German Nazi compensation fund recipient produces anti-Semitic booklet [UPDATE]

A German fund established to compensate victims of forced labor under the Nazis sponsored a project that produced anti-Semitic propaganda.

The Memory, Responsibility and Future Fund, which was established 11 years ago, sponsored a student exchange program between high school students in Nazareth and eastern Germany. The students prepared a booklet full of anti-Semitic propaganda and drawings at the end of the program, the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Achronot reported.

The booklet was billed as an attempt to compare the educational rights of young Germans and Israeli Arabs. Instead, it questioned Israel’s right to exist, according to the newspaper.

The fund, a joint effort of German industry and government, was established after international pressure forced large German industrial companies to agree to compensate Jewish and non-Jewish forced laborers during World War II.

Most of the funds have been allotted to “projects commemorating Nazi victims, maintaining human rights and understanding between nations.”  But two months ago, the fund also financed a “birthright trip” to Israel for a group of Palestinians living in Germany, Yediot reported.

Dr. Martin Salm, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” responds:

The Programs of the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” are oriented at remembering the Nazi-atrocities, at supporting survivors in Central and Eastern Europe and in Israel and to foster the work for human rights as a lesson of history. The article “German Nazi compensation fund recipient produces anti-Semitic booklet” does not properly portray the international project, which contributed to the mutual knowledge and understanding of the German and the Israeli students involved.

It is absolutely misleading to label a brochure produced by 17 years old students, which critically looks at the German and Israel school system in both nations, as “anti-Semitic”. The author, contradictory to his claim, did not contact the participating schools or the Foundation EVZ.

The mention of a roots trip / birth-right-trip/ project is also completely misleading: It refers to a project “From Haifa to Berlin” for Germans of Palestinian origin and their trip to Israel. This project was realized by “Haus der Wannseekonferenz”, an acknowledged institution engaged in Holocaust education. The aim of this project, which included a trip to Israel, was to reflect identity issues and integrate Palestinians into German society.