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 B'nai B'rith Europe Mourns the Loss of Shimon Peres

B'nai B'rith Europe Mourns the Loss of Shimon Peres

B’nai B’rith mourns the loss of Israeli elder statesman Shimon Peres, who died on Sept. 27 at the age of…

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Unveiling Ceremony of the plaque in memory of Erika van Gelder z"l

Unveiling Ceremony of the plaque in memory of Erika van Gelder z"l

On Sunday 3rd July, on the occasion of a reunion of the BBE Executive Committee and a visit from BBI executive, BBE…

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B’nai B’rith Meets with European Commission Coordinator to Combat Anti-Semitism

B’nai B’rith Meets with European Commission Coordinator to Combat Anti-Semitism

B'nai B'rith Europe President Daniel Citone, B'nai B'rith Europe Vice-President Valerie Achache and B'nai B'rith International Director of EU Affairs…

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 B’nai B’rith Highly Disconcerted with Approval of Guidelines to Label Goods from West Bank

B’nai B’rith Highly Disconcerted with Approval of Guidelines to Label Goods from West Bank

B’nai B’rith International and B'nai B'rith Europe are highly disconcerted that the European Union has approved and will soon publish…

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 B’nai B’rith Commends Pope Francis Visit To Great Synagogue Of Rome

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B'nai B'rith Europe President Daniel Citone was in attendance when Pope Francis spoke at the Great Synagogue of Rome on…

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Working brunch with fellow Jewish organisations in renovated offices

Working brunch with fellow Jewish organisations in renovated offices

Yesterday, 1st October 2015, B'nai B'rith Europe held a working brunch in its renovated office with several organisations that were…

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When a B'nai B'rith delegation meets with the Pope

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A multinational delegation of B'nai B'rith leaders met privately with Pope Francis on June 25 at the Vatican,the meeting came…

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Bridges of Tolerance

Bridges of Tolerance

A report of the event in Romania 3-5 June 2015

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BBE sponsors portable school shelter for elementary school in Israel

BBE sponsors portable school shelter for elementary school in Israel

During last summer’s Gaza conflict, the BBE executive committee organized a Solidarity trip to Israel. As part of the program,…

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Launch of Young Profesional group in the UK

Vice-President of BBE Valerie Achache attends the launch of the new 25 to 45 group.

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A delegation of B'nai B'rith leads MEPS on a mission to Israël

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B’nai B’rith International led several members of the European Parliament on a five-day visit to Israel. This trip promoted the…

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Welcome to the B'nai B'rith Europe website

Jailing of a Jewish writer


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Holocaust historians have hit out at the Austrian government after a Jewish writer, who catalogued the state's failure to return properties seized by the Nazis, was jailed in Vienna.

Stephan Templ, 54, has begun a one-year sentence for defrauding the state.

He was convicted in 2013 after omitting the name of an estranged aunt in an application on behalf of his mother for the return of property seized in 1938.

But legal experts said it was not his responsibility to find other heirs.

The lengthy case has drawn widespread condemnation amid allegations Austria has not done enough to return property looted under the Third Reich.

Historian Efraim Zuroff, renowned for his efforts at bringing Nazi war criminals to court, told the BBC on Tuesday the jailing of Templ was "absolutely outrageous".

Meanwhile, Templ's lawyer, Robert Amsterdam, described it as "outright injustice".

Vienna prosecutors have not commented on the case.

Templ, a leading critic of Austria's restitution record, caused controversy in Austria in 2011 with a book called Our Vienna: Aryanization Austrian-Style.

The book, co-written with historian Tina Walzer, documented properties in the Austrian capital - including apartment buildings, cinemas and even a ferris wheel - that were confiscated from their Jewish owners.

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nazi soldiers and party members watch Jews being forced to scrub the pavements of Vienna in March 1938


One of the buildings was a sanatorium owned by Templ's relatives, Lothar Fuerth and his wife.

When Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany in March 1938, Lothar Fuerth was forced to clean the pavement in front of the hospital using toothbrushes as part of the mass persecution of Vienna's Jews. The couple later made their way back into the building and took their own lives.
Image caption Lothar Fuerth was made to clean the pavement outside the sanatorium

In 2006, Templ made a claim on behalf of his mother to a share of the property's value - but failed to specify the name of an aunt, who also had inheritance rights.

Templ told the Guardian: "Owing to the fact that the state stole the property from my family, the obligation should be on them to track down the relatives.

"My only obligation as far as I was concerned was to assure those deciding on the restitution that my mother's claim was bona fide."

Vienna's Regional Criminal Court originally sentenced him to three years in prison in 2013 after the government argued the aunt could have given her share over to the state. The sentence was later reduced to one year.

In September Austrian President Heinz Fischer rejected a request for clemency, saying the punishment was fair because the court had ruled that Templ had "damaged Austria" by his actions.
'Touched a nerve'

Critics have called the decision to jail the writer an "overreaction" and have suggested it may be linked to his criticism of the government's restitution record.

"A lot of people wanted revenge," said Mr Amsterdam, a leading human rights lawyer who defended Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

"A lot of people are angry at Stephan for the book."

Karl Pfeifer, a veteran Austrian journalist and a Holocaust survivor, has been quoted as saying: "The only reason Templ was prosecuted is that he touched a nerve with his book, which reminded the Austrians of how they stole Jewish property."

Speaking to the BBC after his client went to jail on Monday, Templ's lawyer described his shock that the jail sentence was being served.

"It was a difficult day for me not only as a lawyer but as a witness and a Jew," Mr Amsterdam said.


Templ revealed in his book that the ferris wheel in Vienna's Prater amusement park was seized from its Jewish owner who was killed at Auschwitz
Image copyright Getty Images
Templ revealed in his book that the ferris wheel in Vienna's Prater amusement park was seized from its Jewish owner who was killed at Auschwitz

Meanwhile Efraim Zuroff, one of 75 Holocaust historians who signed a letter urging the government to cancel the sentence, criticised Austria's handling of cases relating to the Third Reich - including the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

"This a country that has a really very twisted way of dealing with Holocaust related issues," he said.

We invite all lodges to write to the local Austrian embassy.

Source: www.bbc.com

B’nai B’rith Welcomes European Commission Effort to Combat Anti-Semitism

B’nai B’rith International welcomes the announcement by the European Commission that it will name a coordinator for combating anti-Semitism. The new official will report to Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans, who will serve as special envoy for countering anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

B’nai B’rith and other civil society groups had urged the European Union to appoint an official to oversee the effort to fight anti-Semitism.

The continued growth of anti-Semitism across Europe requires an EU-wide approach to dealing with the problem. The appointment of a special envoy and coordinator on anti-Semitism is an important step in this direction.

We pledge to work closely with EU officials to ensure that the work of the Commission and the European Parliament yields positive results in tackling anti-Semitism.

Congratulations to Gavro Swhwartz lodge in Croation which is active again

The lodge is again active and they have a website : www.bnaibrith.hr
The site is still under construction but some parts of it are ready in Croatian and English.
Congratulation to the "Gavro Schwartz " Lodge, its President, Darko Fischer, Vice-President Miljenko Bernfest, Secretary Mira Altarac and all the members.
In the name of BBE and all the lodges we wish you much success in all your undertakings.
Erika van Gelder
BBE President

Working brunch with fellow Jewish organisations in renovated offices

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Yesterday, 1st October 2015, B'nai B'rith Europe held a working brunch in its renovated office with several organisations that were attending the two days colloquium organised by the European Commission on "Tolerance and respect: preventing and combating anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe" on 1st and 2nd October.

President of B'nai B'rith Europe, Erika Van Gelder and Vice-President of B'nai B'rith Europe Valerie Achache chaired the meeting. Serge Dahan, President of B'nai B'rith France also attended the event.

The idea behind this meeting was for Jewish and pro-Israel European NGOs such as BBE to become familiar with each other's work and ultimately to create leverage through an ad-hoc task force with coordinated efforts on common topics of interest.

The American Jewish Committee/Transatlantic Institute, the European Alliance for Israel, Europe Israel Public Affairs, the European Jewish Association, the European Jewish Centre, the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists and the World Jewish Congress were represented along B'nai B'rith Europe.

Everyone in the assembly introduced themselves and described their organisation's core interests.

Creating a definition of antisemitism at EU level modelled on the US definition seems to have aroused most present organisations interest as a possible way to work together. Another one was to increase antisemitism awareness amongst civil servants and magistrates in charge of implementing hate crime laws.

B'nai B'rith Europe would like to turn this meeting into a regular event, and hopes that working hand in hand with other organisations will make a positive change for Israel and the Jewish community in Europe.

If you wish to join please contact Anouk Abrahams at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

May you be inscribed in the book of life!

"The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the LORD" Leviticus 23 27(altMaurycy Gottlieb 1878
References provided by Gilberte Jacaret

Rosh Hashana message from the President

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Amsterdam, 9/9/2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A new year is about to begin. The Jewish people all over the world will be praying for peace , for tolerance, for mutual respect ...They will voice their hopes for a better year to come, a year without violence, a year without suffering, a year that would bring solace to humanity. Then on Yom Kippur, each of us, individually, will make his/her peace with G-D and his fellow man.

We, the members of B'nai B'rith, chose this path because we believe in these high moral standards, we mean to do good, we want to repair the world, make it a better place in which our children and children's children have a future.

We must stay strong and united in a world where anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism have become part of the widely accepted political discourse. We must stay strong and united faced with the ever growing terrorist threats from all corners of the world.

We, who know what it means to be refugee, unwanted and destitute, must never forget the hundreds of thousands of refugees, men, women and children living in appalling conditions behind barbed wire. As a Jew, as a human being, as a member of B'nai B'rith, we must help. Indifference, doing nothing, is not an option.

I wish all of you and your loved ones, a healthy, sweet Rosh Hashanah, peace for Israel and hope for a more humane new year.

Erika van Gelder
B'nai B'rith Europe President

BBE stands with the refugees, please help them!

Europe is struggling to deal with the influx of 350,000 refugees — mostly displaced Syrians fleeing the brutality of the Islamic State militants and the ongoing civil war — who have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe. The trend shows no sign of slowing as war and turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa drive millions of people from their homes.

Humanitarian aid is one of B'nai B'rith core mission, and with the largest influx of refugees in Europe since WWII, B'nai B'rith Europe wants to take a stand. Together with B'nai B'rith International, we collect funds for IsraAID. For over a decade, IsraAID has been helping people all over the world overcome extreme crises and has provided millions with the vital support needed to move from destruction to reconstruction, and eventually, to sustainable living.

IsraAID will send a team that will provide food and supplies, as well as assisting authorities and local organizations to improve the psychosocial well-being of the refugees and assist in absorption efforts, the organization said.

 “As a nation that has suffered the atrocities of the Holocaust, and routinely stands in the face of threats, we can’t not extend a hand to help the tens of thousands of asylum seekers looking for refuge after fleeing the atrocities in the Middle East and Africa,” IsraAid’s founding director Shachar Zehavi said in a statement.

Let's make this statement our one too, as a people that suffered atrocities let's show them we care.

You can help by donating on this special account:


IBAN: BE95732007489158
SWIFT/BIC: CREGBEBB
"Refugee relief"


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