Letters, Aug. 12, 2015


Dina Gold’s book is timely
Dina Gold’s story (“Reclaiming Krausenstrasse 17/18,” WJW, Aug. 6) is of utmost importance. Although some restitution cases have been successfully concluded, there is an attitude among today’s fashion business owners, and even government officials in Berlin, of  “… let’s not talk about it” or deliberate forgetfulness. Gold’s book comes at the right time.

Her story is matched by hundreds of similar reports and eyewitness accounts that I have encountered during my research over 30 years. There were 2,800 Jewish fashion corporations based all around the old textile district of Berlin. Approximately 5 percent of them were Jewish-owned. From 1900 onward, Jewish-owned womenswear businesses contributed 85 percent of the vast export of German clothing all over the world.

The Nazis organized a state-run conspiracy consisting of lawyers, officials, banks, law courts, insurances and state- owned companies as well as Nazi Party members. Non-Jewish fashion firm owners realized that the theft of Jewish property was the easiest way to get rid of Jewish competitors, thereby enriching themselves.

Between 1933 and 1939, more than 1,900 Jewish fashion businesses in Berlin were confiscated or forced to close down. This act, by a sophisticated group of Nazi criminals and their supporters in Berlin is, to my knowledge, unparalleled.


Today in Germany, fashion design departments at universities and the fashion industry are reluctant to recognize the Jewish contribution to their industry.

Young fashion designers in Berlin find it embarrassing or “boring” to talk about their predecessors and what happened to them between 1933 and 1939. While most German banks or car producers have researched their history during the Nazi years, the German fashion industry remains silent. That is one of the reasons why Dina Gold’s book is so important. It will encourage others to claim what was once theirs.
Appreciates Guide
Regarding the Washington Jewish Week Guide to Jewish Life 2015-2016 that we received in our mail, I don’t know exactly where to begin (or to stop) to thank you for putting out such an attractive and informative magazine.

The paper quality, the print, the colors used, the layout, each advertisement is so well-worded, the large assortment of advertisers — just all of the physical aspects, shall I call it, of this magazine are excellently put together in just every way.

I especially appreciated the pages that gave attention to emergency information, transportation, Jewish How-To, Shabbat and holiday candle-lighting 5776 and the Jewish holiday calendar 5776 (2015-2016).
All in all, you outdid yourself. It is a publication that I will be referring to throughout this coming year, and WJW can be very proud of itself.
Intervention can be dangerous
I found your article on the Red Line stabbing interesting, but I am not sure that we recognize that we are reaping what we have sown (“Should bystanders come to the rescue,” WJW, July 23).

The basic philosophy today is forgive the guilty and punish the innocent. This applies to both private citizens and law enforcement, rendering intervention dangerous physically and legally. Many think weapons ownership and use is not prudent for private citizens. Law enforcement officers are in jeopardy when they take action, and our legal system itself is subject to review by political leaders fearing mob reaction.

I am not fond of vigilantes or out-of-control police, but they are essentially on our side, and abuses can be dealt with by training and ombudsmen. I do not believe that it is reasonable to expect unarmed, untrained and possibly out-of-condition private citizens to take violent protective action.

I hope that you agree that predators armed, disarmed, alone or in groups are a far greater danger to society and must be dealt with to include accepting unintentional collateral damage. Perhaps a good Samaritan approach similar to medical intervention at accidents is called for.
How can bystanders help?
Thank you for writing about this (“Should bystanders come to the rescue,” WJW, July 23). I wonder if you could ask the police what are possible measures that a group of witnesses could do in such a situation to try and help. There must be something people in numbers might do that one could not. Also, I wonder, what was the outcome of the attempts to contact the train operator and use the call button? If these attempts to take action and get help met a dead end — that should be fixed! Then at least there would be something one could do to effectively take action and do something.
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Incorrect information abounds on Iran nuclear capabilities
In the July 30 edition of WJW, several rabbis are in the “we need to know more” camp with respect to the Iran nuclear agreement (“Rabbis take sides on nuke agreement”).

There is nothing wrong with seeking facts, but the problem with looking for facts is that some of the parties to this agreement have propagated incorrect information.  On July 19, Secretary of State John Kerry said that when President Barack Obama took office, Iran had 12,000 kg of highly enriched uranium. Kerry further said that at that time Iran had 19,000 centrifuges spinning (from the transcript on the CNN.com website as of this writing).

The actual figures, according to the February 2009 report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA Gov 2009-8), were 1,010 kg of low-enriched uranium and 3,939 centrifuges in operation with about another 1,600 centrifuges in storage (from IAEA.org).

Kerry gave these egregiously incorrect figures without a direct prompting question and did so in the context of blaming the previous administration. This should inform anyone listening to Kerry’s defense of the current nuclear agreement with Iran.

A bad deal for all
This is in regard to a July 23 article by Dennis Jett and Bradley Harris, “The Iran agreement is a good deal for America” (Voices, WJW). As details of the agreement trickle out, we learn that inspections cannot be done immediately but can wait a minimum of 24 days. The agreement is for 10 or 12 years.

After this period, Iran can develop whatever it wants. According to the article, the deal is good for America. What about the Middle East? Iran did not denounce terrorism; with implementation of the agreement, Iran will get release of its frozen accounts. What prevents Iran [from using] this money for terrorism?

It is a bad deal for everyone, including America.
Silver Spring

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