Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Scene Around


Angela Merkel

A Thank You to German Chancellor...

"World Jewish Congress president Ambassadåor RONALD S. LAUDER met recently with German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL at the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp and thanked her for announcing that Germany is committing $66 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation to support preservation of the memorial site.

(Millions of dollars for each murdered Jew? NOT ENOUGH! NOT EVEN BILLIONS WOULD BE ENOUGH! Am I bitter? I suppose so.)

Her visit is the first in her 14-year tenure as Chancellor of Germany, the first time a German Chancellor has visited the site since 1977, and the third time a German chancellor or head of government has visited since World War II. The visit came in advance of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and amid rising levels of anti-Semitism in Europe and around the world.

Chancellor Merkel was accompanied by Polish Prime-Minister MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI, PIOTR M.A. CYWINSKI, Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and President of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, and Dr. JOSEF SCHUSTER, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

President Lauder accompanied Chancellor Merkel during her visit to the museum's Conservation Laboratories, which preserves every shoe, every document, and every building that remain at the site. (Every shoe? I feel sick!)

Amb. Lauder has been involved in the preservation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau site for decades, raising tens of millions of dollars internationally to fund conservation efforts, including the establishment in 2003 of the laboratories. Chancellor Merkel also visited the Central Sauna building at the former Birkenau camp, where prisoners were subjected to 'disinfection' before being forced into slave labor. (I've almost 'lost' it. I never want to visit Germany... never, never, never.)

'Anti-Semitism remains a vile, pervasive and resurgent force in the world today, making Holocaust education more vital than ever,' said the WJC president. He continued, 'Chancellor Merkel has been a valued and reliable ally in the fight against this oldest of hatreds. Preserving and conserving the remains of the Holocaust are critical to maintaining an accurate record of the atrocities committed, especially as the number of living, first-hand witnesses inevitably dwindles. Only by knowing the past can we protect our future, and we are deeply grateful to Chancellor Merkel for her commitment to the preservation of the site where over 1 million Jews were brutally murdered by the Nazis only and exclusively because they were Jews.'

(1 million at Auschwitz... 6 million in all!)

Chancellor Merkel acknowledged the conservation work and thanked 'that care was taken with great commitment so the site can bear testimony.' Further, Merkel stated that 'this history has to be told, again and again.'

A few months ago, the WJC honored Chancellor Merkel with the WJC Theodor Herzl Award for her efforts to protect and foster Jewish life in Germany and her support for Israel.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau site is one of the most important remaining physical remnants of the Holocaust and a crucial reminder of the evil that can stem from bigotry and hatred.

Chancellor Merkel's visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial comes at a time when anti-Semitism and white nationalism are on the rise across Europe and the United States, and global understanding of the Holocaust is on the decline.

In the United States today, 41percent of adults cannot identify what Auschwitz was or is, and 11 percent of adults ... and over one-fifth of millennials... have not heard, or are not sure if they have heard, of the Holocaust.

(I'm frightened for the next generatio ... especially for my grandchildren!)

PULEEZE, Let's change the subject...

On Monday, March 9th at 7:45 p.m. at Chabad of Greater Orlando, 708 Lake Howell Road, Maitland, there will be a Megillah Reading. All are welcome.

Also from Chabad of Greater Orlando...

Tuesday, March 10th, will be a celebration of "Purim In the City," a New York City Purim experience. (I'm a native New Yorker... Yah Brooklyn!)

At 5:30 p.m. there will be a Megillah reading. At 6 p.m. there will be a New York Style dinner. (Yum) At 6:30 p.m. there will be the "Tonight Show" with KOSTYA KIMLAT.

Repeating the address of Chabad, 708 Lake Howell Road, Maitland.

For further information and to RSVP, email to http://www.Chabadorlando.org/purim2020

Maitland Jewish Community Center...

At 10 a.m. Thursday, March 12, at beautiful Lake Lily Park in Maitland there will be a Purim-themed story time and Baby & me Yoga. They will meet on the south side of the lake, opposite the playground (follow the pedestrian bridge running alongside 17-92). Remember your yoga mats!

PJ Baby & Me was created especially for babies and toddlers, ages 0-3, and their very special person (parent, grandparent, caregiver, etc.).

Admission is FREE, but space is limited and pre-registration is required.

JCC39ers Cinema Sundays...

Beginning at 2 p.m. in the JCC Maitland Senior Lounge, the movie "A Man Called Ove" will be shown. Refreshments are available.

JCC39ers Meet & Mingle Mondays...

On March 9th, beginning at 1 p.m. in the Maitland JCC Senior Lounge, Preschool kids will perform. Also, a funny, creative workshop... the story of Purim, Baking Hamantachen and presence of pastry chef and Cultural Arts director, AVIVIT ERICHMAN.

JCC39ers Wow Wednesdays...

On Wednesday, March 11th, at 12:30 p.m., there will be the Yiddish Circle with VICTOR and BATYA GRANATSTEIN following a lunch. Bring something to share.

A Shout-Out...

This is decades overdue...many, many decades: During the German occupation of Ukraine, TATYANA KONTSEVICH and her daughter, ANIA, sheltered the family of Shimon Redlich. Shimon hid with his mother, aunt, and uncle in the attic and shed of the Kontsevich home in Raj.

Ten-year-old Ania was in charge of bringing them food and water. At one point, when home alone, Ania dissuaded two German soldiers in search of straw from climbing into the attic, where they would have found the Redlich family.

Hopefully, Ania Kontsevich is still alive today. Bless her and her family.

One for the road...

One day, Sadie and Rose are talking about men. 

Kostya Kimlat

"I have a question for you," says Rose. 

"So ask it already," says Sadie. 

"OK," says Rose. "If I meet a stranger at a party and I think that he's attractive, do you think it's OK to ask him straight away whether he's married?" 

"No, certainly not," replies Sadie, "you should wait until morning."


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