Germany

German shul in barn restored

By Toby Axelrod, February 3, 2011

What would you do if you discovered that a dilapidated barn in a nearby village is actually a 186-year-old shul?

Brigitta Stammer, from Gottingen in Lower Saxony, decided, as many others might, to help restore the building to its original purpose.

But this was no ordinary restoration. In order to complete the rebirth of the half-timbered synagogue, Ms Stammer took part in a project to move it, piece by piece, from its location in Bodenfelde to Gottingen, where she lives. And, what's more, Ms Stammer is not even Jewish.

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European leader calls for 'zero-tolerance' for antisemitism

By Toby Axelrod, January 26, 2011

Europe should have "zero tolerance" for far-right parties that spew antisemitism, European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor said in a press conference here today, ahead of ceremonies marking Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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On this day: The German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact

By Jennifer Lipman, January 26, 2011

Just a year after Adolf Hitler was chosen as chancellor of Germany, Poland became the first state to form such an alliance with the Nazi administration. Anxious over rising tension between the Nazis and the Soviets, fearful of becoming too reliant on other European powers such as France, Poland’s leaders took a gamble on Germany.

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Hitler-plot grandson may get property back

By Toby Axelrod, January 20, 2011

The grandson of a German involved in the famous July 20 1944 plot to kill Hitler is a step closer to getting his family's confiscated property back.

Lawyers for Prince Friedrich zu Solms-Baruth said the Federal Supreme Court in Leipzig has overturned a 2008 ruling against the prince and instructed a court to hear the case again.

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On this day: The Wannsee conference

By Jennifer Lipman, January 20, 2011

A peaceful lakeside spot in a sleepy suburb of Berlin, an uninformed visitor to Wannsee might be quite charmed by the place.

But the villa there has a chilling history – it was there, 69 years ago, that 15 Nazi leaders coined the term “Final Solution” and coordinated the genocidal campaign it would involve.

Those gathered at the conference included the man who ran the Gestapo, Reinhard Heydrich, his deputy, Adolph Eichmann and Dr Joseph Bühler, secretary of state for the general government.

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Spanish warrant for suspected Nazi Demjanjuk

By Jennifer Lipman, January 14, 2011

Spain has issued an arrest warrant for a man currently on trial in Germany for alleged Nazi war crimes.

John Demjanjuk is on trial in Munich over his suspected role in the deaths of more than 28,000 people at Sobibor concentration camp.

That trial began in November 2009, after the United States agreed to deport him. But the proceedings have been delayed because of questions over the health of Demjanjuk, now aged 90.

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Welcome to Nazi Hollow

By Toby Axelrod, January 13, 2011

With only 37 residents, ten houses and two streets, the village of Jamel seems harmless.

But this small part of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has been taken over by neo-Nazis.

Observers say that at least two thirds of Jamel's residents identify with the far-right extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) of Germany and its anti-foreigner platform. The local magnate is Sven Krüger, an NPD representative on the district council.

According to reports, the town has become a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis from around the country.

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Germany top for prosecuting Nazi war criminals

By Jennifer Lipman, January 12, 2011

Germany has been praised for its efforts to bring suspected Nazi war criminals to justice.

The country has been awarded an “A” grade by the Los Angeles - based Simon Wiesenthal Centre in a new report on the international commitment to tracking down former Nazis.

It is the first time anywhere other than the United States has been given the top mark. The findings are based on the period between April 2009 and March 2010.

However, countries including Hungary and Canada have come under criticism in the new report for failing to prosecute suspected Nazi war criminals.

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German rabbi: it's unsafe to look Jewish here

By Jennifer Lipman, January 6, 2011

A German rabbi has cautioned Jewish residents not to wear kippot or other overt Jewish symbols in public out of concerns for their safety.

Rabbi Shaul Nekrich, who was born in the Soviet Unionis the chief rabbi of the east German state, which is home to around 1,300 Jews.

In an interview with the Berliner Zeitung newspaper he said he felt it was dangerous to display himself as Jewish in Brandenburg and the surrounding area. He also said there was a problem with antisemitism in the state.

He said: “I hear the stories from the communities.“

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'Focus on the future' - new German Jewish chief

By Toby Axelrod, January 6, 2011

Jews in Germany should focus more on the future than the past, said the newly elected head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann.

In an interview last week in the Financial Times Deutschland, Mr Graumann said that while it is important to remember the Holocaust, the role of Jews in Germany should not merely be that of a moral compass.

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