Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

The Children of Bullenhuser Damm

April 21, 2020

The children of Bullenhuser Damm: 75 years ago today, with allied troops only 3 miles away, SS doctors ordered them hanged in the basement of a school in order to cover up the experiments they had been conducting on the children.

 

THE CHILDREN OF BULLENHUSER DAMM

I attach an article of mine published today.

The Children of Bullenhuser Damm
By Tom Gross
Jewish Chronicle (London)
April 21, 2020

Israel’s annual memorial day for the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, Yom HaShoah, which takes place today, is rightly marked around the world. Prince Charles, for example, paid tribute to Holocaust survivors in an online Yom HaShoah service yesterday evening.

Naturally such ceremonies tend to focus on the major death camps. But there are other almost completely forgotten “smaller” episodes of the Holocaust which are so appalling that it is important for us not to forget them.

One is a crime that took place exactly 75 years ago, when on the night of 20-21 April, 1945, SS troops murdered 20 Jewish children and at least 28 adults in the basement of a school at Bullenhuser Damm 92-94 in Hamburg.

Before their murder, the children, from Italy, Slovakia, France, Poland and the Netherlands, had been subjected to barbaric medical experiments as prisoners in Neuengamme Concentration Camp on the outskirts of Hamburg.

In November 1944, ten girls and ten boys, aged between five and 12 years old, were brought from Auschwitz to Neuengamme at the request of Dr Kurt Heissmeyer so he and his team of doctors could experiment on them. He hoped to gain a professorship from his research, he said. The children’s skin was cut open and tuberculosis bacilli rubbed into the wounds. Heissmeyer then had their lymph glands removed by operation, to discover whether antibodies had developed against the tuberculosis. All this took place in the last weeks of the war, when Heissmeyer knew the war was lost.

With the British army now less than three miles away, in order to cover up their crimes, the SS doctors and SS-Obersturmführer Arnold Strippel decided the children had to die. The children were taken to the basement of the building and hanged, together with adult prisoners who had witnessed the experiments.

After the war, Heissmeyer simply returned to his home in Magdeburg, in East Germany, and started a successful medical practice as a lung and tuberculosis specialist. He was eventually found out in 1959 after he boasted about his wartime experiments. In 1966, seven years later (and a few months before he died) he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

At his trial he stated, “I did not think that inmates of a camp had full value as human beings.” When asked why he didn’t use guinea pigs he responded, “For me there was no basic difference between human beings and guinea pigs.” He then corrected himself: “Jews and guinea pigs”.

Most relatives of the murdered children never found out about their fates though some did, decades later, thanks to the persistent efforts of German journalist Günther Schwarberg.

The first media reporting of what happened at Bullenhuser Damm was in 1979, when Schwarberg was told about it from neighbors who lived in the street, and wrote a series of articles for “Stern” magazine.

After that he stopped most of his other journalism and, helped by his wife, made it his life’s work to find the surviving relatives of the children to tell them what had happened (a much harder task in the pre-Internet era). He found some of their relatives, in some cases siblings, living in Tel Aviv, New York, and Naples, Italy. Thanks to his perseverance, the names of the children, and the German perpetrators of these crimes, have not been forgotten. He and his wife Barbara Hüsing were the first Germans to be awarded the Anne Frank medal in 1987.

Schwarberg wrote shortly before he died in 2008: “After the war, the school began teaching children again. Nothing was said about the murders in the cellar. The infanticide appeared forgotten. Once a year a small group of resistance fighters met to remember the children in the cellar of the school. Every year they were fewer.”

A small ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary, planned for today, had to be cancelled due to coronavirus.

(Arnold Strippel, the SS-Obersturmführer who oversaw the Bullenhuser Damm killings, and had previously been the Deputy commandant of the Majdanek death and slave labour camp for three years, lived comfortably for decades in West Germany in a villa on the outskirts of Frankfurt despite all efforts made by relatives of his victims to bring him to trial. He died in 1994.)

Five years ago, on the 70th anniversary, Five schools -- in Eindhoven (Holland), Messina (Italy), Radom (Poland), Paris, and Hamburg -- sent children to research and learn about the children of Bullenhuser Damm. But perhaps in future schools in Britain and elsewhere will learn about these children.

 

The murdered children of Bullenhuser Damm

Alexander Hornemann, 8, the Netherlands
Eduard Hornemann, 12, the Netherlands
Marek Steinbaum, 10, Poland
Marek James, 6, Poland
Walter Junglieb, 12, Slovakia
Roman Witonski, 7, Poland
Roman Zeller, 12, Poland
Sergio de Simone, 7, Italy
Georges Andre Kohn, 12, France
Eduard Reichenbaum, 10, Poland
Jacqueline Morgenstern, 12, France
Surcis Goldinger, 11, Poland
Lelka Birnbaum, 12, Poland
Eleonora Witonska, 5, Poland
Ruchla Zylberberg, 10, Poland
H.Wasserman, 8, Poland
Lea Klygerman, 8, Poland
Rywka Herszberg, 7, Poland
Blumel Mekler, 11, Poland
Mania Altman, 5, Poland

 

Among other past dispatches and articles of mine on the Holocaust:

* Who remembers Jan Zwartendijk?

* How one film revolutionized Holocaust commemoration: Schindler’s List, two decades on

* “A shy little bird hidden in my rib cage”

* Reporting Auschwitz, Then & Now: The lamentable record of The New York Times

* Goodbye, Golden Rose

* The “Iranian Schindler” (& new report shows FDR deliberately let Jews die)

* The Lady In Number 6

* Honouring the dead, one stone at a time

 

* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia

“We could not separate them”; “For most of it, I have no words”

April 15, 2020


75 years ago today, April 15, 1945, British forces liberated Bergen-Belsen death camp. Above, Belsen survivor Masha Greenbaum with her granddaughter Daniella in Jerusalem in 2017.

Born in Kovno, Lithuania in 1927, Masha survived the Kovno Ghetto, the Narva slave labor camp in Estonia, and the Stutthof and Belsen concentration camps in Germany. (Photograph courtesy of Daniella Greenbaum.)

 

Among the many victims of Belsen were sisters Margot and Anne Frank. Above, a memorial stone placed for them at the site of the former camp.

 

IAN FORSYTH

Here are interviews with The Observer (the Sunday edition of The Guardian) and an interview published today with BBC Scotland, with Ian Forsyth.

Forsyth, now aged 96, was one of the first soldiers to arrive at the camp and says what he saw that day has haunted him for the past 75 years.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/12/the-horrors-i-saw-still-wake-me-at-night-the-liberation-of-belsen-75-years-on

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-51234466

 

RICHARD DIMBLEBY

As The Observer notes: “British troops found tens of thousands of emaciated and diseased prisoners alongside thousands of unburied corpses. The broadcaster Richard Dimbleby described the scene shortly after liberation. The BBC initially refused to play the report, unable to believe the scenes he recounted. It was finally broadcast only after Dimbleby threatened to resign… The liberation was not the end of the horror: more than 13,000 of the survivors died of disease in the following days.”

Here is Dimbleby’s radio report from Belsen that the BBC tried to suppress:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/richard-dimbleby-describes-belsen/zvw7cqt

According to a poll last year, 3.5 million Britons don’t believe the Holocaust happened at all, and millions of others think it is exaggerated. In France, 20% of those aged 18-34 said they had never heard of the Holocaust; in Austria, the main perpetrator of the Holocaust alongside Germany, the figure was 12%.

 

BRITISH LIBERATORS

Here are a series of interviews conducted by London’s Imperial War Museum with other British soldiers who liberated Belsen.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-liberation-of-bergen-belsen

 

BELA DEKANY

I would also like to mention my friend (and subscriber to this email list) the outstanding musician Bela Dekany, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen. Born into a Hungarian-Jewish family, Bela lives in London and remains as intellectually sharp as ever. A very distinguished violinist, Bela was long time leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Here he is leading the BBC Symphony Orchestra as part of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London, September 9, 1990.

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpsjf4

 

“FOR MOST OF IT, I HAVE NO WORDS.”

April 11 marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald death camp by US forces. Among the survivors was Elie Wiesel, aged 16.

CBS reporter Edward R. Morrow was the first reporter to arrive at the camp. “I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it, I have no words,” he said.

You can listen to Morrow’s report here:

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1002172

As was the case with Belsen today, ceremonies to mark the 75th liberation were canceled due to coronavirus:

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-04-11/75th-anniversary-of-buchenwald-liberation-affected-by-virus

 

 

‘WE COULD NOT SEPARATE THEM’: CONCENTRATION CAMP LIBERATOR DAVID COHEN AND WIFE MURIEL DIE TOGETHER AT NURSING HOME

David Cohen was part of U.S. forces that helped liberated Ohrdruf concentration camp in April 1945.

He has passed away at the age of 102 with his wife (of 78 years) Muriel Cohen, age 97, at a Jewish Nursing Home in Longmeadow. His wife tested positive for coronavirus. He had not, but he refused to leave her as she died.

The photographs he took at the camp on the day it was liberated that day, of bodies stacked on top of each other, some charred and others with fresh bullet holes, form part of the permanent collection of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Here is a short interview with David Cohen about the liberation of the camp, with some of the remarkable photos he took:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1U5dEEZxufs

Their daughters had not been able to see them since March 12 when the nursing home implemented a no-visitor policy in conjunction with government public health recommendations to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Staff at the nursing home said “We could not separate them,” after Muriel contracted coronavirus.

Their daughter said she had drawn solace from the fact a hospice nurse used her hands to serve as the link between David and Muriel’s hands as they died.

 


 




This table compiled from worldometer stats provides an indication of which democratic OECD countries are doing best to save lives. It shows deaths per 1m population due to Covid19. There are 10 European countries with worse records than the US. Figures are as of April 14.

Of course, some countries in this list such as Poland, Mexico, Turkey are likely leaving out some of the fatalities in an effort to keep the figures down, and the UK is not including fatalities in care homes.

Also: Unlike the UK and other west European countries, American states such as New York are including in their Covid fatality lists people who have not been tested for Covid but are presumed to have died partly as a result of it.

Testing is much more widespread in the US than in many other countries. This suggests that the actual death totals not only in countries with governments that greatly distort the figures such as China, Iran and North Korea, but also some West European countries, may in fact have overall Covid fatalities higher than the US.

 

Here are a few of the other articles I posted on Facebook in recent days:

The disgusting scapegoating and beating of Africans in China, as many Chinese blame Africans for coronavirus!

https://www.ft.com/content/48f199b0-9054-4ab6-aaad-a326163c9285

 

Coronavirus distancing may need to continue until 2022, say experts. Scientists say one-time lockdown will not bring pandemic under control.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/14/coronavirus-distancing-continue-until-2022-lockdown-pandemic

 

An outrageous situation as bus drivers die of coronavirus in London.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8204393/Bus-drivers-coronavirus-symptoms-work-sick-pay-low.html

 

* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia

Kissinger: the world will never be the same (& Trapped in an eternal honeymoon)

April 06, 2020

Life for many in the world today.

 

Doctors at Israeli hospitals (such as those above in the town of Petah Tikva), have placed photos of themselves on their protective suits so that coronavirus patients can see who is taking care of them.

 

Above: New York’s Bronx Zoo’s Malayan twins Nadia (front) and Azul (rear). 4-year-old Nadia has tested positive for coronavirus. She, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions have developed a dry cough but all are expected to recover, the zoo said. The zoo has been closed since March 16 due to the spread of the virus.

(A friend writes: “Personally I stay at least 2m away from tigers, with or without corona.”)

 

A South African newlywed couple have been left stranded at a five-star Maldives resort when both South Africa and the Maldives suddenly went into lockdown during their honeymoon.

27-year-old Olivia (a teacher, pictured above last week at the resort) and her new husband, 28-year-old Raul (a butcher), are the only remaining guests, being catered to by the entire resort staff.

Every night performers still put on a show for them in the resort’s restaurant, Olivia told journalists. “Everyone says they want to be stuck on a tropical island, until you’re actually stuck,” she added. “It only sounds good because you know you can leave.”

 

IRAN, CHINA DEATHS ARE “AT LEAST TEN TIMES GREATER THAN OFFICIALLY ADMITTED”

[Note by Tom Gross]

The media keeps on reporting that America has the highest number of coronavirus infections, and that Italy has the highest number of deaths. But this is almost certainly untrue.

The true numbers of coronavirus deaths in Iran, I am reliably told by those with inside knowledge, is likely to be in the region of 40,000, and in China in the hundreds of thousands.

There are also likely high levels of infections in the eastern parts of Russia, which shares a very long border with China, and in countries such as Indonesia and Burma.

Democratic countries tend to be telling the truth in the figures supplied here , whereas many dictatorial regimes are significantly covering up the true extent of coronavirus in their countries.

There is also a significant difference in the levels of testing among democratic countries, meaning there are significant underestimates of those who are infected in countries such as Britain.

***

I attach a variety of articles below. (I don’t necessarily agree with the points made in the opinion articles attached.)

 

KISSINGER: THE WORLD WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

In the first piece below, in the Wall Street Journal, former secretary of state and national security adviser Henry Kissinger writes:

The surreal atmosphere of the Covid-19 pandemic calls to mind how I felt as a young man in the 84th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge. Now, as in late 1944, there is a sense of inchoate danger, aimed not at any particular person, but striking randomly and with devastation. But there is an important difference between that faraway time and ours. American endurance then was fortified by an ultimate national purpose. Now, in a divided country, efficient and farsighted government is necessary to overcome obstacles unprecedented in magnitude and global scope. Sustaining the public trust is crucial to social solidarity, to the relation of societies with each other, and to international peace and stability.

Nations cohere and flourish on the belief that their institutions can foresee calamity, arrest its impact and restore stability. When the Covid-19 pandemic is over, many countries’ institutions will be perceived as having failed. Whether this judgment is objectively fair is irrelevant. The reality is the world will never be the same after the coronavirus. To argue now about the past only makes it harder to do what has to be done.

 

“COVID-19 IS NOT THE BLACK DEATH”

In the second piece below, Jonathan Sumption, a former British Supreme Court judge, writes in The Sunday Times (of London):

Fear is dangerous. It is the enemy of reason. It suppresses balance and judgment. And it is infectious, as democratic politicians run for cover in the face of public panic…

Epidemics are not new. Bubonic plague, smallpox, cholera, typhoid, meningitis, Spanish flu all took a heavy toll in their time. An earlier generation would not have understood the current hysteria over Covid-19, whose symptoms are milder and whose case mortality is lower than any of these. What has changed? For one thing, we have become much more risk-averse…

What is clear is that Covid-19 is not the Black Death. It is dangerous for those with serious existing medical conditions, especially if they are old. For others, the symptoms are mild in the overwhelming majority of cases…

We have set about abolishing human sociability in ways that lead to unimaginable distress. We have given the police powers that, even if they respect the limits, will create an authoritarian pattern of life utterly inconsistent with our traditions… These things represent an interference with our lives and our personal autonomy that is intolerable in a free society. …And that is before we even get to the economic impact…

The truth is that in public policy there are no absolute values. Do we not allow cars, among the most lethal weapons ever devised, although we know for certain that every year thousands will be killed or maimed by them? …

A similar calculation about the coronavirus might justify a very short period of lockdown and business closures, if it helped the critical care capacity of the NHS to catch up… But as soon as the scientists start talking about a month or even three or six months, we are entering a realm of sinister fantasy …


CONTENTS

1. The coronavirus pandemic will forever alter the world order (By Henry Kissinger, Wall St Journal, April 4, 2020)
2. Coronavirus lockdown: no one even asks whether this ‘cure’ is actually worse (Sunday Times of London, April 5 2020)
3. George W. Bush paved way for global pandemic planning (ABC News, April 5, 2020)
4. An unwanted symptom of the coronavirus crisis in France: Antisemitic conspiracy theories (JTA, April 2, 2020)
5. Doctor with Covid-19 dies in Berlin flat after travelling from London (The Guardian, April 4, 2020)
6. Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive for coronavirus (New York Post, April 5, 2020)

 

ARTICLES

THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC WILL FOREVER ALTER THE WORLD ORDER

The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order
The U.S. must protect its citizens from disease while starting the urgent work of planning for a new epoch.
By Henry A. Kissinger
Wall Street Journal
April 4, 2020

The surreal atmosphere of the Covid-19 pandemic calls to mind how I felt as a young man in the 84th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge. Now, as in late 1944, there is a sense of inchoate danger, aimed not at any particular person, but striking randomly and with devastation. But there is an important difference between that faraway time and ours. American endurance then was fortified by an ultimate national purpose. Now, in a divided country, efficient and farsighted government is necessary to overcome obstacles unprecedented in magnitude and global scope. Sustaining the public trust is crucial to social solidarity, to the relation of societies with each other, and to international peace and stability.

Nations cohere and flourish on the belief that their institutions can foresee calamity, arrest its impact and restore stability. When the Covid-19 pandemic is over, many countries’ institutions will be perceived as having failed. Whether this judgment is objectively fair is irrelevant. The reality is the world will never be the same after the coronavirus. To argue now about the past only makes it harder to do what has to be done.

The coronavirus has struck with unprecedented scale and ferocity. Its spread is exponential: U.S. cases are doubling every fifth day. At this writing, there is no cure. Medical supplies are insufficient to cope with the widening waves of cases. Intensive-care units are on the verge, and beyond, of being overwhelmed. Testing is inadequate to the task of identifying the extent of infection, much less reversing its spread. A successful vaccine could be 12 to 18 months away.

The U.S. administration has done a solid job in avoiding immediate catastrophe. The ultimate test will be whether the virus’s spread can be arrested and then reversed in a manner and at a scale that maintains public confidence in Americans’ ability to govern themselves. The crisis effort, however vast and necessary, must not crowd out the urgent task of launching a parallel enterprise for the transition to the post-coronavirus order.

Leaders are dealing with the crisis on a largely national basis, but the virus’s society-dissolving effects do not recognize borders. While the assault on human health will – hopefully – be temporary, the political and economic upheaval it has unleashed could last for generations. No country, not even the U.S., can in a purely national effort overcome the virus. Addressing the necessities of the moment must ultimately be coupled with a global collaborative vision and program. If we cannot do both in tandem, we will face the worst of each.

Drawing lessons from the development of the Marshall Plan and the Manhattan Project, the U.S. is obliged to undertake a major effort in three domains. First, shore up global resilience to infectious disease. Triumphs of medical science like the polio vaccine and the eradication of smallpox, or the emerging statistical-technical marvel of medical diagnosis through artificial intelligence, have lulled us into a dangerous complacency. We need to develop new techniques and technologies for infection control and commensurate vaccines across large populations. Cities, states and regions must consistently prepare to protect their people from pandemics through stockpiling, cooperative planning and exploration at the frontiers of science.

Second, strive to heal the wounds to the world economy. Global leaders have learned important lessons from the 2008 financial crisis. The current economic crisis is more complex: The contraction unleashed by the coronavirus is, in its speed and global scale, unlike anything ever known in history. And necessary public-health measures such as social distancing and closing schools and businesses are contributing to the economic pain. Programs should also seek to ameliorate the effects of impending chaos on the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Third, safeguard the principles of the liberal world order. The founding legend of modern government is a walled city protected by powerful rulers, sometimes despotic, other times benevolent, yet always strong enough to protect the people from an external enemy. Enlightenment thinkers reframed this concept, arguing that the purpose of the legitimate state is to provide for the fundamental needs of the people: security, order, economic well-being, and justice. Individuals cannot secure these things on their own. The pandemic has prompted an anachronism, a revival of the walled city in an age when prosperity depends on global trade and movement of people.

The world’s democracies need to defend and sustain their Enlightenment values. A global retreat from balancing power with legitimacy will cause the social contract to disintegrate both domestically and internationally. Yet this millennial issue of legitimacy and power cannot be settled simultaneously with the effort to overcome the Covid-19 plague. Restraint is necessary on all sides – in both domestic politics and international diplomacy. Priorities must be established.

We went on from the Battle of the Bulge into a world of growing prosperity and enhanced human dignity. Now, we live an epochal period. The historic challenge for leaders is to manage the crisis while building the future. Failure could set the world on fire.

 

“WE ARE SO AFRAID OF DEATH, NO ONE EVEN ASKS WHETHER THIS ‘CURE’ IS ACTUALLY WORSE”

Coronavirus lockdown: we are so afraid of death, no one even asks whether this ‘cure’ is actually worse
By Jonathan Sumption
The Sunday Times (of London)
April 5 2020

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” The words are Franklin D Roosevelt’s. His challenge was recession, not disease, but his words have a wider resonance.

Fear is dangerous. It is the enemy of reason. It suppresses balance and judgment. And it is infectious. Roosevelt thought government was doing too little. But today fear is more likely to push governments into doing too much, as democratic politicians run for cover in the face of public panic. Is the coronavirus the latest and most damaging example?

Epidemics are not new. Bubonic plague, smallpox, cholera, typhoid, meningitis, Spanish flu all took a heavy toll in their time. An earlier generation would not have understood the current hysteria over Covid-19, whose symptoms are milder and whose case mortality is lower than any of these.

What has changed? For one thing, we have become much more risk-averse. We no longer accept the wheel of fortune. We take security for granted. We do not tolerate avoidable tragedies. Fear stops us thinking about the more remote costs of the measures necessary to avoid them, measures that may pitch us into even greater misfortunes of a different kind.

We have also acquired an irrational horror of death. Today death is the great obscenity, inevitable but somehow unnatural. In the midst of life, our ancestors lived with death, an ever-present fact that they understood and accommodated. They experienced the death of friends and family, young and old, generally at home. Today it is hidden away in hospitals and care homes: out of sight and out of mind, unmentionable until it strikes.

We know too little about Covid-19. We do not know its true case mortality because of the uncertainties about the total number infected. We do not know how many of those who have died would have died anyway – possibly a bit later – from other underlying conditions (“comorbidities”, in doctor-speak).

What is clear is that Covid-19 is not the Black Death. It is dangerous for those with serious existing medical conditions, especially if they are old. For others, the symptoms are mild in the overwhelming majority of cases.

The prime minister, the health secretary and the Prince of Wales – all of whom have caught it and are fine – represent the normal pattern. The much publicised but extremely rare deaths of fit young people are tragic but they are outliers.

Yet governments have adopted, with public support, the most extreme and indiscriminate measures.

We have subjected most of the population, young or old, vulnerable or fit, to house imprisonment for an indefinite period.

We have set about abolishing human sociability in ways that lead to unimaginable distress.

We have given the police powers that, even if they respect the limits, will create an authoritarian pattern of life utterly inconsistent with our traditions.

We have resorted to law, which requires exact definition, and banished common sense, which requires judgment.

These things represent an interference with our lives and our personal autonomy that is intolerable in a free society. To say that they are necessary for larger social ends, however valuable those ends may be, is to treat human beings as objects, mere instruments of policy.

And that is before we even get to the economic impact. We have put hundreds of thousands out of a job and into universal credit.

Recent research suggests that we are already pushing a fifth of small businesses into bankruptcy, many of which will have taken a lifetime of honest toil to build. The proportion is forecast to rise to a third after three months of lockdown.

Generations to come are being saddled with high levels of public and private debt. These things kill, too. If all this is the price of saving human life, we have to ask whether it is worth paying.

The truth is that in public policy there are no absolute values, not even the preservation of life. There are only pros and cons. Do we not allow cars, among the most lethal weapons ever devised, although we know for certain that every year thousands will be killed or maimed by them? We do this because we judge that it is a price worth paying to get about in speed and comfort. Every one of us who drives is a tacit party to that Faustian bargain.

A similar calculation about the coronavirus might justify a very short period of lockdown and business closures, if it helped the critical care capacity of the NHS to catch up. It may even be that tough social distancing measures would be acceptable as applied only to vulnerable categories.

But as soon as the scientists start talking about a month or even three or six months, we are entering a realm of sinister fantasy in which the cure has taken over as the biggest threat to our society. Lockdowns are at best only a way of buying time anyway. Viruses don’t just go away. Ultimately, we will emerge from this crisis when we acquire some collective (or “herd”) immunity. That is how epidemics burn themselves out.

In the absence of a vaccine, it will happen, but only when a sufficient proportion of the population is exposed to the disease.

I am not a scientist. Most of you are not scientists. But we can all read the scientific literature, which is immaculately clear but has obvious limitations. Scientists can help us assess the clinical consequences of different ways to contain the coronavirus. But they are no more qualified than the rest of us to say whether they are worth turning our world upside down and inflicting serious long-term damage. All of us have a responsibility to maintain a sense of proportion, especially when so many are losing theirs.

 

GEORGE W. BUSH PAVED WAY FOR GLOBAL PANDEMIC PLANNING

George W. Bush in 2005: ‘If we wait for a pandemic to appear, it will be too late to prepare’
A book about the 1918 flu pandemic spurred the government to action.
By Matthew Mosk
ABC News
April 5, 2020

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/george-bush-2005-wait-pandemic-late-prepare/story?id=69979013

In the summer of 2005, President George W. Bush was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he began flipping through an advance reading copy of a new book about the 1918 flu pandemic. He couldn’t put it down.

When he returned to Washington, he called his top homeland security adviser into the Oval Office and gave her the galley of historian John M. Barry’s “The Great Influenza,” which told the chilling tale of the mysterious plague that “would kill more people than the outbreak of any other disease in human history.”

“You’ve got to read this,” Fran Townsend remembers the president telling her. “He said, ‘Look, this happens every 100 years. We need a national strategy.’“

Thus was born the nation’s most comprehensive pandemic plan -- a playbook that included diagrams for a global early warning system, funding to develop new, rapid vaccine technology, and a robust national stockpile of critical supplies, such as face masks and ventilators, Townsend said.

The effort was intense over the ensuing three years, including exercises where cabinet officials gamed out their responses, but it was not sustained. Large swaths of the ambitious plan were either not fully realized or entirely shelved as other priorities and crises took hold.

But elements of that effort have formed the foundation for the national response to the coronavirus pandemic underway right now.

“Despite politics, despite changes, when a crisis hits, you pull what you’ve got off the shelf and work from there,” Townsend said.

When Bush first told his aides he wanted to focus on the potential of a global pandemic, many of them harbored doubts.

“My reaction was -- I’m buried. I’m dealing with counterterrorism. Hurricane season. Wildfires. I’m like, ‘What?’“ Townsend said. “He said to me, ‘It may not happen on our watch, but the nation needs the plan.’“

Over the ensuing months, cabinet officials got behind the idea. Most of them had governed through the Sept. 11 terror attacks, so events considered unlikely but highly-impactful had a certain resonance.

“There was a realization that it’s no longer fantastical to raise scenarios about planes falling from the sky, or anthrax arriving in the mail,” said Tom Bossert, who worked in the Bush White House and went on to serve as a homeland security adviser in the Trump administration. “It was not a novel. It was the world we were living.”

According to Bossert, who is now an ABC News contributor, Bush did not just insist on preparation for a pandemic. He was obsessed with it.

“He was completely taken by the reality that that was going to happen,” Bossert said.

In a November 2005 speech at the National Institutes of Health, Bush laid out proposals in granular detail -- describing with stunning prescience how a pandemic in the United States would unfold. Among those in the audience was Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leader of the current crisis response, who was then and still is now the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“A pandemic is a lot like a forest fire,” Bush said at the time. “If caught early it might be extinguished with limited damage. If allowed to smolder, undetected, it can grow to an inferno that can spread quickly beyond our ability to control it.”

The president recognized that an outbreak was a different kind of disaster than the ones the federal government had been designed to address.

“To respond to a pandemic, we need medical personnel and adequate supplies of equipment,” Bush said. “In a pandemic, everything from syringes to hospital beds, respirators masks and protective equipment would be in short supply.”

Bush told the gathered scientists that they would need to develop a vaccine in record time.

“If a pandemic strikes, our country must have a surge capacity in place that will allow us to bring a new vaccine on line quickly and manufacture enough to immunize every American against the pandemic strain,” he said.

Bush set out to spend $7 billion building out his plan. His cabinet secretaries urged their staffs to take preparations seriously. The government launched a website, www.pandemicflu.gov, that is still in use today. But as time passed, it became increasingly difficult to justify the continued funding, staffing and attention, Bossert said.

“You need to have annual budget commitment. You need to have institutions that can survive any one administration. And you need to have leadership experience,” Bossert said. “All three of those can be effected by our wonderful and unique form of government in which you transfer power every four years.”

Bush declined, through a spokesman, to comment on the unfolding crisis or discuss the current response. But his remarks from 15 years ago still resonate.

“If we wait for a pandemic to appear,” he warned, “it will be too late to prepare. And one day many lives could be needlessly lost because we failed to act today.”

 

AN UNWANTED SYMPTOM OF THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS IN FRANCE: ANTI-SEMITIC CONSPIRACY THEORIES

An unwanted symptom of the coronavirus crisis in France: Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories
By Cnaan Liphshiz
JTA
April 2, 2020

Anti-Semitism has plagued French society for centuries, flaring up in times of crisis – especially during epidemics.

In the 14th century, for instance, Jews were massacred in France during the Black Death epidemic after they were blamed for spreading the disease by poisoning water wells. In the city of Strasbourg alone, 2,000 Jews were burnt alive by orders of the local council, according to the historian Robert Gottfried’s book “Black Death.”

That kind of disease-related conspiracy theory hasn’t widely manifested itself for centuries. Now, however, the coronavirus is reigniting that strain of anti-Semitism in France.

“It’s deeply saddening and it’s revolting, but the coronavirus pandemic is a reminder that Jews will be blamed whenever there’s an epidemic, be it today or 1347,” said Marc Knobel, a historian who since 2002 has been the head of studies at the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities.

In recent weeks, a caricature of Agnes Buzyn, France’s previous health minister who was Jewish, pouring poison into a well – a depiction of one of the most prevalent theories that led to pogroms during the Black Death plague – has made the rounds on French social media. It’s been shared tens of thousands of times.

Another viral image superimposes Buzyn’s face on the “happy merchant” anti-Semitic caricature, which shows a grinning Jewish man rubbing his palms together.

Then there’s a widely shared video accusing Buzyn and her husband, Yves Levy, also Jewish, of withholding chloroquine – an anti-malarial drug being touted as a possible coronavirus antidote by some, including President Donald Trump, but whose effectivity against the coronavirus is unproven – from the French public for financial gain. It garnered 170,000 views on YouTube before being deleted.

Alain Soral, a Holocaust denier with multiple convictions for inciting hatred against Jews, said in a video he posted on YouTube that the virus is being used by “the luminary community, which we are forbidden to name” that “wants to cash in on the backs of the French to weaken French people by the sheer weight of the death toll.”

The statement, which echoes similar allegations made against Jews during the Middle Ages, was unusual for Soral, who likes to cloak his hate speech in academic language and pseudo-rational constructions that he delivers dispassionately.

But to Knobel, the historian, the video’s reach was even more surprising. Its 406,000 views made it the second-most popular video on Soral’s YouTube channel, Kontre Kulture, which he launched eight years ago.

Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the anti-Semitic French comedian and a friend of Soral, has aired similar theories on his YouTube channel, which has hundreds of videos. His first post about the virus received 410,000 views – his highest number of clicks in more than six months.

Mainstream French media has taken notice of the anti-Semitic chatter around Buzyn, including the Voici news site and France Inter public radio, which said the pandemic was “triggering a wave of anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

In the United States and beyond, anti-Semites have seized on the coronavirus to spread their messages, the Anti-Defamation League said in a March 17 report on the phenomenon. But the trend has been most troubling in France, where Knobel says the authors have done well to fit anti-Semitism into the leading item on everyone’s agenda.

“The rhetoric comes from the same crowd of anti-Semites who trafficked in other kinds of anti-Semitic content before the corona crisis,” he said. “They just adapted their hate speech to fit the main topic of discussion to make it more effective.”

Anti-Semites have adopted the virus as a theme to push their message to a large, frightened and angry viewership. Knobel said that with everyone locked inside, the loyal viewers of people like Soral and Dieudonne inevitably will consume and disseminate more. He also said that the anti-Semitism in France is also showing “how fragile French society is, how polarized and confused.”

Even before the virus, polls suggested a growing resentment against the government of President Emmanuel Macron, a centrist who vowed to reform the French economy at the expense of its welfare provisions. In a survey from January, Macron’s approval rating was 25% – a drop of 16 points from 2018.

His popularity will likely not improve following the pandemic, which has killed 4,000 in France. On March 6, with nine dead, Macron went to the theater to demonstrate that normal life could go on. A week later, schools, bars and other non-essential businesses shut down in preparation for a total lockdown that was finally imposed on March 17.

A recent example of unrest in France shows how anti-Semitism can follow crisis quickly there. Demonstrations by the Yellow Vests – populist protesters pushing for economic reforms, so named for the reflective safety vests they wear – included signs and slogans describing Macron as a “whore of the Jews” and their “puppet.” At one protest last year, Yellow Vests mobbed the prominent French-Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, calling him a “dirty Zionist,” until police intervened to bring him to safety.

The bar for coronavirus anti-Semitism is getting lower by the day. For instance, Meyer Habib, a French-Jewish lawmaker, tweeted recently about the death from the virus of Maurice Bidermann, a Holocaust survivor, who he eulogized as a “humanist and Zionist.”

Bidermann’s family later said he had died of natural causes, but Habib’s tweet still triggered a slew of anti-Semitic vitriol, including by one user who wrote: “One less Israeli crook, but the list is still long.” Another said: “Shame he didn’t pay his taxes in France, maybe we would have had more beds for the ill.”

Bidermann, a fashion tycoon, had been convicted in 2003 for corporate malfeasance and spent two months in jail.

“There is apparently neither a cure nor a vaccine against the virus of anti-Semitic hatred,” Knobel said, “and it’s something we need to reflect on and deal with long after this virus is vanquished.”

 

DOCTOR WITH COVID-19 DIES IN BERLIN FLAT AFTER TRAVELLING FROM LONDON

Doctor with Covid-19 dies in Berlin flat after travelling from London
Attempt to trace Ryanair passengers after man ignores instruction to self-isolate
By Philip Oltermann in Berlin
The Guardian
April 4, 2020

A London-based doctor who ignored orders to self-isolate after showing Covid-19 symptoms has been found dead at his flat near Berlin, causing concern he could have infected other people on his journey from the UK.

The 58-year-old German citizen, who is understood to have worked in Britain as a locum doctor, was told by his employer to put himself into self-isolation on 19 March after developing symptoms associated with the coronavirus, but was not tested.

On 25 March the man instead travelled to Berlin, where he has a close relative and owns a flat in the Babelsberg district of Potsdam, on the outskirts of the capital.

Last week the doctor reportedly told his relative he was still experiencing symptoms, which typically include a high temperature and a dry cough. He failed to respond to calls after last Friday, and his body was discovered at his Babelsberg home on Sunday.

A postmortem showed he had suffered from Covid-19.

The case has caused indignation among German officials. “I am outraged,” Potsdam’s mayor, Mike Schubert, told the BZ newspaper. “As a doctor he knew the risk of infection. How could he then go on to mingle among the crowds in several countries? The man was acting completely irresponsibly.”

German federal police and their counterparts in the UK have spent the week retracing the doctor’s route from Britain to Germany. It is believed he arrived in Berlin by plane. The only flight between the two capitals on 25 March was on Ryanair, from London Stansted to Berlin Schönefeld.

According to a spokesperson for Berlin’s airports the flight carried 41 passengers. Health authorities in Potsdam are understood to be getting hold of people who may have come into contact with the doctor on his journey.

The man is not understood to be linked to a coronavirus outbreak at Potsdam’s biggest hospital, the Ernst von Bergmann clinic, which has recorded 78 confirmed infections in the past few days.

 

BRONX ZOO TIGER TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS

Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive for coronavirus
By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon
New York Post
April 5, 2020

https://nypost.com/2020/04/05/a-bronx-zoo-tiger-now-has-coronavirus

The coronavirus is infecting New Yorkers of all stripes.

A 4-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the COVID-19 bug after developing a dry cough, the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement Sunday.

“Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, has tested positive for COVID-19. She, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover,” the statement read.
The diagnosis was confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa “out of an abundance of caution,” the society said.

The big cats are on the mend, the WCS said.

“Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers,” the statement said. “It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries.”

The four affected big cats are housed in the zoo’s Tiger Mountain exhibit.

None of the other cats at the zoo, which includes leopards, cheetahs, and pumas, have shown symptoms, the society said.

Zoo officials said they hope Nadia’s diagnosis “will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus.”

The zoo has been closed since March 16 due to the spread of the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, animals can become infected by the coronavirus, but scientists don’t believe they can spread the bug to humans.

In the United States, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID019 infection at this time,” according to the CDC.

“However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals,” the agency notes.

 

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Turkmenistan bans ‘coronavirus’; Thai king ‘isolates’ with 20 women; Belarus president: vodka & saunas will cure coronavirus

April 01, 2020

 


 

Parishioners, many of them elderly, crowd into Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg to receive communion. The church has been criticized for not doing more to stop the spread of coronavirus.


 

Workers who have returned to work at the Honda factory in Wuhan, eating lunch at a safe distance.

 

CONTENTS

1. Turkmenistan bans use of the word ‘Coronavirus’; covers up victims
2. North Korea too
3. Thai king ‘isolates’ from coronavirus with 20 women
4. Spanish princess becomes first royal to die from coronavirus
5. Belarus president says vodka and saunas will cure coronavirus
6. Belarus soccer league keeps playing, becomes world’s most watched
7. Two senior military officers die in Egypt amid coronavirus cover-up
8. Islamic State jihadis murder 25 in attack on Sikh temple in Afghanistan
9. Turkish-occupied Syria cuts off water to 400,000 during pandemic
10. Anger in Lebanon as Hizbullah continues to import coronavirus from Iran
11. New York stabbing victim, in coma since antisemitic attack, dies
12. Van Gogh painting stolen from Dutch museum closed by coronavirus

 

[Notes below by Tom Gross]

Just to remind readers that I posted several of these items as they happened in recent days on my Facebook page, and you can see them earlier if you check that page regularly.


Extra video:

Israeli TV reports on a Jordanian man, tested positive for coronavirus, saying goodbye for two weeks to his family before going into isolation, in completely the wrong way.

Video here.

 

TURKMENISTAN BANS USE OF THE WORD ‘CORONAVIRUS’; COVERS UP VICTIMS

The central Asian country of Turkmenistan, which claims it has no coronavirus cases, is threatening to arrest anyone who uses the word “coronavirus” in public, according to independent media outlets in Turkmenistan, cited by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondents in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat report that plainclothes police are also arresting people who wear face masks or discuss the pandemic in public.

Turkmenistan has been ruled since 2007 by Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, a former dentist turned dictator. He has ruled with an iron fist for three years longer than Mahmoud Abbas has ruled the Palestinian Authority, and like Abbas he has cracked down on liberal opponents and regularly tortures those who criticize his rule on Facebook or elsewhere.

Turkmenistan’s southern neighbor is Iran, one of the countries worst hit by coronavirus. It is believed there may be thousands of coronavirus cases in Turkmenistan.

 

NORTH KOREA TOO

North Korea (which borders South Korea and China) also denies that there are any coronavirus cases in their country, but there are credible reports that the communist regime has been shooting dead those with the virus in an attempt to stop it spreading.

There are also reports that the number of cases in Iran and China are much higher than the official statistics provided by those governments, and there are satellite images of mass graves with victims in Iran.

 

THAI KING ‘ISOLATES’ FROM CORONAVIRUS WITH 20 WOMEN

Thailand’s playboy king Maha Vajiralongkorn, who has taken over a luxury German hotel to isolate from coronavirus, has brought a harem of 20 women with him into the hotel.

The king, who is aged 67, reportedly booked the entire Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl with “special permission” to override the lockdown in the Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, according to reports in German and British media .

A large team of servants is also with him, the British paper the Independent reported.

His fourth wife, Suthida Tidjai, a former flight attendant, is not believed to be with him.

There is anger in Germany that the local district council gave permission to the king while other hotels in the region have been forced to close to stem the spread of coronavirus.

There is also outrage in Thailand, with the hashtag “Why do we need a king?” being used over 1.2 million times on Twitter within 24 hours of news of his German isolation first breaking.

Vajiralongkorn became king after his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, died in October 2016 after 70 years on the throne.

The Times of London reports that the Thai foreign ministry said “no comment” when asked to comment further on the King’s takeover of the German hotel.

 

SPANISH PRINCESS BECOMES FIRST ROYAL TO DIE FROM CORONAVIRUS

Spain’s Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Parma has become the first member of any royal family to die from coronavirus, according to her brother, Prince Sixto Enrique.

The princess, who is a distant cousin of King Felipe VI, was 86. She died in Paris on Thursday, and her funeral was held in Madrid on Friday.

France and Spain have been particularly hard hit by coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles, who is first in line to the British throne and who tested positive for coronavirus on March 25, has now recovered. Charles is 71.

 

BELARUS PRESIDENT SAYS VODKA AND SAUNAS WILL CURE CORONAVIRUS

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says other countries are in the midst of a “psychotic reaction” to coronavirus and there is no need to shut down.

The president made the remarks after attending a packed ice hockey match on Saturday.

“It’s better to die standing than to live on your knees,” Lukashenko said, quoting the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, and calling sport “the best anti-virus remedy.”

“There are no viruses here,” he said of the ice stadium after the game.

“People should not only wash their hands with vodka but also poison the virus with it,” he advised his people, reports the Times of London.

“You should drink the equivalent of 40-50 milliliters of rectified spirit daily. But not at work,” he said. And you should go to the sauna “two or three times a week,” he added.

Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994. The east European country has a population of 9.5 million.

Belarus has confirmed over 100 cases of the virus with no deaths but many believe the government is covering up the true number.

 

BELARUS SOCCER LEAGUE KEEPS PLAYING, BECOMES WORLD’S MOST WATCHED

Belarus is the only country in Europe where top-level football is continuing to be played. Eight fixtures are scheduled in the Belarusian Premier League this weekend.

“It is frankly not comprehendible how this could be going on,” Fifpro, an international football organization, said in a statement.

The league has seen a huge increase in popularity with the Belarus Football Federation securing broadcasting deals with sports networks in 10 countries in recent days, including Russia, Israel and India.

 

TWO SENIOR MILITARY OFFICERS DIE IN EGYPT AMID CORONAVIRUS COVER-UP

The deaths of two senior military leaders followed by the leak of a military document suggesting that coronavirus is more widespread than previously disclosed, have led to alarm in Egypt.

Middle East Eye reports that “When Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi finally emerged from a long public absence on Sunday, he stressed that his government was dealing with the crisis with full transparency and encouraged Egyptians to stay at home for two weeks.”

“We will defeat coronavirus just as China did,” a government controlled TV station declared with a short film showing iconic Egyptian sites with triumphant music interspersed with footage from the fight against the virus in China.

Last week, The Guardian’s Cairo correspondent Ruth Michaelson was expelled from Egypt after she wrote an article citing University of Toronto research which suggested that while the Egyptian government was officially reporting three cases of the virus, the true number was many thousands.

Major General Khaled Shaltout, head of water projects in the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, died on 22 March. A day later, Major General Shafea Abdel Halim Dawoud, head of mega projects in the same authority, also died. Reports from Egypt said both were infected with coronavirus.

A one-page document, marked “top secret” was leaked suggesting a growing crisis inside the military. The document explained that the army had decided to follow the British policy of herd immunity before changing its mind (as did Britain).

 

ISLAMIC STATE JIHADIS MURDER 25 IN ATTACK ON SIKH TEMPLE IN AFGHANISTAN

Not widely reported in the western media, Islamic jihadists have claimed responsibility for the mass murder of Sikhs in Afghanistan last Wednesday, reports the Hindustan Times of India.

The attack on the Sikh place of worship took place in the heart of Kabul’s old city. Those killed included a child.

India condemned the attack as “diabolical.” Muslim militants have been slowly purging Kabul of its historic Hindu and Sikh population but several thousands remain.

 

TURKISH-OCCUPIED SYRIA CUTS OFF WATER TO 400,000 DURING PANDEMIC

Turkish-government controlled far-right Sunni Muslim militants have cut off the water to 400,000 Syrians, including tens of thousands of children, during the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports from the UN and others in eastern Syria.

The Jerusalem Post adds that “It comes at the worst possible time for people in Syria, including Kurdish and Christian minorities, who are in lockdowns due to the pandemic and now have no water. The area is already threatened by the virus because the international community has cut off aid and does not provide testing for the virus.”

Turkey invaded part of eastern Syria in October 2019 after the US withdrew, and hundreds of thousands of Syrian Kurds and others are now in desperate need of help.

The refugees in the area are being threatened from all sides, both by Turkey, a NATO ally, and also by pro-Assad Iranian-controlled Hizbullah and other forces.

 

ANGER IN LEBANON AS HIZBULLAH CONTINUES TO IMPORT CORONAVIRUS FROM IRAN

Threatened by the Iranian-controlled Lebanese Hizbullah militia, the Lebanese government in March continued to allow flights from coronavirus-stricken Iran while suspending them from other locations.

Even after Beirut airport was officially closed, Lebanese media report that Hizbullah managed to keep flying in people and arms from Iran (which they are using to attack Sunnis in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime).

Hizbullah claims it has deployed some of its gunmen to help stem the spread of coronavirus in Lebanon.

 

NEW YORK STABBING VICTIM, IN COMA SINCE ANTISEMITIC ATTACK, DIES

Josef Neumann, 72, died on Sunday afternoon of injuries sustained in the antisemitic attack on a Hannukah celebration in a rabbi’s house in the New York suburb of Monsey on December 28. Although Neumann remained in a coma since the time of the attack, he had begun to open his eyes in February, leading to hopes that he would recover.

The assailant’s knife penetrated Neumann’s skull and cut into his brain. The alleged perpetrator, Grafton Thomas, 37, has pleaded not guilty to 10 federal hate crimes charges and six counts of attempted murder.

Neumann leaves behind several children and grandchildren. The attack was part of a wave of attacks on Jews in the New York area late last year.

 

VAN GOGH PAINTING STOLEN FROM DUTCH MUSEUM CLOSED BY CORONAVIRUS

A painting by Dutch master Vincent van Gogh was stolen in an overnight raid on a museum that was closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus..

The Singer Laren museum, located east of Amsterdam said “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884” was stolen in the early hours of Monday.

The painting was part of a collection donated by an American couple, William and Anna Singer.

Police said that the thief or thieves smashed a glass door to get into the museum. That set off an alarm that sent officers rushing to the museum but by the time they got there the painting was gone.

 

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