The year was 1887 when two of the best-known German anti-Semites of the time put down stakes here in Paraguay’s remote jungle with 14 German families screened for their racial purity.
The team of Bernhard Förster and his wife, Elisabeth, the sister of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, had an ambitious plan: nothing less than the establishment of a colony from which an advance contingent of Aryans could forge a claim to the entire South American continent.
But the continent had other plans for this new Fatherland.
“Some were able to survive,” said Lidia Fischer, 38, a blonde-haired descendant of a family that was among Nueva Germania’s first settlers. Those pioneers struggled with disease, failed crops, infighting and the megalomania of the Försters, who lorded over the colony from an elegant mansion called the Försterhof.
“Some returned to Germany,” said Ms. Fischer in an interview on her farm, where she lives with her husband and their five children. “Some committed suicide.”
Within two years the dream had been shattered, and today the Försterhof, where a sign that read “Over all obstacles, stand your ground” once hung on the wall, lies in ruins. The forest grows over its charred remains. Not long after founding the outpost and envisioning its mission as the “purification and rebirth of the human race,” Mr. Förster grew despondent over Nueva Germania’s progress. He swallowed a mixture of morphine and strychnine, killing himself in 1889.
Mr. Förster’s wife left Paraguay in 1893 for Germany, where she spent her later years staining her brother’s reputation. While Nietzsche derided anti-Semitism and expressed disdain in correspondence with his sister for the anti-Semitic character of Nueva Germania, she went on to reinvent his legacy after his death in 1900, transforming the philosopher into a kind of prophet for the Nazi propaganda machine.
Far-right Hungarian politicians held an anti-Semitic protest Saturday ahead of the start later this weekend of a major meeting here of Jewish community leaders from around the world.
Addressing a crowd of hundreds of supporters in a square near the national Parliament, the head of the extreme nationalist Jobbik party, Gabor Vona, said Jewish investors “should look for another country, because Hungary is not for sale.”
A large banner held aloft by protesters said: “Out with you peddlers. This is our homeland.”
The World Jewish Congress this year chose Hungary as the site of its annual plenary meeting—usually held in Jerusalem—to show its support for the Central European country’s Jewish community and to call attention to rising anti-Semitism in parts of Europe.
Two northern Iowa women were fired from their jobs at a New Hampton assembly plant for allegedly joking about “burning the Jews” inside a toy oven they were carrying.
Christina Ott of New Hampton and her sister, Susan Ott of Lawler, were fired in late January from the Trimark Corp. assembly plant in New Hampton.
According to plant officials’ testimony at two public unemployment claims hearings, five Trimark workers reported seeing the two walk through an area of the plant Dec. 19, carrying a toy Easy Bake oven with gingerbread men inside.
One of the workers said the women told their colleagues, “Happy Hanukkah. We’re burning the Jews.” The other workers were some distance away and said they didn’t hear any such comments by the women.
After the two were fired, they applied for unemployment benefits and the state scheduled separate public hearings to deal with each claim. Both women testified that they didn’t make the comment, and said the only reason they were carrying the toy oven around was so they could participate in a Christmas sweater contest at the plant.
“We did not have a Christmas sweater, so we decided to give out gingerbread men instead,” Susan Ott testified.
The rise of far-right movements and anti-Semitism across Europe, notably in Hungary, where more than half a million Jews were killed in the Nazi Holocaust, will preoccupy Jewish leaders from around the globe when they meet in Budapest on Sunday.
“Clearly, anti-Semitism in Hungary is on the rise, and we have also witnessed a dramatic growth in the number of attacks against other minorities such as the Roma,” World Jewish Congress (WJC) president Ronald Lauder told Reuters by email.
He said the rise of the far-right opposition party Jobbik posed a threat to Jews and other minorities living in Hungary.
“We believe that the Hungarian government should take stronger action to combat hate crimes. It should not just react, but present a long-term strategy how to improve the situation,” Lauder said.
A WJC spokesman said the Congress had chosen Budapest as the venue for its annual meeting partly to show solidarity with the Hungarian Jewish community, but said Hungary was not the only European country where anti-Semitism was on the upswing.
AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam council has vowed to probe revelations that it forced Jews returning from World War II concentration camps to pay rent arrears, even if their homes had been destroyed or occupied by Nazis.
The scandal, involving an unknown number of Jews and non-Jews living in city-owned properties, was uncovered by a young art history student in Amsterdam’s archives.
Less than a quarter of Amsterdam’s Jewish population survived the war, with the Netherlands occupied by the Nazis from 1940 to 1945.
“On their return, Jews received letters from Amsterdam council demanding the settling of their back rent,” the art historian, Charlotte van den Berg, 23, told AFP.
The council even issued fines for late rent payments for homes that were confiscated and occupied by Nazi forces or members of the Dutch collaborationist NSB movement.
Van den Berg was a student at Amsterdam Free University when she made the discovery while digitising Amsterdam’s municipal archives in 2010.
She decided to dig deeper.
“I wanted to know if the city had ever corrected these measures taken in 1946,” Van den Berg told AFP.
“Unfortunately all I could find was a reduction in fines from 1947,” some of which were levied on homes destroyed by Second World War bombings, she said.
Holocaust survivor David Bonte, 91, told Amsterdam’s Het Parool newspaper that demands for back rent from Jews were widespread at the time.
His family received a bill in 1946 for unpaid back rent on their council-owned property.
An Oklahoma lawmaker who was advocating that the state drop a 70-year-old law protecting small businesses from large retails stores apologized on Wednesday after he used the slur “Jew me down” during a debate on the state House floor.
Republican state Rep. Dennis Johnson on Wednesday insisted to his colleagues that Senate Bill 550, which gives an advantage to large stores by repealing a ban on “loss-leader” selling, would not hurt small businesses because they offered better customer service.
“What you do, you find out what you do better than somebody else and that’s what you market, that’s what you advertise, that’s what you do as a small business and then you get the reward of success,” he explained. “People come back to you, they like what you do, they like the service they get. And they don’t ask me — they might try to Jew me down on a price, that’s fine. You know what? That’s free market as well.”
After a few more moments of rambling about how small businesses could buy merchandise at lower prices than large retailers, someone on the House floor advised Johnson that he had made an offensive comment.
“Did I?” he asked.
“I apologize to the Jews,” Johnson added, smiling in response to laughter that could be heard off camera. “They’re good small businessmen as well.”
MOAR FAIL at RawStory: Oklahoma Lawmaker: ‘I Apologize to the Jews’ for ‘Jew Me Down’ Slur
I am sure that you are familiar with all the anti-Semitic myths and libels that have been going around for centuries, and the excuses that anti-Semites make for themselves.
“The Talmud says that Jews are commanded to hate Goyim!”
“Circumcision is cruelty to little babies!”
“Jews make you pay a Kosher Tax on food!”
“Jewish ritual slaughter is cruelty to animals!”
“Mikvah is degrading to women!”
“A Jew was convicted of child molesting, so all Jews must be child molesters!”
“I don’t hate all Jews but those Ultra-Orthodox sure are scary!”
“We must ban those rabbinical courts that judge according to Halachah!”
You have heard them all.
You are probably also aware that some of the people who believe in these myths are active in movements to ban brit milah [circumcision] and shechitah [kosher slaughter], to prevent Jews from constructing eruvin [Sabbath boundaries] and have joined with neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers. If they are not marginalized in society, they can do a lot of damage to our community.
Would you invite such a person into your shul, to address your congregation? Or would you say they can enjoy their right to free speech, somewhere far away from you?
Yet you invited Pamela Geller to speak at your shul, after she was turned away from another synagogue who realized that her message is identical to the myths and libels that I have listed above, yet substituting “Koran” for “Talmud,” “Halal” for “kosher” and “Sharia” for “Halachah.” Her accusations against Muslims are just as false and offensive as the same accusations that are made against us. She may have a right to free speech according to the law of the land, but that does not mean a right to any venue.
I am deeply disappointed as an Orthodox Jew, that you have offered a platform to someone who spreads hate speech and is affiliated with neo-Nazis.
We should not stand for the same hatred and intolerance towards others that we have endured for so many long centuries.
The Vicious Babushka
Professor Jasiewicz, an expert on Polish-Jewish relations, causes outrage after saying “Jews worked to bring the Holocaust about.”
KRAKOW – Krzysztof Jasiewicz, a professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences and a well known expert on Polish-Jewish relations, has caused outrage by claiming in an interview with Polish magazine Focus last week that Jews took an active part in the murder of other Jews during WWII.
The interview appeared in a special edition of the magazine focusing on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising this week.
In the interview, titled “Are the Jews themselves guilty?” Jasiewicz shared views that sound like they were taken from a Nazi propaganda bulletin.
“This nonsense about Jews being killed mostly by Poles was created to hide the biggest Jewish secret. The scale of the German crime was only possible because the Jews themselves participated in the murder of their own people,” Jasiewicz said.
Jasiewicz also said that the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves.
“For many generations, the Jews, not the Catholic Church, worked to bring the Holocaust about. It looks like the Jews haven’t learned their lesson and haven’t come to any conclusions yet,” he said.
He continued, accusing the Jewish people of harming their relations with Poles.
“The Jews have a problem because they are convinced they are the chosen people.
You likely base your knowledge of Orthodox Jews on ridiculous caricatures which were dreamed up in Hollywood and the headlines that capture the worst in our community. It’s time to straighten things out.
1. You guys have sex through a hole in the sheet, right?
No, but I’ve been asked this numerous times — once even by my cleaning lady. Which is pretty funny because she’s SEEN my sheets. I’m thinking,”Hey, lady, you make my bed! Ever seen any hole anywhere? Nuh-uh? It’s cause we don’t got ‘em!” People assume that because we’re outwardly modest that our modesty continues behind closed doors. It doesn’t. (News flash: We also shower like regular people!) It’s a big mitzvah for a husband and wife to be together — and not just for procreation. A wife’s sexual satisfaction is actually part of her marital contract, and if her husband doesn’t fulfill his end of the deal, it’s grounds for divorce. Don’t assume that because you don’t see us being overtly sexual we aren’t doing so in private places. That’s the point: We believe these matters are *private.*
2. You wear a wig? Oh, so then you shave your head, right?
No, actually, I don’t. And none of my friends who cover their hair do either. It’s only a small segment of the Hasidic community that does. Why do I cover my hair in the first place, then, and with *gasp* a wig that makes me look beautiful? Well, that’s a longer discussion than we have time for in BuzzFeed land, but I’ll keep it simple: Jewish modesty is not about looking unattractive, it’s about keeping certain parts of yourself private. The wig creates a barrier between me and the rest of the male population, and there’s only one man who can cross that barrier. Again, there’s no space to do the topic justice, but let’s get one thing straight, folks: If you see a wig, assume there’s hair underneath, because there usually is.
3. You’re a woman, so you’re subjugated, right?
No. I’m not, and I don’t think any of the women in my community are either. But of course there are SOME subjugated Orthodox women in the world because there are jerky men everywhere including in the Orthodox world. Orthodox Jews have many shared values with second-wave feminists, and the vast majority of Orthodox women that I’ve come across feel respected and are choosing their way of life. Does Judaism consider men and women to be different physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Heck, yeah! But different in a yin-and-yang sort of way, not a in a Coke-Pepsi sort of way (Coke clearly being the superior of the two). Orthodox Jews are second-wave feminists. We believe in celebrating women’s unique womanhood, not trying to make her more like a man.
But don’t take my word for it! Go out and meet some Orthodox Jewish women yourself and see directly from them how they’re treated. You can come to us for Shabbos, if you’d like. (Did I mention that my husband is an excellent cook?! ;) )
4. You’re a woman, so you don’t work, right?
Actually, I do. And most of us do. I once literally had a fight with a reporter from a major news outlet about this because she wouldn’t believe me. She had no real knowledge of the Orthodox community, yet she INSISTED that Orthodox women don’t (and can’t) work. She noted at one point that “maybe my secular bias is getting in the way.” (Ya think?!) When she finally conceded that Orthodox women could work, she asked, “Well, what do they do — run shops?” *Eye roll.* “Well,” I began, “Some run shops, and some run companies” (like Rickie Freeman, CEO of Teri Jon). “And some run hospital departments” (like Dr. Laurel Steinherz, director of pediatric cardiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering.) “And some run legal cases at major law firms” (like Lydia Kess, a Hasidic Jew who was the first *female* partner at Davis Polk — one of the most prestigious law firms in the country). And frankly, there’s more Orthodox Jewish woman - from all walks of Orthodox life — excelling in so many more professions than I even have space to mention. [Such as Vicious Babushka, who works in the auto industry—VB]
We could have a companion piece about “Annoying Things Most People Assume About Muslims” :)