Germany: Dozens of Jewish graves destroyed in ancient cemetery in Worms

July 13, 2020

Ancient Jewish cemetery in Worms, Germany vandalized, with dozens of graves shattered and desecrated.
The Jewish community in Germany is in shock after unknown individuals vandalized and desecrated dozens of gravestones in the ancient Jewish cemetery in the city of Worms, leaving many of the grave markers shattered.
Thousands of Jewish worshipers visit the Jewish cemetery every year, considered one of the oldest in Europe. Among the desecrated tombs was also the tomb of the Maharam of Rothenburg who served as one of the chief Ashkenazi rabbis in the Middle Ages (1220-1293).
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association, and the Rabbinical Center of Europe, condemned the ongoing rise of anti-Semitism across the continent.
"There is no doubt that the corona crisis has brought with it a sharp rise in antisemitic discourse on the Internet, and now that most of the closures have been lifted, we unfortunately see how the toxic discourse on social media is turning into physical attacks on Jewish institutions and symbols. "We expect the German government to act swiftly not only to renovate the cemetery but to formally declare the acceptance of the comprehensive program to combat anti-Semitism that that we initiated, which includes a substantial change in the curriculum in the state education system."
Rabbi Joseph Havlin, the head of the Frankfurt court near Worms, expressed shock at the desecration of the cemetery, noting: "We are witnessing, and not for the first time, desecration of German cemeteries alongside a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in the entire public sphere. We call on the German government to declare an uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism to ensure that such acts do not repeat."
The article was published in Arutz 7

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#LightingEurope Fourth and Fifth Day of Chanukah13-12-2020

As a part of our #LightingEurope canpaign we are happy and honored to have EMIH Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation Executive Rabbi Slomó Köves for the fourth candle and Dr Leah Floh, Chairperson of the Mönchengladbach Jewish Community for the Fifth candle with some special words for Chanikah
You can read the translation of Dr Floh here:
My dear Jewish friends in the entire world but especially in Israel!
Dear friends and supporters!
The Jewish Community of Möchengladbach [Northrhein-Westphalia, Germany] and all Jews from throughout Germany want to wish all of you a Happy Chanukah – a festival of lights, of love, of hope and of solidarity.
Please stay healthy or return quickly to good health. Remain optimistic and always remember to support each other.
Dear Shoah survivors, dear Child Survivors: you have great capacity for resilience and with it you could infect others with your positive outlook on life.
I’m convinced that we will be able to celebrate together next year.
Am Israel Chai עם ישראל חי [the people of Israel live!], l'shana haba'ah b'Yerushalayim לשנה הבאה בירושלים‎ [next year in Jerusalem!].
Chag Chanukah Sameach חג חנוכה שמח [Happy Chanukah Holiday!]
Amen!

EJA/EIPA Meeting, planning for the upcoming year.

This week we dedicated two days for the annual EJA/EIPA meeting with all members of the teams, coming from France, Germany, Israel and of course our local head court's members, here in Brussels.
Bringing together our different experiences, views and ideas we have managed to come up with a list of subjects we would like to deal with this upcoming year and a lot of exiting new ways to do that whether if it is in Politics, the Media world or among the Jewish communities around Europe.
We don't know about you but we are very exited to start this fruitful year. for us, for The Jewish people in Europe and for the state of Israel.

President of the Portuguese Republic blessings for Rosh HaShanah

The EJA warmly thanks H.E. Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa, President of the Portuguese Republic, for His Excellency's kind wishes to the European Jewry in light of the upcoming holiday of Rosh HaShanah

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.
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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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