“They had lost their names” (and other items)

November 22, 2004

CONTENTS

1. Database enshrines Holocaust victims.
2. Yad Vashem Press Release.
3. Swastikas, bomb threats and attacks on Jews in Argentina last week.
-- Said to be connected to glorification of Yasser Arafat in Argentine press
-- University students stand and give Nazi salute when an Argentine rabbi gives a lecture
4. British Jew shot dead in Belgium. Follows the stabbing of Jewish teen by Arab youths outside Jewish school.
5. Belgian MP goes into hiding after criticizing Muslims. Death threats follow her criticism of Belgium Muslim leaders' refusal to condemn killing of Theo van Gogh.
6. Belgian Justice minister now also under guard after death threats.
7. Jewish sites attacked in Ireland.
8. Vandals spray swastikas on Jewish gravestones in England.


DATABASE ENSHRINES HOLOCAUST VICTIMS

[Note by Tom Gross]

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum and archive in Jerusalem, began assembling so-called pages of testimony – records filled out by relatives of Holocaust victims – in 1955. These pages finally went on line today, November 22, 2004, at www.yadvashem.org.

I attach information about this, and also articles about acts of contemporary anti-Semitism in Argentina, Belgium, Ireland and England. There are summaries of the articles first for those who don't have time to read them in full.

 

SUMMARIES OF ARTICLES

"THEY HAD LOST THEIR NAMES"

"Database enshrines Holocaust victims" (By Joseph Berger, The New York Times, November 21, 2004)

What is known of their lives has always been dwarfed by a single, almost sacred number: 6 million. But each of the victims of the Holocaust had a name, an address, a place of birth, a place of death. Now, Yad Vashem has assembled the largest and most comprehensive listing of Jewish victims' names – more than 3 million, or half of those who perished – along with biographical details, photographs and nutshell memoirs. It will start to make the information available online tomorrow at www.yadvashem.org.

The project is seen not only as a signal act of commemoration for Jews who often lost the relatives who might have remembered them, but also as another refutation to those who have campaigned to deny the scope of the Holocaust.

The database will allow children, grandchildren and future descendants to research the histories of their families, and in some cases permit the dwindling ranks of survivors to trace relatives whose fate is still unknown.

"The moment persons entered Auschwitz they lost their names – they became a number," said Elie Wiesel. "[Because of this project] a hundred years from now, we will know where to turn and know something about their genealogy and where they came from."

... Irving Roth, a 75-year-old Slovakian survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald said the names were crucial because "it takes the mass of 6 million and places a name, a face, a history to the person." Roth spoke about his grandfather, Shimon Rosenwasser, who was killed at Auschwitz. Roth remembered him "as an observant Jew but also an outdoorsy type who owned a lumber business and could pick up a hatchet and cut a tree down."...

[Joseph Berger of the New York Times, who wrote this article, is one of several senior writers and editors at the New York Times who are subscribers to this email list.]

 

YAD VASHEM PRESS RELEASE

This is the press release I and other journalists received last Thursday. It refers to today's press conference. [Senior staff at Yad Vashem are also longtime subscribers to this email list.]

YAD VASHEM TO BRING ONLINE CENTRAL DATABASE OF HOLOCAUST VICTIMS MONDAY WILL SOLICIT PUBLIC ASSISTANCE IN GATHERING ADDITIONAL NAMES

(November 18, 2004 - Jerusalem) Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, Israel, will hold a major press event Monday, November 22, 2004 to announce the uploading of its historic Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names to the Internet. The event will take place at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies Lecture Hall, at 10:00 a.m. The Database will be presented and an international 11th Hour Campaign to collect more names of victims will be announced. Special video messages from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Professor Elie Wiesel, and Simone Veil will be presented as well.

The Database, which will allow online public interaction and contributions of new names and materials, seeks to capture the names of as many Jewish Holocaust victims as possible. The sophisticated technology allows users worldwide to access a treasure trove of millions of personal, historical and genealogical documents using cutting-edge web search systems from the convenience of any computer.

The Names' Database is an international undertaking led by Yad Vashem to attempt to reconstruct the names and life stories of all the Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Through interactive features, users can submit information, perform comprehensive searches and take part in educational programs.

(For more information about the press event, please contact estee.yaari@yadvashem.org.il)

 

SWASTIKAS, BOMB THREATS AND ATTACKS ON JEWS IN THE PAST WEEK IN ARGENTINA

-- Said to be connected to glorification of Yasser Arafat in Argentine press coverage.
-- University students stand and give Nazi salute when an Argentine rabbi gives a lecture.

"Rash of anti-Semitism in Argentina" (By Florencia Arbiser, The Jewish Times, Buenos Aires, November 21, 2004)

Argentine Jewish leaders are wondering whether a string of recent anti-Semitic incidents indicates a growing trend of Jew-hatred ... At dawn on Sunday, swastikas and a picture of Hitler were found at the Jewish cemetery of Liniers. On Monday, more graffiti – swastikas and threatening messages – had been added.

The messages included "Kristallnacht 08/11/38," a reference to the murderous pogrom that heralded the onset of the Nazis' most restrictive anti- Semitic policies; and "Movement Walther Darre," a reference to a former Nazi agriculture minister who was born in Argentina.

... On Monday, a Hitler drawing and Nazi inscriptions were found on a bus belonging to the Maimonides Jewish school.

... Over the past week, three other local Jewish institutions – the Hebraica Jewish club, Paso Temple and the Sephardic Congregation – suffered bomb threats, though the news was not made public to avoid spreading fear in a country where bombings destroyed the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the AMIA community center in 1994.

According to Claudio Avruj, the DAIA's executive director ... " We think the past week was a special week with Yasser Arafat's funeral, the Kristallnacht commemoration and the appeal of the AMIA trial acquittal sentence."

... Beyond the timing of the recent incidents, however, there has been a rise in the intensity of anti-Semitic incidents this year. A few months ago, a Buenos Aires city legislator called one of her office employees a "shitty Jew," but was not punished. Two weeks ago, an Argentine rabbi was giving a university lecture when a dozen people in the audience stood up and gave the Nazi salute...

 

BRITISH JEW IS SHOT DEAD IN BELGIUM

"British Jew is shot dead in Belgium" (London Times, November 19, 2004)

Moshe Naeh, a British Orthodox Jew and a father of five, was shot in the head and killed outside his home near Antwerp's diamond quarter, which is at the centre of a large Jewish community. He was dressed in the long black robes and hat worn by Orthodox Jews. He worked as a rabbi's assistant in a local synagogue.

... In June, a Jewish teenager was stabbed by Arab youths outside a Jewish school in an Antwerp suburb. No one has been arrested. Days later, a Jewish man, 43, was beaten unconscious. The federal Government has vowed to crack down on anti-Semitism. Most of the attacks are thought to be by young men from the city’s 50,000-strong North African community...

 

BELGIAN MP GOES INTO HIDING AFTER CRITICIZING MUSLIMS

[I attach this article even though it is not directly connected to anti-Semitism because of (a) its possible connection to the context of the article above; (b) as a follow-up to previous references on this email list to the killing of the film-maker Theo van Gogh in neighboring Holland.]

"Belgian MP goes into hiding after criticising Muslims" (London Times, November 18, 2004)

A Belgian politician of Moroccan origin who has repeatedly criticised Islamic culture is under police protection after being threatened with "ritual killing". Mimount Bousakla, a Socialist senator in Antwerp, whose parents are Muslims from Morocco, reported the threat to the police, who took it seriously after the killing of the film-maker Theo van Gogh in the streets of Amsterdam this month.

The case of Ms Bousakla has strong parallels with that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee to the Netherlands and former Muslim who became an MP and is now in hiding after criticising the oppression of women in Islam.

... Ms Bousakla, who keeps her religious beliefs private but is believed to have all but lost her Islamic faith, had dismissed earlier death threats as inconsequential, but she was so alarmed at the weekend that she contacted the police for the first time. A Socialist party official said: "She again received threats and now has round-the-clock police protection and has gone into hiding."

... It is thought that the threats were prompted by her denunciation of Belgian Muslim groups for refusing to criticise the murder of Mr van Gogh. Last week, Ms Bousakla, 32, criticised the Muslim Executive, the official umbrella organisation for Muslims in Belgium, for not condemning the killing...

 

BELGIAN JUSTICE MINISTER NOW UNDER GUARD AFTER DEATH THREATS

"Justice minister under guard after death threats" (Expatica News, November 19 2004)

Belgium's Justice Minister, Laurette Onkelinkx, has been given increased police protection after receiving death threats. The Belgian federal prosecutor's office said late on Thursday that Onkelinkx was one of three leading Belgian politicians who had received the threats.

Former justice minister Philippe Moureaux and Brussels politician Mohamed Chahid had also been threatened, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office explained...

 

JEWISH SITES ATTACKED IN IRELAND

"Jewish sites attacked in Ireland" (The Observer, November 14, 2004)

Gardai [The Irish police] are investigating links between an Irish neo-fascist website and an upsurge in anti-semitism in Dublin. Three Jewish sites in the capital were targeted late Thursday night or early Friday morning, with swastikas daubed on a synagogue, a museum and a cemetery.

... Jewish leaders in the city said the vandalism was unprecedented in modern times. A swastika was sprayed in black paint on the wall of the Irish Jewish Museum and Heritage Centre at Portobello. The museum's curator, Raphael Siev, who was opening up the centre for a school party visit from Glasnevin discovered it.

... 'I am very upset about this as it is very worrying because this is an attack on a part of the history and cultural heritage of Dublin. On Friday I received many messages of support from our neighbours around us. This museum charts the lives of Jewish people in this city over the last 150 years, so it is worrying that something like this could happen,' he said.

There were similar acts of vandalism on the Progressive Synagogue at Rathfarnham and on graves at the Jewish cemetery in Dolphin's Barn ... There are now just several hundred Jewish families left in Dublin from a population of 4,000 at the end of the Second World War.

[Raphael Siev is a subscriber to this email list.]

 

VANDALS SPRAY SWASTIKAS ON JEWISH GRAVESTONES IN ENGLAND

(This is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish cemeteries, synagogues and persons in Britain.)

"Vandals spray swastikas on Jewish gravestones" (November 18, 2004)

Vandals have sprayed swastikas and other Nazi insignia on 15 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in southern England. They said the anti-Semitic graffiti had appeared on the gravestones in Aldershot, Hampshire...



FULL ARTICLES

DATABASE ENSHRINES HOLOCAUST VICTIMS

Database enshrines Holocaust victims
By Joseph Berger
The New York Times
November 21, 2004

What is known of their lives has always been dwarfed by a single, almost sacred number: 6 million. But each of the victims of the Holocaust had a name, an address, a place of birth, a place of death.

Now, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum and archive in Jerusalem, has assembled the largest and most comprehensive listing of Jewish victims' names – more than 3 million, or half of those who perished – along with biographical details, photographs and nutshell memoirs. It will start to make the information available online tomorrow at www.yadvashem.org.

The project is seen not only as a signal act of commemoration for Jews who often lost the relatives who might have remembered them, but also as another refutation to those who have campaigned to deny the scope of the systematic slaughter of Europe's Jews under the Nazi regime of German dictator Adolph Hitler.

"They lost their names"

The database will allow children, grandchildren and future descendants to research the histories of their families, and in some cases permit the dwindling ranks of survivors to trace relatives whose fate is still unknown. Many survivors realized after World War II that their kin had been swept up in massacres or deported to concentration camps, but they never knew for certain where and when they had been killed.

"The moment persons entered Auschwitz they lost their names – they became a number," said Elie Wiesel, a spokesman for Holocaust survivors and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. "Six million names were evaporated, turned into dust and ashes. A hundred years from now, we will know where to turn and know something about their genealogy and where they came from."

Avner Shalev, chairman of the directorate of Yad Vashem, said that as word of the project spread, the list would be greatly expanded by new entries to the Yad Vashem Web site.

Yad Vashem began assembling so-called pages of testimony – records filled out by relatives in Israel and abroad – in 1955, two years after the museum was created by Israel's Parliament as the country's "remembrance authority."

The pages included 22 items of information, including hometown, year of birth, occupation and relatives. Later, Yad Vashem placed advertisements seeking more names, interviewed survivors and borrowed lists from other archives.

By this year, it had gathered pages for 2 million victims and these were supplemented by information gleaned from hundreds of bureaucratic lists kept by the Nazis and their collaborators. These included lists of concentration-camp inmates and manifests of railroad transports.

The half-century effort could not identify all the 6 million, Shalev said. In large parts of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, no documentation was kept by the squads who shot to death entire Jewish populations of some towns or by Nazi troops who dispatched ghetto inhabitants to death camps, where they were gassed upon arrival.

In Hungary, most of the lists of the 437,000 Jews rounded up by the Hungarian police and sent to Auschwitz in a period of 56 days in 1944 were never located, Shalev said.

The number 6 million was calculated after the war by comparing prewar censuses with lists of survivors compiled by the Red Cross and other relief organizations. There were almost 9 million Jews in the countries of Europe that fell under Nazi control, and the Nazis killed two out of every three. The Yad Vashem Web site will not include non-Jews, such as Gypsies, who were also systematically slaughtered by the Nazis.

Compiling a list of distinct individuals presented thorny problems because names and towns were spelled in so many variations.

"Jews spell Isaac 700 ways," Shalev said. "And Cohen? – there are a thousand ways to spell Cohen." The Yad Vashem search engine takes account of such discrepancies and also tries to eliminate duplicates.

Information can be added

The database, which Shalev said cost $15 million to $17 million to create, is searchable in English and Hebrew. Users will be able to add names, submit missing information and photographs or correct misinformation, entries that will be checked for accuracy. They can also look up the pages of testimony filled out in the spidery survivors' handwriting.

Irving Roth, a 75-year-old Slovakian survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald and a retired engineer who lives in Williston Park, N.Y., said the names were crucial because "it takes the mass of 6 million and places a name, a face, a history to the person."

Few of the dead, he noted, were buried in marked graves.

Roth spoke about his grandfather, Shimon Rosenwasser, who was killed at Auschwitz. Roth remembered him "as an observant Jew but also an outdoorsy type who owned a lumber business and could pick up a hatchet and cut a tree down." He hopes his own grandchildren will learn about him from the Web site.

"These were human beings," he said, "who lived, laughed, cursed, fought, who did the things human beings do."

 

RASH OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN ARGENTINA

Rash of anti-Semitism in Argentina
By Florencia Arbiser
Special to the Jewish Times
November 21, 2004
Buenos Aires

Argentine Jewish leaders are wondering whether a string of recent anti-Semitic incidents indicates a growing trend of Jew-hatred.

Abraham Kaul, president of the AMIA central Jewish institution, couldn't hide his concern Tuesday at a meeting with Jewish media.

At dawn on Sunday, swastikas and a picture of Hitler were found at the Jewish cemetery of Liniers. On Monday, more graffiti – swastikas and threatening messages – had been added.

The messages included "Kristallnacht 08/11/38," a reference to the murderous pogrom that heralded the onset of the Nazis' most restrictive anti- Semitic policies; and "Movement Walther Darre," a reference to a former Nazi agriculture minister who was born in Argentina.

The attack on the Liniers cemetery, located on the outskirts of Buenos Aires and one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the country, followed three previous attacks there this year, in which bronze plaques were stolen.

"Are these signs of an escalation of anti-Semitic violence in the region?" Kaul asked. What worried him most was the fact that the incidents showed "something more than a soccer fan's ignorant anti-Semitic song. These demonstrations seem to be more learned."

At dawn on Monday, a Hitler drawing and Nazi inscriptions were found on a bus belonging to the Maimonides Jewish school.

The DAIA, the Jewish community's political umbrella organization, met with federal police to demand an explanation for why a 24-hour police presence at the cemetery couldn't prevent such attacks, and what could be done differently in the future.

Authorities said police had been in the bathroom when the graffiti were painted.

Over the past week, three other local Jewish institutions – the Hebraica Jewish club, Paso Temple and the Sephardic Congregation – suffered bomb threats, though the news was not made public to avoid spreading fear in a country where bombings destroyed the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the AMIA community center in 1994.

According to Claudio Avruj, the DAIA's executive director, there have been more than 100 incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti in Buenos Aires this year.

But he stressed that, "DAIA does not believe there is a Nazi escalation. We think the past week was a special week with Yasser Arafat's funeral, the Kristallnacht commemoration and the appeal of the AMIA trial acquittal sentence."

The last reference was to the community's decision to appeal the acquittal of five locals accused of complicity in the 1994 AMIA bombing. The attack, which killed 85 people and injured 300, remains unsolved.

Beyond the timing of the recent incidents, however, there has been a rise in the intensity of anti-Semitic incidents this year.

A few months ago, a Buenos Aires city legislator called one of her office employees a "shitty Jew," but was not punished.

Two weeks ago, an Argentine rabbi was giving a university lecture when a dozen people in the audience stood up and gave the Nazi salute.

In September, a 16-year-old student who brought a gun to class killed three classmates and wounded five. Though the victims weren't Jewish, the student later told a psychologist that he was moved to act because he admired Hitler.

Jewish officials are putting aside differences among their organizations to search for ways to fight such occurrences.

"Although we have clear political differences with the DAIA, we will act together in the demand to live freely and in peace," said AMIA's Kaul.

On Wednesday evening, leaders of DAIA and AMIA were to meet with the governor of Buenos Aires province and security officials to find out what happened at the cemetery and what is being done to investigate the incidents.

DAIA also will hold a meeting next week with city security officials on how police can prevent future such incidents.

 

BRITISH JEW IS SHOT DEAD IN BELGIUM

British Jew is shot dead in Belgium
By Anthony Browne, Brussels Correspondent
London Times
November 19, 2004

Moshe Naeh, a British Orthodox Jew and a father of five, was shot in the head and killed outside his home near Antwerp’s diamond quarter, which is at the centre of a large Jewish community. The police found Mr Neah, who was in his twenties, lying in a pool of blood in the early hours of the morning. He was dressed in the long black robes and hat worn by Orthodox Jews. He worked as a rabbi’s assistant in a local synagogue.

There has been rising concern about anti-Semitic attacks against the 17,000-strong Jewish community in Antwerp, but a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said that there was no evidence that the attack was inspired by extremism or racism. Police suspect it was the result of a personal dispute.

In June, a Jewish teenager was stabbed by Arab youths outside a Jewish school in an Antwerp suburb. No one has been arrested. Days later, a Jewish man, 43, was beaten unconscious.

The federal Government has vowed to crack down on anti-Semitism. Most of the attacks are thought to be by young men from the city's 50,000-strong North African community. On Wednesday, Mimount Bousakla, a Socialist senator of Moroccan origin in Antwerp, was taken into protective custody after being threatened with "ritual killing". He had been repeatedly critical of radical Islam and conservative aspects of Muslim culture.

 

BELGIUM MP GOES INTO HIDING AFTER CRITICISING MUSLIMS

Belgian MP goes into hiding after criticising Muslims
By Anthony Browne, Brussels Correspondent
London Times
November 18, 2004

A Belgian politician of Moroccan origin who has repeatedly criticised Islamic culture is under police protection after being threatened with “ritual killing”. Mimount Bousakla, a Socialist senator in Antwerp, whose parents are Muslims from Morocco, reported the threat to the police, who took it seriously after the killing of the film-maker Theo van Gogh in the streets of Amsterdam this month.

The case of Ms Bousakla has strong parallels with that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee to the Netherlands and former Muslim who became an MP and is now in hiding after criticising the oppression of women in Islam.

The threats to Ms Bousakla, thought to be from Islamic radicals, are also likely to inflame tensions in Antwerp, the power base of the far-right anti-immigrant Vlaams Blok party, which attracts a quarter of the vote in the multicultural city. The Vlaams Blok, which arose from Nazi collaborators during the Second World War, was last week banned by the Belgian supreme court for falling foul of anti-racism laws despite being the most popular party in the Flemish region.

Ms Bousakla, who keeps her religious beliefs private but is believed to have all but lost her Islamic faith, had dismissed earlier death threats as inconsequential, but she was so alarmed at the weekend that she contacted the police for the first time.

A Socialist party official said: "She again received threats and now has round-the-clock police protection and has gone into hiding." However, she is still working as normal inside the Flemish parliament.

It is thought that the threats were prompted by her denunciation of Belgian Muslim groups for refusing to criticise the murder of Mr van Gogh. Last week, Ms Bousakla, 32, criticised the Muslim Executive, the official umbrella organisation for Muslims in Belgium, for not condemning the killing.

"The Muslim Executive should have protested in connection with Theo van Gogh's murder and called on the Muslims in Belgium to criticise the attack on a massive scale. However, it did nothing, and so better disappear," she said.

Mr van Gogh, a former Socialist who made a film attacking domestic violence against Muslim women, was shot six times and nearly beheaded, and had a declaration of holy war impaled in his chest in broad daylight in Amsterdam on November 2. Many Muslims groups have been hesitant to condemn the murder because Mr van Gogh, a TV celebrity in the Netherlands, was abusive about Muslim extremists and said that it was inevitable that someone would be provoked.

After Mr van Gogh's murder, police uncovered a suspected network of Islamic radicals conspiring to murder leading "enemies of Islam".

In the past two weeks, half a dozen Dutch politicians have received death threats by letter, e-mail and telephone. Two went into hiding, including Ms Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, an MP who is seen as the successor to the murdered antiIslamic populist Pim Fortuyn and who was the subject of an internet video promising 72 virgins for any Muslim who decapitated him.

Ms Hirsi Ali, who describes herself as an ex-Muslim, wrote and presented the ten-minute film Submission, directed by Mr van Gogh, which is thought to have prompted his killing. The film criticised domestic violence against Islamic women.

Ms Bousakla has also been critical of conservative and radical elements of Islam. Two years ago, she wrote a book, Couscous with Belgian Fries, about the problems of being brought up between the Moroccan and Belgian cultures, and criticising forced marriages, the place of women in society and the role of men within the family.

She has openly opposed fundamentalist influences in Belgian mosques. She has also attacked Dyab Abou Jahjah, the fiery Lebanese-born leader of the Arab European League, who has been dubbed the "Belgian Malcolm X".

Ms Bousakla said last year: "He is just a guy from the Middle East who wants to fight the conflict they have there in the streets of Antwerp."

Mr Abou Jahjah recently announced that he intended to leave Antwerp because of the rapid rise of the Vlaams Blok, whose share of the vote has risen from 10 per cent in 1991 to 24 per cent now, putting it ahead of all other parties.

A Socialist party spokeswoman said that she expected the Vlaams Blok would use the threats to Ms Bousakla to its own advantage. "The Vlaams Blok try and play on everything," she said.

Last week the Vlaams Blok, which has ten members of the regional parliament, was banned by Belgium's highest court for inciting racism. Its supporters and workers were threatened with imprisonment. It was immediately disbanded, and then reconstituted under the new name Vlaams Berlang, meaning "Flemish interest".

 

BELGIUM'S JUSTICE MINISTER UNDER GUARD AFTER DEATH THREATS

Justice minister under guard after death threats
Expatica News
November, 19 2004

Belgium's Justice Minister, Laurette Onkelinkx, has been given increased police protection after receiving death threats.

The Belgian federal prosecutor's office said late on Thursday that Onkelinkx was one of three leading Belgian politicians who had received the threats in a letter.

Former justice minister Philippe Moureaux and Brussels politician Mohamed Chahid had also been threatened, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office explained.

Speaking on Belgium's RTL radio station on Friday Onkelinkx said the Belgian authorities were trying to determine whether the threats against her and her political colleagues – all of whom are members of Belgian socialist parties – were in any way linked to the murder of Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh.

Van Gogh was allegedly murdered by an Islamic militant.

A letter pinned to his body with a knife suggested Van Gogh was killed because of his vocal criticism of Islam.

Meanwhile, Onkelinx announced on Friday that a person thought to have been behind death threats made to Belgian socialist senator Mimount Boussakla had been arrested.

Boussakla, who is of Moroccan origin and is a senator from Antwerp, had been forced into hiding after receiving telephone calls from a person who threatened to kill her "ritually".

 

JEWISH SITES ATTACKED

Jewish sites attacked
Garda probe links between swastikas at synagogue and neo-fascist websites
By Henry McDonald, Ireland Editor
The Observer
November 14, 2004

Gardai are investigating links between an Irish neo-fascist website and an upsurge in anti-semitism in Dublin.

Three Jewish sites in the capital were targeted late Thursday night or early Friday morning, with swastikas daubed on a synagogue, a museum and a cemetery.

Detectives are now exploring if there are any connections between the anti-semitic incidents and the Stormfront Ireland discussion forum, which is part of the Stormfront/White Pride-World Wide internet site.

Jewish leaders in the city said the vandalism was unprecedented in modern times. A swastika was sprayed in black paint on the wall of the Irish Jewish Museum and Heritage Centre at Portobello. The museum's curator, Raphael Siev, who was opening up the centre for a school party visit from Glasnevin discovered it.

'The paint was still wet when I spotted it. This museum is almost 20 years old, as it was opened in 1985 by Chaim Herzog, a former President of Israel. There has never been anything of a negative nature like this on our walls before,' he said.

'I am very upset about this as it is very worrying because this is an attack on a part of the history and cultural heritage of Dublin. On Friday I received many messages of support from our neighbours around us. This museum charts the lives of Jewish people in this city over the last 150 years, so it is worrying that something like this could happen,' he said.

Siev said the museum has never received any hate mail let alone been subjected to anti-semitic attacks.

There were similar acts of vandalism on the Progressive Synagogue at Rathfarnham and on graves at the Jewish cemetery in Dolphin's Barn. In both incidents the same black spray paint was used to daub swastikas. In the same period the memorial to Irishmen and women who died serving in the British armed forces during the two world wars was also vandalised. Anti-British slogans were daubed on the site at Islandbridge commemorating the Irish war dead.

Jacov Pearlman, the rabbi at the Progressive Synagogue, said: 'I deplore any act of racism against any minority in this country.'

A senior Garda source said they had to consider the possibility of links between an emerging neo-fascist group in Dublin and the apparently co-ordinated vandalism.

'There is plenty of anti-semitic material on this site from Irish contributors, so we will try and see if there are any connections. We have to examine every angle on this worrying development,' the officer said.

Stormfront Ireland, among other things, promotes the cause of Holocaust revisionism. In one email posted by 'Barry' it is suggested that 'Ireland is an easy country to do Revisionism in.' Other correspondents call for a new political party with the slogan 'Ireland First' to campaign for the repatriation of thousands of new immigrants who have recently arrived.

'We need a full-blown nationalist party like the FN (National Front) in France or the BNP, but hopefully without their flaws,' another writes.

There are now just several hundred Jewish families left in Dublin from a population of 4,000 at the end of the Second World War.

 

VANDALS SPRAY SWASTIKAS ON JEWISH GRAVESTONES

Vandals spray swastikas on Jewish gravestones
(Press, Auckland, New Zealand)
November 18, 2004

LONDON: Vandals have sprayed swastikas and other Nazi insignia on 15 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in southern England.

They said the anti-Semitic graffiti had appeared on the gravestones in Aldershot, Hampshire, over the past month.

"This is about the lowest thing anybody can do," Police Constable Andy Gardiner of Hampshire police said.

"Any sort of vandalism would be bad enough but to put symbols like these on Jewish graves is a despicable act."

As well as swastikas, the vandals had sprayed SS on some of the graves – a reference to the Schutzstaffel, a paramilitary unit of the Nazi party.

Britain is home to around 265,000 Jews. Members of the Jewish population have warned that anti-Semitism is on the rise.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.