Outrage as Bosnian Catholic church honors Nazi murderers (& justice delayed in France)

May 18, 2020

 

CONTENTS

1. Rwanda genocide suspect Kabuga arrested in France after 26 years on the run
2. Outrage as Bosnian Catholic cardinal honors Nazis in special memorial service
3. Killers of French Jewish Holocaust survivor will finally face trial
4. Under new French law, social media companies obliged to remove hateful content
5. U.S. Senate unanimously passes the “Never Again Education Act”
6. Spanish state hires antisemitic group to teach against hate
7. Ukrainian police official demands names and addresses of all Jews
8. Al Jazeera runs rare interview with Holocaust survivor
9. Firebombing damages Jewish center and synagogue in Ukraine
10. Jewish holy site of Esther and Mordechai burned down in Iran
11. Iran sentences French academic to six years in prison
12. Iran to cut four zeros from plummeting currency

 

[Notes by Tom Gross]

(I previously posted some of these items on Facebook.)

RWANDA GENOCIDE SUSPECT KABUGA ARRESTED IN FRANCE AFTER 26 YEARS ON THE RUN

Rwandan businessman Felicien Kabuga, who is accused of helping finance the 1994 massacres of up to 800,000 people in Rwanda, was arrested on Saturday near Paris after 26 years on the run.

The 84-year-old, who is Rwanda’s most-wanted man and has a multi-million bounty on his head by the United States government, was living under a false identity in a flat in Asnieres-Sur-Seine.

Kabuga was indicted in 1997 on seven criminal counts including genocide, complicity in genocide and incitement to commit genocide. This was in relation to the 1994 Rwanda massacres of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.

“Since 1994, Felicien Kabuga, known to have been the financier of the Rwanda genocide, had with impunity stayed in Germany, Belgium, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, or Switzerland,” a French government statement said.

The arrest paves the way for him to be brought to the international court in The Hague.

Two other Rwandan genocide suspects, Augustin Bizimana and Protais Mpiranya, are still being pursued.

Kabuga was responsible for making purchases of large quantities of machetes, hoes, and other agricultural implements in the knowledge that they would be used to commit mass murder, according to prosecutors.

He was also part owner of the infamous Radio Television Milles Collines in Rwanda that incited Hutus to kill Tutsis.

 

OUTRAGE AS BOSNIAN CATHOLIC CARDINAL HONORS NAZIS IN SPECIAL MEMORIAL SERVICE

Thousands of protestors marched through Sarajevo on Saturday to commemorate victims of the Fascist Ustasha regime. At the same time a Catholic mass was being held in the city to honor the Ustasha murderers.

The Croat and Bosnian Ustasha, who ran a puppet state allied to Hitler during World War Two, were notorious for their cruelty and sadism even by Nazi standards, as they murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews, Serbs and Roma.

Bosnian Jews and both the American and Israeli embassies protested at the pro-Fascist “Mass for Bleiburg” held at Sarajevo’s Heart of Jesus Cathedral.

Thousands of ordinary Sarajevans joined Bosnia’s tiny remaining Jewish community as they protested the mass being held by the Croatian and Bosnian Bishops’ Conferences.

Police sealed off the area around Sarajevo’s Catholic Cathedral, where Bosnian Archbishop Cardinal Vinko Puljic said Mass to a congregation of pro-Fascist Croats, including Croat and Bosnian Catholic priests.

Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, said the Mass was “a glorification of those who supported the Nazi-allied fascist Ustasha regime, complicit in the death of hundreds of thousands of human beings”.

In a statement, the World Jewish Congress condemned “these flagrant attempts to once again rehabilitate and glorify the Ustasha.”

“The fact that the Croatian parliament is sponsoring such a contemptible display under the banner of honoring the memory of those who gave their lives for Croatian freedom is a slap in the face to all the innocent victims of the Ustasha, to all proponents of truth in historical memory, and to the Jewish communities across the region whose patriotism and personal security are called into question each time they oppose commemorations for those who brutally killed their forebearers.”

In recent years, commemorations of Nazi collaborators, including state and church officials, have become increasingly common in Croatia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia.

 

KILLERS OF FRENCH JEWISH HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR WILL FINALLY FACE TRIAL ON ANTISEMITIC MURDER CHARGES

This is a follow-up to these dispatches of over two years ago:

* A rally in London, a rally in Paris

* “If it quacks like a duck…” (& Holocaust survivor brutally murdered in Paris)

The two men accused of the brutal murder of French Jewish Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll in her Paris apartment in March 2018 are finally to face trial on charges of “homicide aggravated by anti-Semitism,” Le Parisien newspaper reported on Thursday.

The Paris Prosecutor’s Office has referred the case of the two suspected killers of 85-year-old Knoll to France’s principal criminal court, the court of assizes, after more than two years of deliberations.

The accused pair, both of whom were known antisemites, went to her apartment on March 23, 2018, and stabbed her 11 times in the back, throat and stomach. They then set fire to her corpse, leaving her remains badly charred.

As a nine-year-old girl, Knoll was one of the survivors of the notorious Vel d’hiv round-up of Paris’s Jews by French police acting for the Nazis in 1942 -- events depicted in the 2010 film “Sarah’s Key,” starring Kristin Scott Thomas, which I recommended in this dispatch.

Knoll was the 11th person murdered in an act of anti-Semitism in France in the past 12 years. Many others, including children, have been badly injured.

Knoll’s late husband was an Auschwitz survivor. Knoll’s granddaughter is a subscriber to this email list.

There has been despair among French Jews at the failure by French authorities in recent years to properly pursue the murderers of Jews.

 

UNDER NEW FRENCH LAW, SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES OBLIGED TO REMOVE HATEFUL CONTENT

Under a new French law approved on Wednesday, social media companies will be forced to remove hateful content including posts that glorify or threaten violence, or express hate speech, and to remove the post within 24 hours. Companies that fail to remove illegal content will face a fine of up to $1.4 million.

French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled the proposed legislation in a speech last year to the Representative Council of Jews of France (CRIF). Macron called for France to draw “new red lines” against intolerance and hatred.

As in other languages, the French-language Internet is rife with posts promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories and casting doubt on the Holocaust.

 

U.S. SENATE PASSES THE “NEVER AGAIN EDUCATION ACT”

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed the bipartisan “Never Again Education Act”.

The aim of the act of to make sure the Holocaust is taught in schools across America. It will expand the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s educational resources disseminated to middle and high school teachers nationwide.

It is rare for an act to pass unanimously. The Senate version was introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and had 76 co-sponsors.

The House version was introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), and passed in January on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

“Children are not born with hate in their hearts, it is up to us to make sure they never learn it,” Maloney said in a statement.

 

SPANISH REGIONS HIRES ANTISEMITIC GROUP TO TEACH AGAINST HATE

Spain’s small Jewish community has strongly criticized a Spanish regional government for hiring an organization that is widely criticized as antisemitic to train teachers on how to combat racism.

I have written in the past on this dispatch list about the group, BDS Pais Valencia.

For example, in 2015, the group campaigned to exclude American Jewish singer Matisyahu from a music festival on the basis that he was Jewish and Israel was a Jewish state.

 

OUTRAGE AFTER UKRAINIAN POLICE OFFICIAL DEMANDS NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF ALL JEWS

A Ukrainian Jewish group accused the nation’s police force of “open anti-Semitism” last week after a high-ranking police official demanded a list of all Jews in the western Ukrainian city of Kolomyya.

The territory of western Ukraine, in an area that was taken over by Ukrainians after World War Two and was formerly part of Poland and Romania is notorious for its continuing antisemitism.

The Ukrainian Jewish Committee said: “Interestingly, in 1941, the Nazis and the Ukrainian auxiliary police also demanded a list of all Jews.”

A Ukrainian parliamentarian in Kiev called for an investigation into the Ukrainian police demand, which he called a “dangerously inflammatory violation of the law.”

Settled by Jews in the early part of the sixteenth century, the present size of the community in Kolomyia is less than 100. During the Holocaust, most of the city’s Jews were murdered at the Belzec death camp.

West Ukraine continues to be a flashpoint for ultranationalist activism. Last month, local Jews expressed outrage when a 95-year-old veteran of the “Halychyna” division of the Ukrainian SS was honored in the city of Kalush.

Vasyl Nakonechny, 95, was pictured giving a Nazi salute as he received the title of “Honorary Citizen of Kalush” at the ceremony on April 20, while the audience applauded.

 

AL JAZEERA RUNS RARE INTERVIEW WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR

In a positive development Al-Jazeera (which in the past has run antisemitic articles), has published an unbiased interview with a Holocaust survivor, Michael Katz, from the west Ukrainian city of Lviv (previously the Polish city of Lemberg/Lwow/Lvov).

You can read it here:

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/holocaust-survivor-michael-katz-escaped-nazis-200508115821469.html

Katz’s mother Rita was deported to Belzec where she was gassed to death. His father Edward Katz was killed in Treblinka.

12-year-old Michael Katz was selected to work in Janowska, a slave labor camp on the outskirts of Lvov which then became an extermination camp where 200,000 Jews were murdered. But he managed to escape by crawling under the barbed wire fence of Janowska and hiding in a cemetery. He made his way to Warsaw, where he participated in the Warsaw uprising in the summer of 1944.

In 1946, he reached the United States, where he went to university and eventually became a pediatrician.

* Regarding Lvov, see also these disturbing photos.

 

FIREBOMBING DAMAGES JEWISH CENTER AND SYNAGOGUE IN UKRAINE

On Holocaust Memorial Day three weeks ago, a Holocaust memorial commemorating the murder of 900 Jews in Golovanevsk, Ukraine was vandalized and assailants attempted to burn down a Jewish community center and synagogue in Ukrainian town of Kherson.

Built in 1895, the ornately designed synagogue was heavily damaged during World War II but restored by the small surviving local Jewish community in 1991. No one was injured in the attack since the building was empty because of coronavirus.

 

JEWISH HOLY SITE OF ESTHER AND MORDECHAI BURNED DOWN IN IRAN

There has been widespread criticism after the Jewish holy site of Esther and Mordechai was set ablaze in Iran last week.

Prior to the arson, Twitter users in Iran had threatened to destroy the holy site.

The Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York and Los Angeles said in a statement that they “are shocked and truly saddened by the news of fire in the ancient and official Iranian Heritage Site, the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamedan.”

“We hereby ask the responsible members of the government of Islamic Republic of Iran to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice for this barbaric act of insult to this holy site and take steps to protect other sites of religious and historic significance.”

 

IRAN SENTENCES FRENCH ACADEMIC TO SIX YEARS IN PRISON

On Saturday, Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced 60-year-old French anthropologist Fariba Adelkhah to six years in prison on what are widely believed to be trumped up spying charges.

France’s foreign ministry said Adelkhah’s conviction “is not based on any serious element or fact and is a political decision.”

Iran is holding a number of westerners as effective hostages, each having being convicted on charges which were almost certainly invented.

 

IRAN TO CUT FOUR ZEROS FROM PLUMMETING CURRENCY

Earlier this month, Iran’s parliament passed a bill allowing the government to slash four zeros from the rial. This follows a sharp fall in the value of the currency, which was trading at about 156,000 rials to one US dollar.

Iran’s national currency will be changed from the rial to the Toman, which is equal to 10,000 rials.

Iran’s state TV said the Central Bank of Iran will have two years to “pave the ground to change the currency to the Toman”.

 

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