Germany

Israeli author wins German peace prize

By Jennifer Lipman, October 11, 2010

An Israeli novelist has been awarded a German peace prize for giving a literary voice to coexistence.

David Grossman, whose books include The Smile of the Lamb and Someone to Run With, was announced as the recipient of the peace prize of the German book trade on Sunday.

Mr Grossman, 56, is a prominent figure of Israel’s left , and a campaigner for a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict. He is close friends with fellow Israeli writer Amos Oz.

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Jewish boat passenger as Jewish as 'pork chop'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 8, 2010

A German woman who took part in an attempt to breach the naval blockade of Gaza pretended to be Jewish in order to take part.

According to Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, Edith Lutz may not have formally converted to Judaism.

Ms Lutz was part of the Jewish boat that attempted to sail to Gaza last week. The boat, named the Irene, was intercepted by the Israeli navy and redirected to Ashdod.

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Insights into slave labour from a Holocaust survivor

By Toby Axelrod, September 21, 2010

Hidden behind protective trees on a green hillside is a small, private Holocaust memorial. At the feet of six rough, natural boulders on a low stone, forged in metal, is the word zachor - remember.

It is the key word in the title of Marcel Tuchman's new autobiography, Remember: My Stories of Survival and Beyond, to be published in coming weeks by Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Project.

It offers rare into a little-known chapter: the recruitment of slave labourers at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by Siemens, the German industrial giant.

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'Jewish gene' banker may lose job

By Jennifer Lipman, September 3, 2010

A German banker who faced public outcry for claiming that “all Jews share a particular gene” is expected to lose his seat on the board of the country’s central bank.

Members of the Bundesbank board criticised Thilo Sarrazin for his inflammatory remarks about Jews and Muslims and voted unanimously to fire him.

The decision is expected to go ahead but must be approved by Christian Wulff, Germany’s federal president.

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Airline stop rabbi for 'suspicious' shofar

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 2, 2010

An Israeli rabbi narrowly escaped arrest after being stopped by security officers at Munich airport for carrying a shofar.

Airport officials pulled aside Rabbi Mordechai Halperin, who is in his late 50s, and asked him to explain the religious article while arriving on a flight from Tel-Aviv on Monday night. Rabbi Halperin was visiting his daughter Esther Chitrik who lives in Nuremberg and works as an Chabad emissary in the city.

"He was in a bit of a panic," said Gigi Mechlowitz, a fellow Jewish passenger from Manchester, who stopped to help.

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Berlin shul's money problems

By Toby Axelrod, September 2, 2010

German authorities have stopped the flow of public funds to the country's only independent Jewish congregation, reportedly due to the failure to submit audited accounts covering 2001-2006.

Adass Yisroel, a traditional congregation in Berlin, is also facing a demand by the Berlin Senate that it repay about 204,000 euros in state subsidies.

Almost every German congregation, of every denomination, belongs to a "united community" structure, which in each city hires and fires rabbis and maintains old-age homes, schools and education programmes.

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New rabbis for German Jewish community

By Toby Axelrod, September 2, 2010

Two young rabbis were ordained in ceremonies in Leipzig on Sunday, in another sign of the revival of Jewish life in Germany.

Shlomo Afanasev and Moshe Baumel, students of the Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin, received their semichah in ceremonies at the historic synagogue of Leipzig.

They are the second pair of rabbis trained at this Orthodox school, a programme of the US-based Ronald S Lauder Foundation, which is under the supervision of Rabbi Chanoch Ehrentreu of London.

Both new rabbis were born in the former Soviet Union, reflecting the demographics of Germany's Jewish community.

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Controversial German banker claims Jews share gene

By Toby Axelrod, September 2, 2010

The author of a new book on the future of Germany has caused a major stir by claiming that all Jews share the same genetic make-up and espousing theories of racial superiority, according to which Jews are among those who have high-class genes.

Jewish and Turkish leaders have decried the doomsday book, Deutschland schafft sich ab ("Germany abolishes itself"), which also blames the country's problems on Muslim immigrants.

There have been calls for the author, former Berlin finance minister Thilo Sarrazin, to resign from his current position on the board of Germany's central bank.

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German banker in 'Jewish gene' controversy

By Jennifer Lipman, August 30, 2010

German chancellor Angela Merkel has criticised one of the country’s most influential bankers for his inflammatory remarks about Jewish people.

Jewish leaders called for Thilo Sarrazin to lose his seat on the board of the Bundesbank (German Federal Bank) after he said: “All Jews share a particular gene […] that differentiate them from others."

The 65-year-old, who said the same about Basques, is a polarising figure in Germany because of his right wing views.

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Germany frees Mossad agent

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 20, 2010

The Israeli agent arrested two months ago in connection with the alleged assassination of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January, was released over the weekend and returned to Israel.

The man known as Uri Brodsky was arrested two months ago in Poland, on a German EU-wide arrest warrant.

Brodsky was arrested on charges that a year earlier he had helped another man receive a German passport in the name of Michael Bodenheimer. The passport was used by the team who, according to Dubai police, carried out Al-Mabhouh's assassination.

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