“Surge in German attacks on Jews”

November 24, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "Surge in German attacks on Jews" (Sunday Times, London, Nov. 23, 2003)
2. "Anti-Israeli demonstration held in Berlin" (NDTV, [Indian website], Nov. 23, 2003)
3. "An old evil raises Its weary head. Sixty years after the Holocaust, Europe still wrestles with anti-Semitism"
4. "Poland asks Costa Rica to extradite former Nazi" (AP, Nov. 22, 2003)
5. "Stolen Jewish manuscript returned after 65 years. Nazis looted 14th century document from collection in Austria" (CNN, Nov. 18, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach five articles – three connected to Germany, one to Poland, and one to Austria – with summaries of the articles first:

"I WAS BEATEN BLACK AND BLUE"

"Surge in German attacks on Jews" (The Sunday Times, London, November 23, 2003). "The bespectacled British-born rabbi did not stand a chance. As Walter Rothschild walked through an underground station in Berlin, four youths kicked and beat him, leaving him for dead. 'I was beaten black and blue and covered in blood,' said Rothschild, 49, who moved from Bradford to Germany five years ago. 'I'm not the only one. People spit at us, shout racist remarks, vandalise our graveyards and spray graffiti on our schools.'

Germany is enduring a new bout of soul-searching over its Nazi past after a senior member of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) caused outrage by claiming that European Jews had committed crimes comparable with the Holocaust... Immigration from eastern Europe has turned Germany's Jewish community into the fastest growing and most vibrant in Europe. Rothschild, whose parents fled the Nazis in the 1930s, returned to help.

... after two New York rabbis were assaulted in Berlin earlier this year, local police advised against the wearing of skullcaps and jewellery chains depicting the star of David... A Jewish school in Berlin was recently defaced with the words, 'Six million was not enough', referring to the number killed in the Holocaust.

Last month the German secret service uncovered an alleged neo-Nazi plot to assassinate Jews at a ceremony in Munich to mark the completion of a cultural centre.

A week earlier, three neo-Nazis were convicted of torturing and killing a 16-year-old because he 'looked like a Jew'. The boy died after his skull was smashed by their steel-capped boots."

AROUND A THOUSAND SUPPORTERS OF AL QUDS IRANIAN MOVEMENT DEMONSTRATE AGAINST ISRAEL

"Anti-Israeli demonstration held in Berlin" (NDTV, [Indian website], November 23, 2003). "Around a thousand supporters of the Al Quds Iranian movement held an anti-Israeli demonstration in the German capital Berlin... Anti-Israeli protests are particularly sensitive in Germany – the country's Nazi government killed an estimated six million Jews in the Holocaust."

AN OLD EVIL RAISES ITS WEARY HEAD

"An old evil raises its weary head. Sixty years after the Holocaust, Europe still wrestles with anti-Semitism." (This is an essay by Josef Joffein Time magazine, Europe edition, November 17, 2003. Josef Joffe is editor of the German weekly newspaper "Die Zeit".)

"General Reinhard Gunzel was the commander of Germany's fabled Special Ops force, the KSK. No more. Last Tuesday, he was sacked for writing a letter to an obscure backbencher named Martin Hohmann. In his missive, the general praised the deputy for an 'excellent speech' and assured him that 'the majority of our people shares your thoughts.' What had Herr Hohmann said? He'd called the Jews not a nation of victims but a 'nation of perpetrators,' responsible for millionfold murder in the name of socialism and bolshevism. As 'proof' he adduced Karl Marx, the son of converted Jewish parents, who had invented it all; Henry Ford, who detected the bloody Jewish hand behind Soviet communism in his infamous 1920s tract, The International Jew, which reads like an American version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and finally, those Jews who were prominent leaders of the Bolshevik takeover: Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev. Never mind that Lenin, the real Mr. Big, was no more Jewish than Hohmann. Never mind that thousands of Jewish communists were purged and murdered by Stalin. The Jews had done it.

... Is this anti-Semitism? The denigration and demonization, the attribution of boundless power and evil, clearly are classic signs of Jew hatred. But the more interesting question is this: Is anti-Semitism on a roll in Germany, 60 years after Auschwitz? The answer is no..."

FORMER NAZI ACCUSED OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

"Poland asks Costa Rica to extradite former Nazi" (AP, November 22, 2003). "Efforts to extradite a Ukranian-born man accused of killing Jews in Nazi-occupied territory advanced Friday when Poland asked for his extradition, Foreign Minister Roberto Tovar said. Tovar said the Polish Embassy presented the extradition request for Bodan Koziy, 80, who had been kicked out of the United States. He is accused of participating in crimes against humanity."

RECOVERED MANUSCRIPT RETURNED TO THE AUSTRIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY

"Stolen Jewish manuscript returned after 65 years. Nazis looted 14th century document from collection in Austria" (CNN, November 18, 2003). "Nearly 65 years to the day after it was stolen by the Nazis, a rare historical Hebrew manuscript has been returned to the Austrian Jewish community. The recovered manuscript will be put on display at the Jewish Museum in Vienna."



FULL ARTICLES

SURGE IN GERMAN ATTACKS ON JEWS

Surge in German attacks on Jews
By Justin Sparks, Berlin
The Sunday Times (London)
November 23, 2003

The bespectacled British-born rabbi did not stand a chance. As Walter Rothschild walked through an underground station in Berlin, four youths kicked and beat him, leaving him for dead. "I was beaten black and blue and covered in blood," said Rothschild, 49, who moved from Bradford to Germany five years ago. "I'm not the only one. People spit at us, shout racist remarks, vandalise our graveyards and spray graffiti on our schools."

Germany is enduring a new bout of soul-searching over its Nazi past after a senior member of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) caused outrage by claiming that European Jews had committed crimes comparable with the Holocaust.

Martin Hohmann, the MP, was expelled from the parliamentary party but only after receiving support from a number of colleagues. Angela Merkel, the CDU leader, called last week for a national debate to redefine "German patriotism" and "love for the Fatherland".

Immigration from eastern Europe has turned Germany's Jewish community into the fastest growing and most vibrant in Europe. Rothschild, whose parents fled the Nazis in the 1930s, returned to help.

As the number of Jews grows, old stereotypes are being revived. More than a third of people polled last week by Stern, the news magazine, said they thought the Jews were trying to "take advantage" of their suffering under Hitler and "make the Germans pay for it".

Some 35% said they thought the Jews' primary allegiance lay with Israel rather than with Germany, and 61% thought it time to "draw a line" under discussion about the Holocaust.

Such attitudes are too often expressed in assaults: after two New York rabbis were assaulted in Berlin earlier this year, local police advised against the wearing of skullcaps and jewellery chains depicting the star of David.

The anti-semitism is being fuelled by anger about Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, particularly among German Muslims. A Jewish school in Berlin was recently defaced with the words, "Six million was not enough", referring to the number killed in the Holocaust.

Last month the German secret service uncovered an alleged neo-Nazi plot to assassinate Jews at a ceremony in Munich to mark the completion of a cultural centre. Fifty houses were also raided by police in a crackdown on the German wing of the British organisation Combat 18.

A week earlier, three neo-Nazis were convicted of torturing and killing a 16-year-old because he "looked like a Jew". The boy died after his skull was smashed by their steel-capped boots.

According to Rothschild, many teachers are reluctant to discuss the Holocaust with pupils. He also sees the tensions as the result of a recent series of books looking at the suffering endured by Germans during the war.

"For half a century they weren't allowed to mourn for what they suffered," said Rothschild. "It was bound to come out at some point, but I hope we don't have to suffer for it in the process."

 

ANTI-ISRAELI DEMONSTRATION HELD IN BERLIN

Anti-Israeli demonstration held in Berlin
NDTV [Indian website]
November 23, 2003 (Berlin)

Around a thousand supporters of the Al Quds Iranian movement held an anti-Israeli demonstration in the German capital Berlin.

Some of the protesters demanded that the Palestinians be given the same rights as the Israelis in the Middle East.

The protest also attracted a smaller group of pro-Israeli demonstrators.

Anti-Israeli protests are particularly sensitive in Germany – the country's Nazi government killed an estimated six million Jews in the Holocaust. (AP)

 

AN OLD EVIL RAISES ITS WEARY HEAD

An old evil raises its weary head
Sixty years after the Holocaust, Europe still wrestles with anti-Semitism
Essay | By Josef Joffe
Time magazine Europe edition
November 17, 2003 | Vol. 162 No. 19

Joffe: The Enemy Within

Anti-Semitism: How Bad Is It?

General Reinhard Gunzel was the commander of Germany's fabled Special Ops force, the KSK. No more. Last Tuesday, he was sacked for writing a letter to an obscure backbencher named Martin Hohmann. Normally, penning a letter to a parliamentarian hardly qualifies as high crime and misdemeanor. Germany is different, and for good reason.

In his missive, the general praised the deputy for an "excellent speech" and assured him that "the majority of our people shares your thoughts." What had Herr Hohmann said? He'd called the Jews not a nation of victims but a "nation of perpetrators," responsible for millionfold murder in the name of socialism and bolshevism. As "proof" he adduced Karl Marx, the son of converted Jewish parents, who had invented it all; Henry Ford, who detected the bloody Jewish hand behind Soviet communism in his infamous 1920s tract, The International Jew, which reads like an American version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and finally, those Jews who were prominent leaders of the Bolshevik takeover: Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev. Never mind that Lenin, the real Mr. Big, was no more Jewish than Hohmann. Never mind that thousands of Jewish communists were purged and murdered by Stalin. The Jews had done it, and now to Hohmann's dialectical somersault: Of course, this verdict "may sound horrible," he mused, but after all, isn't this precisely the "same logic" that led to the stigmatization of Germany as a "nation of perpetrators?"

For non-Germans, this screed cries out for decoding. The unspoken logic is this: if the Jews were as bad, or worse, than our forefathers, then they have no special moral claim on us. The original Holocaust was invented not by us, but by them; so let them stop pointing their fingers at us. If we are criminals, so are they. But if they aren't, how can we be? Thus, the score is evened, and we are (almost) out of the moral doghouse.

Is this anti-Semitism? The denigration and demonization, the attribution of boundless power and evil, clearly are classic signs of Jew hatred. But the more interesting question is this: Is anti-Semitism on a roll in Germany, 60 years after Auschwitz? The answer is no.

Hence Günzel's immediate dismissal by Defense Minister Peter Struck, who called him "a confused and lonely general who agreed with an even more confused statement by a conservative member of parliament." Hence the uniform condemnation of both men in the opinion pages of the German press. But there is more significant evidence still.

To hate Jews is not permissible in polite society, but to loathe Israel, and especially its Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, carries no such stigma.

Last year, the American Jewish Committee surveyed the opinions of 1,250 Germans. The news is pretty good: only 17% said they would rather not have a Jew as neighbor; far less welcome were Arabs (43%) and Africans (26%). Do Jews have too much influence? No, said 52%, while 21% had no opinion.

Seven out of 10 thought it "exceedingly" or "very important" that Germans learn about the Holocaust. Three-quarters claimed never to have heard "anti-Semitic statements." Though there were no comparative data, my bet is that in Germany the "AQ" (or "anti-Semitism quotient") is no higher – and perhaps even lower – than in neighboring West European countries.

So, can we sleep sound and tight? No. The problem with such data is that post-Holocaust anti-Semitism is enveloped in a most powerful taboo – people hide it and surveys underreport it. But perhaps there's another way to measure it. Judging from the news out of Brussels last week, one might surmise that some anti-Israelism is a form of sublimated anti-Semitism. To hate Jews is not permissible in polite society, but to loathe Israel, and especially its Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, carries no such stigma. One can certainly oppose Israeli policy without being an anti-Semite. But something more than policy differences are behind the astounding poll released by the E.U. last week, which shows that six out of 10 Europeans regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace, ahead of North Korea and Iran.

The results, said European Commission President Romano Prodi, "point to the continued existence of a bias that must be condemned out of hand." He might also have asked whether Israel has become the über-Jew, a legitimate target where individual Jews are not. There is a quip ascribed to the Israeli psychoanalyst Zvi Rex: "The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz," meaning that Germans (and all of Europe that let it happen) do not want to live under the burden of the Holocaust forever. Hence the projection of a guilt – as most recently executed by Martin Hohmann – that evens the score and lightens the burden of moral responsibility.

If this is the bad news, what is the good news? It is obvious: the demise of "classical" anti-Semitism in Europe – of persecution, expulsion and murder. These fires have burned out. After a millennium of bloodshed, that is the best news of all.

 

POLAND ASKS COSTA RICA TO EXTRADITE FORMER NAZI

Poland asks Costa Rica to extradite former Nazi
The Associated Press
November 22, 2003

Efforts to extradite a Ukranian-born man accused of killing Jews in Nazi-occupied territory advanced Friday when Poland asked for his extradition, Foreign Minister Roberto Tovar said.

Tovar said the Polish Embassy presented the extradition request for Bodan Koziy, 80, who had been kicked out of the United States. He is accused of participating in crimes against humanity. Some legal documents and reports spell his first name as Bohdan and his last name as Koziy.

A court order in 2001 to expel Koziy was frustrated because no country would take him.

Tovar said the extradition request would be turned over to the courts.

Security Minister Rogelio Ramos said recently that officials know where Koziy is living, but he said extradition could take months.

The New York-based World Jewish Congress and the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center have repeatedly urged Costa Rica to expel Koziy, saying he was part of a Ukrainian police unit that operated under Nazi orders from 1942-44.

Koziy, which is spelled Kosic in some court records, is accused of killing a 4-year-old Jewish child from a family named Singer and members of a family named Kandler in 1943.

After World War II, Koziy traveled to the United States, where he received citizenship in 1957. But that citizenship was withdrawn in 1982 after a federal court in Florida discovered he had lied about his identity.

He failed to appear for a deportation proceeding in Miami in March 1985, and surfaced in Costa Rica.

The former Soviet Union sought his extradition in 1986, but that was blocked because Costa Rican law does not allow suspects to be sent to face a possible death sentence.

The World Jewish Congress, based in New York, then took up the case, sending letters to the Costa Rican government to urge them to expel Koziy.

Koziy has denied lying about his identity. Supporters say a witness who reported the killings later recanted, saying she had been pressured by Soviet intelligence agencies to implicate him.

Koziy moved to the United States in 1949 and obtained citizenship, but it was revoked in 1982 after authorities accused him of lying about his identity. He disappeared, but turned up in Costa Rica with his wife in 1984.

In 1986, the Soviet Union requested his extradition. Costa Rica accepted the request, but never carried it out because the Soviet Union refused to guarantee that Koziy wouldn't face the death penalty there.

 

STOLEN JEWISH MANUSCRIPT RETURNED AFTER 65 YEARS

Stolen Jewish manuscript returned after 65 years
Nazis looted 14th century document from collection in Austria
By Chris Strathmann
CNN
November 18, 2003

A rare 14th century Hebrew manuscript was returned to the Vienna Jewish community by U.S. Customs officials Tuesday.

Nearly 65 years to the day after it was stolen by the Nazis, a rare historical Hebrew manuscript has been returned to the Austrian Jewish community.

At a ceremony in Manhattan, officials with the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement presented the letter-size parchment to Erika Jakubovits, executive director of the Jewish Community Organization of Vienna.

Agents recovered the document in June 2002 after it was smuggled into the United States and slated for sale at auction.

The 14th century manuscript is one of the oldest versions of a Kabalistic text known as Sepher Yetzirah. It's one of the first texts to mention the ancient Jewish mystical movement, according to Ori Soltes of the Holocaust Art Restoration Project. The document is valued at $68,000.

Jakubovits contacted Immigration and Customs in March 2002 after she saw a newspaper article that mentioned that Kestenbaum and Co., a New York auction house, was selling a rare manuscript. Immigration and Customs officials determined the document was stolen by the Nazis and that the seller, Aaron Stefansky, a U.S. citizen, had bought it in Israel and smuggled it to New York.

A spokeswoman from Kestenbaum & Co. told The Associated Press that she had no information on the decision to sell the manuscript. In September, Stefansky was convicted of failing to declare the manuscript, and sentenced to one year of probation and a fine of $3,000.

The manuscript had been part of a collection in Vienna until November of 1938, when the Nazis took it, Jakubovits said.

"We are fighting for more than 50 years in Austria to get back our property," she said. "Those things are very, very special. For me, it's the first time I get something returned."

Michael Garcia, acting assistant secretary of the bureau, said the investigation also pointed out holes in border security.

"If people can smuggle artifacts, smuggle other items across our borders, those same vulnerabilities could be exploited to smuggle components for [weapons of mass destruction] or other contraband," Garcia said.

Jakubovits said so far, only six of 625 documents looted by the Nazis have been recovered. She said a team of researchers in Austria is working to track down the missing documents.

The recovered manuscript will be put on display at the Jewish Museum in Vienna, Jakubovits said.


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