AN AMERICAN JEWISH – GERMAN INFORMATION & OPINION NEWSLETTER

dubowdigest@optonline.net
GERMANY EDITION June 18, 2013 Dear Friends: While we have had quite a bit of rain here in the New York area and a little bit of local flooding, we have had nothing like what has been going on in Germany. Our hearts go out to you. Mideast peace is never far from Jewish consciousness and so the delay of Secy. Kerry's promised next trip to the area has raised some questions about what he thinks his chances of succeeding are. Of course, both he and Pres. Obama are deeply involved in thinking about what the U.S. role in the Syrian situation might be now that the U.S. has promised weapons to the rebels. Of course, Americans are trying to figure out what our role will be. No “boots on the ground”. That is certain. Jews are particularly interested in how Israel might be affected. Obviously, at this point there are more questions than there are answers. The report that the Bundestag passed a resolution committing itself to renewed action against anti-Semitism was warmly received in the American Jewish press. Since the parliament now remains in session only until the summer break, we'll have to wait to see what sort of action plan will eventuate from the passage of this important resolution. Hopefully, we’ll see one in 2013-2014. No one expects much change from the election in Iran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, who runs the show, took it upon himself to denounce the U.S. and to say that the Zionists run the American elections. Ahmadinejad may be gone but I have the feeling that the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rants will continue. The new President is supposedly a “moderate”. That word has many meanings. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. By the way, Germany is about to get a new U.S. Ambassador. Philip D. Murphy will be leaving later this year and John Emerson, a Los Angeles investment management executive who co-chaired the Obama campaign’s Southern California finance team, will be nominated as the next U.S. ambassador to Germany. He must be confirmed by the Senate. 1

The Washington Post reported, “In choosing Emerson to go to Germany, for example, Obama has selected a seasoned financial executive who brings a political background from his work in the Clinton White House, colleagues said. “John was extremely well-respected inside the campaign, both for his political experience and its overlay with his understanding of global financial markets,” said Wade Randlett, a top Obama campaign fundraiser who served with Emerson on an advisory committee to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. “It‟s no surprise to me that the president tapped him for what is obviously one of the most important posts in global economics.” On the subject of the American President, he is going to be making a speech in Berlin this coming week. We’ll be closely following what he has to say. If you have any interesting reactions let me know (dubowdigest@optonline.net) So much for what I've got on my mind. Let's get on with the news...

IN THIS EDITION ZIONISM – There is a lot of anti-Zionist rhetoric one hears. But, what is Zionism? How much about it do you really know? What does it take to be a Zionist? Find out below! ANGST & BLAME – A noted journalist tackles the question of what goes on in Germany’s “inner self”. THE CLAIMS CONFERENCE: A CALL FOR MORAL RESPONSIBILITY – A Jewish disgrace needs a lot more self-confrontation – and answers. THE NEW MIDDLE EAST: A FASCINATING ANALYSIS – From a Palestinian source – what might the Middle East look like in the near and long term futures. Are there implications for Israel – Palestinian peace? LATRUN – Never heard of it? Another Palestinian roadblock to peace. HOLOCAUST MEMORIALS: AMERICAN STYLE – Not only in New York and Washington.

ZIONISM One of the most bandied about terms is “Zionism”. In the latter part of the 20th Century it was “Zionism is Racism”. Many in the Arab world can’t stomach the name “Israel” so they refer to it as the “Zionist Entity”. So what is Zionism or being a Zionist? How might one define it? 2

The great Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua who is (Wikipedia)” An ardent, untiring activist in the Israeli Peace Movement, Yehoshua attended the signing of the Geneva Accord and freely airs his political views in essays and interviews. He is a long-standing critic of Israeli occupation but also of the Palestinians” has tried his hand at a definition. I do not usually reprint long articles. However, the piece below not only spells out a definition of an important term but it is so clear and beautifully written that I am going to violate my own rule on article length. If you at all interested in the subject of Zionism you will find Yehoshua’s article enlightening and easy to understand. In a Haaretz article he writes, ““Zionist” is a concept that‟s basically simple, clear, easy to define and understand, and there should be no difficulty defending its definition. But over the past 20 to 30 years, this simple concept has turned into one of the most confused and complicated notions of identity, and its overuse has made it impossible to agree on what it means. The right likes to use it as a type of whipped cream to improve the taste of dubious dishes, while the left treats it with fear, as if it were a mine liable to explode in its hands − which is why it always feels the need to neutralize it with some strange adjective, as in “sane Zionism” or “humane Zionism.” In the dispute between the “national camp” and the “peace camp,” Zionism is used as an offensive weapon that is batted from one side to the other. Abroad, critics of Israel use Zionism as a kind of poisonous potion to exacerbate every accusation against the state. Many critics believe that the solution to Israel‟s future lies in the de-Zionization of its identity. Among Israel‟s sworn enemies, “Zionist” is a demonic epithet, a term of denunciation that replaces the word “Israeli” or “Jew.” Hamas members speak of the captured Zionist soldier, and Hezbollah and Iran speak of the criminal Zionist entity, not about Israel. So it‟s about time that we try to define the word “Zionist” realistically. First of all, we must remember that from a historical perspective, the concept emerged only at the end of the 19th century. It‟s meaningless to try and describe Yehuda Halevi as a Zionist, or any other Jew who immigrated to the Holy Land in centuries past. In the same fashion, we can‟t use the terms “socialism” or “socialist” for periods before the middle of the 19th century, and describe Robespierre, for example, as the “socialist” of the French Revolution, which occurred at the end of the 18th century. These concepts only have significance from the time when they emerged in a specific historical context, and tossing them around freely as labels for anything we choose is a clearly anachronistic act. If so, how would we define who is a Zionist, starting from the emergence of the Zionist movement as inspired by Theodor Herzl and his associates? Here is the definition: A Zionist is a person who desires or supports the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, which in the future will become the state of the Jewish people. This is based on what Herzl said: “In Basel I founded the Jewish state.”

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The key word in this definition is “state,” and its natural location is the Land of Israel because of the Jewish people‟s historical link to it. Thus my grandfather‟s grandfather, for example, who came to the Land of Israel from Thessaloniki in the mid-19th century, cannot be considered a Zionist. He came to settle in the Land of Israel, not to establish a state here. This is also the rule for the ancestors of Neturei Karta and other Hasidic groups that came to the Land of Israel as far back as the 17th and 18th centuries, and who remain loyal to it. Not only were these Jews not interested in establishing a Jewish state, but they include some who saw − and still see − the State of Israel as an abomination and a desecration of God‟s name. A Zionist, therefore, is a Jew who supported the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, and not necessarily one who actually settled in the land. Herzl himself and many Zionist leaders never settled in the land, yet you wouldn‟t hesitate to call them Zionists. Even today, the members of Zionist federations worldwide are considered Zionists by us and by themselves, even though they don‟t live in Israel. Anyone who believes that only a person who lives in Israel can be a Zionist is essentially saying that today, there are no Zionists outside the State of Israel, and that‟s not the case. And what about those born in the Land of Israel − are they considered Zionists based on their place of birth alone? A Zionist is a person who wanted or supported the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. What kind of state? Well, every Zionist had his own vision and his own plan. Zionism is not an ideology. If the definition of ideology, according to the Hebrew Encyclopedia, is as follows − “A cohesive, systematic combination of ideas, insights, principles and imperatives that finds expression in the particular worldview of a sect, a party or a social class” − then Zionism cannot be considered an ideology, but merely a very broad platform for various ideologies that may even contradict one another. Ever since the State of Israel was founded in 1948, the definition of “Zionist” has been revised, since we don‟t need to establish another state. Therefore, its definition is as follows: A Zionist is a person who accepts the principle that the State of Israel doesn‟t belong solely to its citizens, but to the entire Jewish people. The practical expression of this commitment is the Law of Return. The state‟s affairs are indeed managed solely by its citizens − people who have an Israeli identity card, of whom 80 percent are Jews, while 20 percent are Israeli Palestinians and others. But only a person who supports and affirms the Law of Return is a Zionist, and anyone who rejects the Law of Return is not a Zionist. Nevertheless, Israeli Jews who reject the Law of Return and declare themselves nonZionists or post-Zionists (whether from the right or the left) are still good citizens who are loyal to the State of Israel, and retain all their civil rights. From this it emerges that all the big ideological, political, security and social questions over which we do battle day and night have nothing to do with Zionism. They are similar 4

to the questions that many other peoples, past and present, have had to struggle with, and still struggle with. Moreover, Zionism is not a word that‟s meant to replace patriotism, pioneering, humaneness or love of one‟s homeland, concepts that are found in other languages as well. Hebrew is rich enough to endow every position or action with the appropriate word. An Israel Defense Forces officer who serves in the standing army for many years after his compulsory service, for example, is no greater Zionist than the kiosk owner eking out a livelihood, though we would certainly see him as a greater patriot. A person who volunteers to help needy children is no more a Zionist than a stockbroker, although he may be a greater humanitarian. To be a Zionist is not a badge of honor, or a medal a person wears on his chest. Medals are connected to actions, not to support of the Law of Return. Nor is there any connection between the size of the country and Zionism. If the Arabs had accepted the partition plan in 1947, the State of Israel within the partition borders would have been just as Zionist as it is within different borders. If the State of Israel had conquered and annexed the east bank of the Jordan and repealed the Law of Return, it would have ceased being Zionist even though it would be three or four times the size. The state was Zionist when it controlled the Gaza Strip, and it was just as Zionist after it withdrew from it. Many countries have seen changes in the size of their sovereign territory, but their core identities remained intact. With regard to the Law of Return, which some see as discriminating against Israel ‟s Palestinian citizens, this is the answer: The Law of Return is essentially the moral condition set by the countries of the world for the establishment of the State of Israel. The United Nations‟ partition of Palestine-Eretz Israel in 1947 into a Jewish state and a Palestinian one was on condition that the Jewish state would not just be a state for the 600,000 Jews that lived there at the time, but would instead be a state that could resolve the distress of Jews all over the world, and would enable every Jew in the world to consider it home. Would it be moral for the hundreds of thousands of Jews who immigrated to Israel on the basis of the Law of Return to shut the door they entered through behind them? Moreover, it‟s almost certain that there will be a similar law in the Palestinian state that I hope will be established, speedily and in our days. It would behoove that state to legislate a law of return that would enable every exiled Palestinian to return to the Palestinian state and obtain asylum and citizenship. But neither the Israeli Law of Return, nor a similar law in the future Palestinian state, contradict general immigration laws that set specific entry criteria, as is customary in every country of the world. Liberating the concept of Zionism from all the appendages and addenda that have adhered to it would not only clarify the ideological and political arguments we have among ourselves, and thus prevent these disputes from being mythologized, but it would also force critics abroad to clarify and focus their positions. 5

True! This is only one man’s opinion and there has been considerable criticism from all over the political spectrum about Yehoshua’s definition. However, there is nothing in it that I disagree with.

ANGST & BLAME: Malte Lehming an editor at Der Tagesspeigel (and an old friend) in Berlin is one of Germany’s most insightful journalists. Writing in DT (reprinted in TheLocal.de) he deals with what the headline writer refers to as “Germany‟s Collective Blame Phobia” believe that he hits on a very sensitive inner point in the German psyche. Malte notes, “The Germans collectively made themselves so guilty for what happened between 1933 and 1945 that they've been trying to avoid being blamed for anything else ever since. They can't stand to leave any trace of their existence and are compelled to calculate their choices decades in advance. It's a particular form of German angst that was long confused with a general fear of concrete catastrophes. But aversion to nuclear energy, environmental destruction, global warming, war, contaminated food, and even having children are all based on the same fearful foundation: How do I avoid contributing to calamity? There are countless examples of this über-eager German compulsion to take the collective blame for some misery somewhere. We can undoubtedly construct chains of causality between our own actions and greater calamities, however, this can quickly damn us to indecision and impotence Maybe we Germans are tripping up ourselves with our constant paranoid assessment of the consequences of our actions Living life leaves a mark. Living also causes unforeseeable consequences. In the end, living requires the courage to make decisions even when the upshot isn't yet clear. I have the feeling that some of my American readers will not be upset over the fact that Germans (if Malte is correct) have this built in anxiety factor which will keep them from repeating the crimes of the 1930’s and 1940’s. I myself would not want them to radically change but they should at least come to terms with their inner self. The major reaction to the Holocaust and the other Nazi crimes, as I see it, is pacifism. I don’t look on that as bad. However, as a major power in Europe, Germany does have responsibilities that require them to act assertively on occasion. To be overcome by guilt and angst, and to hide behind that, is to hide from those responsibilities. I believe that strong connections to NATO and the EU preclude a 20th Century repeat. By the way, if anyone still has any doubts about Germany’s nationalist and expansionist 6

ambitions they can pretty much put them to rest. A recent DW article reports that Germany’s military is headed for an army (Bundeswehr) of 180,000 soldiers. Not a great number. The article notes, “The Bundeswehr wants to be able to send out some 10,000 troops in up to two concurrent missions. In addition to that there are to be troops ready for rapid intervention missions led by NATO or the EU. For those goals, some 50,000 soldiers would be needed. Peace activists criticize the overhaul of the troops as they see it as a move away from a defensive to an intervention army. For de Maiziere [Ed. Note: Defense Minister] this though is unjustified criticism as it's more about better international cooperation. Barring changes to the national security situation, the Bundeswehr restructuring is to be completed by 2017.

THE CLAIMS CONFERENCE: A CALL FOR MORAL RESPONSIBILITY In the last edition of DuBow Digest I reported on the fraud convictions of many of the employees and fund recipients that bilked the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany out of many millions of dollars. These were funds for Holocaust survivors. At that time I referred to the matter as a Jewish disgrace and promised that I would keep you up to date. Since then The Forward, America’s leading English language Jewish newspaper has a strong editorial with which, frankly, I agree totally. In their editorial they point out that the Claims Conference leadership, some still in office, have to bare considerable responsibility for what happened since they had been warned about it eight years before the fraud was revealed to the FBI and then the public. They call for a thorough investigation and a reorganization of the Claims Conference. The Forward concludes their editorial by saying, “The Forward‟s agenda, rather, is to promote transparency and accountability. The federal probe and the resulting convictions have, as far as we know, put an end to the fraud, but not to the underlying governance issues that allowed the fraud to continue for eight years after it was flagged. As Berman [Ed. Note: Julius Berman, chairman of the Claims Conference board] himself said to JTA last year, “We would never be able to recover from someone charging that we tried to cover it up.” Indeed, he and the others in leadership have amoral responsibility to prove that has not happened and would not happen. Whether anything will happen as a result of the editorial and the public outcry over this matter remains to be seen. In any case you should read the entire The Forward piece which you can do by clicking here. http://forward.com/articles/177193/a-moral-responsibility/

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A later article should also be read. Click here. http://www.jta.org/2013/05/23/news-opinion/world/after-botched-probe-claimsconference-chairman-julius-berman-addressesaccountability?utm_source=Newsletter+subscribers&utm_campaign=1af69905d2JTA_Daily_Briefing_5_22_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2dce5bc6f81af69905d2-25329937

THE NEW MIDDLE EAST: A FASCINATING ANALYSIS Occasionally, while reading websites (I go through more than a dozen each day) I come across an article that is so chock full of information and interesting analysis that I find it difficult to boil down so that I can include it in this digest. Such an article is Palestine, Peoples and Borders in the New Middle East Map by Ahmad Samih Khalidi who is currently Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College, Oxford and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Palestine Studies (Arabic edition) published by the Institute for Palestine Studies (Beirut). Khalidi served as advisor to the Palestinian delegation at the Madrid/Washington peace talks in 1991-1993 and as senior advisor on security to the Cairo-Taba PLO-Israeli talks in 1993. The article appeared on The Middle East Centre Blog of The London School of Economics and Political Science. The Khalidi article deals with a lot more than just the Israel – Palestinian matter. He makes the point very well that this long simmering dispute must be seen as only a part of the massive changes the entire Middle East is going through. He sees the Sunni – Shiite differences of much greater import. Below I will give you only a few paragraphs of material that deal with Israel and the Palestinians. At the end I will include a link to the entire article which, if you have any interest in the Middle East at all, you should read in its entirety. Amidst the faint flutterings of peace and the concurrent rumblings of war, a new Middle East geo-political map is taking shape that is more complex, contradictory, unpredictable and dangerous than at any time over the last hundred years of unfolding regional drama. More than half a dozen simultaneous conflicts (16 by my count) jostle with each other; un-resolved (perhaps un-resolvable), interconnected and overlapping; one thread leading into another to weave a giant regional tapestry of uncertainty and contradiction; from the tribal fissures of North Africa, to the youthful demands for democratic change; from the inter-Islamist dispute over governance, to the Gulf monarchies‟ aspirations to regional dominance; from long-festering urban/rural frustrations to the stirrings of a new Cold war. Somewhere in all this, of course, the familiar Israel/Palestinian conflict seethes and suppurates. In fact, it is today the object of renewed efforts to find a negotiated 8

settlement propelled by the energetic drive of US Secretary of State John Kerry that may yet yield some tender fruit. But it would be difficult for even the most PalestinoIsraeli-centric observer to pretend that this conflict, despite its profound historical significance, is the most salient or visible of all the frictions and tensions now coursing across the region. The truth (I would say, sad truth) is that amongst the multiple collisions that mark the current Middle East scene, the most significant divide draws on the deep-rooted historical animus between Muslim Sunni and Shiite. Meanwhile, Israel has taken on a new role as the indirect spearhead of the Sunni Arabs‟ attempt to break the back of the „Shiite Crescent‟ by forcefully quashing Iran‟s nuclear ambitions if need be („severing the snake‟s head‟ as eloquently put by Saudi King Abdullah), and by threatening to finish off Hizbollah should it intervene on Tehran‟s behalf, or attempt to reinforce its own deterrent force via the redeployment of Assad‟s arsenal. Where, you may ask, is Palestine in all this? I have already briefly alluded to the Gaza secession and will elaborate some more here. Ever since its 2007 putsch (or preemptive counter putsch depending from which perspective you may choose to see it) Hamas in Gaza has been systematically building the basis of its Islamist-inspired authority, all mutually pious and insincere words about national reconciliation with the PA/PLO in Ramallah notwithstanding. As Hamas has consolidated its rule and developed its system of governance and web of external relations, there are almost no foreseeable circumstances in which it is going to relinquish its control of the Strip in favour of the PA/PLO in Ramallah – or vice versa, for that matter. In short, the chances of a single Palestinian umbrella, unified polity or political entity are fading with each passing day. The consequences of this have not been sufficiently addressed; but they are of massive import because they alter the whole shape and contour of the Palestinian national project. If Gaza is subtracted from the West Bank, then the entire concept of a Palestinian state, its demographic weight and population, its access to the Mediterranean Sea, its borders – everything -changes; including the very terms of a two-state solution as they have been established ever since the mid-seventies. A systemic and irreversible secession in Gaza means that the remaining area of dispute between Israel and Palestinians is fundamentally that of the West Bank – with or without Jerusalem. And with this, the influence of Jordan‟s gravitational pull on its „Bank‟ get s stronger, as does Egypt‟s influence on Gaza. Any way you look at it, the fact remains that Palestine‟s borders may have now become more elastic and problematic than at any time in the past, not just in terms of the Palestinian-Israeli concept of boundaries and where if at all to draw the line between Arab and Jew, but in terms of the Palestinian‟s own internal boundaries as well. If Prof. Khalidi is even close to correct one might understand the reluctance on both parties to the Israel-Palestinian dispute to seek out any sort of a two-State solution at this moment in history. There are just too many moveable possibilities. Any agreed 9

upon boundaries might prove to be only temporary. At the moment and in the foreseeable future anyway, standing pat seems to be the most reasonable course to pursue. Let me end my personal comments by saying that I do not necessarily agree with all of Dr. Khalidi’s analysis or projections. Much of what he has to say is opinion. However, it’s informed opinion and like everybody, he has a point of view. In any case, I think you should read the article. Let me know (dubowdigest@optonline.net) what you think of it. You can read it by clicking here. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mec/2013/05/30/palestinepeoples-and-borders-in-the-new-middle-east-map/

LATRUN Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. It is a valley area and a hilltop that overlook the main road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. One might say that it is the main lifeline of Israel as it connects the two most important segments of the nation. When the 1948 War (War of Independence) ended Jordanian troops had control of the hilltop which was used to shell any movement along the road. The Israelis, in order to keep things moving, built a second difficult and winding road which was in operation until the 1967 War. During the conflict the Israelis took the hilltop, pushed the Jordanians out, eventually bulldozed the three Arab villages that were nearby and reopened the road. The hilltop, referred to as the Latrun Salient, has been in Israeli hands ever since. To even remotely think that in any peace agreement the Israelis and Palestinians might sign would include an agreement to return Latrun to the Palestinians is simply and unavoidably out of the question. The Palestinians know that, the Israelis know that and anyone who has any interest in peace in the area should know that as well. After many years of saying nothing, (Jerusalem Post), “In recent days the Palestine Liberation Organization‟s Negotiations Affairs Department, the one headed by Saeb Erekat, launched a campaign under the headline “The Latrun Valley – an Integral Part of the State of Palestine.” A document circulated by the negotiations department described the Latrun Valley as covering a 50-km. area close to the Green Line. “As a result of the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe),” the document read, “when two -thirds of the Palestinian population were forcibly exiled from their homes by Zionist militias prior to the creation of the State of Israel, almost half of the valley is now considered No Man‟s Land (NML) an integral part of the Occupied State of Palestine.” However, all of a sudden, after many years (The Jerusalem Post), “ The Latrun Valley, the document continued, “is well known for its rich water resources and fertile land. ”According to the paper, Israel occupied the area during the Six Day 10

War and “ethnically cleansed” three villages left standing after 1948, before completely wiping them off the map as well. The paper said that following the forced displacement of the Palestinian inhabitants, the Jewish National Fund, in cooperation with Canada, built Canada Park “over the site of the villages.” “Preventing Palestinians from making use of the Latrun area is part of Israel‟s systematic attempt to turn the occupation of Palestinian land into annexation,” the document read. “The Latrun Valley holds enormous potential for Palestinians, including its fertile lands, water resources, archeological sites and religious shrines. It is a vital and integral part of the State of Palestine as defined by the 1967 border.” One Israeli official was stunned by the Palestinian campaign over Latrun, saying it was as if the Palestinians were moving the goal line backwards. Referring to US Secretary of State John Kerry‟s push to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the official said, “It‟s almost as if every time we move forward, or every time there is a prospect of moving forward, the Palestinians bring up an issue which they know is a game breaker.” The Palestinian decision to make this an issue, the official continued, “raises concerns as to their seriousness.” All peace plans have always put Latrun inside Israel, the official said. “No Israeli government, no Israeli prime minister, can seriously entertain that this area would be going to the Palestinians. Even if you think it is only the Israelis that are reluctant to come to the peace table, I believe that in all fairness you have to say that the Palestinians are digging up all sorts of reasons to stay away as well. In addition, if you think Dr. Khaladi in the above article is correct when he says, “ . Any way you look at it, the fact remains that Palestine‟s borders may have now become more elastic and problematic than at any time in the past, not just in terms of the Palestinian-Israeli concept of boundaries and where if at all to draw the line between Arab and Jew, but in terms of the Palestinian‟s own internal boundaries as well.” then you must conclude (as I do) that this is just not the time for the “two state solution” to take place. HOLOCAUST MEMORIALS: AMERICAN STYLE As one travels throughout Germany it is hard to go almost anywhere and not run into Holocaust memorials of some sort. Everywhere there are plaques commemorating lost 11

Jewish communities, rebuilt synagogues (frequently in towns that have very few or no Jews at present), and re-established Jewish cemeteries – all memorializing the Holocaust. Germany is not the only place where Holocaust memory has had a lasting presence. There are, of course, memorials in other countries but the United States, though an ocean away from where it all happened seems particularly impacted upon. JTA recently published an article with the headline “Nearly 70 years after liberation, Holocaust memorials continue to proliferate” It noted, “No earth was moved last month at the groundbreaking of one of the nation‟s newest Holocaust memorials. Instead, the gatherers stood silently, symbolic shovels in hand, on the immaculate lawn where the privately funded $400,000 monument will soon rise. A succession of speakers delivered somber homilies remembering one of the darkest chapters in human history. The construction of a new Holocaust memorial is hardly unusual. But this was Des Moines, Iowa, home to a small Jewish community and an even smaller number of survivors. Just 2,800 Jews live in the capital of the Hawkeye State, among them a rapidly diminishing number of survivors… Yet local authorities, along with the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines and Jewish philanthropists, nevertheless felt it important for the city to set aside prominent public space near the state capitol to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and their liberators. “As time went by and as the last survivors pass away, the study of the Holocaust in the school districts began to wane and the Jewish community felt the memory of it needed to be perpetuated,” said Mark Finkelstein, the head of the fede ration. The Jews of Des Moines are hardly the first to push for such a project. Though precise numbers are difficult to come by, Holocaust studies experts say museums and monuments dedicated to the genocide have proliferated across the United States over the past two decades. Major American cities typically have at least one Holocaust memorial, but now many midsized ones do too, like Richmond, Va., Charleston, S.C., and El Paso, Texas. Memorials are even found in relatively small cities, like Whitwell, Tenn., and Palm Desert, Calif. And more are in the works, including a recently approved monument designed by architect Daniel Libeskind to be built on the statehouse grounds in Columbus, Ohio. “There are probably more than 300 Holocaust study centers and museu ms around the country, and the number of memorials would be hard to track down because of all the small ones,” said James Young, a professor of English and Judaic studies at the 12

University of Massachusetts in Amherst and the author of a book about Holocaust remembrance. “Just in Manhattan, there are 80. Multiply that and you probably have thousands.” Young says the single most important factor driving the construction of Holocaust memorials nearly 70 years after the war is the initiative of elderly survivors. With the youngest of them nearing 80, survivors are eager to educate future generations about their suffering and, in so doing, give meaning to their lives. “It doesn‟t take a big community,” Young said. “If someone is inspired to build a memorial site, it is possible to do so.” While I agree with Young that Holocaust survivors are frequently the driving force behind the building of the memorials, younger people, including non-Jews are oft times involved as well. In American life the only other event that I can think of that gets the same sort of attention is the Civil War. Perhaps there are others but the Holocaust, though not American in any way, certainly has burrowed into our national consciousness and sub-conscious. There is more to the story which you can read by clicking here. http://www.jta.org/2013/06/11/news-opinion/united-states/nearly-70-years-afterliberation-holocaust-memorials-continue-to-proliferate ************************************************************************************************ See you again in July. DuBow Digest is written and published by Eugene DuBow who can be contacted by clicking here. Both the American and Germany editions are posted at www.dubowdigest.typepad.com

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