Hitler Fave Performs
AMSTERDAM — A 104-year-old Dutch singer who was a favourite of Hitler performed in his hometown amid protests. Johannes Heesters performed Feb. 16 in Amersfoort, 35 miles east of Amsterdam, for the first time since 1963, when he was booed off the stage. Dozens of protesters and a handful of neo-Nazis came to his Feb. 16 show. Heesters was a popular German-language singer and film star who performed for German soldiers in World War II. The singer, who now lives in Germany, has said he knew nothing about the Shoah, despite a visit to the Dachau concentration camp in 1941.
LOS ANGELES — A Molotov cocktail was placed or thrown at a Jewish centre in suburban Los Angeles Feb. 18. No one was injured in the 2 a.m. attack at the back of the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills, Calif. It’s unclear who was responsible. Police are investigating
Chabad Baby Bonus
MOSCOW — The Chabad-led Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia says it will pay Jewish families to have more babies. At an event marking its 10th anniversary, the federation said it will pay families with three or more children about $100 a month. “Our goal for the next decade is to create a stronger community of young people and families,” the group’s chair said. “This additional money is sometimes what a young family needs to have another child.”
Israeli Dodged Bullet
LONDON — A retired Israeli general escaped arrest on war crimes charges when he flew to Britain in 2005, due to police fears of a shootout when El Al refused to allow them to board a plane in London and seize him. British police decided against boarding the El Al plane carrying Maj.-Gen. Doron Almog in September 2005 out of concern the plane’s armed guards would open fire if they entered, the BBC reported last week. Almog, an ex-head of Israeli forces in Gaza, went to Britain for a charity event, but was tipped off that a pro-Palestinian group had gained a warrant for his arrest. He stayed on the plane and flew home within hours.
Actor Wins Apology
LONDON — U.S. actor Will Smith received undisclosed damages and an apology Feb. 22 for allegations that he described Adolf Hitler as a “good person.” The High Court in London ruled the statement, made in a Dec. 23 article on a website owned by World Entertainment News Network Limited, caused Smith deep distress and embarrassment. He will donate the money to charity.
Survivor Raps Sarkozy’s Shoah Program
PARIS — A French Holocaust survivor and former European Parliament president slammed Nicolas Sarkozy’s new Holocaust education proposal.
Simone Veil told the French magazine L’Express that “her blood turned to ice” in response to the French president’s initiative to pair every fifth grader with the profile of a child killed by the Nazis. Sarkozy announced his new idea in a speech this month to the CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewry.
“We cannot ask a child to identify himself with a dead child. This remembrance is far too heavy to carry,” said Veil, a onetime Auschwitz deportee.
At a Feb. 15 education conference in southwest France, Sarkozy defended his proposal to pair every 10- and 11-year-old in the country with the detailed story of a child killed during the Shoah, saying, “We don’t traumatize children by giving them the present of a country’s memory.”