Tagged refugee crisis

Did Angela Merkel pay the price for seeking a kinder, gentler Germany?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference in Jerusalem, Oct. 4, 2018. Merkel spoke of Germany's "everlasting responsibility" to oppose anti-Semitism during the visit. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

BERLIN (JTA) — Israeli author Eldad Beck regards Angela Merkel‘s engagement with Israel and Judaism as “spectacular.” Germany’s chancellor has “developed a very personal connection to the State of Israel and the Jewish people, one of the rare German politicians who – when speaking about lessons learned from the past – really knows what… Read more »

HIAS, immigrant aid group vilified by Pittsburgh gunman, vows not to back down

Activist Michele Freed, center, and other young professionals protest with HIAS in front of the White House, March 1, 2017. (Katie Jett Walls)

(JTA) — Before he shot dead 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Robert Bowers blamed one Jewish organization: HIAS, an immigrant aid group that has been helping refugees since the 1880s. “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people,” he wrote on his website. “I can’t sit by and watch… Read more »

New Ken Burns film spotlights little-known Holocaust rescuers

Martha and Watistill Sharp departing New York Harbor for Prague in 1939. (Courtesy of Sharp Family Archives)

(JTA) — In 1940, as he was being transported to safety in the lower deck of a ship, the Jewish author Lion Feuchtwanger asked Waitstill Sharp why the American Unitarian minister had bothered to rescue him from the Nazis. Sharp and his wife, Martha, had spent much of the previous… Read more »

In Vienna, bearing witness on the frontlines of Europe’s refugee crisis

Roberta Elliott, a Tucson winter resident volunteering to help refugees in Vienna, Austria, last month, sorts through piles of donated shoes. (Courtesy Roberta Elliott)

The U.S. Passport Control agent greeted me with uncustomary warmth as I returned to Newark Liberty Airport on Nov. 2. “Was your trip business or vacation?” he asked. For a split second I hesitated, but answered firmly “vacation.” How could I tell him that the time I had just… Read more »

Finding Germany’s bright side amid a tide of refugees

Refugee children visit a fire station in Berlin, September 2015. (Judith Kessler)

BERLIN (JTA) — When supporters of the anti-immigrant PEGIDA movement and right-wing extremists in the former East Germany started demonstrating by the tens of thousands this year against foreigners and “American Zionist” policies, I got mad. When the first refugee homes in Germany were set on fire, I was shocked. When… Read more »