The Holocaust

Faces of Holocaust victims projected on Prague synagogue

PRAGUE — Prague’s Jewish Museum has launched a new project to honor the victims of the Holocaust.

Starting on Monday, the faces of some Czech Jews who were killed by the Nazis during World War II are being projected on the outer wall of a Jewish bath at the Pinkas Synagogue after it gets dark.

The synagogue’s inside walls bear the names of almost 80,000 victims.

Jana Splichalova from the museum’s department of Shoah history says that “our goal was to give a name a face.”

Monday’s projection included the faces of 52 people screened repeatedly in a five-minute loop.

The museum has received thousands of photos and other personal belongings from the relatives and contemporaries and will gradually add more photo loops.

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Uruguayan Holocaust memorial vandalized with anti-Semitic slurs

A Uruguayan Holocaust memorial rededicated last year was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti minimizing the Holocaust.

“They have vandalized us again. What’s going on?” Montevideo Mayor Carlos Varela tweeted along with photos of the vandalized memorial. “We call for sanity, tolerance and peace.”

Unveiled in 1994, the site in the country’s capital Montevideo has been hit several times in recent years by anti-Semitic vandalism, but this time has been the most severe with the graffiti taking up a larger area of the memorial, reported El Pais newspaper.

Vandals used black paint to write slurs including “The Holocaust of the Jewish people is the biggest lie in history,” “Only 300,000 Jews died from typhus” and “Gas chambers were a fraud.”

In 2016, the Israelite Central Committee, the country’s umbrella Jewish organization, funded the latest restoration, which included lights and staircases.

“We repudiate the anti-Semitic graffiti with concepts that deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people. The monument is a memory exercise to never forget the criminal regime that pursued and systematically murdered six million Jews for the only fact of their existence,” read a statement released by the committee.

“Today our pain is large and we are ashamed before the survivors of the massacre that are still among us, their children, grandchildren and all the Jewish people. Our country, which is democratic and pluralistic, the melting pot of cultures, does not deserve such atrocities.”

Last month, an evangelical Christian pastor from Uruguay fulfilled his promise to plant 1,000 trees in the Jewish state.

In March, Uruguayan Jews paid tribute to the memory of David Fremd, a 55-year-old businessman who was stabbed to death by a Muslim convert a year earlier in the small town of Paysandu. The killer reportedly yelled “God is great” in Arabic and later declared that he “followed Allah’s order.”

Uruguay is home to some 12,000 Jews, according to the Latin American Jewish Congress. It was the first country in South America to officially recognize Israel.

Halloween retailer pulls Anne Frank costume amid complaints

https://www.timesofisrael.com/halloween-retailer-pulls-anne-frank-costume-amid-complaints/

 

An online retailer has pulled a costume from its website that depicted Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

Screenshots of the costume for sale at HalloweenCostumes.com posted to social media show a smiling girl wearing World War II-era clothing and a beret.

The costume was quickly criticized on Twitter. Carlos Galindo-Elvira, who leads the Anti-Defamation League’s Arizona office said on Twitter that the costume trivializes Frank’s memory.

North Mankato, Minnesota-based Fun.com runs the website. Spokesman Ross Walker Smith tweeted Sunday that the costume had been pulled from the website. He explained that the company sells costumes for activities other than Halloween, like “school projects and plays.” He apologized for any offense caused by the costume.

Anne Frank is known for the diary she wrote while in hiding from the Nazis during the war. She died in Bergen Belsen in March of 1945.

In Nazi-occupied Britain, graves at Alderney’s ‘Little Auschwitz’ may be defiled

LONDON — To the French Jews who toiled and died there it was “le rocher maudit” – the accursed rock. To others, it became known as “Devil’s Island,” “the Buchenwald of the West,” or “Little Auschwitz.”

Alderney is one of the small cluster of islands — an archipelago which includes Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark — which lie in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. Semi-independent, they were nonetheless the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Nazis.

The British mainland may have escaped the horrors of Nazism, but British soil nonetheless witnessed the brutal machinery of death — of slave labor, mass killings, and starvation — which accompanied German rule throughout Europe.

Three miles long and one-and-a-half miles wide, almost all of Alderney’s tiny civilian population was evacuated after the fall of France in June 1940. In their place, the Germans would later ship onto the remote, wind-swept and sea-beaten island a slave labor force of thousands, effectively turning it to one giant concentration camp. Its primary purpose was to fortify Alderney, transforming it into one of the most heavily defended, impregnable outposts of the Reich.

The scale of the horror perpetrated on Alderney is hotly contested. Official accounts after the war suggested that less than 400 of the 3,000 forced laborers — and among them, only a handful of Jews — died on the island. Seventy years on, though, historians and military experts suggest the workforce and the death-toll may have been many times higher — with perhaps as many as 40,000 people losing their lives. Moreover, the number of Jews on Alderney may not have been in the hundreds but instead close to 10,000, few of whom survived the deadly experience.

The Nazis’ plans were personally directed by Adolf Hitler. As the journalist Madeline Bunting recounts in “The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands Under German Rule” the Fuhrer was “immensely proud of his British conquests,” constantly fretting that Winston Churchill might win a propaganda coup by retaking them, and viewing them as a “laboratory for future Anglo-German relations.”

Thus from early 1942, Alderney became the scene of massive construction — of tunnels and bunkers, gun emplacements and artillery batteries, roads and a railway line — which would leave it the most fortified of the Channel Islands. With this massive construction came the need for a massive workforce. Labor camps — named after German islands in the North Sea — were hastily erected: Helgoland, Borkum, Norderney and, most notoriously, Sylt.Less whimsically, Hitler also calculated that Alderney held an important strategic value: As part of the Atlantic Wall fortifications, it would help protect the sea channels around Cherbourg, provide the Luftwaffe with anti-aircraft cover and deny the Allies a potentially useful staging post for the opening of the feared Western Front.

A small minority of the workers deployed by the Organization Todt, the Reich’s multi-tentacled civil and military engineering group, were genuine volunteers, often hailing from Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium.

The vast majority, however, were slave laborers, mostly from Russia, Poland and the Ukraine — although North Africans and Indo-Chinese (rounded up by the French to fill their labor quotas), German political prisoners and Spanish Republicans who had fled Franco only to fall into the hands of the Germans after the occupation of France — also found themselves as chattels of the Reich.

Jews, of course, did not escape this grim enterprise. Jewish inmates were sent to Norderney and Sylt, which came under the control of the SS in 1943 as a satellite of the Neuengamme concentration camp. At both camps, the Jews were kept in separate “pens.” Even among the untermenschen, or inferior people, a hierarchy was to be maintained.

Although these were not explicitly extermination camps, most slave laborers did not leave Alderney alive. The dangerous, exhausting work to which they were subjected for 10 to12 hours a day, starvation rations (sometimes further diminished by widespread SS corruption and theft), rampant dysentery and unforgiving Atlantic storms which lashed the island saw to that.

So, too, did the Germans’ utter disregard for the lives of those they regarded as subhuman: survivors later recalled summary executions, vicious beatings and savage punishments meted on those caught stealing food or cigarettes.

There was little or no respite from this living hell: it was near-impossible to escape the island, while, unlike on Jersey or Guernsey, there was no local population from whom occasional acts of pity — warmer clothing, a morsel of food — might be forthcoming.

As one Russian slave laborer, Georgi Kondakov, recounted decades later: “Many times when I was on Alderney I thought death was close. Most of my worst memories come to me now as nightmares; in the daytime I can suppress those thoughts in my subconscious, but against the nightmares I am powerless.”For those who did survive to tell the tale, their recollections of the heavy mists which frequently hang over Alderney stand as a metaphor for the cloak of secrecy about what occurred here which is only now slowly beginning to lift.

Perhaps it is appropriate that it is the fate of a burial ground, where it is feared the bodies of many of these victims of Nazism may still lay, which is helping to expose Alderney’s dark secrets.

The France-Alderney-Britain link (FAB)

Next year, work is due to begin on a major energy project — the France-Alderney-Britain link (FAB) — which will link the two countries’ energy grids via the Channel Islands. The 137-mile (220 kilometer) cable will cross Longis Common, the main site used by the Germans to dispose of the bodies of those whom they had murdered and worked to death.

The consortium behind the FAB, which includes the French energy giant EDF, has promised that the subsea and underground cable will avoid known burial grounds and contain an additional protection zone. It also maintains that the graves of many of the victims were exhumed in the early 1960s and reburied in France, and strongly disputes recent reports in the British media that preliminary investigations have caused damage to the main burial ground.

However, opponents of the project remain deeply concerned. A new study prepared for campaigners brings together publicly available maps and diagrams with an as yet unpublished high-definition aerial photograph of the area taken in 1944.

Seen by The Times of Israel, it argues that the exhumation of 316 bodies from the so-called Russian cemetery in the 1960s “led to the myth that all the bodies were removed from the common.” In fact, it suggests, the Longis Common burial area is “far more extensive and complicated” than has been assumed and may contain at least five large mass graves and a cremation pit.

Marcus Roberts, director of the National Anglo-Jewish Heritage Trail, shares the campaigners’ concerns. Burials “almost certainly” extend beyond the “official” cemetery boundaries which FAB have said they will avoid, he says. His own recent investigations indicate the bodies of nearly 2,000 prisoners — and potentially many more — may remain at Longis Common.“Due to the possibly larger size of the burial area than that originally considered the proposed FAB link might very well impact dramatically on it,” the study cautions.

Roberts, who has carried out extensive research into wartime Alderney and has been asked to report to the Chief Rabbi’s office on the project, also believes there may be multiple burial sites nearby, on the beach and close to the infamous anti-tank wall, where the cable will make landfall before it crosses Longis Common.

A concrete installation 15 feet high and extending for half a mile, the anti-tank wall was probably the largest built by the Nazis and was christened “the wall of certain death” by the Russian prisoners who built it. Its construction cost the lives of the many Jews who also labored on it.

The bodies of some of those prisoners are thought to lie under the wall in the foundations, while the back of the wall contains the bullet holes in front of which prisoners were shot. Atop it are the still-visible names and prisoner numbers of those who lived, and died, constructing a fortification that would never see action.

On the beach in front of the wall there are believed to be burial pits in the sand where an unknown number of bodies were dumped. One of the survivors interviewed by Bunting vividly recalled trucks tipping corpses at low tide into the pits, which were 50-100 meters (165-330 feet) off shore. Each, he believed, contained about 12 bodies. This account was not unique and there is no evidence that these possible burial sites were ever investigated or cleared.

Roberts is also worried about the preliminary work carried out by FAB.But, argues Roberts, the path of the cable has no room for deviation should burials be found, and the contractors have so far failed to provide a promised plan for how the works will be supervised and human remains protected.

“FAB Link have previously carried out intrusive drilling and prospecting, without warning, close to the known Jewish burial and Russian burial sites and have also dug under the anti-tank wall, very close to an execution site at the wall and carried out some geophysical archaeological investigations,” he says.

On a visit to the site shortly afterwards, he found bone fragments, although he says he cannot be certain they are human ones.

Historical record soon to be destroyed

“The Longis area is quite simply unique and there is nowhere else in Europe that contains so much historical evidence of the extermination by labor program in one single area,” argues Colonel Richard Kemp, Britain’s former commander in Afghanistan who has carried out detailed research into the Nazis’ reign of terror on the island.

“The power of Longis Common and its historical importance is immense. Any one of the millions of missing slave workers could have been buried there and may still be there today. The whole area is therefore sacred to them all. It belongs to them, to their relatives and to the communities across Europe and beyond from which they came. It is their ‘corner of a foreign field.’ It should be preserved and protected forever as an international memorial site,” Kemp says.

Central to the fears of those who oppose the FAB Link running across Longis Common is the belief that both the number of prisoners on the island and the death toll have long been grossly underestimated.

The British military intelligence interrogator who investigated after the war, Captain Theodore “Bunny” Pantcheff, suggested that a mere 389 forced laborers and prisoners — out of a total workforce of 3,000 — died during the occupation.

His conclusions were based on the number of individual burials of slave workers at Longis Common and the churchyard at St. Anne’s in Alderney’s main town. Pantcheff, who went on to live on the island and write an account of the occupation in 1981, proved crucial in shaping an official narrative which has proved hard to shake.

However, Pantcheff’s figures take no account of the multiple eyewitnesses who recalled the Germans throwing bodies into the sea off cliffs or the breakwater, or burying them in the beaches and allowing the tides to take them away. Witnesses also reported bodies being tipped into mass burial sites, such as trenches. Later in the war, the Germans attempted to cover up the extent of the deaths on Alderney by tearing up crosses and leveling the ground at Longis Common.

Evidence seen by The Times of Israel suggests that Pantcheff himself later privately admitted that there had been many more deaths than the official records showed. Indeed, British intelligence reports in 1944 indicated that more than twice as many Russians — 843 — had died over a 12-month period than Pantcheff later recorded had perished on the island during the entirety of the occupation.

Nonetheless, even histories of the occupation published within the last decade maintain that the number of slave laborers of Alderney was probably only slightly higher than Pantcheff’s later estimate of 4,350, and that the death toll was around 1,250.  Together with fellow former army officer John Weigold, Kemp suggested this summer that, “The sheer volume of fortifications, walls and tunnels outstrips anything else in Hitler’s Third Reich. This huge amount of work could not possibly have been done with just 4,000 workers.”But it is the scale of the Nazis’ construction efforts which now lead some to conclude that the size of the workforce on Alderney was far in excess of these figures.

Weigold and Kemp believe that Pantcheff had been “hoodwinked” by the Germans when he carried out his interrogations after the island’s liberation.

“We know about interrogation, and how prisoners will lie to save their skins,” they wrote. “The Germans he quizzed gave him a highly sanitized and rehearsed version of what had actually taken place.”

‘Up to 40,000 slave laborers died on Alderney’

Kemp and Weigold argue at least 40,000 slave laborers died on Alderney during the war. Their estimate is based on evidence of the actual size of the slave labor workforce, the amount of work done in fortifying the island and the probable attrition rate based on witness reports and accounts of similar construction work elsewhere in Europe.

The Nazi effort on Alderney, in particular the highly secretive work carried out by the SS, is explained, Kemp and Weigold believe, by the fact that the Germans were planning to site V1 rockets, tipped with chemical weapons, on the island. Launched at the south coast of England, the weapons were intended to disrupt the Allied invasion of mainland Europe.

Roberts agrees that “common sense alone shows that 3,000 men could not have constructed the hundreds of concrete structures across the island.”

He believes that the prisoner workforce probably exceeded 30,000 and that the number of camps on the island was not four, but may have reached 13 (although some of these were temporary). He also dismisses Pantcheff’s “improbably low” death rate of 13 percent. Official French records show that the death rate at camps in the Nord Pas de Calais, which were linked to those in Alderney, were 85%.

Historically, the presence of Jews on the island during the occupation has also been downplayed, with their numbers counted in the hundreds. Roberts, however, believes that 9,000 may be a more realistic figure. At least at some points in the island’s penal history, British military intelligence reports suggested, Jews may actually have constituted a majority of the prisoner population.

Many were French Jews who had escaped immediate deportation to the East because they were either married to “Aryans” or considered “mischling,” or “mixed-blood,” by the Nazis. Others were highly educated members of the French Jewish elite, and included a parliamentary deputy, senior civil servants, lawyers, writers and doctors. They were, a 1943 report for the French police noted, “particularly bullied by their guardians.”

Only eight marked Jewish graves were found on Longis Common when the war ended, leading many to conclude, in the words of Bunting, that “only a handful of French Jews perished.”

However, this, too, appears far from the mark. At least 150 Jews, for instance, are thought to have been murdered by the Nazis in two separate revenge killings for Allied bombing raids on German cities. Their remains have never been accounted for.

It is probable that most of the 9,000 Jewish slave laborers on Alderney did not survive their ordeal

Thus, argues Roberts, it is probable that most of the 9,000 Jewish slave laborers on Alderney seem likely not to have survived their ordeal. As he points out, we know of only two convoys transferring Jews back to France: one in May 1944, contained 650 prisoners, some of whom were liberated several months later in Belgium by the resistance.

No justice for Alderney victims

For the victims of Alderney there was to be little or nothing by the way of justice. Pantcheff’s investigation in 1945 concluded that “wicked and merciless crimes” had been carried out on the island.

He named 15 Germans suspected of war crimes who were in British custody, and a further 31 who were in the French, US or British zones of occupied Germany.

Only four men — a Russian kapo and three Germans — were later tried in the Soviet Union, France and East Germany for crimes committed on Alderney. Thus the SS commandant of Sylt, Maximilian List; his deputy, Kurt Klebeck; and Alderney commandant Carl Hoffman, were never held to account for their heinous crimes on the island.

None of Germany’s Alderney war criminals faced justice at the hands of the British. Instead, Britain long maintained that, given that many of the victims were Russian, it had handed over the evidence it had gathered to the Soviets for them to take action, while flatly denying that any of the suspects were ever in its custody.

Seventy-five years after the first slave laborers arrived on Alderney, these lies cannot obscure a simple truth. As one of those who suffered at the Nazis’ hands on the island later suggested: “The British did not want to know that there had been a concentration camp on British soil.”

Ursula Haverbeck, 88, on Trial again for Questioning the Holocaust

Serial thought criminal Ursula Haverbeck is standing another trial in Berlin for sceptic views on the extermination of 6 million Jews. Haverbeck insists the Holocaust is “the biggest and most sustained lie in history.”

(DW)

The 88-year-old Ursula Haverbeck, who has several previous convictions all related to “Holocaust denial”, is accused of once again denying the mass murder of millions of Jews by germans, this time during an event in Berlin on January 30, 2016.

Haverbeck will also stand trial in the western town of Detmold again on November 23. She had appealed two verdicts by a Detmold court, handed down for “incitement to hatred” after she sent a letter to Detmold’s mayor and various media, in which she refutes the genocide of Jews between 1941 and 1945.

Defiant pamphlets

At the Detmold trial earlier this year, she defiantly handed out a pamphlet titled “Only the truth will set you free” to journalists as well as the judge and the prosecutor. In it, she again denies the gassing of 6 million jews.

Haverbeck and her late husband Werner Georg Haverbeck, who was an active NSDAP member in the run-up to and during World War II, founded a patriotic education center called Collegium Humanum, which has been banned since 2008.

She has written for the politically incorrect magazine Stimme des Reiches (Voice of the Empire), in which she also denied the existence of the Holocaust.

Haverbeck: ‘Auschwitz lie’

In August, she was sentenced to two years in prison as a consequence. At the trial, she spoke of an “Auschwitz lie,” claiming it was not an extermination camp, but a labor camp.

She has also filed charges against Germany’s Central Council of Jews for prosecuting innocent people.

Under German law, incitement to hatred is a criminal offense often applied to individuals who deny or trivialize the official version of the history.

It carries a sentence of between three months to five years in prison. Haverbeck has not served her sentences as she has appealed all of the verdicts, with hearings ongoing.

Canada rabbi takes blame for Holocaust memorial’s omission of Jews

MONTREAL — A Canadian rabbi who participated in the planning of a Holocaust memorial monument whose plaque omitted any reference to Jews apologized for what he said was inattentiveness.

Rabbi Daniel Friedman of Edmonton made the apology in an interview this week with the Ottawa Citizen about a gaffe that ended with the removal of the plaque of the Canada National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa ahead of its replacement with a plaque that does mention Jews.

At the Sept. 27 opening ceremony of Canada’s first Holocaust memorial, “we suddenly realized an egregious error has been made,” said Friedman, who chaired the advisory council on the monument’s creation.

Bernie Farber, a former official of the defunct Canadian Jewish Congress, and Mira Sucharov, a Carleton University professor in Ottawa, criticized the “misplaced outrage” caused by the mistake.

But it soon became evident that although the Holocaust monument was an unambiguously “Jewish” site, the error was chiefly the council’s, with part of the blame put on the government’s Heritage Ministry, the governmental arm responsible for the monument.Initially, Jewish critics and partisan politicians blamed senior Ottawa bureaucrats and even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spoke at the opening and had previously made a similar gaffe.

The controversy erupted soon after the $7.2 million memorial’s opening, even making the pages of the New York Times and Washington.

In January, President Donald Trump was heavily criticized for a White House statement on International Holocaust Memorial Day that did not mention Jews, but rather victims of the Nazis.

JEWISH RESTITUTION GROUP UPSET AS POLISH LEGISLATION OVERLOOKS HOLOCAUST

 

The World Jewish Restitution Organization welcomed Poland’s intention to tackle the issue of confiscated property on Wednesday, but voiced its disappointment over the Polish government’s ongoing failure to legislate on Holocaust-era restitution in a “comprehensive manner.”

Polish Deputy Justice Minister Patryk Jaki announced legislative proposals to grant cash compensation to those stripped of their property by the pro-Soviet communist regime that governed Poland following the Second World War, offering compensation of up to 20% of the value of confiscated property. In many cases, property was initially looted by the Nazis and subsequently seized by the Communists.

Jaki told Polish television channel TVN24 that the proposal was long overdue, saying, “I’m ashamed that it has taken Poland until now, 28 years after the fall of Communism, to prepare such a bill. This should have been taken care of a long time ago.”

Poland is the only major European country that has not yet legislated for the restitution of property seized by the Nazis or nationalized by the communist regime.

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), which works toward the restitution of private and Jewish communal property seized during the Holocaust in Europe, was limited in its praise for the proposals and urged Poland to legislate in a “just and fair” way.

 

“We welcome the recognition today by Poland that national legislation is needed to address the issue of confiscated property,” said WJRO’s Chair of Operations Gideon Taylor.

“However, it is essential that restitution or compensation be full and complete and that it be just and fair for all who lost property, including Polish survivors of the Holocaust and their families,” he added.

“This legislation needs to bring a measure of justice to those former Polish citizens who suffered so much, should take into the account the destruction of the Holocaust and must not discriminate based on current citizenship.”

Taylor said that he is looking forward to discussing the details of the proposals in the next few weeks when the government is expected to release the text of the draft legislation.

The WJRO was established by leading world Jewish organizations following the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. Since it began operations in 1993, it has negotiated with national and local governments to ensure restitution of Jewish property or compensation where restitution is not possible and has established foundations in Poland, Romania and Lithuania to administer and utilize returned communal property.

On the eve of the 1939 German-Soviet occupation of Poland, the country was home to 3.3 million Jews. Only 380,000 remained alive at the end of the Second World War. It is estimated that 1.8 million non-Jewish Polish civilians were also killed during the war.

Holocaust revisionism in Croatia not just a Jewish fight, Jewish group says

(JTA) — In an unusual plea, the World Jewish Congress urged international bodies to oppose what it calls “brazen attempts” to whitewash Holocaust crimes in the European Union’s newest member, Croatia.

The call came in a 4,000-word position paper published Monday in Tablet magazine by Menachem Rosensaft, the WJC’s general counsel.

The article, titled “Croatia is Brazenly Attempting to Rewrite its Holocaust Crimes Out of History,” examines dithering and mixed messages by the Balkan country’s highest elected officials on the Ustasha, a fascist movement led by Ante Pavelić that murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews during World War II. Reviled by many Croatians for their war crimes, Ustasha criminals are celebrated as heroes by many others — often with a nod from the government.

Last year, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic posed during a trip to Canada with an Ustasha flag. The previous year in Israel she expressed her “deepest regrets” to victims “killed at the hands of the collaborationist Ustasha regime.” Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic also condemned the Ustasha publicly, but did nothing when soccer fans chanted the Ustasha slogan during a match that he attended against an Israeli team.

These events and others prompted the local Jewish community to boycott government-sponsored Holocaust commemoration events for two consecutive years since 2016.

That year, Croatia’s culture minister, Zlatko Hasanbegović, praised a revisionist film claiming that Holocaust survivors’ testimonies from the Ustasha concentration camp of Jasenovac were exaggerated.

The veneration of pro-Nazi war criminals is not unique to Croatia in Eastern Europe, where Russian expansionism is serving to legitimize the open celebration of anti-Russian fighters who murdered Jews and perpetrated other war crimes on the side of Nazi Germany. Similar processes are the subject of an intense public debate Hungary, Ukraine, Lithuania and to some extent also Poland.

Croatia, which was accepted into the European Union in 2013, is unusual in that the veneration of war criminals comes from the top echelon politicians, and in the Jewish community’s resolute stance against such rhetoric.

Moreover, Rosensaft wrote, “the recasting of the Ustasha as national heroes and role models has ominous connotations in a country and region where ethnic hatred and strife have had catastrophic consequences, not just during WWII but more recently during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.”

As Croatian nationalists are “becoming increasingly brazen, if not overtly shameless, in their attempts to write the crimes against humanity committed by the Ustasha out of their nation’s history,” Rosensaft concluded, support for the Jewish community’s opposition to these efforts “should come not just from international Jewish organizations and other Jewish communities, but from institutions and agencies around the world that are dedicated to the preservation of the memory of the Holocaust and other genocides.”

While Israeli-Croatian bilateral relations “are excellent,” the WJC’s CEO, Robert Singer, said in a statement to JTA, his organization is “deeply concerned by what appears at best to be official indifference to the resurgence of the fascist Ustasha movement that actively participated in the perpetration the Holocaust.”

CANADA’S HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL PLAQUE TO BE REPLACED AFTER NOT MENTIONING JEWS

 

The plaque marking the opening of Canada’s National Holocaust Monument will be replaced after the original failed to mention that Jews were the majority of the victims.

Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly told the House of Commons on Thursday that the plaque will be replaced, and also reiterated that the monument commemorates the 6 million Jewish people and 5 million other people killed by the Nazis and their supporters during the Holocaust.

“On the day the monument was unveiled, we noticed that the panel at the entrance conspicuously and curiously did not mention Jews,” Martin Sampson, director of communications for the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said in a statement, according to the Toronto Star. “We raised our concerns with the government. They were very responsive, acknowledged the error and agreed to correct it immediately.”

The monument was unveiled at the end of last month by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It states that the monument commemorates the “millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust and honors the survivors who persevered and were able to make their way to Canada after one of the darkest chapters in history.”

Trudeau said at the opening of the monument: “Today we reaffirm our unshakeable commitment to fight anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination in all its forms, and we pay tribute to those who experienced the worst of humanity. We can honor them by fighting hatred with love, and seeking always to see ourselves in each other.”

Canada had been the only Allied power that fought in World War II not to have a national Holocaust memorial.

The more than $7 million cost of the memorial is being split between the government and private donors, and took a decade to build.

Polish culture minister criticizes European history museum for falsely portraying his country’s Holocaust role

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Poland’s culture minister criticized an exhibit at the House of European History in Brussels for “showing Poland, France and Ukraine as co-perpetrators of the Holocaust, and the Germans as a country which cultivates memory of the Holocaust.”

Polish Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński wrote a letter on Friday to Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, which sponsored the exhibit.

“The exhibition’s narrative shows that the greatest victims of World War II were the Germans, without indicating their role as aggressors and initiators of the Second World War and without counting the civilian victims of German warfare throughout Europe,” Gliński wrote in the letter.

The minister of culture stated in his letter that he received many notices critical of the exhibition since it opened in May. He did not mention whether he has seen the exhibition himself.

“The most important Pole in history, extremely recognized for the unification of Europe, the Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) was not mentioned at all,” wrote Gliński. “Józef Piłsudski, the second most popular character in Polish history, was falsely portrayed as a fascist.”

Piłsudski was the Marshal of Poland, the highest rank in the Polish army, who led the country to regaining its independence in 1918. He protected all national minorities in Poland, and after his death in 1935 a nationalist movement developed, leading to pogroms against Jews before World War II.

“It also seems that the presentation of religion and the idea of the nation as a source of all evil in the history of our continent is an expression of the ideological, leftist doggedness of the creators of this exhibition,” the minister said in his letter.

The items on display in the permanent exhibition of the House of European History were gathered from about 300 museums and collections from all over Europe and the world. Polish partners of the House of European History are: Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, European Solidarity Center, National Museum, Presidential Chancellery, Polish Army Museum, Warsaw Uprising Museum, Jewish Historical Institute, Museum of Independence, and Historical Museum of Warsaw.