Development Site - Changes here will not affect the live (production) site.

A Hungarian Winery and the Fate of Jewish Property after the Holocaust

July 27 2016

Hungary’s Royal Tokaji winery is one of that country’s best known and most highly regarded. Last month, after a year of negotiations, its owners installed two plaques honoring the Jewish Zimmerman family, who owned it from the 19th century until World War II. The Zimmermans’ story, writes Dorottya Czuk, tells much about how the Hungarian Communist government prevented Jews from reclaiming their property after the Holocaust:

In Hungary, there are still quite a lot of people who feel uncomfortable talking about how they “became owners” of certain things after World War II. The Hungarian state robbed its citizens twice: before and after 1945. The Office of the Commissioner of Abandoned Properties was established in 1945.

“This authority was a very disgusting and horrifying feature of the post-Holocaust Communist system,” explains László Karsai, a historian of the Holocaust in Hungary. He claims that lawmakers formed the organization so that properties stolen from Hungarian Jews could officially be nationalized. . . . [A]fter 1990 only partial compensation has been carried out. . . .

There’s a Hungarian joke: “Communism is a system where anti-Jewish laws apply to everyone.” Honestly discussing the role of Jews in Hungary’s economy and their place in society is a sensitive matter even today. No plaques explain the contribution of Jews to Hungary’s economy. Their properties were once enormously valuable, yet almost nobody has received anything near the value of what they lost. But thousands of buildings in the Hungarian countryside remain silent witnesses to the murdered Jews.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at Tablet

More about: Communism, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Holocaust restitution, Hungarian Jewry, Hungary

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

As a good-faith gesture, the Western European and Others Group promised Israel that it and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 [Security Council] seats. Then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run—even though it already served as a council member [multiple times, including] as recently as 2011-12. . . . [U]nless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for UN respect seem doomed for now—and maybe for the foreseeable future.

Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member—as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory. But is building a porch in [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim really such a huge threat to world peace?

How about, then, a report released last week by UN experts on the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions? It found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong Un’s cronies. Or how about, as the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?

Never mind. Germany (and Belgium) will surely benefit from the UN’s habit of magnifying Israel’s violations beyond all proportion. Thus, Israel’s petition to join the most prestigious UN club will likely be rejected, thanks to a late entry by a shameless [and] cynical German power play against the Jewish state.

You've just used your last free article this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at New York Post

More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations