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WJC President Lauder: Holding the Maccabi Games in Hitler's Stadium is a 'Triumph of Good Over Evil'

BERLIN, World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder told Jewish athletes competing in the European Maccabi Games today that the global Jewish athletic competition at Berlin’s Olympic Park, which was built by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympic Games, represented “a triumph of good over evil.”

“Here we are, 70 years since the concentration camps were liberated and the true horror of the Nazis was realized, at the stadium Hitler built, to celebrate the Jewish European Maccabi Games,” Lauder said at a reception at the Olympic Park ahead of tonight’s opening ceremony.

He thanked Maccabi Germany, Maccabi Europe and the German government for organizing the games: “For those who say this is not the right place to hold these games, I say, to the contrary, this is exactly where these games should be held. This place, this stadium, is where these games should be held. It is said that the best way to overcome a terrible event is to go back to where it happened, to show yourself that you can return, and to prove to everyone that you can endure and move on.”

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière last week recognized the significance of the competition taking place at the very place where the Olympic Games in 1936 took place and from which German Jewish athletes were excluded.

Some 2,000 Jewish athletes from 36 countries will compete in 19 sports in the coming days. Lauder wished them good luck and added: “And remember, while it is great to win, you have already won just by being here, by representing your people with courage and strength, by being proud of your ancient heritage, and for giving us all hope for the future.”

The first European Maccabi Games were held in Prague in 1929, but soon after, with the rise of Nazism Jewish sports associations were banned. The games were reinstated in 1969 and are held every four years, alternating with the Maccabiah Games in Israel.
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Berlin - A body of 22-year-old Israeli found with signs of severe violence

According to a report in the German newspaper "Bild", the young man's body, among his things is an Israeli passport, was found by passers by, near an abandoned church. Due to the state of the body, It was not possible to determine with certainty the identity of the victim. Israeli Foreign Ministry checks the report.

Source involved in the details of the investigation said that "the victim's face is severely damaged, it has not yet been possible to establish identity with certainty. It is not possible make a match between him and the image shown in the passport." The body was discovered by passers by on Sunday, near the abandoned Franciscan church near the Alexanderplatz square.
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World Jewish Congress to meet in Berlin in wake of growing anti-Semitism


WJC, A sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks and the growing hostility towards Israel will be among the subjects to be discussed at a meeting of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in Berlin, which will take place from 14 to 16 September 2014. The WJC Governing Board will be chaired by David de Rothschild and attended by 150 heads of Jewish communities, delegates and young Jewish diplomats from around the world. Among the guest speakers will be Germany's Economics Minister, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

In tribute to his lifetime efforts for reconciliation between Germans and Jews, and between Germany and Israel, the WJC’s Theodor Herzl Award will be bestowed posthumously on the late publisher Axel Springer, whose widow Friede Springer will receive it at a dinner at Berlin’s Jewish Museum on Monday, 15 September 2014.

The participants will also take part in the rally against anti-Semitism organized by the Central Council of Jews in Germany in front of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate on Sunday, 14 September 2014, at 3 p.m., where German President Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and many other German leaders are expected.

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, who will be one of the speakers at the rally, said the WJC meeting in Berlin came at an important moment: “After the terrible hostilities against Jews we witnessed in the last eight weeks in Europe, following Israel’s legitimate action in the Gaza Strip, we are faced with a fundamental question: What needs to be done to ensure that the next generation of Jews has a future in Europe? This eruption of anti-Semitism has been an eye-opener for many people, and it would be wrong to go back to doing business as usual. Instead, we expect politicians and societies to address the root causes of this hatred, and to take appropriate action against it.”

Reports will be given about Hamas and about the threats posed by jihadist fighters returning to their Western countries of origin. Another focus of the WJC meeting will be visits of the delegates to important Holocaust-related sites in Berlin, including the Wannsee Conference Memorial Exhibit, the ‘Gleis 17’ train platform at Berlin’s Grunewald Station from which many German Jews were deported to the Nazi death camps, and to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe near the Brandenburg Gate. This will take place in the morning of Tuesday, 16 September 2014. At ‘Gleis 17’, there will be a short ceremony and Kaddish will be recited.
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Merkel, Lauder to address Berlin rally against anti-Semitism


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder will be among the speakers at a rally in Berlin on 14 September against growing anti-Semitism. The demonstration will be organized by the Central Council of Jews in Germany and also feature the leaders of the two main church denominations in Germany.

Dieter Graumann and Angela MerkelDieter Graumann and Angela Merkel"It means a lot to the Jewish community" that Merkel had agree to address the rally, which will be held in front of the landmark Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin, Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council and a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, declared in a press release. The motto of the rally is 'Stand up! No more Jew-hatred!'.

Graumann said that in the past weeks "naked hatred against Jews" had repeatedly been witnessed in Germany and caused great concern among the country's 120,000-strong Jewish community. However, the Jewish leader added that the community would continue to strive for a "confident Jewish life" in Germany. "For this reason, we want to show on 14 September: We are here! We will stay! And we will fight all attacks vigorously, together with our friends in German society," declared Graumann.
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