News Releases 2018
"The Wiesenthal Centre will ensure that no Nazi war criminal ever be included among the honoured."
Manama, Bahrain, 30 June 2018
Our alert regarding the French-Belgian nomination of First World War cemeteries and memorial sites was distributed to World Heritage Committee member-states. We feared that in cemeteries, also serving Second World War battlefields, Nazi murderers may be honoured in common graveyards with Allied units or - as we had identified on the nomination list - memorials that serve currently as shrines for neo-Nazis. During the WHC debate, several states expressed reservations, mostly regarding the terms of reference of memory sites, especially battlefields.
The WHC decided to adjourn the nomination until its 44th session in 2020.
In the meantime, a working group will review "the boundaries of the site’s components and provide additional information". The Wiesenthal Centre offered its expertise.
A second French site, Nîmes, was deferred, leading the Ambassador to publicly condemn the politicization of the WHC.
Bottom line: any Great War 1914-1918 cemetery expanded for World War Two burials will be identified. The Wiesenthal Centre will ensure that no Nazi war criminal ever be included among the honoured. Our slogan is: "Reconciliation is valid for WWI - Never so for WWII."
“Reconciliation is valid for WWI - Not so for WWII.”
“The World Heritage Committee professional advisors must examine every military cemetery and shrine to identify any mines along the road to World Heritage status.”
Manama, Bahrain, 29 June 2018
Belgium and France are jointly presenting for UNESCO World Heritage status: “Funerary and memorial sites of the First World War” - 139 sites along the 1914-1918 Western Front, holding the remains of tens of thousands of soldiers of several nationalities.”
The French cemeteries are respectfully noted for religious markers: the Cross, the Crescent, the Star of David, and a stylized stele designed for agnostics and other faiths. Most of the 56 French cemeteries are a mix of nationalities, also marked for both French and German fallen. Listed are 22 German, 3 American, 8 Belgian, 4 Canadian and one graveyard for each of: Portuguese, Czechoslovak, Italian, Romanian, Danish, Russian and Irish.
“Before the ink was dry on UNESCO Director-General’s Middle East consensus resolution, Palestinian delegate tells media: ‘Israel’s actions threat to Palestinian heritage’.”
Manama, Bahrain, 26 June 2018
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, as the only Jewish Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) accredited to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, expressed outrage at “the sabotage today by the Palestinian delegation, undermining the commitment to UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay’s Middle East consensus resolution, reached between Jordan, the Palestinians and Israel on the endangered heritage sites in the region.”
Paris, 21 June 2018
In a letter to the President of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism (ECCAR), Benedetto Zacchiroli, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed outrage at England fans’ Nazi salutes and antisemitic chants at the Football World Cup in Russia.
Samuels expressed appreciation for having participated in the ECCAR conference on “Racism in Football” last April in Liège, Belgium, adding, “As you are aware, we are monitoring the current World Cup and draw your attention to the link (below) to a video of England fans celebrating their team’s victory over Tunisia on Monday, 18 June, at the Galeriya Bar in Volgograd – formerly Stalingrad, the site of Hitler’s bloodiest attack in World War II.”
“While terror in the UK is predominantly indiscriminate, in France, Jews are still the privileged target.”
“The current defence system in France is inadequate, as shown by an attack on a teenage student in her Jewish school.”
“Most disturbing is the courts' reluctance to acknowledge the antisemitic nature of attacks.”
Paris, 18 June 2018
In a letter to French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels noted that, “in 2014, Andrew Hussey published The French Intifada and in 2017, French Jewish Parliamentarian, Meyer Habib, called it the ‘knife Intifada’ (‘uprising’ in Arabic, first used by Palestinian terrorists against Israelis).”
Samuels continued, “a France24 news analysis, last night, spoke of the impact of ‘Allahu Akhbar’ screaming attacks on Jewish targets, increasingly upon schoolchildren.”