Weekly Top 10
WASHINGTON, D.C. February 01, 2019

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Aleksander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO

Dear Friend,

On Thursday, we hosted a meeting for member agencies and NCSEJ leadership with a Georgian Parliamentary delegation led by First Vice Speaker Tamar Chugoshvili and Georgian Ambassador to the United States David Bakradze. We discussed U.S.-Georgian relations, the condition of Jewish life in Georgia, and the strong relationship between Georgia and Israel. 

This week, B'nai B'rith CEO Dan Mariaschin and I met with Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the United States Javlon Vakhabov. We discussed the condition of the Jewish community in Uzbekistan, areas of cooperation, and a recent documentary on the history of Jews in Uzbekistan. 

On Wednesday, NCSEJ Deputy Director Lesley Weiss and I met with Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Kravchenko, Charge d'Affaires Pavel Shidlovsky, and USA/Canada Desk Chief Pavel Lychkouski. We discussed concerns about the rising incidence of anti-Semitism in Europe and improvements in U.S.-Belarus relations. Kravchenko also thanked us for our cooperation in planning the Yom Hashoah program at the U.S. State Department in May 2019. Belarus will participate by providing speakers and an exhibit about the Minsk Ghetto.

On Sunday, Holocaust Remembrance Day was observed with ceremonies around the world. To call for greater recognition of one of the worst massacres of Jews during the Holocaust, the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in Ukraine has launched a traveling exhibition. The government of Moldova also held a number of official events in partnership with the Jewish community, including a visit to the Chisinau Jewish Cemetery and the inauguration of a photography exhibit on the Holocaust. In Georgia, President Salome Zourabichvili and acting Israeli Ambassador to Smadar Zemach-Razabi participated in Georgia's commemoration events.

Later in February, Israel will host the Prime Ministers of four Central European countries in Jerusalem. The meeting of the Visegrad Group will include Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki, the Czech Republic’s Andrej Babis, Slovakia’s Peter Pellegrini, and Hungary's Viktor Orban. 

Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Washington, D.C. February 01, 2019

Surveys on European Anti-Semitism in Europe Frighten EU
By M. Apelblat
The Brussels Times, January 24, 2019

Ahead of the international Remembrance Day for the victims of the Holocaust the European Commission published this week a special Eurobarometer on the perceptions of antisemitism in Europe. The day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Soviet Red Army on 27 January 1945.

In the new survey, interviews were carried out last December face-to-face with 27,643 people in all 28 member states. Respondents were asked about their perception of antisemitism, knowledge of and educations about Jewish communities and the influence of the conflict in the Middle East on antisemitism.

Overall in EU, half of the respondents consider that antisemitism is a problem in their country. However, in eight EU Member States, a majority of respondents think so: Sweden (81%), France (72%), Germany (66%), the Netherlands (65%), the United Kingdom (62%), Italy (58%), Belgium (50%) and Austria (47%).

The President of Georgia Received the Acting Ambassador of Israel on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 
Office of the President of Georgia, January 27, 2019

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili received the acting Ambassador of Israel on the International Day of the Victims of Holocaust. 

According to Salome Zurabishvili, today Georgian people share the pain and tragedy of the Jewish people that they have taken years ago. 

"It's very natural to share this great pain on Georgia because there is no example of anti-Semitism in our country, on the other hand we are always standing next to the Jewish people and we are still standing there," Salome Zourabichvili said.

Israel to Host 4 Central European Leaders, Including Hungary’s Orban 
By Raphael Ahren
Times of Israel, January 28, 2019

Israel is set to host the prime ministers of four Central European countries next month, including Hungary strongman Viktor Orban.

The four leaders — Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki, the Czech Republic’s Andrej Babis, Slovakia’s Peter Pellegrini, and Orban — will gather in Jerusalem on February 18-19 for a meeting of the so-called Visegrad Group.

The Jerusalem summit will be the first time the consortium, which was founded in 1991, convenes outside of Europe.

Holocaust: Polish Police Probe Auschwitz Far-Right Protest
BBC, January 28, 2019

Polish police have asked prosecutors to examine evidence against ultra-nationalists who demonstrated at Auschwitz on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Police sent them video of the group, estimated at 70-100, who marched with big Polish flags at the notorious Nazi death camp site on Sunday.

The protesters were led by Piotr Rybak, who was convicted in 2015 for publicly burning an effigy representing a Jew.

The Nazis murdered nearly 1m Jews and 150,000 non-Jewish Poles at Auschwitz.

Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center Launches London Exhibition in Call for Greater Recognition of One of the Holocaust’s Largest Massacres 
E Jewish Philanthropy, January 28, 2019

The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC) has launched a traveling art exhibition which commemorates the victims of the Babyn Yar massacre in Ukraine during September 1941, one of the largest mass-killings of Jewish people by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. The exhibition, which has opened to coincide with International Holocaust Day, was formally launched this morning by Natan Sharansky during a private event at the House of Commons hosted by Mike Freer MP.

The exhibition will open to the public at JW3 in London on Monday 4th February running until Thursday 28th February.

The BYHMC has developed this travelling exhibition to build support for its mission and to educate people about the tragic events of Babyn Yar, a widely under-told story. The exhibition consists of educational posters which provide an overview of the massacre, which international scholars estimate led to the murder of over 100,000 Jewish people, with nearly 34,000 shot over the course of two days alone (September 29th – 30th 1941). There were also non-Jewish victims of the massacre, including Roma people, psychiatric patients, Ukrainian nationalists, political prisoners and underground fighters.

UN Ambassadors Visit Poland, Israel As Part of Holocaust—Remembrance Program
JNS, January 28, 2019

Ambassadors to the United Nations visited Poland and Israel as part of a Holocaust-remembrance program, organized by the American Zionist Movement and the International March of the Living.

“It is important for ambassadors from around the world to understand both the history of and contemporary life in Israel in order to be best informed on issues which come to their attention at the United Nations,” said American Zionist Movement president Richard Heideman. “A firsthand personal visit is essential to such understanding.”

In Poland, the ambassadors are scheduled to visit Holocaust sites such as the Warsaw ghetto, Majdanek concentration and extermination camp, and the POLIN Museum.

Netanyahu Signs Deal with Lithuania, As Israel Moves Closer to Eastern European States 
I24 News, January 31, 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed his Lithuanian counterpart Salius Skvernelius to Israel on Tuesday evening, where the two leaders championed shared interests between their two nations and vowed to extend further cooperation in emerging technology fields.

"Yesterday [Tuesday], our countries signed a declaration of intent to increase cooperation on cyberdefense. It is just one example of the growing cooperation between us,” Netanyahu said, alongside improving bilateral ties on trade, tourism, economics and technology.

"I discovered during my visit that Lithuania is a world power in laser technology. I think that 10 percent of lasers in the world are produced in Lithuania," he said, emphasizing that much of Israel’s new technology is dependent on the use of lasers.

NY’s Museum of Jewish Heritage to Present Largest Exhibition on Auschwitz: Original Objects Never Before Seen in US
The Jewish Voice, January 30, 2019 

The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust today announced plans to present the most comprehensive Holocaust exhibition about Auschwitz ever exhibited in North America. Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is produced in partnership with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland and the international exhibition firm Musealia. Photo Credit: Facebook

The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust today announced plans to present the most comprehensive Holocaust exhibition about Auschwitz ever exhibited in North America. Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is produced in partnership with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland and the international exhibition firm Musealia. The
groundbreaking exhibition was curated by an international team of experts led by historian Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt. It will open in New York City on May 8, 2019 and run through January 3, 2020.

For the first time, 74 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, a traveling exhibition dedicated to the historical significance of the camp will be presented to a U.S. audience. The exhibition’s opening on May 8 marks the anniversary of VE Day or Victory in Europe Day, 1945, when the Allies celebrated Nazi Germany’s surrender of its armed forces and the end of World War II.

Read the full article here.

Holocaust Scholars Worry That Memory Is A Victim of Israel’s Warming Ties with Eastern Europe
By Sam Sokol
JTA, January 29, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to establish close ties with the European Union’s Central European members has met with pushback from a perhaps unlikely source: Holocaust historians and activists protective of Israel’s role in preserving the memories of the Nazis’ victims.

Netanyahu has justified his outreach to leaders in countries like Poland and Hungary as a way to counterbalance the E.U.’s more Palestinian-friendly western states.

But his critics say he may be sacrificing efforts to counter Holocaust revisionism, especially by leaders who are trying to downplay their countries’ complicity with the Germans in World War II.

Hundreds of Ukrainian Jews Land in Israel
By Hagay Hacohen
Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2019

School teachers in the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine began to vanish, said Vera Savitski, who used to teach there. He said they were taken to military service and didn't return. The city suffered heavy shelling during the ongoing conflict with Russia and she was forced to leave and spend time in a refugee camp. 

Now, Savitski is in Israel.

She was one of 250 olim [immigrants] who landed in Israel earlier this week on a flight arranged by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

The oldest person on the flight is 83 years old. The youngest is a 7-month-old baby. 

Russian Federation Council: We Stopped Holocaust Denial Attempts
Arutz Sheva, January 30, 2019

Marking International Holocaust Day, and the 75th anniversary to the siege on the city of St. Petersburg, an annual ceremony was held at the large Jewish Museum in central Moscow. It was broadcast directly through dozens of media outlets all over Russia.

The event was attended by the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar; Chairwoman of the Federation Council of Russia, Mrs. Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko, heads of foreign diplomatic envoys to the United States, Germany, Poland and Latvia, representatives of all religions in Russia, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia, Rabbi Alexander Boroda, Chairman to the Jewish Museum’s Board of Trustees Mr. Felix Vekselberg. The event was emceed by Rabbi Boruch Gorin, Chairman of the Museum's Board of Directors.

[Link to pdf of full articles]
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Founded in 1971, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.