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Jewish Communities warn government about Rising Anti-Semitism in Europe

Mike Pence visited the Dachau concentration camp to pay respect to the jews killed in holocaust; Jews in Europe are scared even today due to terror attacks

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Mike Pence visits Dachau concentration camp, wikimedia commons
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Munich, Feb 20, 2017Jewish communities in Europe say they feel especially vulnerable following the terror attacks across the continent in recent years, and want governments to dedicate extra policing and intelligence efforts to keep them safe.

Community leaders meeting at the Munich Security Conference Sunday also warned that the rise of populist far right parties threatens their way of life.

Jewish leaders say the plight of their people in Europe will always be seen in the shadow of the Holocaust.

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and his family travelled the few kilometers out of Munich Sunday to the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau.

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U.S. troops liberated the camp on April 29th 1945.

In total six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Seventy-two years later, Jewish communities across the continent say anti-Semitism is on the rise again.

A session was convened Sunday on the sidelines of the Munich summit to debate how Europe’s Jewish communities can be protected, attended by former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni. Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, told VOA security is the number one concern for Jews across the continent.

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“Terrorism – which we have seen in Toulouse, in Paris, in Copenhagen, in Brussels – which has impacted the Jewish community and has also created an exodus from some countries.”

Four percent of the Jewish population in Belgium and France had left for Israel between 2010 and 2015, according to a recent study by the London-based Institute of Jewish Policy Research.

Both countries have seen Jewish communities targeted. In 2014 an Islamic-state inspired attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels killed four people. In 2015 gunmen attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris – the same day as the assault on the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Terrorism expert Peter Neumann of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization told the conference specific protection is needed.

“Jewish communities are always in the frontline if you like, and that’s why it’s important that governments intensify their efforts to protect them. It’s also important for Europe in a grander sense, because when Jews get attacked in Europe it is not only Jews as individuals or as a community, in a sense it is the very fabric of our society.”

It’s not only terrorism that’s driving fear. The rise of the populist far right – especially National Front leader Marine Le Pen in France – has raised concerns that religious practices like circumcision or kosher food could be outlawed, according to Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt.

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“France is going to be a different country, Europe is going to be a different continent if Marine Le Pen becomes the president of France. There is a coalition, a strengthening of the extreme right in Europe as a by-product of the changing administration in the United States which is of concern,” Goldschmidt told VOA.

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also called for better intelligence sharing between Europe and Israel. (VOA)

 

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Martin Greenfield, A Holocaust Survivor Now Dresses Celebs

While washing and scrubbing one of the Nazi’s uniforms, I ripped the collar of the shirt

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Holocaust Survivor Becomes America’s Tailor
Holocaust Survivor Becomes America’s Tailor, VOA

But Greenfield did not arrive at his career in a usual way. He didn’t dream of growing up to sew clothes, or learn the business as an apprentice. Instead, Greenfield’s first encounter with a needle and thread happened when he was a prisoner at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. He was 15 years old.

​“While washing and scrubbing one of the Nazi’s uniforms, I ripped the collar of the shirt. The guard became angry and beat me with his baton. A nice man working in the laundry taught me how to sew a simple stitch,” says Greenfield.

The kapo having no more use for the shirt, Greenfield kept the shirt for himself.

“I eventually took the shirt and wore it all through the concentration camp, until I got to another camp (Buchenwald) and they made me take it off.”

Martin Greenfield
Martin Greenfield, VOA

For Greenfield, the shirt had much value.

“The day I first wore the shirt was the day I learned clothes possess power. Clothes don’t just ‘make the man,’ they can save the man. The kapos treated me a little better. Even some of the prisoners did the same. Wearing the shirt, the kapos didn’t mess with me and they thought I was somebody.”

Greenfield’s parents and siblings were also at the concentration camp. The family was forced by the Nazis to leave their small hometown of Pavlovo, Czechoslovakia. Once at the camp, Greenfield never saw his family again. His father, mother, sisters, brother, and grandparents were killed. His life was spared.

“My father said no matter what job they give you, you do it and you will always survive. And I did survive,” he says.

After World War II, Greenfield immigrated to the United States.

Martin Greenfield holding the suit he stitched
Martin Greenfield holding the suit he stitched, VOA

He landed a job at GGG Clothing Company as a “floor boy” – someone who ran errands and did odd jobs. But he worked his way up, and in 1977 he bought the company and give it his name: Martin Greenfield Clothiers.

Greenfield is 89 years old now. His two sons, Jay and Tod, along with more than 100 other people, work at his company. But Greenfield still comes to the shop every day and walks the floor, managing workflow production and paying close attention to detail. When asked about his success, Greenfield gives credit to the talent and hard work of his employees. He also notes the importance of a satisfied customer.

Also read: Yazidi Woman who Survived Genocide Equates the Current Situation to Jewish Holocausts

“When I deliver a suit and they put it on and say, ‘My God, this is beautiful’, they know it is the quality we produce,” he says. “We satisfy our customers so they could come back again because we have the best suits ever!”  (VOA)