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From our B'nai B'rith Lodge Malmo Sweden some choice words:

"One month after the terrorist attacks in Paris, it was time yesterday in Copenhagen.

In the Jewish community house next to the synagogue celebrated a young girl her Bat mitzvah (confirmation) with around 80 guests. One of the parishioners who had voluntarily signed up to serve as a guard that night, Dan Uzan. Early on Sunday, he and two police officers shot by a terrorist when they stood at the entrance.


Bogdan Aurescu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania (Right) and Jose Iacobescu, the President of B'nai B'rith Forum Moses Rosen, Bucharest, Romania, (Left) have signed a protocol of collaboration for the project Bridges of Tolerance.

"The Bridges of Tolerance", second edition – 2015

For the first time, in a solemn ceremony, the Minister of Foreign Affairs signed a Cooperation Protocol with the B'nai B'rith "Dr. Moses Rosen" Forum in Romania.

The success of the first edition of the "Bridges of Tolerance" project in Romania, an initiative of BB Europe lodges in Central and Eastern Europe aimed at a better knowledge of the contribution of Jews in the countries where they live, led the "Dr. Moses Rosen" B'nai B'rith Forum to consider a new edition of this project. In order to achieve this, as in the previous edition, BBR plans to involve a large number of institutions, organizations or individuals, both Romanian and Jewish, that are interested in the topic and objective of the project. The first step was already made, as the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bogdan Aurescu (a great friend of the Jewish community) signed a protocol with Jose Iacobescu, president of the "Dr. Moses Rosen" B'nai B'rith Forum, on February 5. The Protocol provides that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the B'nai B'rith Forum will to work together to promote values related to tolerance, intercultural dialogue, solidarity and the fight against racism and anti-Semitism by organizing activities that refer to the contribution of the Jewish community to cultural life in Romania.


B'nai B'rith International is thrilled to announce that Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin's inclusion in The Algemeiner Jewish 100 List for 2014.

This is the second year for the list, which is dedicated to "organizations or individuals who have positively influenced Jewish life this past year...These 100 people who have the most positive impact on Jewish life and Israel, men and women, Jew or non-Jew, who have lifted the quality of Jewish life in the past year. Without these 100 individuals or the organizations they represent – Jewish life would not be at the caliber it is today."


Holocaust Remembrance Day

Opening Ceremony of the exhibition "Holocaust in Europe"

European Commission, Brussels, 27 January 2015


B'nai B'rith Europe president, Erika van Gelder, attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition "Holocaust in Europe", held by the European Commission on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The exhibition was developed by the Memorial de la Shoah, Paris. The exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of the Holocaust in Europe beginning with the Nazi takeover to the Nuremberg trials. It reconstructs, step by step, the different stages of persecution of European Jews, from the first exclusionary measures to the "Final Solution".
The participants were welcomed by the Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs.
The opening speeches were by Dimitris Avramopoulos, member of the European Commission for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship and by Ronen Gil-Or, Deputy Head of Israel Mission to the European Union.

We listened to the testimonies of two Auschwitz survivors: Dagmar Lieblova (Czech Republic), President of the Terezin initiative and Elie Buzyn (formally from Poland, living in France). Moderator, Bruno Boyer from Memorial de la Shoah.
Between the speeches and testimonies we listened to music performed by the Forum Voix Etouffees, Strasbourg (Erminie Blondel, soprano, Carole Villiaumey, piano). The Forum Voix Etouffees promotes music of composers banned under European dictatorships, especially during the Nazi regime. The music we heard was composed: by Szymon Laks, Polish Jew, composer and violinist who became the head of the prisoners' orchestra in Auschwitz-Birkenau; Victor Ullmann, Austrian Jew, composer, killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz; Norbert Glanzberg, Jewish, Polish- born French composer of film music and some songs for Edith Piaf; Ilse Weber, Jewish poet from Moravia who wrote songs and theatre pieces for children. She was killed together with her son in the gas chamber in Auschwitz.

Erika van Gelder
February 3, 2015


This past fall in Salonica, I spoke on sacred ground about the past and future of Greek Jewish history.

Once home to the largest Ladino-speaking Jewish community in the world, Salonica (Thessaloniki), the second biggest city in Greece today, lost nearly all of its Jews as a result of the Holocaust, during which the Nazis deported close to fifty thousand people to their deaths at Auschwitz. Almost all the remnants of the centuries-long Jewish presence in this once cosmopolitan city—from the more than three dozen synagogues to the vast Jewish cemetery—were obliterated, partly at the initiative of local Greek Orthodox residents and leaders themselves.



Holocaust survivors gathered along with several world leaders today to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation by the Soviet Red Army of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Poland where more than 1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells our Newscast unit that "among the leaders who will be attending the Auschwitz ceremony are the presidents of Germany and Austria, the nations that gave rise to the Nazis and have since tried atoning for their sins. But more attention is being paid to who isn't at Auschwitz today — Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose countrymen liberated the concentration camp."

She adds: "Russian officials accuse the Polish government of snubbing Putin by not inviting him as they did in the past. Organizers say no country's leaders were invited but rather, countries were asked who they planned to send."

A decade ago, about 1,500 Auschwitz survivors attended the commemoration. Today, the number was around 300.

As Soraya says: "It is likely the last decade anniversary where significant numbers of actual survivors of Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps will attend. This year, the youngest of the 300 who traveled to Poland for the ceremony are in their 70s."

Paula Lebovics of Encino, Calif., recalled how a Russian soldier who was among those who liberated the camp on Jan. 27, 1945, took her in his arms and rocked her tenderly with tears coming to his eyes. She was 11 at the time. Now 81, she told The Associated Press it was a shame Putin wasn't among those at the today's ceremony.

"He should be there," she said. "They were our liberators."

Another survivor, Eva Mozes Kor, told the AP said she will not miss Putin, "but I do believe that from a moral and historical perspective he should be here."

Besides the leaders of Germany and Austria, French President Francois Hollande was at today's ceremony in Auschwitz. Russia's delegation is being led by Sergei Ivanov, Putin's chief of staff; the U.S. delegation is led by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/01/27/381862479/holocaust-survivors-mark-70th-anniversary-of-auschwitzs-liberation

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