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Toby Axelrod RSS

is JTA's correspondent for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. A former assistant director of the American Jewish Committee's Berlin office, she has also worked as staff writer and editor at the New York Jewish Week. She has won numerous awards from the New York Press Association and the American Jewish Press Association. She has published books on Holocaust history for teen-agers.

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  • Far-right party’s leader claims it is best hope for German Jewry

    (JTA) — A far-right populist party in Germany claimed it is the last best hope for Jewish life in the country, spurring outrage from Jewish leaders there. Frauke Petry, co-chair of the anti-immigrant Alternative Party for Germany, or AfD, told the Die Welt newspaper on Thursday that her party is “one of the few political…

  • Jewish parents pull son from Berlin school over anti-Semitic harassment

    (JTA) — Allegations of anti-Semitic harassment of a Jewish student in Germany that forced him to leave his school has spurred demands for a federal investigation by Germany’s top Jewish leader. The student’s parents said they pulled their 14-year-old son from the Friedenauer Community School in March after four months of verbal and physical harassment, culminating in a brutal attack. The…

  • Jewish descendants can sue Germany for return of Nazi-looted collection, US court rules

    (JTA) — A U.S. court has cleared the way for descendants of Jewish art collectors to sue Germany in the United States over objects allegedly obtained from their ancestors under duress during the Nazi era. In what lawyers for the complainants are calling a landmark decision, the District Court for the District of Columbia ruled March…

  • Frankfurt Jewish group severs ties with German city’s Chabad over ‘disrespect’ and ‘insults’

    BERLIN (JTA) — The umbrella group representing the Jewish community of Frankfurt is distancing itself from the city’s Chabad-Lubavitch chapter following a series of alleged instances of “disrespect” shown against local non-Chabad rabbis. In an open letter published March 20, the Jewish Community of Frankfurt am Main group wrote that the city’s synagogues will no longer provide…

  • This 90-year-old German rabbi is now a movie star

    BERLIN (JTA) — For many Germans, Rabbi William “Willy” Wolff is the first Jewish religious leader they have ever met. And he’s the perfect man for the job. Diminutive, with a disarming chuckle and twinkling eyes, Wolff, who turned 90 in February, effortlessly breaks down that uniquely German condition of “Berührungsangst” – literally “fear of contact” with…

  • Celebrating Berlin’s first-ever Jewish food week

    BERLIN (JTA)  — It was standing-room only at Fine Bagels, a bakery tucked inside the Shakespeare and Sons bookstore in the former East Berlin. Bookshelves lined the walls, cafe tables were arranged end to end, and, smack in the middle of the space, sat a large bowl of grated potatoes. Tonight would be all about Polish-Jewish…

  • What a ‘kippah walk’ in Berlin won’t tell you about anti-Semitism

    (JTA) — It’s literally become old hat: Sending a Jew wearing a kippah into the streets of a European city to see how non-Jews react. A so-called “anti-Semitism test,” it’s been done, ad nauseam. So I was a bit surprised last week when I saw yet another article on the topic on the website of the German…

  • Heirs of Jewish art collector join with German university to recover lost works

    BERLIN (JTA) — Heirs of legendary Jewish art collector Rudolf Mosse joined with a German university to track down works he once owned. Mosse’s heirs joined with researchers at the Freie Universität Berlin to form the Mosse Art Research Initiative, or MARI. Details of the partnership, reportedly the first in which state entities and heirs have joined together to…

  • Switzerland to launch Holocaust remembrance app

    BERLIN (JTA) — A new app to teach youth about the Holocaust will be a centerpiece of Switzerland’s chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Switzerland took over the rotating chairmanship of the 31-member inter-governmental group on March 7 from Romania. The app, called Fliehen vor dem Holocaust, or Escaping the Holocaust, allows users to learn about the fate…

  • Swiss parliament lower house votes to halt funds to groups promoting anti-Semitism

    BERLIN (JTA) — Switzerland’s lower house of parliament voted to halt public funding for organizations that promote anti-Semitism and hatred. Submitted by Christian Imark of the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party, the bill passed Wednesday by a vote of 111 to 78, with all center-right mainstream parties in support. Voting against the measure were the Social Democratic, Green and Green-Liberal…