Among the most exciting moments in this process of Redemption is watching the pieces come together. Anyone can do this. (You don't have to be a prophet!) Just by being an observer of the human scene,...current events, talk radio, internet news and daily experiences,--all this can be eye-opening about how the Rebbe's prophecy is being fulfilled.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Remorse for Nazi Past from Berlin, Vienna

Regret for the past is a critical step in the refinement of the nations. Otherwise, how will they be able to receive the  light of the Redemption?

Berlin Zoo comes to terms with Nazi past, seeks out former Jewish shareholders

During World War II, the Berlin Zoo was one of the first establishments to push out Jewish patrons – even before the Nazi regime had asked institutions to do so. More than 70 years later, the zoo is trying to own up to its misdeeds.
In 1938, the Berlin Zoo got rid of Jewish board members and forced Jewish shareholders to sell their stock at a loss, before re-selling the stock in an effort to "Aryanize" the institution. The zoo has now commissioned a historian to identify these past shareholders and track down their descendants, according to a report by AFP.
"Jews were very important for the zoo," the historian, Monika Schmidt, told AFP. "But they were pushed out step by step by the zoo itself, before the Nazi state asked any institution to do those things."
According to the report, roughly a quarter of the zoo's 4,000 shareholders in the '30s were Jews.
At the time, the Berlin Zoo was something of a social hotspot; instead of receiving dividends, the shareholders and their families enjoyed free access to the zoo, as well as the prestige of supporting an important institution.
"…in former times, the zoo was a very important meeting place for the city," said Schmidt, who works for the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism in Berlin.
Schmidt has managed to locate Jochanan Asriel, 89, whose grandfather was a shareholder. As a boy, Asriel would ride his bike to the zoo every afternoon.
"I remember all the animals, and I remember where they were placed," Asriel told AFP. "I don't remember what I ate yesterday, but what I remember from the zoo, I remember very well."
Asriel, who fled Germany as a teenager in 1939, now lives in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.
According to the report, Schmidt plans to publish the names and biographies of the shareholders in a book next year.
The zoo's dark past came to light in 2000, when retired New York sociology professor Werner Cohn asked the institution about his father's shares.
The zoo initially responded by saying that there was "neither force, nor compulsion" in the transfer of shares from Jews to non-Jews, but later decided to commission Schmidt to begin her research.
She then exposed the stock sales, the zoo's removal of Jewish board members, and the barring of Jewish visitors from the institution starting in 1939.
According to AFP, the zoo installed a plaque commemorating the Jewish shareholders.
"It is important to make the decision to continue to engage with this topic, to not forget what is possible," said zoo spokeswoman Claudia Bienek.
According to Bienek, reparation payments are not being considered.

Vienna Philharmonic Strips Ex-Nazis of Honors 

VIENNA December 20, 2013 (AP)
By GEORGE JAHN Associated Press 

The famed Vienna Philharmonic orchestra has quietly stripped six former senior Nazi officials of honors awarded them — a late act of contrition for its embrace of the Hitler era that included purging Jewish members from its ranks.
The decision was divulged to The Associated Press by an orchestra member on Friday and confirmed by historian Oliver Rathkolb.
Rathkolb led research earlier this year documenting the orchestra's close cooperation with Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and other top Hitler associates after Germany's 1938 annexation of Austria.
The formal vote to revoke the awards was held at the orchestra's annual meeting on Oct. 23 but the move was not announced. Rathkolb said all ensemble members agreed then to strip the officials from golden rings of honor and medals.
Those losing the honors included Arthur Seyss-Inquart, a top Hitler associate sentenced to death for war crimes and crimes against humanity and Vienna governor Baldur von Schirach, who drew a 20-year prison sentence at the Nuremberg trials for his leading role in the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews.
The others stripped of the honors were senior SS official Albert Reitter; Friedrich Rainer, governor of Salzburg and Carinthia provinces; Rudolf Toepfer, a ranking Hitler-era railway official; and Vienna Mayor Hanns Blaschke.
Under the Nazis, 13 musicians with Jewish roots or kin were fired by the orchestra and five died in concentration camps. By the end of World War II, about half of the Philharmonic's members had joined the Nazi party.

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