Sites where Germans killed Jews are dedicated in Poland

October 19, 2021
The Polish witnesses of the German crime in Wojslawice lived for decades with the memories of their Jewish neighbors executed in 1942. They remembered a meadow that flowed with blood, a child who cried out for water from underneath a pile of bodies, arms and legs that still moved days after the execution.
 

In the years that followed, those who had seen the crime shared their knowledge with their children, warning them to stay away from the spot behind the Orthodox church where some 60 Jews, among them 20 children, were murdered on that October day.
“When I was a young boy I was running around these meadows but the elders were saying: ‘please do not run there because there are buried people, buried Jews,’” said Marian Lackowski, a retired police officer whose late mother witnessed the execution in the small town in eastern Poland.
Born after the war, Lackowski has devoted years to ensuring that the victims receive a dignified burial, a mission he finally fulfilled Thursday as he gathered with Jewish and Christian clergy, the mayor, schoolchildren and other members of the town.
Beginning at the town hall, the group walked solemnly down a hill to the execution site, their silence broken only by roosters and barking dogs. After they arrived at the spot, church bells rang out from the town’s Catholic church and a trumpet called at noon. Jewish and Christian prayers were recited and mourners lit candles and placed stones in the Jewish tradition at a new memorial erected over the bones. “May their souls have a share in eternal life,” it reads.
The mass grave site in Wojslawice is tragically not unique. During the German occupation of Poland during World War II, the Germans imprisoned Jews in ghettoes and murdered them in death camps including Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor. But they also shot them in fields and forests near their homes, leaving behind mass graves across Poland, many of which have only come to light in recent years.
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AALST CARNIVAL IS NOW BEYOND THE PALE AND UNESCO MUST ACT NOW, SAYS CHAIRMAN OF EJA

Organisers of the Carnival of Aalst are under fire again after they released carnival ribbons making fun of UNESCO and Jews for the 2020 edition of the Carnival, after they were condemned for anti-Semitism in 2019.
European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said it was now clear that UNESCO - who are due to make a decision in December on whether to keep the carnival on the world heritage list – must remove any association or sponsorship of the carnival.
The Mayor of the city was already summoned to UNESCO headquarters in Paris in September 2019, where they had to argue that their previous carnival procession was not anti-Semitic after it depicted caricatures of orthodox Jews with hooked noses standing on chests of money surrounded by rats.
The Carnival ribbons for the 2020 edition might cause a new problem as it depicts stereotypical anti-semitic caricatures of Jews. The ribbon makers say this is the spirit of the carnival and they make fun of everyone.
Rabbi Margolin said in a statement,
“A one off is a one off and we hoped that this was the case with the disgusting images at last year’s carnival. Instead these ribbons represent a wilful desire to offend.
“The thing about a joke is that it is supposed to make everyone laugh. And we Jews have a fantastic sense of humour. But no Jew anywhere in Europe is laughing.
“Instead we recoil in disgust at the grotesque way that carnival seeks to portray us, money grabbing, greedy and big nosed. Why? Because it is straight out of the Nazi playbook. It is dangerous. It seeks to set apart Jews from mainstream Belgian society. And its offensive. Full stop.
“I will be writing to UNESCO to demand it ceases to fund or associate in anyway with this carnival from now on. The Carnival itself is now beyond the pale and we expect nothing from people who get their humour kicks from kicking Jews. This is supposed to be 2019 not 1939.”

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

EJA Press release on European Court of Justice ruling on Kosher slaughter

EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION LAMENTS EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE RULING ON KOSHER SLAUGHTER IN BELGIUM “WHAT A TERRIBLE MESSAGE TO SEND TO EUROPEAN JEWRY – YOU AND YOUR PRACTICE ARE NOT WELCOME HERE” SAYS ITS CHIEF.
“Bogus animal welfare claims are being used to penalise a practice that puts care and respect for animals at its very core”,
“This ruling gives the green light for other countries to follow suit, and if they do, there will be no Kosher meat available in Europe”, says Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association.
(Brussels 17 December 2020) The European court of Justice today delivered a potentially devastating ruling on an issue that has plagued European Jewry for years, the right to slaughter animals in the Kosher tradition, a millennia old practice that puts animal welfare and minimizing animal suffering at its very core.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the EJA today said his organisaton will explore every avenue and recourse available to protect the rights of Jews everywhere in Europe,
“This is a sad day for European Jewry. For decades now, as animal rights have come into vogue, Kosher slaughter has come under relentless attack, and subject to repeated attempts to ban it. The entire basis of the attacks are built on the entirely bogus premise that Kosher slaughter is more cruel than regular slaughtering, despite there being not a shred of evidence backing this up, and worse completely ignoring the fact that Kosher slaughter puts the welfare of the animal and minimising its suffering as of paramount importance. This is not a glib staement, but a commandment that all Jews must adhere to.
“What today’s ruling does is put animal welfare above the fundamental right of Freedom of Religion. Simply put, Beast takes preference over man.
Potentially devasting too, it gives other European countries like Belgium - who similarly regard this fundamental Charter freedom as ‘negotiable - the green light to follow suit. If every european country does it means only one thing: there will be no Kosher meat available in Europe anymore.
“What a terrible message to send to European Jewry, that you and your practices are not welcome here. This is a basic denial of our rights as European citizens. We cannot let it stand and will pursue every recourse and avenue to ensure that it doesnt.”
The European Court of Justice has ruled on a Belgian case, involving Flanders and Wallonia laws, that require pre-stunning of animals before slaughter. In short, the Court says that individual Member State moves to ban kosher slaughter by making stunning a pre-requisite, do not in themselves violate the Freedom of Religion rights contained within the EU charter of Fundamental Rights.
The ruling runs contrary to an opinion given in early September 2020 by the European Court Advocate General who suggested the oppositea.

Why Israeli Politicians Aren’t Talking About America’s anti-Semitism Crisis, Even After Monsey

Many are fearful of saying the wrong thing, with Netanyahu and Bennett’s tone-deaf approaches to previous Diaspora attacks seemingly serving as warnings

As news of the horrific knife attack in Monsey was breaking on Saturday – the police still in pursuit of the perpetrator, the injured victims being rushed to hospitals – the CNN anchor turned to the network’s correspondent in Jerusalem for reaction.

It’s hard to imagine how, in any other circumstances, a violent crime in the heart of the United States would cause a network to turn to a foreign nation for comment. But the spate of anti-Semitic attacks on American Jews over the past few months, culminating in this month’s Jersey City and Monsey attacks, sent them to what they assumed would be a logical address for the most immediate reaction to Jewish persecution: the Jewish state.

In reality, though, Israeli leaders are now often hesitant to be among the first to speak out against anti-Semitic violence in the Diaspora. It isn’t because they aren’t deeply concerned by the phenomenon, which is being covered thoroughly in Israel, but because the odds of saying the wrong thing are high.

The degree of difficulty in devising the appropriate response has also risen in an era where anti-Semitism has become a political weapon. Israel’s leaders are justifiably fearful that the slightest slip of the tongue will be transformed into ammunition in the left-right political wars overseas, and then fired against the Jewish state itself.

That caution was evident in the defensive tone of the very first official response to the attack, provided by President Reuven Rivlin. “Anti-Semitism is not just a Jewish problem, and certainly not just the State of Israel’s problem,” Rivlin stated. “We must work together to confront this rising evil, which is a real global threat.”

Rivlin’s words set the tone for other Israeli officials. They walked a tightrope between Israel’s commitment to defending Jews around the world, refusing to stand by passively as they suffer and die at the hands of attackers, while avoiding the appearance of treading on the internal political and security matters of another country.

It took until Sunday for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to issue his carefully worded reaction at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. “Israel strongly condemns the recent displays of anti-Semitism, including the vicious attack at the home of a rabbi in Monsey, NY, during Hanukkah,” he said. He also expressed willingness to “cooperate however possible with the local authorities in order to assist in defeating this phenomenon. We offer our assistance to every country.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, meanwhile, vowed to “work tirelessly to restore the sense of personal security each and every Jew deserves,” lacing his statement with a pro-Israel advocacy message, saying that “the delegitimization and anti-Semitism we face every day has raised its ugly head once again.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, pushed a bit harder, calling for unspecified “action” against violent anti-Semitism, declaring that “This is a time for action, not words. ... This is a time for enforcement that deters the perpetrators of hate, whoever they may be.”

Only one Israeli official – Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman – offered up the traditional Zionist response to anti-Semitic violence in the Diaspora: Suggesting Jews could only be truly safe in their own state. “Again and again, we are witnessing the dire consequences of anti-Semitism,” he wrote. “Alongside the deep grief and best wishes for the injured, it is important to know that the main solution to such phenomena is immigration to Israel.”

Maybe it is because Lieberman is not currently serving as a government minister, or perhaps because he made his call for embattled Diaspora Jews to move to Israel in Hebrew, that the blowback was minimal.

In contrast, when Netanyahu sent the same message in 2015, following the murderous attack on a kosher grocery store in Paris, France’s Jewish community was infuriated.

Two days after the attack took place on January 9, Netanyahu responded by forming a special ministerial committee to discuss steps to encourage aliyah from France (and Europe in general), stating: “I wish to tell all French and European Jews – Israel is your home.” He reiterated that message when he visited a synagogue full of Parisian Jews shortly afterward, pointing out that “Jews these days have an opportunity that did not exist in the past: to live freely in the only Jewish state, the State of Israel.” He added that “any Jew who chooses to come to Israel will be greeted with open arms and an open heart. It is not a foreign nation, and hopefully they and you will one day come to Israel.”

There was a fierce negative reaction from France’s chief rabbi, Haïm Korsia, and other representatives of French and European Jewry. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, general director of the European Jewish Association, said Netanyahu and others “must cease this Pavlovian reaction every time Jews in Europe are attacked.”

He complained that “after every anti-Semitic attack in Europe, the Israeli government issues the same statements about the importance of aliyah, rather than employ every diplomatic and informational means at its disposal to strengthen the safety of Jewish life in Europe.” Margolin added that “every such Israeli campaign severely weakens and damages the Jewish communities that have the right to live securely wherever they are.”

France’s then-prime minister, Manuel Valls, also rejected Netanyahu’s call, stating that if 100,000 Jews left the country, “France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”

Whether because Israel’s government leadership learned a lesson from the 2015 experience, or due to its general caution around American Jews, there has not been a hint of a call for American Jews to consider emigration to Israel – even after the most shocking recent anti-Semitic attacks in Pittsburgh and Poway in October 2018 and last April, respectively.

After those incidents, the official Israeli response ran into a different kind of trouble: the perception of political partisanship. Israeli officials were criticized for taking sides in the bitter round of finger-pointing that followed the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, after supporting President Donald Trump and defending him against those who felt he had fanned the flames of white supremacism.

Then-Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, who visited the United States following the Pittsburgh shooting, insisted in an interview that “using the horrible anti-Semitic massacre to attack the president is unfair, it’s wrong,” adding that Trump was “a great friend of Israel and of the Jews.” And at a public event, Bennett indicated that the reaction to the massacre was overblown, saying: “This is not in any sense Germany of the ’30s, it doesn’t resemble that in any possible way.”

Bennett was slammed for stepping out of line – for lecturing, instead of listening to the pain of American Jews trying to cope with the threat of anti-Semitism. The minefield of U.S. identity politics has only grown more treacherous since, with an intensification of what pundit Benjamin Wittes calls “selective outrage” around anti-Semitism.

Increasingly, those on the right and left are pointing fingers at each other depending on who the perpetrator of an anti-Semitic attack may be, refusing to acknowledge that hatred of Jews “does not align with any simple political narrative,” Wittes wrote in The Atlantic on Sunday.

And so it is little wonder that Israeli leaders – particularly while they are consumed with their own country’s domestic political turmoil – are choosing the path of issuing carefully worded statements about Monsey and other attacks, and then, for the most part, staying out of the fray. They have much to potentially lose, and little if anything to gain.

As The Forward’s opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon pointed out Sunday in an op-ed titled “Why no one can talk about the attacks against Orthodox Jews,” “At a time when ideology seems to [reign] supreme in the chattering and political classes, the return of pogroms to Jewish life on American soil transcends ideology. In the fight against anti-Semitism, you don’t get to easily blame your traditional enemies – which, in the age of Trump, is a nonstarter for most people.”

Including, it seems, Israel’s political leaders.

The article was published on Haaretz

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