Extracts from the Nov 2001 Journal
"The amount of tears and laughter in the world are always in equilibrium", says Beckett in one of his plays. One is tempted to add that the same balance exists globally between love and hate. Since 1945, while in Europe such erstwhile enemies as France and Germany and NATO and the Warsaw Pact have begun to feel a degree of affection for one another, in the Muslim world hatred for the West has festered and intensified. [more...]
In mid-February 1945, 18 days after the liberation of Auschwitz, the ultimate horror of Nazi Germany's assault on civilisation, Bomber Harris targeted Dresden, incinerating thousands of civilians. I am certain that, had a newsreel showing Dresdeners leaping to their deaths from burning buildings been screened in a London cinema frequented by refugees, it would not have triggered scenes of jubilation among the audience! [more...]
The queries have come in steadily since the great increase in suicide bombings by Muslim Palestinians during the past year - and since 11 September virtually non-stop. 'Does Islam condone suicide?' 'Does Islam condone killing non-combatants?' 'Does Islam teach that a martyr who enters Heaven has the pleasure of 70 virgins?' 'Does Islam really teach the universal doctrine of "Islam or the sword"?' 'Does Islam hate Jews and Judaism?', or 'Does Islam fundamentally hate anyone and anything not Muslim or Islamic?' [more...]
' … and now the Germans love you to death!' That has been my mantra for a number of years, but I was compelled to reconsider it when the new Jewish Museum Berlin opened. In the light of what occurred two days later in the USA, the significance of such a gala event does pale somewhat. Nevertheless, the museum is a bold assertion that life does indeed go on - a sentiment in need of repetition in these difficult times. [more...]
Third World war [more...]
Slave labour paymentsWhen the process of paying compensation to former slave and forced labourers has been completed, every eligible applicant will have received two payments from the German Foundation as well as an award from the Swiss Banks Settlement. To date, the Jewish Claims Conference has made the first payments of DM 10,000 (around £3,000) to 22,000 victims, of whom 71 live in the UK. Separately, payments of $1,000 (approximately £700) from the Swiss Banks Settlement have been issued to 110 UK residents out of a total of 30,000 worldwide.
Dutch updateA letter to the Dutch parliament analysing the work of committees set up to investigate the war-time role of the Dutch authorities has been published. The full text of Prime Minister Kok's letter can be seen by visiting the Claims section of the AJR website and is available through the Central Office.
ScotlandApproximately 50 people attended meetings in Glasgow and Edinburgh for advice and information on how to pursue compensation and restitution claims. Following an introductory talk, questions covering several application procedures were answered and participants were able to leave their contact details in order to receive further information. Further meetings are planned in Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle in October.
DeadlinesThe timeline for certain compensation and restitution claim procedures is 31 December 2001. Applicants wishing to file claims in respect of Slave and Forced Labour compensation, Czech property restitution and reparations from the Dutch and French governments in respect of Nazi persecution should contact the Central Office.
Further helpWritten enquiries should be sent to Central Office for Holocaust Claims (UK), 1 Hampstead Gate, 1a Frognal, London NW3 6AL. For assistance with the completion of application forms please telephone 020 7431 6161 for an appointment. [link]
With the death of Max Kochmann at 80, the AJR, and the wider refugee community, has lost one of its truly outstanding servants. Communal service was a Kochmann family trait. Max's father, Hans-Heinrich, had been a warden of Berlin's Fasanenstrasse Synagogue and over here his mother Friedl occupied various voluntary communal posts till she turned 90. [more...]
More than 500 AJR members and their families filled the elegant ballroom of London's Grosvenor House Hotel to enjoy a tea, entertainment and one another's company in celebration of the Association's 60th anniversary. Among those present were two founders and outstanding leaders, Ludwig Spiro and Theo Marx. The present Chairman, Andrew Kaufman, the son of refugees from Nazi Germany, recalled AJR's proud history and restated the continuing need for services to the Jewish refugee community. [more...]