Germany

Germany in row over Iran deal

By Toby Axelrod, August 15, 2008

Pressure is mounting on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to tighten economic sanctions on Iran after news broke of a major gas deal between a German firm and the Islamic Republic.

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Heirs invited to view Hitler’s art collection online

By Toby Axelrod, August 8, 2008

A Berlin museum is presenting an online museum of works collected by Adolf Hitler in the hope of uniting former owners or their heirs with stolen works.

The virtual collection, a joint project by the German Historical Museum and Federal Office for Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues, is also meant to provide research material on the National Socialist abuse of art for political purposes, according to Angelika Enderlein of the Federal Agency, Museum collection director Monika Flacke and Berlin historian Hanns Christian Löhr, who co-ordinated the project.

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Refugee’s 13-year fight opens floodgates for Kinder claims

By Simon Rocker, August 1, 2008

Dozens of former refugees from Nazi Germany are set to receive improved compensation after a 13-year campaign by a London man.

Hermann Hirschberger, 82, was one of the 10,000 children sent to Britain by their parents on the Kindertransport shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

This week his tenacity paid off when Britain said it would remove a legal obstacle which, until now, has prevented many of his fellow-Kinder from getting the full German payments.

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Survivors blast Germany for ‘worthless’ compensation

By Craig Silver, July 18, 2008

Berlin gives two former slave labourers just £1,600 after more than 60 years

Two Holocaust survivors have attacked the German government for “worthless” offers of £1,600 in compensation payments.

Helena Aronson and Krulik Wilder survived two Polish ghettos where they worked as slave labourers in filthy factories for up to 12 hours a day.

Mr Wilder, who now lives in Radlett, Herts, was deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp in December 1944. He was liberated by the Russians from Theresienstadt in May 1945.

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German citizen test omits Shoah

By Toby Axelrod, July 18, 2008

Jewish groups have criticised Germany’s proposed citizenship exam for failing to include a single question about the Holocaust.

The general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Stephan Kramer, said he was shocked to find that the Interior Ministry’s new test includes some 320 questions related to history and society, but that the word Holocaust is not mentioned once. The test is to go into effect in September.

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Germans row over Shoah event

By Toby Axelrod, July 4, 2008

A debate over how best to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom has underlined differences between Moshe Kantor, the embattled head of the European Jewish Congress, and Jewish leaders in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

In May, Mr Kantor had announced the formation of the European Forum of Tolerance: The Council of Europe’s Civil Society Representatives, whose first task would be to host a huge commemoration of Kristallnacht in Brussels in November. 

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Israel will swap land for peace, Livni tells Berlin

By Shelly Paz, June 27, 2008

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a Berlin conference this week that Israel was willing to accept territorial compromise in return for peace.

But Israel would not accept another “extremist Islamic state which is unable to fulfil its commitments and control its own territory”, said Ms Livni. She was one of 20 foreign ministers — including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — at the Conference in Support of Palestinian Civil Security and the Rule of Law hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

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Scrutiny of Claims Conference grows

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 20, 2008

The Claims Conference is facing a deeper scrutiny of its affairs, both from the Israeli Comptroller and the German Auditor’s Office.

The German investigation into the Conference’s accounts is the result of rising criticism of the lack of transparency of the body which transfers pensions to Holocaust survivors from the Berlin government.

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Berlin hands an extra £163m to claims body

By Toby Axelrod, June 13, 2008

The Conference for Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, smarting over a critical article in the German press, has obtained an additional estimated £163 million over the next decade through its annual negotiations with the German government.

The successful talks in Berlin took place as the organisation fended off suggestions in Der Spiegel that it is less transparent than it should be. Last week’s article drew a pointed rebuttal from the Claims Conference, which accused the authors of including “numerous inaccuracies and distortions”.

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Man jailed for stabbing rabbi

May 23, 2008

A Frankfurt court sentenced a 23-year-old to three-and-a-half years for stabbing a rabbi last September. Sajed Aziz, who denied that he was motivated by antisemitism, was found guilty of serious bodily injury to Rabbi Zalman Gurevitch, 43.

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