The Holocaust

Auschwitz sign thief hunted in Sweden

By Jessica Elgot, February 2, 2010

Poland has issued a European arrest warrant for a Swedish man whom it says is behind the theft of the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei” sign at Auschwitz in December.

A court in Krakow issued the warrant for Swede Anders Hoegstroem, who, it is claimed, was the mastermind of the theft of the sign, which infamously read “Work Sets You Free” above the Nazi death camp.

Five Polish men aged in their 20s and 30s have been arrested by police who recovered the 16-foot wrought-iron sign cut into three pieces.

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Survivor's story: Ben Helfgott

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

Ben Helfgott went through “hell” during the Holocaust — and 70 years on, his life is still consumed by it.

Mr Helfgott, 79, was a boy when the Nazis invaded his Polish home town of Piotrkow, Lodz. He was moved to a ghetto, the first in Europe, in November 1939 and worked in a glass factory. At one point, SS guards marched into the factory and rounded up anyone they believed was Jewish. The man in charge saved his life by telling the SS men that he was Polish.

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How a Nazi saved Sigmund Freud

January 28, 2010

Vienna, 25 July 1947: Anton Sauerwald looked very haggard for a man of 44. His doctor, Karl Szekely, had written many times to the court to explain that his patient was suffering from tuberculosis and the proceedings should be delayed. Sauerwald had spent a month in hospital. However, Judge Schachermayr would have no more delays.

For most of the war Sauerwald had been an officer in the Luftwaffe, not a pilot but a technical expert. In March 1945 he was captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp at Bad Heilbrunn run by the Americans, but in June he was released and returned to Vienna.

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Chief Rabbi's speech on Holocaust Memorial Day

January 27, 2010

Much of what we’ve seen and heard today was inspired by an extraordinary act of defiance and hope, by a small group of people in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Picture them in your mind. They have been herded together in an enclosed space as if they were cattle, not human beings. They have seen 100,000 of their number die of starvation and disease, 270,000 taken in cattle trucks to Treblinka and other camps to be gassed, burned and turned to ash.

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Holocaust Memorial Day commemorated

By Jessica Elgot, January 27, 2010
Ceremonies have taken place across the world to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

A memorial is being held in London's Guildhall including written testimony from three Holocaust survivors, the late Reform leader Rabbi Hugo Gryn, historian Emanuel Ringelblum and writer Elie Wiesel.

Their stories will be read by Rabbi Gryn’s son David, historian Simon Schama and journalist Jonathan Freedland.

Liliane Umubyeyi, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, will also speak.

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Peres' speech to German parliament: In full

January 27, 2010

I stand here before you, as the President of the State of Israel, the home of the Jewish People.

While my heart is breaking at the memory of the atrocious past – my eyes envision a common future for a world that is young, a world free of all hatred.

A world in which the words "war" and "anti-Semitism" will be dead words.

In the Jewish tradition that accompanies us for thousands of years, there exists a prayer in Aramaic recited when mourning the dead, in memory of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters.

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Muslim Council rep will attend Holocaust Memorial

By Martin Bright, January 26, 2010

The Muslim Council of Britain has voted to send a junior representative to the Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration on Wednesday.

After attending for the first time in 2008, the MCB resumed its boycott of the event last year.

The Secretary General of the MCB, Dr Mohamed Abdul Bari will not be attending due, according to the organization, to a diary clash. He is at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Nor will his controversial deputy Duad Abdullah or any of the organisation's Assistant Secretary Generals.

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Brown signs Holocaust memorial book

By Robyn Rosen, January 22, 2010

Gordon Brown has praised the “brave and courageous” 91-year-old Denis Avey, who swapped places with a Jewish prisoner at Auschwitz, as he marked Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr Avey, along with Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott and members of the Holocaust Educational Trust, visited Downing Street today as part of the lead-up to HMD on Wednesday.

Mr Brown, watched by his wife Sarah, signed the Holocaust memorial book and spoke to the group, which also included two non-Jewish sixth-form pupils who visited Auschwitz last year, for 45 minutes.

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Arab MK to visit Auschwitz

By Ben Lynfield, January 21, 2010

Israeli Arab legislator Mohammed Barakeh is under fire from Arab and Jewish hardliners for deciding to visit Auschwitz as part of a Knesset delegation on International Holocaust Remembrance Day next Wednesday.

But Mr Barakeh, from the hard-left Arab-Jewish Hadash party, is undeterred. “Nothing is going to change my decision.”

Mr Barakeh’s step has been called “courageous” by Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, who invited him.

The move could deal a blow to rampant Holocaust denial in the Arab world.

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Liddle defends his Auschwitz ‘humour’

By Marcus Dysch, January 21, 2010

Journalist Rod Liddle has defended comments he made about Auschwitz in an online forum which contains virulently antisemitic jokes.

Mr Liddle, the former editor of Radio 4’s Today programme, said his remarks needed to be viewed in context and that he had been attempting to show the Nazi death camp has been “rendered politically correct…something much less than it should be”.

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