Nazi memorabilia donated to Jewish group

Remember that controversial auction in Munich, Germany, of Nazi memorabilia mentioned last week in this space?

Turns out that 10 of those items, including a top hat owned by Adolf Hitler, were bought by a Lebanese-born Swiss businessman who, in turn donated them to a Jewish group so they wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands, reported.

Abdallah Chatila paid $660,000 for the items from the auction house Hermann Historica, including Hermann Goering’s copy of “Mein Kampf,” a cigar box and typewriter. The items were given to the Israeli fundraising group the Keren Hayesod Association; it will decide what to do with the items.

“Far-right populism and anti-Semitism are spreading all over Europe and the world,” Chatila told the Swiss newspaper Le Matin Dimanche. “I did not want these objects to fall into the wrong hands and to be used by people with dishonest intentions.”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who heads the European Jewish Association, was grateful for the donation.

“In a cynical world (it was) a real act of kindness, of generosity and solidarity,” he said in a statement.

New hate crime law enacted in New York

A new law in New York requires state police officers to be trained in recognizing and responding to hate crimes, JTA reported.

“Hatred has no place in New York State and we will continue taking aggressive measures to stamp out hate whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The bill calls for the state Division of Human Rights and Hate Crimes Task Force to develop a training program to teach law enforcement to handle hate crimes, but doesn’t detail what the training should include.

Hate crimes — especially anti-Semitic incidents — have become increasingly common in New York City in 2019, with residents and Jewish institutions in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn victimized by assaults and vandalism.

Anti-Semitic incidents up 30% in Australia 

The annual Report on Antisemitism in Australia shows a 30% increase over the last year in major anti-Semitic incidents there, including verbal abuse, harassment and intimidation, JTA reported.

The report said there were 368 recorded anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in the year ending Sept. 30.

The incidents include physical assaults, abuse and harassment, vandalism, graffiti, hate and threats made via email, letters, telephone calls, posters, stickers and leaflets.

“More subtle, but just as concerning, was the spread of calumnies about Jews beneath the cloak of political discourse about Israel,” said Julie Nathan, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s research director on anti-Semitism.

Sholem Aleichem statue in Kiev vandalized

A statue in Kiev, Ukraine, commemorating prominent Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem was found vandalized with painted red swastikas the weekend of Nov. 23-24, CNN reported.

Ukrainian police are investigating.

“The anti-Semitic act on the Sholem Aleichem monument in Kiev is disgusting, appalling and in need of prompt investigation, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said on Twitter. The perpetrator(s) must be brought to justice.”

Born in 1859, the Russian native fled Kiev in 1905 after witnessing pogroms, eventually settling in New York City. The so-called “Yiddish Mark Twain” is best known for his stories about Tevye the Dairyman, which were turned into “Fiddler on the Roof.” JN

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