Using Holocaust Memorials to Bash Israel in Germany

August 14, 2015 | Benjamin Weinthal
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In Munich, a controversy has broken out over installing cobblestone-sized brass plaques on the streets, each commemorating a victim of the Nazis who lived nearby. These memorials, known as Stolpersteine (“stumbling stones”), have become a feature of many German cities. Inevitably, writes Benjamin Weinthal, the controversy also involves feelings about Israel:

In late July, the Munich city council voted to ban the “stumbling-stone” memorials. Charlotte Knobloch, the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and current head of the Munich Jewish community, has long opposed the Stolpersteine and has called them an insult to the victims. Knobloch, herself a Holocaust survivor, said it is “intolerable” for passersby to step on the names of Jews that were murdered in the tragedy. . . .

[Meanwhile], a co-founder of the “stumbling-stones” memorial in the city of Kassel . . . declared at an anti-Semitic demonstration in 2014 that “death is a master today from Israel” and that he wished that there would be “stumbling stones” for the murdered Palestinians, . . . an allusion to the famous Holocaust poem by the Jewish poet Paul Celan . . . who wrote about Nazism: “death is a master from Germany.” [Similar] anti-Zionist sentiments [have been expressed by] the co-founders of the Munich Stolpersteine initiative.

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