Lebanese businessman to give Hitler hat to Israeli foundation

November 27, 2019

 “In a cynical world, such a noble act of kindness, generosity and solidarity has bowled us over”, said Rabbi Menachem Margolin – Mr Abdallah Chatila will join the EJA as guest on major Auschwitz trip to receive award.

Following the controversial auction of Nazi memorabilia by Hermann Historica in Munich last week that was raised by the European Jewish Association (EJA) and let to massive uproar and media attention, it has emerged that a prominent Lebanese businessman directly responded to the news by buying over 600,000 euros of nazi memorabilia with the sole purpose of giving it to the Jewish community to do with it as it sees fit.

Rabbi Margolin spoke to Mr Chatila to thank him, and Mr Chatila has accepted an inviation to come to Auschwitz on a delegation organised by the EJA for 100 parliamentarians from across Europe, where the businessman will be awarded for his act.

Besides the top hat belonging to Hitler and the rare edition of Mein Kampf, the Businessman also bought the personal Fuhrer’s cigar box, a silver frame offered to SS commander Ulrich Graf, several handwritten letters to his childhood friend August Kubizek, a box to silver music, Edda Göring’s baptismal gift in 1938, or the typewriter Traudl Junge, Hitler’s assistant, used to capture the Nazi leader’s texts. In a statement today, Rabbi Margolin said,

“We believe that the trade in such items is morally unjustifiable and it seemed, given the uproar and outrage that led up and following the auction that we were not alone.

“We were not prepared however, in this cynical world in which we live, to expect an act of such kindness, such generosity and such solidarity as demonstrated by Mr Chatila. It is clear he understood our aggravation and hurt at the sale, and decided to do something about it in a way that nobody foresaw. We greatly appreciate his understanding that such items have no place on the market, and should ultimately be destroyed. But that he chose to give the items to Jews shows a remarkable conscience and understanding.

“I personally spoke to Mr Chatila on behalf of our Association, our members and the hundreds of communities that we represent to extend our heartfelt thanks for his selfless and important act.

He has also accepted our invitation to attend an upcoming delegation to Auschwitz that we are organising for 100 MPs from across the continent to see and learn first-hand where the Nazi ideology leads. Mr Chatila’s inspiring act is a story that deserves to be told at the highest levels, and he will be there as our guest where we will present him with an award for his act.

“The example set by Mr Chatila is one that deserves as much attention as possible, we thank him for showing the world that an act of righteousness such as this has the power to literally and metaphorically burn the dark Nazi past away.”

The letter written by Rabbi Margolin to Mr. Abdallah Chatila:

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Proposed animal welfare bill in Poland is 'of deep concern to European Jewry'

Rabbi Menachem Margolin: “This draft law puts unproven and unscientific claims about animal welfare above freedom of religion, breaching a central pillar of the EU’s charter of fundamental rights.”

A proposed legislation in Poland to ban religious slaughter of animals for export “is of deep concern to European Jewry,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European  Jewish Association (EJA) on Thursday (1 October), writes Yossi Lempkowicz.
The so-called animal welfare bill, proposed by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), has passed the Chamber of deputies or Sjem and now seeks approval in the Senate.
It could have massive ramifications for European Jewish communities as it would see a central and vital part of a Jewish practice, the shechita,  that has taken place for millennia trampled on and effectively wiped out – the access to and supply of kosher meat.
For European Jews, the legislation also carries with it multiple red and flashing alarms. History has repeatedly shown that the opening salvo in attempts to punish, ostracize, marginalize and ultimately destroy Jewish communities always starts with bans on central tenets of Jewish faith such as kosher laws and circumcision, before moving into much darker territory.
Animal welfare activists oppose the slaughter of animals for kosher meat because it precludes stunning before the animals’ throats are cut. Proponents of the practice reject claims it is cruel and say it induces a quick and humane death for the animal.
“This draft law puts unproven and unscientific claims about animal welfare above freedom of religion, breaching a central pillar  of the EU’s charter of fundamental rights,’’ said Rabbi Margolin in his statement.
In its Article 10, the charter states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion, belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and in public or private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
 The bill, noted Margolin “so alarmingly seeks to control and put a headcount on Jewish practice by giving the Minister of Agriculture the power to determine the qualifications of persons performing religious slaughter”.
The ‘schochet’, the person who is tasked with performing the slaughter undertakes years of ongoing training and is committed to, under strict Jewish law, ensuring that the animal undergoes the least suffering and stress as possible leading up to and during the slaughter itself, the rabbi explained.
He continued: “The draft law will also require a determination of the quantity of kosher meat needed by the local Jewish community. How is this to be done? by creating and supervising  a list of Jews in Poland”? This law, if passed, carries with it a dark and sinister undertow for Jews, a harking back to occupation, where practice and belief were initially targeted as first steps on the road to our eventual destruction.”
Poland is one of the biggest European exporters of kosher meat.
“European Jewry has enjoyed a fruitful and cooperative relationship with Poland as a principal supplier of kosher meat to our communities. Poland, in fact, is a central supplier to our needs. The question has to be asked, why now? To what end?” asked Rabbi Margolin, who urged  the Polish government, its parliament, its Senators and the Polish President to stop this law.
“Not only to uphold the values enshrined in the European Charter of fundamental rights protecting freedom of religion but to give a clear statement of solidarity that it will stand with and support European Jewry as an intrinsic part of Europe’s social fabric, and not sacrifice us, our beliefs and practice on the altar of politics,” Rabbi Margolin concluded.
The article was published on eureporter

The latest reflections from our esteemed colleague and advisory board member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

I am a tightrope walker
With fear of heights

You probably know those images of a tightrope walker who has strung a rope between two gigantic high-rise buildings In Manhattan and walks on the tightrope with a stick in his hands. One slip and the show is over! It is vital that the tightrope walker constantly concentrates, does not get distracted, keeps his goal in mind and is not afraid of heights. In this week’s Sidra as well as in the Pirkee Awoth – Proverbs of the Fathers that we will learn this Shabbat, I meet myself as the tightrope walker. And on the eighth day he must be circumcised on the foreskin of his body (Leviticus 12: 3). In the Halaga, Jewish law, it is stated that although the Brit Mila, the circumcision, can be performed during the whole eighth day, it is nevertheless better to fulfill this mitzvah early in the morning. Keeping a commandment or any good deed should not be delayed! We learn this lesson from patriarch Awraham. When he was ordered by G’d to sacrifice his son Yitzchak, he did not postpone thatorder, but he got up early to do what was required of him.
Knowing this, the question arises: Why didn’t Awraham circumcise himself in the morning, but delayed his Brit Mila until later that day? One of the answers I found was that Awraham didn’t just think about himself. He wanted others to hear what he was doing. He wanted the entire society to stop idolatry. He hoped that everyone would realize that there is only one G’d and that He demands of the men to be circumcised. He understood that if he fulfilled this mitzvah early in the morning, hardly anyone would notice. And so, for the sake of publicity, he decided to do it later that day. So that others would be inspired.
In the Proverbs of the Fathers (chapter 2:1) we read: What is the right way for man to choose? Any way that honors him who follows him and at the same time honors him by the people.
From this we see that Awraham’s position is a general rule. In everything we do we have to look at the context. What is the influence of my behavior on my environment? Judaism is not black or white. On the one hand you always have to walk the right way, but on the other hand, depending on the situation, you sometimes have to choose an alternative route to achieve the same goal.
So life is a continuous tightrope walk. If you only look up, you lose sight of the road you have to walk. If you only look down, you will be overwhelmed by the fear of the abyss. Especially in this difficult period in which we all find ourselves, it is vital
not to think black and white. It will be fine and I will ignore all the adapted rules that the Government and the physicians require from us, is a one- sided and therefore completely wrong position. It is like that tightrope walker who has no eye for reality and only tries to reach the other side with his head up. But also just looking into the depths, seeing everything
black, letting your thoughts be determined solely by screaming terrifying media reports, is a wrong position.
I feel like a tightrope walker. I make sure that I am not getting sick by alarming headlines on FB, newspapers, radio and TV. At the same time I have to consciously observe new rules and good advice. I must not shut myself off from reality. I also have to realize that I am constantly observed and that my unstable behavior can also instill fear or indifference in others.
Dear people. Do not take this column personally. I just wanted to show you how I am constantly balancing. I am a tightrope walker who refuses to look down due to fear of heights. But I also know that only my view upwards is not the Jewish and right way. I try to keep my balance. Do you do that too!
Binyomin Jacobs, Chief Rabbi

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

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

 

 

EJA Yom-Haatzmaut-Zoom with Israeli Government Minister TZACHI HANEGBI

It was our pleasure today to host a special Yom-Haatzmaut-Zoom conference with Israeli Government Minister TZACHI HANEGBI. Jewish community leaders from all across Europe took part, shared their thoughts and raised some questions to the minister on the issue of Israel and it’s relations to the diaspora Jews.
we would like to thank:

Alex Luzon, B’nei B’rith Rome

Andrew Hilkowitz, Child Survivors Association, Germany

Barbara Pontecorvo, Osservatorio Solomon, Antidescrimination legal network (Italy’s Lawfare) 

Betty Luzon, Israel Embassy Rome – permanent Civil employee

Daniele Toscano, publicist and journalist, Rome

David Seldner, a leader of Karlsruhe, Germany community

Diana Sandler, head of Barnim, Germany Community

Elio Adler, Werteinitiative eV (Values Initiative Association) leading advocate in Germany fighting for a Jewish future

Irina Katz, head of Freiburg, Germany community 

Johanna Arbit Perugia, executive of Karen Hayesod (worldwide) and its former head

Jonathan Marcus, Limmud Germany, Jewish learning festival

Lala Süskind, former Head Berlin community 

Lea Floh, Head Mönchengladbach community 

Maya Zehden, German-Israel Association executive

Nathan Gelbert, former head Germany Karen Hayesod 

Riccardo Pacifici, former head Rome community 

Sacha Stawski, Pro Israel activist, Israel Congress founder, Honestly Concerned media monitoring

Sigmount Königsberg (might join late) Berlin Jewish community Antisemitism Commissioner

Simone Santoro, head Italian union of jewish students and young professionals

Volker Beck, former MP in Bundestag, leading pro Israel voice of Green Party

Walker Megnaghi, former head Milan Italy community 

Vittorio Mosseri, head of Livorno Jewish Community 

Fernando Rosentberg, chair J community of Barcelona

Esther Bendahan of the J community of Madrid
Hanna Luden of CIDI in The Netherlands
Michel Gurfinkiel of center for European judaism (CEJ)
Andy Ergas, member of the Board of the Jewish community of Madrid
Charlotte Knobloch, President Jewish Community Munich Central Council of Jews member
Former head of Central Council
Richard Volkmann, Speaker Munich Jewish community
Sylvie Bensaid of the French Jewish weekly magazine Tribune Juive
Alexander Driessen – SWU Netherlands
Elad Zigler – Director SWU Netherlands
Aye Kari – Netherlands
Giulia Ora – Italy
Dr. Jacek Nowak
Andy Ergas from Madrid
David Hatchwell,
Régine Suchowolski – Sluszny, President of FJO
Tomas Stern, head of Bratislava Jewish Community
Ruth Dureghello, President, Jewish Community of Rome

If you missed our conference you can watch it at the following link:

a note about our next zoom conference will be published on our Facebook page
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