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News Releases 2019

"Belgium Officials are reportedly lobbying for a simple rebuke... We are calling for Aalst delisting from UNESCO's prestigious Intangible Cultural Heritage Status." 

"As the first woman and Jewish Prime Minister of Belgium, we urge your support for delisting at UNESCO and to take punitive measures against apparent recidivist bigotry."

 Paris, 29 October 2019

In a letter to newly appointed Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels, congratulated her appointment, bringing to her attention "the international outrage at the antisemitic floats at the Aalst Carnaval", describing the pernicious situation :

“As a rejection of remorse for previous antisemitic expressions, the carnival’s organizers released ribbons further portraying Jewish stereotypes.”

“We urge UNESCO’s first Jewish Director-General to cleanse this hatefest by calling to remove Aalst from the Intangible Cultural Heritage list.”

Paris, 24 October 2019

In a letter to Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, recalled his denunciation, in 2013, of the Aalst Carnival float “for antisemitic stereotypes in portraying actors as SS and their victims in the blue and white striped garb of concentration camp inmates,” adding, “the 2019 float was even worse in displaying Jews in Orthodox dress grasping gold coins and carrying rats, redolent of the scenes of Nazi propaganda films and publications.”

22 October 2019

“The invitation to bring our exhibition ‘People, Book, Land: the 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land’ to the ‘Olympics of Book Fairs’ came out of the blue,” noted the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels.

22 Oct. 2019 3
(from left to right) Isabelle Poupart, DCM at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, Dr. Shimon Samuels,
Director for International Relations of the Wiesenthal Centre, Timothy Eydelnant, US Consul General
in Leipzig, Dr. Graciela Vaserman Samuels, Advisor to the Director-General of UNESCO, Uwe Becker,
Mayor of Frankfurt, Patricia Lacina, US Consul General in Frankfurt, Rabbi Julian-Chaim Soussan
of the Jewish Community, Dr Ursula Schoen, Vice-Dean of the Evangelist Church, Dr. Johannes zu Eltz,
City Deacon of the Catholic Church, and Alex Uberti, Consultant for the Wiesenthal Centre.

“We have for 16 years been the only non-governmental organisation to annually monitor incitement to hate and violence on the shelves – books in violation of their contractual obligation to the Fair,” he added, “now we were granted the opportunity to apply an antidote.”

“Arab Publishers’ Association Campaign to de-Judaize Jerusalem: The Eternal Capital of Palestine’.”

“Worst Offender prizes to Egypt and Iran” – “Courageous Best Practice Award to Indonesia”

22 October 2019

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is, for the 17th year, the only non-governmental organisation to monitor incitement to hate and violence on the display stands.

The Frankfurter Buchmesse – the “Olympics of Book Fairs” – is host to 7,450 exhibitors from 104 countries and over 300,000 visitors.

Director Jurgen Boos opened the 71st anniversary of the Fair, placing its context in the extreme right Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) terrorist attack on the Halle synagogue of the preceding week.

“Yom Kippur 1938 fell on 5 October.”

Paris, 10 October 2019

In a letter to German Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that “the Halle Jewish community dates back to the 12th century... On 10 November, 1938 – the ‘Kristallnacht State Pogrom’' saw the destruction of the local synagogue, 200 men sent to Buchenwald, and the obliteration of 800 years of Jewish Halle.”

“Interestingly,” continued the letter, “Yom Kippur 1938 fell on 5 October... It is known that both extreme right and Islamist terrorists often act to mark anniversaries.”

“If so, this may be a precursor to ‘Kristallnacht’,” suggested Samuels.

“Another disturbing point is the televised clip of the murderer in Halle. His returning back and forth to his car to take out additional weaponry seems to show a ‘police vacuum’.”

“The delayed reaction by the authorities in an obvious case of antisemitic terror demands an official investigation”... “Next month’s ‘Kristallnacht’ commemoration will require a maximum national alert,” concluded Samuels.