The Holocaust

German citizen test omits Shoah

By Toby Axelrod, July 17, 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.


Extra $23m for survivors

July 17, 2008
The Claims Conference is to boost its allocations next year by $23 million (£11.5m). The overall fund available for distribution in 2009 will be $193m (£96.5m), which will include $18m (£9m) to be dedicated to Holocaust memorials and educational projects.


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. 


Auschwitz trips praised

By Jessica Elgot, July 3, 2008

Schools Minister Jim Knight highlighted the impact of a visit to Auschwitz when he addressed a Holocaust Educational Trust meeting on Tuesday at the Imperial War Museum.

Addressing sixth-formers who had participated in the HET’s government-backed Lessons from Auschwitz programme, Mr Knight said his own trip “was an experience I couldn’t have gotten from any film, any book, any website. Being there and seeing things is something that is irreplaceable.”


Holocaust's ethical implications discussed

June 20, 2008

Dr Eric Litwak, who lectures in philosophy at the International Study Centre in Herstmonceaux, addressed the Hastings and District Jewish Society on “The Ethical Implications of the Holocaust”. Around 30 people attended the event which followed the society’s monthly Friday night service at the High Smith Hall, Bexhill.


Lauder urges Polish law

By Miriam Shaviv, June 19, 2008

Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, has called on Poland to restore properties seized during the Second World War and the Communist era to their rightful owners.

“To deny the return of stolen property, or adequate compensation, violates basic democratic principles,” he wrote in the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita this week. “Such denial to a Holocaust victim is a double humiliation.”


The baroness planning to sue Poland over lost family assets

By Miriam Shaviv, June 12, 2008

Baroness Deech, the former BBC governor and Oxford college head, has hired lawyers in a bid to force the Polish government to compensate her for a series of family properties apparently confiscated during the Second World War.

The estate includes a block of flats in Krakow which belonged to her maternal grandmother, killed in a concentration camp, and a now-derelict oil refinery owned by her paternal grandfather near a village where he was once mayor.


MSPs clash over Auschwitz trips

By Leon Symons, June 12, 2008

Members of the Scottish Parliament have clashed for the second time in a month over funding for school trips to Auschwitz. 

In May, Labour MSPs attacked the ruling Scottish National Party and the Tories for forcing through a decision that individual institutions should decide for themselves how to spend £150,000 given to Scottish schools by Westminster.

The decision meant the money was not ring-fenced for sending pupils on visits to Auschwitz concentration camp, as it has been in England.


Berlin hands an extra £163m to claims body

By Toby Axelrod, June 12, 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”.


McCain’s pastor isolated after saying Shoah was ‘God’s plan’

May 29, 2008

John Hagee, the controversial American preacher and endorser of Republican presidential nominee John McCain, has vowed “to fight antisemitism and to support Israel” as he hit back at criticism over his contentious Holocaust theology.

Mr McCain recently cut his ties with the preacher — who founded Christians United for Israel — after a sermon by Mr Hagee came to light in which he explained the Shoah as a divine plan.