Dozens of European Jewish leaders urge US-based auction house to cancel auction of Nazi items

July 28, 2022

The items to be auctioned by Alexander Auctions in Maryland include a gold watch belonging to Hitler, a dog collar belonging to Eva Braun’s terrier, Wehrmacht toilet paper and cutlery and champagne glasses of senior Nazi figures.

This is not the first time that the auction house has sold such items.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of  Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA) called the sale of the items ‘’abhorrent.’’ “This auction, whether unwittingly or not, is doing two things: one, giving succour to those who idealise what the Nazi party stood for. Two: Offering buyers the chance to titillate a guest or loved one with an item belonging to a genocidal murderer and his supporters,” he stressed,

In a letter co-signed by 34 Jewish leaders, Rabbi Margolin urged the auction house to cancel the auction. He wrote: ‘’The sale of these items is an abhorrence. There is little to no intrinsic historical value to the vast bulk of the lots on display. Indeed, one can only question the motivation of those buying them. Europe suffered egregiously because of the perverted and murderous ideology of the Nazi party. Millions died to preserve the values of freedom that we take for granted today, including almost half a million Americans. Our continent is littered with memorial mass graves and the sites of death camps.’’

“Jews of course bore the brunt of Nazi hatred. Every Jewish family living today had relatives murdered or who were interned simply for being Jewish. Over six million of us alone. Whilst it is obvious that the lessons of history need to be learned – and legitimate Nazi artifacts do belong in museums or places of higher learning – the items that you are selling clearly do not. That they are sold to the highest bidder, on the open market is an indictment to our society, one in which the memory, suffering and pain of others is overridden for financial gain.’’0

 

 

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President Rivlin hosted Abdallah Chatila, who purchased Hitler artifacts which will be held by Yad Vashem, at Beit HaNasi

President Reuven Ruvi Rivlin hosted Abdallah Chatila, who purchased Hitler artifacts which will be held by Yad Vashem, at Beit HaNasi
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today hosted Abdallah Chatila, the Lebanese-born Swiss businessman who bought artifacts associated with Adolf Hitler that auctioned two weeks ago, which will be held by Yad Vashem. World Chairman of Keren Hayesod Sam Grundwerg and Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev also participated in the event.
The president thanked Mr Chatila for his important act and for the significant thought that stood behind it, saying “your donation is of great importance at this time, when people are trying to deny historical truth. These artifacts, which you are generously making available to Yad Vashem, will help convey the legacy of the Holocaust to the next generation who will not meet survivors.”
The president added, “what you did was seemingly so simple, but this act of grace shows the whole world how to fight the glorification of hatred and incitement against other people. It was a truly human act. I know you have been thanked many times, but it was important for me to say it loud and clear here at Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem – we appreciate it and thank you for it very much.”
Abdallah Chatila told the president “Mr President, it is a great honor to be here. When I read about the artifacts being for sale, I immediately thought I have to buy them and destroy them. Then I thought I have no right to decide what to do with the items, and am so glad they are now at Yad Vashem. I feel a shiver when I understand how important this is for the Jewish people, but I think there is a wider message for the whole world, that ‘never again’ is not a meaningless slogan. Through acts such as this, we can ensure that these things never happen again.”
EJA chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin said during the meeting that “In a cynical world, such a noble act of kindness, generosity and solidarity bowled him over”. “it is the first time in years” He continued ” that someone is properly hearing our pain and is taking action because of it.”
“Rabbi Margolin thanked Keren Hayesod for taking the action of Mr. Chatila and making sure this noble thing will become an educational message for the generations to come and documented in and kept by Yad VaShem in Jerusalem.
Chair of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev thanked the president for the meeting and Mr Chatila for his act, saying. “What you did as a spontaneous act ensures that these artifacts do not end up in the wrong hands. You stopped that, and brought them to the place where history is told and where the next generation is educated. Thank you very much.”
Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod: “What you have done by this action is take a very dark chapter from Jewish history and the history of humanity, and shed light on it by andvancing tolerance and hope. You reminded humanity that there are good and decent people in the world who seek tolerance and justice”.

The European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Centre of Europe are delighted to announce a brand new project that we are rolling out across Europe

The European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Centre of Europe are delighted to announce a brand new project that we are rolling out across Europe, directly helping the sick and needy with the often expensive costs associated with securing much needed medical equipment.
Our brand new medical equipment lending centre means that the sick and immobile needn’t worry about buying wheelchairs, or expensive crutches walkers and the like.
We will provide them to communities on a need-by-need basis at no cost. When recuperation is over, the items simply get returned to the local community lending branch centre and passed to the next person that needs them.
This simple, effective project overseen by us but run at branch level by communities is open to everyone, but supplies are limited.
For more information on setting up a branch, or to apply for help. Please contact us at Rkaplan@rce.eu.com

‘Holocaust was a scam’ projected on Swedish synagogue during international antisemitism conference

(JTA) — Swedish police are investigating how the words “the Holocaust was a scam” were projected onto the main synagogue in Malmö while that city was holding an international forum on combating antisemitism.
The projection was seen on the Synagogue of Malmö and on other buildings in cities across southern Sweden on Wednesday night, the day of the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.
Police are handling the case as a hate crime, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported.
The Nordic Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group, claimed responsibility for the incident, according to Dagens Nyheter.
The conference had brought together heads of state and other prominent government officials from dozens of countries in a city known for its high rates of antisemitism.
Israel’s strikes in Gaza in 2009 triggered a wave of antisemitic assaults in Malmö, which had then over 1,000 Jews. Then mayor Ilmar Reepalu reacted by instructing the local Jewish community to distance itself from Israel, giving many the impression that he was blaming the victims.
The Jewish community in Sweden’s third-largest city has since dwindled down to around 500.
Despite Wednesday’s synagogue incident, Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission’s coordinator on combating antisemitism, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Friday that she thinks the conference shows that “change is possible.”
“The fact that the conference happened in Malmö sends a message, that this sort of thing will not be accepted and will be confronted,” von Schnurbein said.
At the conference, she presented a new strategic plan for combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life in Europe, published by the European Commission on Oct. 5.
Although the plan does not include a stated budget, von Schurbein said, “it will tap into programs in various departments” and its “components will receive millions of euros in funding in the coming period.”
Among the goals of the plan is to set up a cross-European methodology for documenting and reporting antisemitic hate crimes.
On Tuesday, Jewish community leaders at a separate conference in Brussels complained that the EU plan was “not serious” because it does not address two issues that have alienated local Jews for years: bans on the ritual slaughter of animals and attempts to ban non-medical circumcision.
Von Schurbein said the plan does reference the ritual slaughter issue. Members states need to find “a fair balance between respect for the freedom to manifest religion and the protection of animal welfare,” the document states.
The EU Commission and her office intend to facilitate efforts to strike the balance, von Schnurbein said, and call on “EU countries to ensure through policy and legal measures that Jews can live their lives in accordance with their religious traditions,” she added.
“But when it comes to the document, the Commission is bound by the ruling of the European Court,” which in 2020 upheld the rights of states in Belgium to ban ritual slaughter.

‘Holocaust was a scam’ projected on Swedish synagogue during international antisemitism conference

Holland Appoints a National Co-Ordinator to Tackle Antisemitism as Cases Multiply

Move welcomed “with a heavy heart” by representatives of Dutch Jewry and by Chairman of leading Europaen Jewish Association
 
The Netherlands is to get a new national coordinator to tackle anti-Semitism, Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said on Sunday. Dutch Members of Parliament – following pressure from the Jewish Community – had pressed the government to appoint a special advisor to deal with antisemitism following a marked increase in antisemitic incidents in the Netherlands.  The new national co-ordinator’ primary task will be to advise the government about dealing with anti-Semitism from a legal perspective and on ensuring the safety of the Netherlands’ Jewish community. The move was welcomed by leading figures in Dutch and European Jewry.
Ellen Van Praagh Chair of the Inter Provincial Chief Rabbinate for The Netherlands (IPOR) and European Jewish Association Board Member said in a statement:
 
“Just this weekend my synagogue and the Liberal synagogue in Utrecht were daubed with swastika symbols. It appears that the attacker had mental health issues, but it is abundantly clear to us that the pandemic has brought out the  worst in people.
 
“It has seen the resurrecting of old tropes about Jews, which has  fueled a rise in antisemitism and antisemitic acts, the numbers of which are alarming to Jews everywhere in Holland. That the government has decided to step in and tackle the root causes of this is welcome, as is their commitment to safeguard Jewish communities and Institutions in the Neherlands. We at IPOR look forward to working closely with the national co-ordinator to this end.”
 
Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands and founder member of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE), whose contacts with the Dutch government have directly influenced the moved added:
 
“It is of course indicative of the predicament facing Dutch Jews that the government has decided to appoint a national co-ordinator to tackle Anti-Semitism. Whilst we welcome such an appointment it is with a heavy heart that this position is even necessary in a country such as the Netherlands, whose very name is associated with tolerance and plurality. Nevertheless, as attacks increase, the national co-ordinator will find their inbox heaving with suggestions from Jews in Holland who want nothing more than to live in peace and practice their faith unhindered.”
 
The Chairman of the Brussels based European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, whose communities span the length and breadth of the continent, concluded:
 
“The EJA, as part of our Europe-wide plan to tackle antisemitism, has called for every country in Europe to appoint such a co-ordinator, many heeded our call and did just that. So, we applaud the Dutch Government as the lastest country to make this move. The Netherlands now joins a growing list of European Countries with national co-ordinators whose task is to eradicate the virus of antisemitism that has grown in tandem with the virus of Covid 19. Too many Jewish communities across Europe have been forced to pull the alarm cord and call for help.  That governments are heeding this call is reassuring, yes, but it is also a signal that they do not wish the disgusting stain of antisemitism to spread further on their social fabric. There is much work to do, and the European Jewish Association stands ready to help, offering suggestions and best practice from other parts of Europe that Holland can apply, and that can help make the difference.”  

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