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

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

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

 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…

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…

Bridges of Tolerance

Bridges of Tolerance

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

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…

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,…

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

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

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

 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…

Launch of Young Profesional group in the UK

Launch of Young Profesional group in the UK

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

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…

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

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

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

B'nai B'rith Young Professionals' Trip to Luxembourg

B'nai B'rith Young Professionals' Trip to Luxembourg

B'nai B'rith Europe and B'nai B'rith Young Professionals (BBYP) UK took a group of over 40 people to Luxembourg from…

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Welcome to the B'nai B'rith Europe website

European Maccabi Games in Berlin

Maccabi Games 2015

From July 27 to August 5, 2015, the 14th European Maccabi Games (EMG2015) will take place in Berlin. Europe's biggest Jewish sports event will take place in Germany for the first time in its history. Where Jewish athletes were excluded from the Olympic Games in 1936, thousands will send a message for tolerance and openness and against anti-Semitism and racism this summer.

Bnai Brith is proud to be partner of the event. May the best win!

For more details


more on Times of Israel

Bnai Brith meets the Pope

Erika and Pope Francis

A multinational delegation of B'nai B'rith leaders met privately with Pope Francis on June 25 at the Vatican, the first international Jewish audience with the pope since the Vatican announced an agreement on church issues with "the State of Palestine" and the pope separately acknowledged non-recognition of Israel as amounting to anti-Semitism. The meeting came during the 50th anniversary year of Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council document that helped to transform Catholic-Jewish relations.

The delegation, in addition to Allan Jacobs and Dan Mariaschin, was composed of other members of the B'nai B'rith delegation as Chairman of the Executive Board of Directors Gary Saltzman (Denver, Colo.); B'nai B'rith Europe President Erika van Gelder (The Netherlands); B'nai B'rith International Senior Vice President for Europe (Daniel Citone); Chairman of the B'nai B'rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy Joseph Harari (Panama); Haim Katz, Chairman of the B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem (Israel); and President of B'nai B'rith Argentina Mario Wilhelm (Argentina).

The B'nai B'rith statement said that the "continuing, extraordinary transformation in the relationship between our faith communities can serve as a source of inspiration and optimism for so many others around the world, not least at a time of tensions and conflicts too often influenced by religion... We must make the deepening Christian-Jewish kinship further known among our own adherents around the world—from clergy to educators to young people—and we must progress from dialogue to concrete partnership in tackling the array of challenges that confront our constituencies and all members of the human family. Among these are the protection of our shared environment, care for the poorest and most vulnerable in society, the advancement of quality education for all, the encouragement of international peace, and the combating of all forms of extremism and bigotry."

B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs celebrated the pope's commitment to "advancing the path of your predecessors in signaling the Church's commitment to the Jewish people, its respect for Judaism, its denunciation of persisting anti-Semitism, and its due recognition of the State of Israel." At the same time, he told the pontiff that "tragically, no enduring Palestinian-Israeli peace can be possible as long as powerful forces deny the right of a Jewish state to live within any boundaries in Jews' only ancestral homeland. It is in light of this that it is so important that Palestinians not be afforded incentives to pursue political aims outside of meaningful and direct negotiations, compromise and comprehensive bilateral agreement with Israel."

On the eve of the current June 30 deadline for international negotiations with Iran over its illicit nuclear program, Jacobs also emphasized that "if it weren't enough that Iran openly pledges Israel's destruction and lethally empowers foremost terrorist groups—responsible for carnage as far away as Buenos Aires, whose unresolved 1994 AMIA bombing you have consistently highlighted—this rogue government has aggressively pursued the ability to acquire the most dangerous of weaponry... [M]ore attention needs to be paid to the telling fact that Iran's actions have broadly united its neighbors—Arabs and Israelis alike—in urgent, and unprecedented, alarm."

B'nai B'rith expressed support "to our Christian friends worldwide—and we specifically offer our immense concern, and abiding solidarity, as Christians in so many parts of the Middle East are now faced with discrimination, threats and outright persecution. We have them in our thoughts and our prayers."

Since Israel, a rare Middle Eastern democracy where Christians and other minorities have continually increased, itself represents a threatened minority presence in the region, the B'nai B'rith delegation decried "an economic warfare movement, present even in some religious denominations, that singles out the Jewish state for punitive campaigns."

This is not B'nai B'rith's first time meeting with Pope Francis: In 2013, B'nai B'rith International Director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels attended the installation of the pope and the first interreligious meeting with him at the Vatican. In 2014, Michaels also greeted Francis at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during the papal visit to Israel. And before he was known around the world at Pope Francis, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio hosted B'nai B'rith's Kristallnacht commemoration in Buenos Aires in 2012.

"Our meeting with Pope Francis provided us an opportunity to directly reaffirm the bond between the Jewish community and Catholics worldwide, on the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate. It also gave our delegation an important chance to discuss urgent issues in the Middle East that affect both faiths in the region," B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.

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, organized by Alan Schneider, Director of BBI World Center Jerusalem, the participants visited several small towns and Kibbutz closed to the Gaza Strip. They met with Yair Farjun, the Mayor of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, who advises them of their needs, one of them being the portable school shelters.

Upon their return, the participants recommended to BBE to follow up this worthy project.

In May 2015, during the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem, the President of BBE, Erika van Gelder, together with other members of BBI, met the Mayor of Hof Ashkelon, Yair Farjun in order to discuss the details of the project.

BBE is proud to announce that a donation on 10.000 euro, for a portable shelter, was sent to the Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, Hofim elementary school which is situated at less than 2 miles from the border with the Gaza Strip.


Photo: left to right: Eduardo Kohn (BBI, Director for Latin America Affairs), Alan Schneider (Director of BBI World Center Jerusalem), Erika van Gelder (BBE President), Yair Farjun (Mayor of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council), Dan Mariachin (BBI Executive Vice President)


Erika van Gelder

BBE president


Report for the Bridges of Tolerance project

The aim of the project “Bridges of Tolerance” is to disseminate information about the contribution of the Jewish minority group to the local culture (1), to fight the growing anti-Semitism in Europe through education (2), to encourage a public debate about the efficiency of the existing tools and modes of implementation of Hate Crime through the existing legislation (3) and to bring about an inter-faith dialogue between Jews and Christians on the basic values of our Judeo-Christian civilization (4).

In order to achieve our aims, the project has two components: cultural shows and workshops with panel discussions.

In Bucharest Romania, we worked together with our representative, the President of B’nai B’rith, Forum Dr. Moses Rosen, Jose Iacobescu. Due to his tremendous effort and extensive network, all doors to the government Ministries, Parliament and Presidency were open for us.

June 3d. morning

The first day opened at the Ministry of Culture with the theme: The role of Education in combating anti-Semitism and the importance of keeping the Memory of the Holocaust Alive. Participated around 650 persons. The workshop was organized by BB Romania in collaboration with the Lauder school complex President and the Minister of Culture. 450 students from various high schools from the Bucharest region took part in this event. First we watched a short documentary about the life of a Holocaust survivor; then the students commented on the film. After a short break, three survivors of the Holocaust in Romania, at age 92-94, came to tell their stories live. After another short break, the Minister of Culture, several academicians, history professors, the inspector of education responsible for the school books, spoke of the Holocaust and the importance of educating the young. We closed with a light lunch.

2a              3b

June 3d. evening                                                                                                                                                                           

The official opening took place at the National Opera House
(capacity 1000 people). It was opened by Jose Iacobescu, BB Romania, myself, the 1st Councilor of the President of Romania and the Speaker of the Romanian Parliament. The Councilor read a message from the President, saying that from next year they would be honored if we accept the project to be under the
 High Patronage of the President (of course we accepted the offer). After the speeches, we could enjoy an opera and operetta concert of one and half hour, with 12 different soloists of the Opera House. The evening ended with champagne cocktails.


June 4th, morning

jour 2  erike et jose 

The workshop was held at the Parliament, under the auspices of the Speaker of the House. Here we had three sessions:
 1. The contributions of the Jews to the Romanian culture: literature, arts. Speakers: the Minister of Culture, the president of the Federation of Romanian Jewish Communities, Prof. in Anthropology, specialists in literature and painting; this was followed by discussions.

2. The role of Law and Order; Legislation on Hate crime. Speakers: the President of the Parliament, the President of the Court of Magistrates, the Chief Inspector of Police. Followed by discussions.


3. Ethics and Philosophy: An Inter-Faith Dialogue: debate on tolerance/intolerance, mutual respect in a cultural diversity. Speakers: the Director of the Romanian National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Bucharest University, the office of the Patriarch of Romania. Followed by discussion.

June 4th, evening: dinner with the international guests

June the 5th morning:


Workshop at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The role of Diplomacy

Speakers: the Minister of Foreign Affairs, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Undersecretary of State, myself, head of Romanian IHRA delegation; head of Hungarian IHRA delegation; it was followed by discussion. It ended with a lunch/buffet offered by the ministry.

Departure of the international guests: BB representatives from Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland, friends from Turkey and the University of Bologna (department of education of religions); head of IHRA delegation of Hungary (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, they have the presidency of IHRA this year; next year will be Romania).

Among the audience were Ambassadors, representatives of the political life, Academia, Art world, other religious denominations, TV, Press, Municipality etc. and the 450 high school students.

All press was positive. Video, photos and press (all in Romanian) will be sent to me shortly.                                                                 

My thanks go to Jose Iacobescu and his team without whose help and hard work none of this would have been realized.

Erika van Gelder  BBE president              

For more:

Read this poem written by Erika Van Gelder : The Silence

It started with some small incidents
“ It’s nothing, it’s just a rogue”,
They thought…
Broken windows   in Synagogues,
“Kids playing ball”,
They thought…
Swastikas on Jewish tombs,
"They’ll get those hooligans”,
They thought…
Old men were beaten, young girls were raped
“It can’t get any worst”,
They prayed …
Then, in the night the sirens blared
their names…
By dawn they were in Dante’s flames.
Yet come the morrow,
Nothing was said and nothing was done…
Only the wind and smoke
Broke the silence
of their sorrow.  


Erika van Gelder

Amsterdam, 22/5/2015


Urgent call to demonstrate in support of Israel, 29 June 2015


In light of the current wave of unrelenting attacks against Israel's legitimacy, we the undersigned organizations have joined together to hold a rally in support of Israel.
To all who hold dear the value of human rights and democracy we call you to join us on June 29th between the hours of 12:00 to 15:00 in Geneva at Place des Nations.
Israel is the stronghold of democracy in a region where this basic value is threatened on all fronts. Today hegemony and radicalism threaten to thwart the fervent desire of all the people of the region for a better life, a thriving economy and stable and democratic governance.
At this critical time Israel's legitimacy is being threatened on many fronts, the right to defend itself is being challenged and false allegations are being leveled in order to divert attention from true abuse of innocent civilian populations.
It is urgent for all to rally together in solidarity and show the world that we will not let agents of terror cynically abuse organizations such as the UN as a platform to wage political war against Israel and manipulate public opinion.
Your presence is urgently needed. Join us and make your voices heard.

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Israel-Werke Schweiz (IWS)
America-Israel Friendship League
American Jewish committee Atlanta
American Jewish Committee
Association Suisse-Israel
Associação de Amizade Portugal-Israel
B´nai B´rith Concordia Košice
B'nai B'rith Europe
B'nai B'rith France
B'nai B'rith International
B´nai B´rith Tolerance Bratislava
Club der Freunde Israels
Christen an der Seite Israels-Österreich
Christians for Israel International
C.R.I.F. (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France)
European Coalition for Israel
European Union of Jewish Students
Faith Church (Hungary)
Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange
Human Rights Voices
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
Israel Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia
Israel Europe Freedom Center
Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien
Israeltische Religionsgesellschaft Österreich- Bundesverband der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinden
Jewish Diplomatic Corps
KKL Finland
National Union of Israeli Students NUIS
Österreichisch Israelische Gesellschaft
Over the Rainbow
Parliamentarian Group Swiss-Israel
Patmos Lähetyssäätiö (Finland)
Proclaiming justice to the nations-PJTN
Stand With Us
STEP UP for Israel
Suomen Karmel-yhdistys (Finland)
Swiss Union of Jewish Students SUJS
Take A Pen
The Central Union of the Jewish Religious Communities to the Slovak Republic
Slovak-Israeli Friendship Society
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (Canada)
The Columbia, SC, Jewish Federation
The European Alliance for Israel
The Grace Christian Fellowship Milosť
The Israel Project
The London Center for policy Research
Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust
We Believe in Israel (UK)
World Jewish Congress
World Union of Jewish Students WUJS
Zionist Organization of America

Les cimetières juifs : une richesse patrimoniale inconnue

Parmi l’engouement qui se manifeste depuis une vingtaine d’années pour le patrimoine, on y trouve de plus en plus la volonté du public de découvrir les spécificités du patrimoine juif. La Journée Européenne de la Culture Juive, lancée en 2000 et qui regoupera cette année 30 pays participants en Europe le 6 septembre 2015, est un outil qui permet une telle découverte.

Tel est également le sens de l’Itinéraire Européen du Patrimoine Juif, itinéraire fraîchement élu au Conseil de l’Europe, à la satisfaction du réseau porteur de ce projet. Ce réseau est composé de six organisations, le B’nai B’rith Europe ,la Red de Juderias de Espana, Caminos de Sefarad, la Rede de judiakas de Portugal,l’Unione Communita Ebraiche italiane,le F.S.J.U. et la J.E.C.J.P-France

Le patrimoine juif se compose du patrimoine « bâti » tout comme du patrimoine immatériel (traditions, langues etc.). Parmi la première catégorie, il compte des synagogues, des bains rituels, des musées, des monuments, des quartiers, des immeubles liés à tel ou tel personnage juif, mais également les cimetières. Le moins que l’on puisse dire, est que les cimetières juifs, et notamment les anciens, sont des lieux de mémoire extrêmement riches, qui gagnent à être beaucoup mieux connus. Il n’y a pas que le cimetière parisien du Père Lachaise qui vaille une visite!


Les cimetières juifs contiennent en effet des éléments d’histoire, de tradition et d’art inestimables. Les cimetières ont toujours été pour les juifs un endroit particulièrement sacré. Plusieurs noms ont été donnés aux cimetières en hébreu: beth chaim – maison de vie, beth hakevaroth – maison des tombes, beth haolam – maison éternelle.


Depuis la création du judaïsme, les juifs se sont fait enterrer, ainsi qu’on peut le lire dans la bible, laquelle narre le premier enterrement de Sarah, l’épouse de Abraham, dans la cave de Machpela, qu’il avait achetée à cet effet.


Durant les derniers siècles un véritable art tombal s’est développé. Le choix de la langue, celui des motifs, le choix des formes et des dimensions des tombes sont des éléments riches en valeurs historique, artistique et religieuse. Ces traditions ont reçu une forte influence des sociétés environnantes dans les différentes régions d’Europe, en fonction de la période à laquelle ces tombes ont été érigées.


Décrire l’art tombal dans ses moindres détails est une tâche monumentale, d’autant plus que les variations de style sont très nombreuses. Il est évident que les variations des traditions à l’intérieur du peuple juif ont eu un effet sur la façon d’orner les tombes. Ainsi distingue-t-on au nord de l’Europe les juifs askénazes, venant d’Allemagne et dont une variation est le judaïsme askénaze de l’Europe de l’Est, qui fut une force motrice avant sa quasi-destruction durant la Shoah. Les juifs séfarades, venant eux du sud de l’Europe, ont comme berceau l’Espagne et le Portugal et se sont dispersés autour du bassin méditerranéen.

cimetiere juif 1

Cependant, les différences retrouvées dans les cimetières relèvent aussi très souvent de l’époque du lieu et du pays-même. La langue utilisée sur les pierres tombales est ainsi souvent celle du pays – voire de la région dans lequel se trouve le cimetière. Bien entendu, il est des lieux et des époques où les inscriptions se sont faires uniquement en hébreu, langue sacrée du judaïsme.

Les styles des tombes varient considérablement. Très souvent, la grandeur et le luxe des mausolées, caveaux ou monuments ornés témoignent de la richesse non seulement spirituelle, mais également matérielle des juifs d’un certain pays à une époque donnée et portent témoignage de la vie sociale urbaine des juifs en Europe.

Des exemples de cimetières juifs connus ne manquent pas. On citera Prague et son quartier juif, qui héberge un cimetière qui contient la tombe d’un des rabbins les plus importants de l’histoire juive. Rabbi Yehudah Loew ben Bezalel, appelé le Maharal de Prague, était un leader spirituel hors du commun, vivant entre les XIe et XVIIe siècles.Il fut un homme de légendes, telle que celle lui attribuant la création d’une créature d’argile qu’il aurait transformée en être vivant après lui avoir placé sur le front un morceau de papier contenant l’inscription du nom de Dieu, et appelée le Golem. Le vieux cimetière juif du XVe siècle contient des tombes qui constituent une véritable collection d’art.

Quiconque a visité Cracovie a, sans doute, également été au quartier juif de Kazimierc, ses synagogues et son cimetière juif. Plusieurs cimetières juifs, dévastés puis reconstitués en partie ont existé à Francfort-sur-le-Main, ville natale des Rothschild.

C’est à Berlin que l’on pourra visiter de nombreux cimetières juifs plus impressionnants les uns que les autres. Celui où a été enterré Moses Mendelssohn, le chantre des Lumières juives (1729-1786) est situé à la Oranienburgerstrasse/Grosse Hamburgerstrasse. Quiconque voudra rendre un hommage au grand musicien Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864) pourra aller s’incliner sur sa tombe au cimetière de la Schönhauser Allée. C’est pourant le cimetière juif de Weissensee, appelé encore « der Gute Ort » (le bon lieu), qui impressionnera le plus le visiteur. Datant de 1875, c’est dans une véritable petite forêt, havre de paix au sein d’une grande ville, que reposent plus de 115.000 membres d’une des communautés juives historiquement les plus importantes du point de vue de son intégration sociale en Europe.

L’Alsace, dans l’Est de la France, est une terre contenant plus de 200 sites du patrimoine juif. Parmi ses cimetières remarquables, citons celui du village de Ettendorf. Sur plus de 3 hectares, ce lieu contient des stèles en grès datant de 1566. On y trouvera même une inscription sur le cabanon (où l’on déposait les corps avant de les enterrer), en langue judéo-alsacienne, une sorte de yiddish.

Le cimetière de Rosenwiller est probablement le plus vieux, datant de 1366.

Celui de Jungholz se trouvait dans les douves autour du château des barons de Schauenburg. Ce dernier a été démoli à la Révolution française, mais le cimetière juif y est demeuré et se trouve donc formé en demi-cercle, protecteur du souvenir du château disparu! Le cimetière juif de Hegenheim se situe à la frontière avec la Suisse et constitue un exemple de lieu utilisé à la fois par les communautés d’Alsace et celle, suisse, de Bâle. Citons encore le mur d’enceinte de Neuwiller-les-Saverne, sur lequel il y a des inscriptions très anciennes qui y sont gravées, et qui est dès lors très original.

On trouvera des exemples nombreux tout aussi intéressants de cimetières juifs séfarades. Au Portugal, on trouvera même un cimetière juif sur l’île de Madère, témoignant de la présence des juifs en ces lieux. L’Italie regorge également de patrimoine juif, dont les synagogues sont sans doute les plus beaux exemples. La Grèce, la Turquie, l’Espagne, la Bulgarie, etc. tous des pays méditerranéens où la présence juive se traduit par des cimetières juifs à de nombreux endroits.


Mais l’on peut également citer le cimetière néerlandais d’Ouderkerk am de Amstel. Il s’agit d’un cimetière séfarade, qui porte un fort témoignage de la migration forcée des juifs surtout du Portugal, qui ont trouvé après leur expulsion par l’Inquisition, un havre de paix pour s’y installer.

cimetiere juif 2


Les motifs utilisés sur les pierres tombales juives sont assez variés. On trouvera cependant souvent des motifs similaires. Ainsi, les deux mains jointes symbolisent un prêtre, de sorte qu’il s’agit d’un Cohen qui y enterré, c’est-à-dire un descendant de la tribu des Cohanim, la tribu des prêtres du temps biblique, dont le frère de Moïse, Aaron, en est le plus connu.


Pour terminer, citons une épitaphe du cimetière d’Ettendorf en Alsace. Les inscriptions qu’on y trouve peuvent être sobres, étoffées, à caractère artistique, élégiaques ou particulières pour les rabbins et les savants.


Celle-ci figure en hébreu sur une tombe :


« Et Moïse est monté au ciel

Sa famille est tombée sous le glaive

Par la fureur des ennemis.

Hurlez des hurlements !

Le chef de la Communauté

l’honorable Moïse au souvenir béni

a quitté le bas-monde.

Je crie à cause du berger, gémissements

A été inscrit le jour de Ta colère :

Ils sortiront du pays (d’exil)

(l’année) 352 du petit comput ».


François MOYSE,

Président de l’AEPJ


Association Européenne pour la préservation et la valorisation de la culture et du patrimoine juifs

Avril 2015

Hillel House in delft looking for 3 housemates

Hillel house in Delft is looking for 3 new housemates from this summer. For any questions please refer to the form below.

APPLICATION FORM hillel house delft-page0001

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