European Virtual Yizkor for Virus Victims: Minister of the Diaspora, Omer Yankelevich and the Chief Rabbis of Israel come together to honour the diaspora dead

July 8, 2020

“The Jews of Europe have had to deal daily with the Fallout of the virus but also with anti-Semitic plots and threats of cuts in the security budgets of Jewish synagogues and institutions,” said Rabbi Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association who initiated the event.
 
Jewish communities across Europe have been severely affected by the Corona epidemic and challenges associated with lockdowns.
 
The Jewish death toll is estimated to be in the thousands. Community leaders say that in many cases the strict rules in place prevented many Jews from attending the funerals of their loved ones, and estimated that a significant number of Jews had died and were buried in civil burials as a result of the restrictions in place.
 
In order to enable European Jews to mourn and share the memory of their loved ones, Rabbi Menachem Margolin initiated the launch of a virtual Yizkor event in memory of Jewish corona victims via Zoom.
 
Omar Yankelevich, the Chief Rabbis of Israel and dozens of Jewish community leaders and rabbis from across the continent were in attendance.
 
The event also saw JNF Chairman Danny Atar announce that a tree will be planted in memory of each of Europe’s corona victims.
 
During the event, Diaspora Minister Omer Jankelevich greeted those present on behalf of the Israeli government, stating that: “we share pain, the diaspora’s pain is our pain and we in Israel know that our pain is also yours. We must mourn but we must also rebuild. And it is time for concrete actions. That is why I am heading up a 100,000 shekel fund to help support Jewish development in the diaspora, to deepen our shared bonds.”
 
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau and Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rishon Lezion, Yitzhak Yosef reminded that “G-d when he asked Moses to count Israel, he didn’t want just numbers, but names. The letters of G-d are in every name, and every one of us is special. When we mourn, G-d mourns too. We must find our strength, in our names, so interwoven with G-d to overcome, to deepen our commitment to Judaism, and to honour our loved ones.”
 
President of the French Consistoire Joel Mergui and Paris Chief Rabbi Michel  Guggenheim that “we have all carried a heavy burden. And we have cried at the loss, but also at our inability to embrace and support each other because of quarantine and lockdowns. We owe it to those who have passed to ensure that we do what we can to ensure that our synagogues will be packed as we approach the high holidays, that we show them the honour that comes from our strength to continue and to come back to our houses of prayer, stronger, more resilient and with a renewed determination to ensure a Jewish future.”
 
Belgian President of the Jewish Community of Philip Markiewicz:
 
“We suffered tremendous pain, but there was also tremendous solidarity, amongst our communities but also as society as a whole towards our communities and vice-versa. The Jewish contribution to society must continue, it must deepen. We must do this for our shared future full of optimism and hope, but also to honour the memory of our loved ones.”
 
Chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin,
 
“The Corona epidemic has severely damaged many Jewish communities across Europe but has strengthened our belief that we all look out for and after one another.
 
Along with dealing with the terrible crisis, we have witnessed daily the strength of the Jewish spirit and the countless acts of kindness within Jewish communities across the continent. And so, this memorial event is on the one hand a commemoration of the  many victims of the virus and on the other is to honour, strengthen and cherish the resilience and fortitude shown by Europe’s Jewish communities. “

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Nazi memorabilia auction criticised by Jewish leader

A German auction of items such as Adolf Hitler’s hat and partner Eva Braun’s dresses has been sharply criticised by the European Jewish Association (EJA).

The EJA argued the items have little historical value, and would be bought by individuals who glorify Nazism.
The organisation asked Munich-based Hermann Historica to stop the auction, but it went ahead.
A silver-covered edition of Hitler’s autobiographical “Mein Kampf” was also among the items for sale.
A silver letter seal belonging to Eva Braun has sold for €10,500 (£9,003), while a silver-framed and signed photograph of Hitler sold for $46,000 (£39,442).
The chairman of the EGA, Rabbi Menachem Margolin wrote an open letter to German political leaders expressing his concerns.
Mr Margolin argued the auction is an “opportunity for people to glorify, show adulation and sentimentality for the Nazis”.
He added: “I understand that it is not illegal to buy and sell Nazi memorabilia… this is not a legal request but a moral one. It is wrong”.
The director of the auction house, Bernhard Pacher, told DPA news agency: “The largest part of the customers who shop with us are museums, state collections and private collectors who really meticulously deal with the subject”.
He added there would be strict controls on the auction, to “prevent the wrong people from getting it”.
Other auction items which belonged to Adolf Hitler include a hand-written letter, a silver cigar box from his personal collection and a rental agreement for an apartment in Munich.
The 147 items specifically related to the Third Reich are part of a larger auction of over 800 German historical collectibles from 1919 onwards.
The article was published on the BBC

#NotOnMyWatch: EJA Annual Campaign for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2020

On behalf of the hundreds of communities across Europe that we represent, and for European Jewry as a whole, we at the EJA would like to express our deep gratitude to all the Presidents, Prime Ministers, European Commissioners, permanent representatives, MP’s, MEPs and members of the public who took part in our ‘not on my watch’ candle campaign for Holocaust Memorial Day. Together, your important voice showed the world our shared purpose and goal, rooting out and obliterating antisemitism wherever it lies. Thank you.

(to see all pictures click HERE)|

Greece Golden Dawn: Neo-Nazi leaders guilty of running crime gang

After a trial lasting more than five years, the leadership of Greece’s neo-Nazi party has been convicted of running a criminal organisation.
Big crowds gathered outside the court in Athens as the judges gave verdicts on 68 defendants.
Golden Dawn secured 18 MPs in 2012, as Greeks were battered by a financial crisis.
The criminal inquiry into the party began with the murder of an anti-fascist musician in 2013.
Leader Nikos Michaloliakos and six colleagues were convicted of heading a criminal group. Supporter Giorgos Roupakias was found guilty of murdering an anti-racist musician and 15 others were convicted of conspiracy in the case.
Some 2,000 police were deployed around Athens Appeals Court as thousands of protesters demanded long jail terms, carrying banners that read “fear will not win” and “Nazis in prison”, Greek media reported.
Tear gas was fired into the crowd as some of the protesters clashed with police and threw petrol bombs.
People gather outside the Athens courthouse, as they wait for the verdict of the trial of the ultra-right party Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi), in Athens
Eleven of the defendants were in the court when the verdict was read out, along with 50 attorneys and 50 journalists.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said the verdict was an important day for democracy and proof that Greek institutions were able to “fend off any attempt to undermine them”.
Hundreds of witnesses gave evidence in the trial, which was delayed this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Who was on trial?
At the centre of the trial are Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and 18 ex-MPs who were elected in 2012 when the neo-Nazi party came third in national elections on an anti-immigrant, nationalist platform. Golden Dawn no longer has any MPs in parliament.
After they won almost 7% of the vote in May 2012, emboldened supporters attacked political opponents and migrants.
Golden Dawn supporter Giorgos Roupakias had already confessed to the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas. The musician was chased down by thugs and stabbed in Piraeus in September 2013.
As the verdict was delivered, Fyssas’s mother Magda cried out, “My Pavlos defeated them alone!”.
What were the verdicts?
The key verdict on Wednesday was that Golden Dawn – Chrysi Avgi in Greek – was a criminal group. Its leadership was found guilty of running it.
They included Michaloliakos and six former MPs – Ilias Kasidiaris, Ioannis Lagos, Christos Pappas, Artemis Matthaiopoulos, Ilias Panagiotaros and Giorgos Germenis. The other ex-MPs were found guilty of joining a criminal organisation.
Magda Fyssa, mother of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, who was murdered in 2013 by a member of Golden Dawn, reacts at the announcement of the ultra-right party Golden Dawn’s (Chrysi Avgi) verdict.
The three judges, led by Maria Lepeniotou, were due to deliver sentencing later.
As well as the fatal stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas, defendants in the trial were also convicted of other violent attacks on migrants and left-wing political opponents.
Photo dated on June 24, 2012 of Pavlos Fyssas. The 34-year-old was fatally stabbed in the working-class Athens district of Keratsini early on September 18, 2013
Five Golden Dawn members were convicted of the attempted murders of Egyptian fishermen and four of the attempted murder of communist activists in the PAME union.
As the Golden Dawn leaders were convicted, very few inside the room applauded but outside thousands began to celebrate.
I felt very satisfied, of course. Because I knew the facts revealed during those five and a half years, and I was always optimistic.
From 2010, Golden Dawn had managed to poison the Greek political system and democratic institutions, securing contacts with the army, the police, the judiciary and the Church.
It is an excellent verdict.
Short presentational grey line
Who is their leader?
Nikos Michaloliakos founded the movement in the mid-1980s and was admirer of Nazism and a Holocaust denier, giving the Hitler salute at party rallies.
But he had always denied any knowledge of the Pavlos Fyssas murder. When police raided his home in 2013, they found weapons and ammunition.
Golden Dawn officially denied being a neo-Nazi movement, but its badge closely resembled a swastika, some senior members praised Adolf Hitler, and the clothing of choice at anti-immigrant protests was black T-shirts and combat trousers.
Witnesses told the trial that members were trained to handle weapons and used Nazi symbols.
Greece’s Golden Dawn: ‘Don’t say a word or I’ll burn you alive’
Jail fails to deter Greek far right
Greek bailout crisis in 300 words
Last December, chief prosecutor Adamantia Economou prompted uproar, with a call for the party officials to be cleared, arguing there was no evidence they had any part in planning or carrying out the series of attacks.
How has Greece reacted
There has been disgust at Golden Dawn across the political spectrum in Greece.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would not normally comment on court decisions but said the Greek republic had first expelled Golden Dawn from parliament and now Greece’s independent judiciary had acted too. “Democracy won today. It is up to us that it wins every day,” he said.
The verdict was praised as “just” and “historic” by Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who was president of Greece until earlier this year.
Centre-left political leader Fofi Gennimata said the decision sent a strong message to Europe that “fascism has no place in our lives”.
Nils Muiznieks of Amnesty International also said the trial sent a clear message: that “violent and racist criminal activity – whether perpetrated by individuals on the street or members of parliament – will not go unpunished”.
Meanwhile, the Jewish cemetery in Athens was daubed this week with anti-Semitic graffiti and Nazi slogans, prompting condemnation from Greek ministers and the Jewish community.
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Police officer told me to take off my kippah'

European Jewish leader Rabbi Menachem Margolin says Brussels police told him to remove his kippah at his own event.
Police instructed the organizer of an eventcelebrating Europe’s technological ties with Israel in Brussels to remove his kippah.
“I was just requested by a security officer to remove my kippah for security reasons,” Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the founder of the European Jewish Association and Europe Israel Public Affairs, told Arutz Sheva outside the event.
“But I will never do it,” said Rabbi Margolin.
Despite the police’s request, Rabbi Margolin said that the event was “great” and that “thousands of people celebrated Jerusalem’s high tech.”
“This is the second time that we brought Israeli technology, high tech companies from Jerusalem, to present what they do here in Brussels in front of the European parliament.
“Thousands of people enjoy and can see what Jerusalem can contribute to their lives,” he said.
(to watch the video click on the picture)

The Article was published in Aritz 7
 

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