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Toby Axelrod 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.

Latest

  • German rappers who boast their bodies are ‘more defined than Auschwitz prisoners’ win top music prize

    BERLIN (JTA) — A German-Jewish leader condemned a music award given to two popular rappers as a “devastating” example of the normalcy of anti-Semitism in today’s society. Kollegah and Bang won an Echo Music Award in the hip-hop category — one of Germany’s top music prizes — for an album whose lyrics boast of physiques…

  • German Muslim leader proposes sending imams and rabbis together into schools to combat anti-Semitism

    (JTA) —  After a public outcry over the bullying of a Jewish schoolgirl in Berlin by Muslim classmates, the head of Germany’s main Muslim association has proposed sending imams and rabbis together into public schools to combat anti-Semitism. Aiman Mazyek, head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, used Twitter to propose his idea,…

  • A Palestinian-born legislator dreams of rebuilding a synagogue in Berlin

    BERLIN (JTA) — Raed Saleh, a Palestinian born in the West Bank, wants to rebuild a synagogue in the German capital. Now the dream of this Berlin politician is a bit closer to reality. Standing in front of the Fraenkelufer Synagogue on a chilly March morning, the senator and leader of the Social Democratic Party…

  • Jewish anti-Israel activist loses court case against German Jewish leader

    BERLIN (JTA) — A Jewish anti-Israel activist has lost his case against a German Jewish leader who had labeled him as “notorious” for anti-Semitic remarks. Jewish blogger Abraham Melzer had sued Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Jewish community in Munich and Bavaria, over comments that he said violated his “personality rights.” The court’s decision favoring…

  • Documentary about Kurt Waldheim’s Nazi-era past wins top prize at Berlin film festival

    BERLIN (JTA) — An Austrian-Jewish filmmaker’s documentary about the 1986 campaign to unearth the Nazi-era past of Kurt Waldheim has won a top prize at the 68th Berlinale International Film Festival. Ruth Beckermann received the Glashutte Original Documentary Award for “The Waldheim Waltz,” which uses historical footage to revisit the question of whether Waldheim, the president…

  • German court convicts murderer from Sweden in 1992 killing of Holocaust survivor

    BERLIN (JTA) — A convicted murderer from Sweden has been found guilty of killing a Holocaust survivor in Germany 26 years ago. On Wednesday, the Frankfurt District Court handed down its verdict against John Ausonius for the 1992 shooting death of 68-year-old Blanka Zmigrod and sentenced him to life in prison. A life sentence in…

  • Germany reports similar number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 from previous year

    (JTA) — The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in Germany in 2017 remained about the same as the previous year. Published Monday in the Berlin daily newspaper Tagesspiegel, the report — based on police statistics delivered to Bundestag Vice President Petra Pau of the Left Party — indicated there were 1,453 incidents reported in 2017…

  • Two Berlin museums return works to heirs of Jewish collector

    (JTA) — Two Berlin museums have returned works to the heirs of a Jewish collector who liquidated them during World War II, according to the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage. The foundation returned 11 works from the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Skulpturensammlung that had belonged to Margarete Oppenheim, whose family was forced to sell…

  • Germany establishes an anti-Semitism commissioner

    (JTA) — Germany’s parliament voted to establish a commissioner to deal with anti-Semitism in the country. Four mainstream parties endorsed the proposal, which noted that while most anti-Semitic crime in Germany is attributable to the far right, there are increased concerns about anti-Semitism among recent refugees and migrants from the Middle East and North Africa….

  • Berlin court says calling politician a Holocaust denier is protected speech

    (JTA) — A Berlin district court ruled that is permissible to call right-wing German politician Wolfgang Gedeon a Holocaust denier, saying it was a matter of opinion that is protected by the constitution. Gedeon, who represents the right-populist party Alternative for Germany in the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg, had filed an injunction last spring to prevent Josef Schuster, head…