publicly speak her mind and she has plenty to say about a perceived assault on facts and truth in the United States under the Trump Administration. One such opportunity was a TED Talk titled, Behind the Lies of Holocaust Denial, that Lipstadt gave in the UK earlier this spring. In the 15-minute clip posted last month, she warned about those who dress lies up as opinions to encroach on facts. Lipstadt spoke mainly of Holocaust deniers, but she left no doubt she was also talking about contemporary Twitter-friendly political leaders playing fast and loose with the truth. Today, as we well know, truth and facts are under assault. Social media, for all the gifts it has given us, has also allowed the difference between facts established facts and lies to be flattened, she said in the TED Talk. We live in an age where truth is on the defensive We live in an age where truth is on the defensive Truth is not relative. Many of us have grown up in the world of the academy and enlightened liberal thought, where were taught everything is open to debate. But thats not the case. There are certain things that are true. There are indisputable facts objective truths The Earth is not flat. The climate is changing. Elvis is not alive, she said. The viral reach of the TED Talk was on Lipstadts mind when she sat down for an interview with The Times of Israel this week in Jerusalem, where she had come to participate in an author event at the Jerusalem International Book Fair. The Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Lipstadt was also in Israel to receive an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Haifa on June 6. Its up to more than 540,000 views. I checked right before meeting with you, since I thought you might ask about it, Lipstadt, 70, said about the TED Talk video. In a broad-ranging interview, the popular professor spoke on a variety of topics, including what she said was the White Houses flirtation with softcore Holocaust denial, free speech on college campuses, and the pitfalls of making analogies between the Holocaust and current atrocities like the war in Syria. What has it been like for you since Denial was made and released? Its been an out-of-body experience. I look at the film and I see my story, but its not like Im walking around thinking I was depicted on the screen. Its been very weird and a lot of fun, but the hoopla ends very quickly. Whats more important are the increased opportunities I have had to speak and write. It happened as a result of the trial, but even more so as a result of the movie. We all want to be heard beyond the echo chamber Im getting invitations to write, to speak, to participate in things that are not Jewish. Im saying the same thing. My views havent changed, but my megaphone is a bit larger. For instance, I was at West Point right after Pesach [Passover] to talk to the cadet corps not just an event in the Jewish chapel. When Sean Spicer made that statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day [that omitted mention of Jews and anti-Semitism], I got a call within 15 minutes of it happening from The New York Times for comment, and then from the Atlantic to write about it. Its happening now on a really regular basis. Im very gratified by this because we all want to be heard beyond the echo chamber. Its not that I didnt have that access before, but that access has expanded. US President Donald Trump (C-R) and First Lady Melania Trump (C-L) lay a wreath during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum on May 23, 2017, in Jerusalem. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP) In that Atlantic piece published January 30, you accused the Trump Administration of softcore Holocaust denial. I still stand by that. Im standing by the statement that the way that the administration handled that January 27 statement was an example of softcore Holocaust denial. Im not saying that Donald Trump is a softcore Holocaust denier, but that was an example of softcore denial. And as I said in the article, I was [initially] sure it was a mistake. But the way they doubled and tripled and down on it I wrote the article before [National Security Advisor Sebastian] Gorka made his statement. He made it worse. There has never been any explanation or apology. And you couple that with the presidents reluctance through much of the beginning of his administration to condemn anti-Semitism. It was a disturbing trend. Eventually, in his State of the Union [address] he condemned the anti-Semitism, and then he condemned it in a speech at the Museum of African History. But when you put it together with Bannons record on alt-right and Gorka and some of the others Again I am not saying they are anti-Semites. I have no proof of that. But for that incident it was disturbing and I stand by it. As a historian, do you think it is helpful to draw analogies between todays Syrian refugee crisis and the Holocaust, as many in the Jewish community are doing? Assad is a horrible man who gasses his own people, but what hes doing is not considered by scholars of genocide to be genocide At the beginning of the Trump Administration, you were hearing, Its fascism! Its just like Hitler! Or you heard it on the right about the left. The analogies were all over the place. I hate those analogies. That doesnt mean that thoughtful comparisons are not in place. What I hate are the glib comparisons, so I am very careful with analogies, because I think too often they are used glibly and in utilitarian fashion. Assad is a horrible man who gasses his own people, but what hes doing is not considered by scholars of genocide to be genocide. Genocide is a unique crime. Im calling for careful differentiation. An unconscious Syrian child receives treatment at a hospital in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province, following a suspected toxic gas attack on April 4, 2017. (AFP/Omar Haj Kadour) So what should be the response to Assad? We condemn. I dont know what to do. The guy is horrible. Given my druthers I would have liked to have seen him overthrown four years ago. I have nothing good at all to say about Assad, but what he is doing is not a Holocaust. Im not engaging in comparative pain Why I feel so passionately about these comparisons is that I am not saying that its okay or that its not as bad. Im not engaging in comparative pain. I hate comparative pain. I think its useless. It doesnt take us anywhere. There is room for analogies, but I hate the glib, easy comparisons. They start with Israel and the Nazi-like tactics of the IDF. You can be against the IDFs policies, you can be against Israels policies vis vis the Palestinians, you can think they are wrong or immoral, but its not a genocide but thats whats been used. Can any comparison be made between the Jews who fled Nazi persecution and faced American anti-immigration policies and the Syrian refugees facing Trumps attempted Muslim ban? [The analogy] works to a certain extent, because they didnt want Jews there. But the people being banned [today] are not facing genocide. They are living in terrible situations, but I still think it is different when the country from which you are coming from is out to destroy you. Anybody who ignores the fact that ISIS et al will use this refugee situation to try to get people in is problematic I think the US should let in more refugees. The country has greatly benefited from refugees. Anybody who ignores the fact that opposition to refugees coming to this country has possibly until the last 15 years included inherent anti-Semitism is blind. I also know that anybody who ignores the fact that ISIS et al will use this refugee situation to try to get people in is also problematic. I think [German Chancellor] Merkel made a big mistake when she said two years ago, We can let a million people in. They just walked in. It was crazy. Demonstrators at OHare Airport, Chicago, protest President Donald Trumps executive order which imposes a freeze on admitting refugees into the United States and a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, January 29, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) What is your take on free speech issues on American college campuses these days? Students are demanding safe spaces, conservatives claim they are being discriminated against, and invitations to speakers are being rescinded due to pressure and security concerns. Im very disturbed from all perspectives. I think this idea that we cant have voices to campus with which we disagree because campus has to be a safe space is antithetical to what the campus is all about. The campus should be a place where you encounter all sorts of ideas. Does that mean that someone who preaches racism, anti-Semitism, or bigotry should be invited? No, of course not. So where do you draw the line? Where do you draw the line? Wherever you draw the line its not for an official body to say, He comes and she doesnt, or she comes and he doesnt. First of all, I would expect the students would have sechel (common sense) as to who was invited. If it was someone who has a track record of every place they go violence follows, then think twice about inviting them. Prof. Deborah Lipstadt receives honorary doctor of philosophy degree from University of Haifa, June 6, 2017. Left to right: Prof. Ron Robin, President of the University of Haifa; Prof. Deborah E. Lipstadt; Prof. Gustavo Mesch, Rector of the University of Haifa; Ilana Livnat. (University of Haifa) Do you find that people are reluctant these days to speak out against anti-Semitism within their own political camps? Progressive Jews feel they are being forced to make a choice When Trump came into office, especially in the first few couple of months with the [Holocaust Remembrance Day] statement and his refusing to condemn anti-Semtism, the left was having a heyday. And I said to a lot of my friends on the left, Excuse me, where were you when the left was engaging in anti-Semitism? And the right defend Breitbart and attack the left, but dont criticize the right. If youre going to criticize Trump, Bannon and others for the anti-Semitism and you havet spoken out on Corbyn or Ken Livingstone or BDS or Linda Sarsour, you have no credibility in my eyes. Weve got to criticize those whose outlooks we generally share. Students in progressive groups, like at Oberlin or the No Red Tape group at Columbia are chanting Free Palestine at protests. Progressive Jews feel they are being forced to make a choice. Its the intersectionality issue. Intersectionality started out as a good thing. African American women auto workers brought a law suit claiming they were discriminated against as women on the assembly line and as blacks regarding front office jobs. It started out as a very legitimate thing as a way of staying that sometimes people straddle more than one pigeon hole, but now its used to bring together a geo-political fight with a racial fight. Moreover, the way its being used, it degrades the African American experience, because African Americans who have been stopped by police officers who engaged in racist behavior and shot them, were shot for being black. Here [in Israel and the Palestinian Territories], maybe you shouldnt be shot for throwing a stone, but youve done something, youve thrown a stone, youve pulled a knife. It degrades the experience of the discrimination directed against African Americans. A woman holds a banner during a protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in New York on July 09, 2016. (AFP Photo/Kena Betancur) At the end of your TED Talk you urge people to go on the offensive and to act now, because truth and facts are under assault. How do you suggest this be done? Cry out, but responsibly, not emotionally Little things. You see something on Facebook and it agrees with you; Trump did this awful thing. Before you repost it, check if its true. Check your sources. The internet is a great gift, but youve got to use it wisely. Investigate and ask questions. Ask: Is this possible? We have to be much more careful in things we repeat. Weve got to educate ourselves on the facts. We cant be beguiled by appearances. Somebody looks very good, sounds very good and sounds rational, but think about what theyre saying. It calls for setting up more barriers. Show me the evidence, who says it? Where did you get that information? I dont know what else we can do. Those of us who have media access have to be part of it. Cry out, but responsibly, not emotionally. Do you recommend engaging an anti-Semite or Holocaust denier directly? I dont engage them because at the heart they are anti-Semites, but I engage what they say because I have to disprove it to others who might be influenced by it. Thats why I dont debate David Irving. Its a waste of time, but in my trial we proved that what he said was a load of falsehoods and lies. Thats a different kind of thing. Holocaust denial, and by extension anti-Semitism, is not a cognitive error. Its not like they miss one fact. Its that theyre looking at the world through the prism of an anti-Semite. Theyre conspiracy theorists. Deborah Lipstadt at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem, June 11, 2017. (Renee Ghert-Zand/TOI)

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Testimony of the survivors – Jewish Chronicle

Jewish Chronicle Testimony of the survivors Jewish Chronicle While the UN designated January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day , not a day passes when Mosberg doesn't remember. On his bedroom wall, photographs of his slaughtered relatives hang like religious icons. When I get up in the morning, … and more »

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Basic Human Decency Shouldn’t Be Political, But It Is – The Federalist

After a two-year investigation, the Department of Justice recently announced charges against 15 people who trafficked in eagle body parts. U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler described one operation as basically a chop-shop for eagles in which eagle feathers were stuffed into garbage bags. He said it was clear that it was a moneymaking operation and that the feathers and eagle parts such as talons and beaks were treated as merchandise. There was no cultural sensitivity. There was no spirituality, Seiler said. There was no tradition in the manner in which these defendants handled these birds. As yet, none of these charges allege the actual killing of an eagle. They are purely centered on merchandizing carcasses already dead. As I was told after an unfortunate encounter on the highway, even if an eagle-killing is purely accidental, it would be a federal offense to leave the scene with even a single eagle feather on ones person or in ones vehicle. The Bald Eagle Protection Act was originally passed in 1940. In 1962 it was amended to include golden eagles. This law prescribes criminal penalties for anyone to take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof. Notice the thoroughly religious tone of Seilers remarks at the press conference. The U.S. attorney, rather than presenting these crimes in the terms of the law, such as sell, purchase, barter, instead said, There was no cultural sensitivity. There was no spirituality. There was no tradition in the manner in which these defendants handled these birds. All of this starkly contrasts another headline two days later. Lamborghini Mary Gatter was back in the news. She was the medical director of Planned Parenthood in Pasadena, California who was caught on tape last year joking about her desire for a Lamborghini while haggling over the prices she charges for various baby parts from aborted human remains. The video, released from the Center for Medical Progress, again features her working to increase the asking price from $50 to $75 per specimen. She first says she will not offer any baby parts past the 16th week of gestation, then quickly changes her mind when the potential customer wants older babies. Whether or not she violated any statutory language from the state of California, I am interested in something else. As an observer of culture, my interest lies in the way these two events were covered. For starters, the Associated Press attended the news conference about eagle body parts, and published a national story about it. But they have yet to publish one word about the investigation into people body parts. Nor has any other major media outlet even mentioned the latest video showing Planned Parenthood employees haggling over baby parts. Honestly, this does not surprise me. For the better part of two years we have seen an orchestrated news blackout on the work of the Center for Medical Progress. Clearly Planned Parenthood has a good deal of clout in Americas newsrooms. Abortion has become so politicized that many ordinary, decent people are culturally conditioned to ignore anything and everything that might call its ethics into question. Simple questions that are treated as no-brainers when applied to eagles must not even be raised if it could touch on abortion in any way. Is it culturally, spiritually, or traditionally insensitive to treat eagle parts as merchandise? The U.S. attorney from South Dakota is so certain of it that he said so in a press conference without anyone questioning him. Is it culturally, spiritually, or traditionally insensitive to treat human parts as merchandise? Any sane person or society would instinctively say: Of course! Whatever is true of an animal is infinitely more true of a human being. But we have come to a place and time where this question is unasked, and unaskable. Its time for us all to step back from the political fray and seriously ask: what has happened to us? This is an especially poignant question since the eagle feather press conference happened on the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 24. These occasions offer a substantial time to set down our frantic activities and think more deeply than shallow condemnations of Adolph Hitler or the Ottoman Empire. Yes, Hitler did murder 11 or 12 million Jews, Russians, Poles, and undesirables. The Ottoman Empire was merciless in slaughtering 1.5 million Armenian Christians. But have you ever wondered what happened to the millions of ordinary Germans and ordinary Turks? How did they ever become people who would quietly turn a blind eye to such evil? If you had been living in those days, would you have spoken out at the risk of your livelihood and life? Would you have boldly called out the evil? Of course, we all would like to think of ourselves doing just that. But now ask yourself seriously if there are any things that you consider evil that you dont publicly condemn, or dont really want to know about, for fear that it might undermine your public standing, job prospects, or political partys strength. More to the point, many of us are sick and tired of politics. We would like to find a place that is purely non-political. We want to be left alone to live our lives without being drawn into every Internet screaming match and conspiratorial conversation. But you must recognize that this, too, can become the very mechanism which stifles your opposition to evil. If my highest goal becomes to avoid politics, all thats needed to silence me is for someone to say, Thats political. As a pastor of an historically non-political church body, I have seen this work on me. At some point, even well-meaning non-political people need to question the label. When, exactly, did it become political to say that marriage is between a man and a woman? Even two decades ago, this was so ordinary that it was hardly worth saying. When, exactly, did it become political to say that babies shouldnt be killed? Would even one person have thought so even 50 years ago? Back to question of eagle feathers and people parts. When did the decent treatment of a dead human being become political? I am not the first to ask this question. In pre-Christian Greece (441BC), Sophocles wrote the play Antigone, which explores this very question. At the beginning of the play, two of Antigones brothers died fighting on opposite sides of a civil war. King Creon, of the victorious side, decided he would honor the one who died fighting for his cause, while publicly shaming the brother who fought against him. He ordered that Polyneices body should remain unburied on the battlefield to be eaten by eagles and dogs. By this decree, he made the proper burial of Polyneices body a capital offense. Anybody caught burying it or treating it with reverence would be sentenced to death. Antigone is the leading character in the play who recognizes that such a decree, even if backed by the highest political order in the land, is simply wrong. It is against all culture, spirituality, and tradition. In several brilliant dialogues, Sophocles explores why she was willing to give her own life and speak out for decency that politics should never touch. Its time for everyone to step back from partisan politics and be Antigone. Jonathan G. Lange is a pastor of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. He has raised his family in Wyoming for two decades, serving parishes in Evanston and Kemmerer. He is a leader of the Wyoming Pastors Network.

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