France

Ilan Halimi murderers retried

By Michel Zlotowski, December 22, 2010

The President of the Council of French Jewish Organisations, Richard Prasquier, said he was satisfied with the retrial of the self-proclaimed "Gang of Barbarians" who tortured to death Ilan Halimi five years ago.

A court of appeal handed stiffer sentences to the two main accomplices of gang leader Yusuf Fofana, who had their convictions increased from 15 to 18 years. The rest of the accused had their first sentence confirmed.

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How my Supernan took off

By Jennifer Lipman, November 25, 2010

A French photographer has transformed his 91-year-old Holocaust survivor grandmother into a superhero.

Sacha Goldberger, from Paris, began snapping grandmother Frederika in unusual costumes and poses three years ago to try to cheer her up.

He has since taken thousands of them and now has more than 2,200 MySpace followers. They have also been exhibited in a gallery.

Mrs Goldberger, who was born in Budapest in 1919, emigrated to France when Hungary was under Soviet control.

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Sacha Goldberger's super grandma

By Jennifer Lipman, November 24, 2010

Some of Sacha Goldberger's unusual photographs of his Holocaust survivor grandmother Frederika.

All photos: Sacha Goldberger

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Jewish graves in France vandalised

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Vandals have desecrated nearly 50 graves in a Jewish cemetery in France.

A passer-by noticed the damage to the Bar-le-Duc cemetery in northeastern France and alerted the police.

In total, 49 graves were found to have been knocked over or broken.

The attack was described as antisemitic by The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Antisemitism.

They said investigators should “take into consideration the racist character of the degradations in this old Jewish cemetery.”

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On this day: Alfred Dreyfus is arrested for spying

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2010

The Dreyfus Affair will go down in history as one of the great injustices in European Jewish history and as one of the events that spurred on the Zionist movement.

The French army were concerned that someone in their ranks was passing military information to Germany. Suspicion fell on a Jewish artillery officer, a graduate of the elite Polytechnic Grande Ecole, named Albert Dreyfus.

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Dovish? J Call Paris opens with a ruck

By Natasha Lehrer, October 14, 2010

The launch of the French arm of J Call, the European Jewish Call to Reason, descended into chaos last week after 30 men from the Ligue de Defense Juive, a militant right-wing Jewish group, infiltrated the meeting.

The group attempted to drown out the speakers with boos and shouts until the police were called to escort the men out of the hall.

J Call, a dovish Zionist campaign group modelling itself on the American
J Street, launched as a movement at the European Parliament in May.

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Fears for security of European Jews

By Ian Sparks and Anshel Pfeffer, September 17, 2010

Community leaders have expressed concern that European Jews are being targeted by terrorists after it was revealed that suicide bombers trained in Gaza had planned to bomb a community event in Paris.

"This would seem to be exactly the sort of threat that shows why CST and the Jewish community need to remain vigilant," said Mark Gardner, spokesman for the Community Security Trust.

He added that the organisation will seek to learn "every possible lesson" from the foiled attack and share these with the community and the police.

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East End star returns

September 16, 2010

Chazan Moshe Dubiner will make a sentimental return to London's East End to officiate on Yom Kippur at Fieldgate Street Synagogue in Aldgate.

The chazan began a career which has taken him to France, Israel and America at the Great Synagogue in Commercial Road.

Fieldgate Street's Raymond Singer said that news of the guest cantor had led the shul to anticipate a male attendance in excess of 40, more than double the usual number.

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Holocaust teacher banned for 'Nazi obsession'

By Ian Sparks, September 7, 2010

A Jewish history teacher has been suspended for "brainwashing" her pupils with too much information about the Holocaust.

Catherine Pederzoli, 58, was investigated by education ministry chiefs in France after accusations that she was obsessed with the Nazi gas chambers.

A report by the ministry has now accused her of lacking "distance, neutrality and secularism" in teaching about World War Two.

It also said she spent too much time organising trips for her teenage students to visit the death camps in Poland and the Czech Republic.

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Roma deportations not like Holocaust roundups

By Shirli Sitbon, September 7, 2010

French community leaders have spoken out against the targeting of the Roma people for deportation, but rejected comparisons with the roundup of the Jews in the 1930s.

"We can't accept discrimination like the one the Roma community is facing. It's a European problem and it must be addressed on that level," said Richard Prasquier, head of the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF.

"But I was shocked by certain comparisons. The situation today is nothing like the one under the Vichy regime."

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