The Holocaust

Swiss Jewish leader mourned

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

The former president of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) has died in hospital at 78.

Alfred Donath, a professor of nuclear medicine, was a tireless campaigner for Jewish causes.

He headed SIG from 2000 until 2008, and was committed to the organisation for many years before that.

Among the issues he championed was the campaign to help the relatives of Nazi victims retrieve money from Swiss banks.

He was the SIG vice president in 1998 when the banks finally reached an out-of-court settlement and paid heirs more than £800 million.


Tourists detained for stealing from Auschwitz

By Jennifer Lipman, June 28, 2010

Polish police have questioned two Canadian teachers who allegedly stole parts from the Auschwitz-Birkenau train tracks.

The pair, both said to be men in their 20s, were detained after security guards found them in possession of spikes from the railway which carried Jews and other Nazi victims to the concentration camp.

They have been released and police have not said whether they will face charges. A Polish radio station reported that the men were looking for a memento of their visit.


Turkey blocks Israeli flight on trip to Auschwitz

By Jennifer Lipman, June 28, 2010

A flight carrying a group of Israeli officers going to pay tribute to Holocaust victims at Auschwitz has been turned away after Turkey blocked it from its airspace.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the bar on the military plane flying through Turkish skies was in response to the clash on a ship headed to Gaza in May.

Mr Erdogan, speaking while in Canada for a global summit, reportedly told a Turkish news agency: "We are not interested in making a show”.


Art student's Holocaust project

By Jessica Elgot, June 24, 2010

A London art student has used his anger over a US oil company's role in the Holocaust as inspiration for his final project.

Leo Cohen, 23, said his work is a political statement about US Standard Oil, which was linked to IG Farben, the company which produced Zyklon B for the Nazis to use in the gas chambers.

Mr Cohen, a founder member of the Young Jewish Art collective, has built an art installation at Central Saint Martins which includes six pools of water, three of which are black and oily.


Anne Frank's cousin slams 'sexed up' novel

By Jessica Elgot, June 24, 2010

Jewish Holocaust charities and Anne Frank's only living relative have criticised a new novel which suggests that Anne had a sexual relationship with the boy who was in hiding with her.

But the book's publisher, Klaus Flugge, hit back at critics of Sharon Dogar's Annexed, an imaginary diary by Peter van Pels which relates some of Anne's reflections, but from the boy's point of view.


The baby born on the Nazi camp train

June 24, 2010

Helga Weissova-Hoskova, a survivor from Prague, was recalling one of the Nazis' last acts. In April 1945, aged 14, she was being shunted on a train with several hundred women to the death camp of Mauthausen in Austria.

One woman tried to hide the child that had been born just before she boarded. Four others were close to giving birth. All knew that arriving in a camp with a baby almost certainly meant death.

But as Mrs Weissova-Hoskova retold those events in London's Wigmore Hall on Saturday, there was an interruption from the audience. A woman sprang out of her seat and announced, to


Indian Jews protest Bollywood Hitler film

By Jennifer Lipman, June 23, 2010

Members of the Indian Jewish community have slammed plans to make a Bollywood film about Hitler’s final days.

Filming is set to start in two months time but Anupam Kher, the actor due to play the Nazi leader, has now dropped out after facing criticism.

At the beginning of June Indian producers announced they were making a film about the end of the Third Reich.


Concern over new Anne Frank book

By Jessica Elgot, June 21, 2010

The executive director of the Anne Frank Trust has slammed a new teen novel which suggests Anne and a teenager hidden with her in wartime Amsterdam, Peter van Pels, had a sexual relationship.

Gillian Walnes said that the book "Annexed", which is a fictionalised diary by Peter, was “cashing in” on the diarist.

The book, published by Andersen Press, is a new novel from British author Sharon Dogar, who has written two other "coming-of-age" books for teenagers.


Castro Nazi comments outrageous, says Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, June 15, 2010

Israel has responded furiously to a Nazi jibe made by Fidel Castro.

The former Cuban president said that the “Fuhrer's swastika is today Israel's banner” and likened the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians with the genocide of Jews in the Holocaust.

He said: "The hatred felt by the state of Israel against the Palestinians is such that they would not hesitate to send the one and a half million men, women and children of that country to the crematoria where millions of Jews of all ages were exterminated by the Nazis.”


Survivors retrace first Auschwitz journey

By Jennifer Lipman, June 14, 2010

A trio of Holocaust survivors has set off on a journey to retrace the first rail convoy to Auschwitz exactly 70 years after it happened.

A memorial train will retrace the 140 kilometre route from Tarnow, in southern Poland, to Oswiecim, where the Nazis built the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1940.

On June 14 1940 the first train left for Auschwitz carrying 728 Jews and other victims of Nazi persecution to the gas chambers.