Austria

Search For Heirs To Shoah Victims’ Assets Takes Shocking Turns

Some shun money, property, Jewish roots; others overcome with joy. Inside Israel’s little-known restitution effort.

06/09/2010
Staff Writer

 It’s like an episode of the late-‘50s hit TV series “The Millionaire.”

Elinor Kroitoru pores over documents in hunt for heirs of those killed in the Holocaust.

Sephardic Charities Warned On Ethical Guidelines

Oversight committee will publish a list of those who comply and those who don’t in the fall.

04/27/2010
Assistant Managing Editor

A committee appointed to promote more transparency among charities in the Sephardic communities of Brooklyn and Deal, N.J, prompted by the arrests last year of three prominent Syrian rabbis on money-laundering charges, says that only six of some 30 organizations with tax-exempt status have agreed to a slate of voluntary operating guidelines.
 

Attorney Eli D. Greenberg wants stricter oversight of Sephardic charities. “We don’t want to have egg on our face,” he says.

U.S.-Israel Tensions Now Hitting Pulpits

N.Y. area rabbis, some feeling ‘forced,’ wading into rocky political waters; anxiety seen in pews.

04/20/2010
Staff Writer

As the strain in U.S.-Israel relations continues, some area rabbis who generally don’t mix religion and politics on the pulpit are setting aside those constraints.

“People were asking me and my hand was sort of forced,” said Rabbi Perry Rank, spiritual leader of the Midway Jewish Center, a Conservative synagogue in Syosset, L.I. “My sense is that Mr. [Barack] Obama has unnerved the American Jewish community and people are looking for a perspective on the issue.

Rabbis Andrew Bachman and Perry Rank: Taking to pulpit, with differing views of Obama’s policies.

‘Do I Have To Belong Somewhere?’

01/23/2008
Special To The Jewish Week

Billy Wilder used to joke about his former compatriots in Austria. He would say, “The Austrians are a marvelous people: they have convinced the whole world that Beethoven was Austrian and Hitler was German.” Axel Corti, a Paris-born, half-Italian, half-Austrian filmmaker, would have undoubtedly appreciated this jibe. Corti, who died of leukemia in 1993, spent his entire career as a film, theater and radio director putting the Austrian-Jewish connection under the microscope of his art with scathing results.

Spies Or Suspects?

09/24/1999
Staff Writer
Iran’s supreme leader publicly labeled 13 Iranian Jews accused of espionage for Israel and the United States as “spies” this week — even as a senior judicial official stressed the jailed suspects were innocent until proven guilty. The conflicting statements, both made during the visit of Austrian President Thomas Klestil to Iran this week, appeared to highlight the Jewish suspects’ role as pawns in an internal struggle between Islamic hard-liners and relative moderates in Iran.

Survivors' Cases Back On Track

08/15/2003
Staff Writer
In a surprise legal development that could impact on the Bush administration, a Manhattan federal appeals court last week quietly breathed new life into potential billion-dollar class-action lawsuits by Holocaust survivors against the governments of Poland and Austria over the loss of their property during and after World War II. Last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned a Brooklyn federal judge's June 2002 decision to dismiss the case "Garb vs. Poland" on the grounds that Poland was protected by sovereign immunity.

Accused SS Guard Leaves U.S.

06/28/2002
Staff Writer
Michael Gruber, who was accused of serving as an SS guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany during World War II, returned to Austria last week, two years after a Manhattan Immigration Court ruled that he should be deported. Gruber, 86, a retired auto body worker who lived in New City in Rockland County, is a native of Croatia with Austrian citizenship.

A Legend Down Under

09/26/2003
Staff Writer
Sydney, Australia: One by one, the elderly men with white hair or bald heads raised their hands. Sitting in the sunlit Terrace Room of the Australian National Maritime Museum, at the edge of Sydney Harbor, they listened as Henry Lippmann, a fellow octogenarian, stood with hand-written notes and microphone in hand reading brief snippets of their life stories, asking each to acknowledge his presence.

To World, Kollek Was Jerusalem

01/05/2007
Staff Writer
Jerusalem — A visitor handed Teddy Kollek a book to autograph several years ago. Kollek, sitting behind his desk in the office of The Jerusalem Foundation, where he worked as international chairman after losing a race for re-election as the city’s mayor in 1993, looked at the cover — the book, distributed by the foundation, was a collection of writings and photographs from his career. “Where did you get this?” Kollek asked.An assistant said she had given it to the visitor.

The Chance To Fight Back

04/09/2004
Staff Writer
Military service is in the Perl family’s blood. Pvt. Otto Perl spent nearly a year in the Austrian army from 1937 to 1938. His father had been an officer in that same army in World War I, and two of his uncles had served in WWI. Perl, a tailor, was 22 in early 1938 when he was discharged a few months before his homeland was annexed by Nazi Germany. A Jew, he was arrested and sent to the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps for a year. He survived the forced labor and beatings and frigid weather.
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