Schuhe selbst machen in Moretonhampstead Devon | Go make Your Own Shoes

Schuhe gehören zu den Kleidungsteilen die man immer wieder neu kaufen muss.  Hier gibt es bei der Herstellung viel Ausbeutung im Arbeitsprozess und oft auch umweltschädliche Belastung durch Färbungsprozesse oder auch durch die Tierhaltung und Schlachtung.  In Devon gibt es einen Laden der Workshops anbietet die eigenen Schuhe an einem Wochenende selber zu machen, aus ökologischen Leder oder auch veganen Material. Der Bericht von mir hierzu steht in der Wochenendtaz vom 24.01.15.  Unten die Aufnahmen aus Moretonhampstead und von Green Shoes.

Everyone needs to renew theor shoes from time to time.  However shoes are often made in unethical and exploitative work conditions, not speak of environmental damage during the leather processing and colouring or the animals themselves who provide the material.  In Devon a small shoe manufacturer named Green Shoes allows anyone to make their own weekend using ecological leather or even vegan leather.  The shoes can further be repaired for a much longer time and are custom made.

A report of mine appeared in taz weekend on the 24th of January 2015.

Below the images from Green Shoes in Moretonhampstead and the shoe making process.

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Guantanamo Tage Buch | Guantanamo Diary

Bruder Slahis zeigt  den ersten Brief Mohamadou Slahis an die Familie aus Guantanamo Bay (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Bruder Slahis zeigt den ersten Brief Mohamadou Slahis an die Familie aus Guantanamo Bay (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Mein Bericht in der taz, von der Buchvorstellung in London mit allen Akteuren die es möglich machten.  Eines der wichtigsten Bücher zum Verständnis US amerikanischer Politik der letzten 15 Jahre.!153202/

My report in taz, die Tagesszeitung from the book launch in London of Guananatamo Diary,  This book could be a game changer in awarness of US politics in the last 15 years.

Erster Brief von Slahi an seine Familie (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Erster Brief von Slahi an seine Familie (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Was nicht mehr Platz hatte:

Von mir für taz gefragt, was es sei, dass seinen Bruder all das aushalten lies, verwies Yahdi Slahi auf die Unschuld seines Bruders, aber auch eine Frau. „Meine Mutter, sie brachte uns alle alleine auf, nachdem mein Vater, als ich acht Jahre alt war, verstarb.“

Isohaft für junge Straftäter in England: Young offenders treated appallingly bad in UK prisons compared to other countries

Ein Bericht in der Taz über die schlimme Lage der Jugendstrafanstalten in England, nach wieder mal einen Bericht ueber schlechte Zustände.

The leader of the charity Howard League says that compared to other European countries England’s youth offending institutes and prisons for young prisonders are lacking far behind similar institutions in many European countries.  Her comments follow yet another report by the chief inspector prisons highlighting concerning issues, such as solitary confinement of up to 25% young inmantes.

Terror not remembered! “Don’t kill Our Snow Fun Hill!” A sorry tale of a limping democratic intervention.

As the Western world recovers from the echoes of terrorism in Paris, in Munich Germany, occupants of the Olympic Village argue about how the acts of terrorism during the Olympic Games 1972 are remembered.


In autumn 2014 the inhabitants of the Olympic Village in Munich rejected the proposal for a memorial site to commemorate the slaughter of almost the entire Israeli Olympic team. Signatures were collected to prevent the winning design to be erected on a hill near the former Israeli team house in the Olympic Village.

Many journalists and camera teams followed the unfolding drama in 1972 from precisely that hill, which gives full view of the Israeli house in Connollystreet 31. Nearly half of the Olympic village’s current inhabitants, mostly private owners of the many flats in which once the Olympic teams lived, argued, that the memorial site would destroy the hill on which their children engage in snow fun activities during the winter months (see The Bavarian State has now proposed to erect the memorial slightly more to the East, and yet again there was hostility. This, it was argued, was the „students hill.“ On Monday  the 12th of January 2015 the city of Munich is hosting a civic meeting in which residents can make decisions about the memorial site. Amongst the invited guests are Bavarian Minister for Culture, the Munich Jewish Museum, Nazi Concentration-site Flossbuerg Memorial Site  and the chosen architects Brueckner and Brueckner whose design was chosen as the best amongst a handful of independent international proposals.

Journalist Daniel Zylbersztajn, now based in London, grew up in the Olympic Village, when his parents moved there in 1973. As far as he knows his was the only Jewish family there. He writes about the controversy concerning the memorial site and growing up Jewish there.

Part of this text was lead column (Feuilleton) of the German Jewish Jüdische Allgemeine on 8//1/15

Snow Fun Hill

When, back in 1972, members of the radical Palestinian Black September Movement killed and blew up eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team, the „happy games“ were to “go on” after a day of mourning, although some had requested that the games should be stopped.

The fun was not to be interrupted equally these days, when the post-Olympic residents of the Munich Olympic village protested against a proposal to establish a permanent memorial site at the edge of the Olympic Village. They argued that the site was “their snow fun hill” and that “no one could protect such a site against vandalism”

I am a former resident of the Olympic Village and also Jewish. In 1973, when I was only three years old, my parents moved into the village, as they had  planned prior to the tragic events of September 1972. Most of the flats of the village were for sale to the general public. My father did not want to change plans because of what had taken part, Quite to the contrary, he even considered the purchase of flats opposite the Israeli House to rent out. Nobody wanted to buy these flats then, and hence they were particularly affordable. In the end he did not go ahead with that.

I explain the behaviour of my father, a Shoa survivor, as him having thrown in the towel. Any hope he must have had for a new Germany, symbolised by state of the art modern international Olympic Village, and without loaded history, was gone after September 1972. By then one street of the Olympic village was no longer different from other Munich streets, whose Jewish residents had vanished during the Third Reich. I say that, knowing full well that Germans were not the key perpetrators in 1972, yet the burden of guilt lay still on them, having not been able to adequately protect the Israeli Olympians. Not to say that German lack of power did not in some form or shape relate to 1945. Fatally wrong decisions on political and police levels amongst German leaders were contributory factors.

Der Connolly "Rodelberg" (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Der Connolly “Rodelberg” (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

The new post-Olympic residents of the village enjoy and enjoyed life in the Olympic Village. It is an oasis of good living. On its top level residents live without motorised traffic, children can play without danger. I did so too. And in the winter we all went for snow fun activities like on sleighs. The hill opposite Connolly Street, on which now the memorial site was planned, was the highest, standing approximately 20 Meters tall.  But there was an even better hill, a walk of 15 minutes further into the Olympic Park, the Olympiaberg (transl. Olympic Hill) , over double in height, created from the rubble of the Munich that was destroyed during the second world war. The proposed construction of a memorial site on the Connolly Hill is hence not the end of childhood fun, at most perhaps inconvenient. If one considers that so far there were only 10 days of snow in Munich this winter, the protests regrading the hill are deeply questionable.

Forgetting and Remembering

During the first 20 years in the 1970s and 80s the village’s new occupants liked to forget what happened here. It was rarely mentioned, nor was it visible, except for those who lived in Connollystreet near the former Israeli House. Every 5th of September state and city officials and representatives of the Munich Jewish community put down flower wreaths in front of a memorial stone at Connollystrasse 31, which lists the name of the deceased in German and Hebrew.

31 Connollystrasse Munich 1972, (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

31 Connollystrasse Munich 1972, (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

But back in 1984 I think it was – I was in the midst of my identity forming teenage years – I felt that nobody really cared about what happened in the village. And so I decided on my own account to write it on the village’s walls: “Vergesst nicht 5.9.1972”!, – Don’t forget 5th Sept. Due to my efforts at night this little sentence emerged repeatedly in black letters at various strategic points in the village that I had chosen. Amongst them one at the entrance of the university sports centre located at the rear of Connollystreet, as well as near the entrance into the village, past the underground station. My childhood, my growing up, part of my Jewish identity was in these few words on the wall, a childhood that was quite different to that of all other residents of the Olympic village, yet nobody would notice. How many others were Jewish I would never quite know, at least I thought for a long time, that  I was the only Jewish youth. As I wrote slogans on the village’s wall, somebody once caught me and emptied my pot of black colour over my head. He was angry that I smeared the walls, I shouted back, that I only tried to make sure people would not forget what had happened here.

Vergesst nicht 5.9.72!  ZHS Anlage Einfahrt Connollystrasse München, c.a. 1984

Vergesst nicht 5.9.72!  ZHS Anlage Einfahrt Connollystrasse München, c.a. 1984   Graffiti Don’t Forget 5/9/72 in front of university sports ground at the end of Connollystreet in the Olympic Village.  c.a. 1984 (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

A slim man wearing a facial masque stands on the top level of Connollystreet 31: Men behind him stare timidly out of a window. These stills are not my childhood’s first.  But I do remember them from quite early on. They stem from the live TV reports of the unfolding drama of 1972 and they are deep in my memory. How sad and uncertain my parents must have felt, as it became clear in the morning hours of the 6th of September 1972 what had happened, given that my parents had

Picture Wikipedia:

Picture Wikipedia:

decided to move into the village, and earlier still, some 25 years earlier, in fact for my dad and mum,  to move to Germany in spite of all that the Germans had done to their families.  Children notice these kind of things even at the tender age of two to three years, and the many documentaries and films about 1972 that would follow only deepened my memory thereof.

When later Israeli relatives came to visit us, we often walked with them to Connollystreet 31, where we would stand for many minutes in front of the memorial stone. It were difficult moments for them. I knew very early on that here something must have happened that moved my family members deeply, although I would only understand it later. Often they would discuss if it was right that we lived there. Many years later, and having left the village, I would myself become that visitor with obligatory visits to the memorial stone.

The Good Life

But it would be a lie, if I could not affirm that it was otherwise a very good childhood in the Olympic Village, with its modern flair and its many play and sport options and a good primary school and if I was not Jewish, perhaps I would also like the original vintage poster from 1972 that residents have hung up in one of the hallways of the village for of nostalgic reasons,

Sportschiesser Olympia 1972 Poster im Durchgang eines der Häuser Olympic Shooting.  Original print of poster from 1972 Olympics in a house floor in the Munich Olympic Village (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Sportschiesser Olympia 1972 Poster im Durchgang eines der Häuser Olympic Shooting. Original print of poster from 1972 Olympics in a house floor in the Munich Olympic Village (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

depicting Olympic Shooting, How ironic, for it was the blunder of the armed Bavarian policemen, who were supposed to liberate the Israelis, that significantly contributed to the tragic end. Maybe I would even join those protests against the new memorial site because it takes away the fun of kids, and forces them to deal with something nobody can change.

The Olympic Park in Munich and all that is part of it is today part and parcel of life in Munich. Many sports and leisure activities take part here. But if you travel outside of Munich through the world, I myself have lived in London since 1991, one encounters a different picture of Olympia 1972. Munich 1972 runs parallel to Mexico 1968, Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984. Neither the medals once earned here nor the good life is what people know here. Munich is referenced for nothing but the terror act, at best, as a former home ground of the soccer club F.C. Bayern. Not that the residents of the village welcomed the potential construction of the new soccer stadium, which was initially planned, East of the village. A campaign of theirs prevented that and caused the stadium’s alternative location in the far North of Munich. They are thus an engaged lot, these residents, with protests also against a magnetic railway link near the village, that was to speed up the journey between the airport of Munich and the city, and the purchase of shares by residents of the village’s shopping mall to determine what shops can take a footing there, and then most recently those signatures against the memorial site. Many people can learn from them, such citizens’ initiatives are exemplary, but they do not always see the wider picture.  They seem not to realize that many outside of Munich believe that a memorial site that deals with the terror of 1972 in depth is expected by many and yet missing. No positive residential engagement here.

Memorial to the killed  Israeli athletes in Olympic Park Munich (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Memorial to the killed Israeli athletes in Olympic Park Munich (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn


Yet today is not 1984. There were compensation payments to the relatives of the murdered victims, and whilst one or the other apology is still missing and may never be made, nobody can say the victims have been forgotten. Whilst I was still discussing the lack of a memorial in the village with Ankie Rekhess-Spitzer, the wife of the murdered Israeli Olympian Andre Spitzer in 1990, a second memorial stone was erected in front of the Olympic Stadium in 1995, which mentions all 11 killed athletes and one policeman who also lost his life in 1972. For a couple of years a public signpost is welcoming visitors as they leave the underground station on which visitors can learn in German, English, French and Hebrew about the events that took part in the village in 1972 and where they took place in the village. This is important because all who venture into the village have to pass the signpost, and in that sense, it is similar to my graffiti of 1984.

Eingang Connollystrasse 31

Entrance 31 Connollystreet this winter (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

The majority of the flats in which the Israeli Olympic team was accommodated in 1972 are today the property of the Max Planck Institute, a Munich based scientific institute. They serve as their „guest housing.“   If anyone can sleep in these rooms remains an open question.  It was Max Planck who remained in Germany during the Third Reich, where he kept a soft status quo, whilst his Jewish colleges had to leave Germany or suffered worse. Adjacent to the flats of the former Israeli Olympic Team live ordinary people. During my last visit in December 2014 a jolly and bright Santa Clause lamp welcomed visitors in front of Connollystreet 31, right next to the memorial stone in front of the house. Some years ago there was also a note in Hebrew, requesting that mourners do not pluck flowers. Visiting mourners as the real nightmare for locals. No wonder there is hostility.

In Israel there are many streets in which terror acts happened, in which bombs or suicide bombers exploded taking innocent people with them. And still life continues Israelis are famous to get up again after terrible events. Often it is but a small plaque that reminds one of what once happened here or there. Why should it be different in Munich at the site of terror against Israeli athletes?


It is because the murder of the Israeli Olympians in 1972 is of particular relevance, just like Mexico City 1968, which stands as a symbolic point in African American history. Olympic Games should not be politicized, but are political anyway, last so in Sochi concerning LGBT rights. But sport is at times also a surrogate for conflict and also a way to overcome it and engage even between supposed enemies in a game with clear rules, and so it allows young men and women of all creed, nationality, colour, ethnic or religious identity to participate in sport activities with each other.  The Olympic Movement likes to believe that this creates ties beyond narrow confinements and therefore represents hope.  Still Israeli athletes and teams in particular are often subject to boycotts by others, something that carries particular echoes in Germany and the Olympic Games of 1936.

No organisation may see athletes as political trophies, whose lives are risked or even violently ended in order to make a political point. That is why Munich 1972 serves as a warning. It is the very reason why one should not forget and why a big educational memorial site has been suggested, one that can be true to the gigantic dimensions of the Olympic site and the greatness of loss of life.  It is certainly more important than the vast starship like construct the car manufacturer BMW was able to erect in celebration of its vehicles on one of the former Olympic car parks in Munich.

Tauben der Hoffnung?  Verlassen Olympiazentrum Busbahnhof PIGEONS OF HOPE, EMPTY OLD BUS STOP OLYMPIAZENTRUM (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Tauben der Hoffnung? Verlassen Olympiazentrum Busbahnhof PIGEONS OF HOPE, EMPTY OLD BUS STOP OLYMPIAZENTRUM (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

That is why the flats owned by the Max Planck Institute ought to be be sold and changed into a memorial site or museum. The era of a rather embarrassing and grotesque guest house must end. But due to the fact that the village is a protected national monument since 1998, any such construction within the building could proof tricky. Luckily there is an alternative, if the hill design is really to be rejected too. Above the Olympic underground station lies a large disused bus station, that was once hoped to become the site for a new hotel. It seems ideal as a memorial site and museum, given its accessibility, even though it is not within direct sight of Connollystrasse 31

Whether it is on the grounds of the old bus stop, on the Connollyhill or a few 100 meters East as has recently been argued, it is right that the village bears more than just a plaque or memorial stone. Lightness and happiness are intermixed in the village with lives’ darkest hours. This fact is just as important in the good education of children who grow up in the village, as is their right to carefree winter fun when they are younger.

Democracy and Citizenship Education

Nobody can bring back to live those who have died back then. But the names of the lost Israeli Olympians will remain linked with the village and the 1972 Olympics. Residents of the village can not escape this fate and must share it actively. Beyond a memorial site and museum, a foundation could assist in  encounters in sports by people who are otherwise in conflict with each other.

May they live conscious and good in the village. Yes they are allowed to show that in its conceptualisation and reality the Olympic Village and Olympic Park is a place in which life is very good, without cars, a shopping mall, artificial springs, and much green. But there must be clear sight of the fact what the village stands for around the globe, namely as the location of terrible unforgeable events.

Democracy must mean more than the collection of signatures, but also to understand history beyond local contexts and to act accordingly. On the evening of Monday 15th of January 2015 the Munich residents of the local area, including all residents of the Olympic village will meet in a civic meeting to discuss the memorial site and vote on it.

Invitation to public meeting regarding the 1972 Olympic terror memorial site (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Invitation to public meeting regarding the 1972 Olympic terror memorial site (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

From the Jewish cartoon experience. Humanization, Dehumanization and Context and Specificity of Cartoons

Revised twice for improved clarity 10/1/15 15:40, 20:10

Much has already been said and written about taking offence to satire and cartoons.


Jewish people have been persistently dehumanized in cartoons. Depicted as the suckers of the blood of all that is living and greedy money minded bastards.

An example in case was a cartoon in the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung last year, which aimed to depict Facebook’s Zuckerman as an Octopus from the film Pirates of the Caribbean, but struck cords and similarity with German Nazi era.  The critical world was up in arms and the artist himself saw, he wasn’t at his best with this and apologised. Interestingly enough at the time the principle and first critique against this cartoon came from one of the writers of Germany’s main satirical magazine Titanic.

The West understands that as far as Jewish caricature is concerned, there are limits as to how far one should go in the realm of acceptability. That does not mean that Jewish people in the political spotlight can not be caricatured and laughed about from the cynical angle, it is just how it is done. This case was unusual, because it regarded the internet tycoon Zuckerman and his Jewishness, accidental or not.

More usually the line is overstepped in the many conflicts between Israel and its neighbours some cartoonists overstep the line.

Draw as you see them or legitimate critique?

This is particularly so, in large sections of the Arab press, and that of Muslim dominated countries, from North Africa to Malaysia.  In fact if you are looking for newspapers in which the Third Reich caricature of Jewish people has an active second life, all you need to do is search there and you will find soon all the stereotypes confirmed, “the Jew” as the above mentioned blood sucking and child killing beast out for profit, or “rapist of Arab lands and women”.  There are some Jewish and anti-racist organisations like CIF and ADL and others that spend all their time skimming the press for such content and they are not getting less busy because the Arab spring came along. And, I like to argue, in the absence, for most, of real and meaningful encounters with real Jewish people, the cartoons become a self fulfilling prophecy. They are then not just the critique of Jews but the depiction of Jews, as imagined by many. There is no mistake that yesterday a second set of radicals took action upon that misrepresentation of Jewish people, and selected of all targets ordinary Jewish people in a Jewish grocery store as adequate and appropriate hostages to attempt the safe passage of the two infamous brothers offended by the cartoons of a French satire magazine.  Turning the dice around Arabs and Muslims suffer similar faiths by cartoonists.

Being able to draw on divine themes in satire and cartoons is part of what let to the end of what is labelled the dark ages of Europe, where the church determined and censured all.

Looking back, one has to admit that the critique here was principally of certain people and institutions, bishops, the Vatican, and kings and queens, often representatives thereof . That said, and looking at contemporary critical approaches to religions, people who believe in God are a diverse lot, whilst some in the bible belt of the USA will fight abortion and insist on creationism, there are others who believe in evolution and God.  There are many good people amongst people of faith, deeply humble and dedicated to help others.  There are those whose faith is an internal struggle and one of relations to others, and others who proselytize or kill others for God.  And there are those sad cases of rape and abuse behind the clerical curtains, or the starving of children born out of wed lock recently in Ireland.  Cartoons and satire must be specific in that sense and in every case.

Militant Secularism

I dare to go further.  Some secular voices can be as inflexible and extreme as religious fundamentalism, accepting nothing less, as those religious ones attacked.  To condemn all religion as Salman Rushdie did this week, in the wake of the events in Paris, that they are all medieval and have no game in modern society, is denying humanity as it is, namely that the majority of people on earth believe in God/s.  For most of its existence humanity needed religion, its existence whether true by scripture or a human invention, depending where you stand on the divide, is essentially human.  Rushdie and others are dishonest about religion denying its potential as a constructive and positive force too.  I have have seen and encountered many religious people who are nothing but kind good people, and who judge people and like to be judged likewise not by their faith but by their deeds.  I feel Rushdie’s pain, his life was made hell by political religious fundamentalism, perhaps we can not expect more from his pen.

Who speaks and where?

And then there is the context of where satire is applied.  A Jewish person criticising certain sections of Jewish Orthodox men in front of a paying Jewish audience shines in a different light, than somebody standing in front of a general audience and stating, “last week I went to a Jewish area, or last week I met a Muslim and starting a story from there.” Perhaps the most precise and accurate critique comes always from within. In the case of IS, the Egypt correspondent of the German newspaper taz quoted such a case in a Lebanese satirical show he saw recently: A Christian couple approaches a sudden make up IS check-point. The IS guards ask for a quote from the noble Quran to pass. Failing to do so would lead to instant execution. The husband quotes something in Arabic and the guards smile and lets the couple through. The wife asks the husband later, what it was, surely it wasn’t the Quran. No, answers the husband, it was from the bible, “who says those IS people know the Quran?” In the background one sees the IS guards waving save passage. Point made, specific and local context and not collectively against all Muslims or God.

Between Anti-Semitic cartoons that were used to oil the Nazi propaganda – still being used today in some Arab newspapers – down to legitimate critique, satire has to be therefore appropriate, precise in its target rather than general and daring. There is a fine thin line between critique and propaganda.

Monotone Critique equals Propaganda

The rules of the free society however, the one that people went on the streets for after Wednesdays massacre, states that in such a free democratic society there is also a right of reply and the general public consistently answers a daring sketch, it is a form of debate.  As said there is a balance to be struck. Consistent monotone critique of one side of an argument equals propaganda. A political satirical magazine, unlike some papers with a clear agenda (e.g. to blame all usually on Muslims or Jews) usually attacks and takes account of at all sides. From foreign policy of the West and NATO and the pope, to Islamists and Le Pen Fascists, simply all players in political society are subject to its daring focus. It is a platform of argument.

By all means cartoonists can and should be criticized, along with my profession of journalism, that class of knowers, writers and talkers, who pass quick judgement upon others and distribute it manifold to sell our papers. I am myself a member of it and as with the case of the Sueddeuscthe I have made my point about the cartoon there almost a year ago.  Personally I am always very careful to stay away from misrepresentations, but I can make mistakes.   Here in the UK, at least since News of the World, some of us have been receiving the cartoons they deserve, in fact some even sit in prison now. Democratic societies hence usually do work themselves out somehow. Not to say there are those who tend not to have a voice, and good newspapers and satire magazines alike have an obligation to address this. In Britain the victims of journalism were in part big wigs, hence the prosecutions.

No need to dishonour Mohamed

Creativity can avoid offending the majority whilst being specific to its intended target.  In this way, unless points on the debate between secularism and religion are made, one can probably do without depicting or offending other people’s holy figures, and if in deed one wishes to make points against religion, than one can address all religions in one stroke, rather than being selective.


In a time when Front National is one of the strongest French parties, and in large parts of the Muslim world fundamentalist religious parties have the upper hand we need to deal with both phenomena. And yet the economic interests of the world still divide nations and continents unequally, as was imagined at the height of colonialism almost 100 years ago in the age of Sykes and Picot who drew most of the borders of that contemporary unequal world to suite their interests.   This means that within all of that there are questions of control of access to power and justice.  The fact that fanatics did very wrong deeds last week should not obstrue the background of what upsets young people of migrant background in the West.  Algeria, the place of family background of the those terrorist brothers, well there is a country with a blood drained history with France and there are others. And with Mali, the country of background of the other assailant the French engagement is even more recent. The West likes to believe that somehow wars fought afar are inconsequential. In a globalised world with airplane passage how can it be.

But Islamic fundamentalism is a divisive force too that causes much pain, most of all to other Muslims.  It deserves to be subject to critical observations and yes cartoons.  How we apply critique and satire however must also be guided by the warning how some Arab media consistently depict Jews, and that it would never pass judgement and sensitivities in the West, because we know it came from the ultimate evil, the Nazi era, years ago.

Cartoonists have thus a difficult job. It really is in the balance and in careful assessments.  Interestingly in the responses to Wednesday  I have seen some quite welcoming examples, that were specific about religious militants and left aside Muslims, like Dave Brown’s depiction of the Eiffel Tower as a fountain pen on top of which is a militant.    This is how it should be.  Specific, local context, as specific as possible,  and not offending all Muslims to make a point on these extremists. But the homework is not just to be done in one place.  Perhaps we will see the dawn of an era of better satire and caricature and cartoons, less polemic and more to the point, not just in Europe from now on.

We must remember reactionary forces that adhere to Islamic fundamentalism have slaughtered more Muslim civilians than Europeans.  Their other victims are non Muslims in the Middle East and in Arab lands the West likes to confuse as Muslim Arabs, Christian minorities, Jews of North Africa and the Middle East, Zoroastrians and other smaller reigious and ethnic groups. The terror to our secure existences in the West may freak us out, but in the Middle East the price paid is much more heavy. The crisis has begun there long before shots were fired in Paris and the victims are ordinary Muslim men and women.  That  is why specificity is so important and making any group not per se subject to despotism but apply the pen carefully where it is most appropriate.

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn (All Rights Reserved)

Islam is also European!

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Now the hard work and soul searching must begin.  In my opinion there is a big job for all of us ahead.  I mentioned it earlier today in a facebook post where I argued that pupils in Europe ought to all visit Andalusia, Albania and Istanbul.  Europeans must stop excluding Islam and Arab empires in the explanations on the history of its development.  The tale of the development of its democracies and enlightenment itself are not without relation to knowledge come through from Arab sources.  But there is little knowledge thereof likewise in some European Muslim communities, many of whom with little knowledge of Europe, whose families have migrated from Asia or the Indian Sub-continent.  In my conversations with people, I learned that some were not even aware that Spain was once Arab and of the great buildings and legacies left behind.  There were tolerant legacies in Baghdad in the Middle East as well as in Cordoba in Spain in which people of all faiths partook whilst Muslims had the upper hand.  And yes the Arab and Turkish conquests were not peaceful affairs, they were conquests with the sword rather than just by the book.  Neither were the crusades holy affairs of kindness to other human beings or further East activities by the Russian Byzantines.  But if faith and religion are to have any meaning to anyone in the world at all, it can not be achieved through the gun or sword or terrorising people, can it?  Islam and other faiths, including the Jewish tradition I uphold, have more to offer than the verses and paragraphs on the destruction of others (as we read over and over again most scriptures have these – should we all be at each others throats therefore?) .  The fearfulness of a higher presence and meaning, for those who believe in it, the personal humbleness, and self-control, the reaching out of the hand to others even if they are not friends and the care for those in need, are these not the values that count, that we shall not murder, steal, take another’s partner, that we shall honour parents, and is not the promise that there is a God or for others Gods, and even for full hearted secular evolutionists that somehow we are all connected by shared origin and destiny, even if we may argue about the specifics?  Islam, just as Catholicism and Judaism and all other world faiths, can actually be proud of its contributions to science and human advance. No followers of faith are free of wrong doing either.  Arab conquests and Islamic fundamentalism, Christian crusades, justified slavery, genocide and colonialism and the Hindu curse of casts, along with Jewish biblical battles and some of Israel’s politics.  If each stands in front of their God’s or morals jury, will they all be clean? Surely not!  But I like to repeat, Islam contributed to European civilisation, and that is what we need to say loud most of all in all directions, because there are many who don’t know this and others who don’t want to know this.   This is the message that needs to be spread on the internet and into the heads of insecure youngsters.  These should be the responses, when they find themselves marginalised by small minded people.  Then there cannot be an offence to vile cartoons, because well educated people will know that there is a different narrative to Islam which is quite connected and central to all that Europe is.  You can bet a  Croissant and Turkish Coffee on it!

Demokratieverständnis Rodelberg

Plan der olympischen Haueser und wo die einzelnen Nationalteams untergebracht waren  Sicht auf IsraelDemokratieverständnis Rodelberg

Daniel Zylbersztajn, wuchs im Münchner Olympischen Dorf auf. Eine Auseinandersetzung mit der Gedenkstättenkontroverse zu München 1972

Der ehemalige Münchner Olympiadorfbewohner Daniel Zylbersztajn ist freier Auslandskorrespondent in London. Er schreibt heute vor allen für die taz und die Jüdische Allgemeine @zylbersztajn

Eine Kurzversion dieses Textes erschien am 8.1. als Feuilleton in der Jüdischen Allgemeinen


An English translation is ready and available on request.  An English Summary can be found at the end.


StrassenschildAls 1972 die Mitglieder der radikalen palästinensischen Black Septemberbewegung den Großteil des israelischen Olympiateams in die Luft jagten, wollte man sich die “heiteren” Olympischen Spiele, trotz Rufen nach einem Abbruch nicht nehmen lassen, schon bald gingen die Spiele weiter. Auch heute soll der Spaß keinem genommen werden. Olympiadorfbewohner protestierten lauthals gegen die auf sie gedrängte permanente Gedenkstätte vom Konzept des Architekturbüros Brückner + Brückner. “Hier ist unser Rodelberg,” verteidigte sich das Dorf, und „man könne das alles ja nicht bewachen.“

Ich bin ehemaliger Bewohner des Olympiadorfes, und gleichsam jüdisch. 1973 zogen meine Eltern, ich war damals drei, in das Dorf. Die Pläne dazu hatten sie schon vor dem Attentat gemacht und mein Vater wollte wegen der Geschehnisse nichts ändern.  Er dachte sogar daran in der Connollystrasse, dort wo sich alles zugetragen hatte zu kaufen, den diese Wohnungen wollte nach dem Attentat niemand richtig und waren leicht zu haben.

Das Verhalten meines Vaters, einem Überlebender der Shoa, lässt vermuten, dass es ihm nun alles egal gewesen sein muss.  Das Versprechen auf Wohnungen an einem noch ungeschriebenen neuen modernen internationalträchtigen deutschen Wohnort erschüttert, war das Olympiadorf wohl nun das gleiche Deutschland, wie überall anders auch, mit Straßen in welchen man vom düstere Schicksal der Juden in Deutschland erfahren konnte (auch wenn es hier nicht direkt auf die Schuld der Deutschen zu führen ist).  Aber die deutsche Machtlosigkeit im September 1972 stand ja auch im Zusammenhang mit dem deutschen Selbstverständnis nach 1945, man musste erst wieder lernen mit Gewalt auch mit der Gefahr von Gewalt anderer umzugehen.

Das neue olympische Dorf hätte hier ein ungeschriebenes Blatt sein können, das Internationalismus feiert, so wollte man es als man sich das Konzept der Münchner Spiele ende der hippen 60ger ausdachte.  Vielleicht war es das, was meine Eltern anzog. Ein Versprechen auf ein neues moderneres leichteres Deutschland. Und dann bekam es am Ende doch alles anders.  mitverursacht durch fatale Fehlentscheidungen auf zahlreichen politischen und polizeilichen Ebenen deutscher Führungskräfte.

Der Connolly "Rodelberg" (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Der Connolly “Rodelberg” (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Die neuen nacholympischen Bewohner genossen und genießen das Leben im olympischen Dorf. Tatsächlich ist es eine Oase, in der auf der oberen Ebene keine motorbetriebenen Fahrzeuge stören, und Kinder ohne Gefahr spielen können. Auch ich tat dies. Und im Winter, da ging ich mit meinen Freunden auf vielen der Dämme tatsächlich rodeln. Der Hügel an der Connollystrasse, dort wo das Denkmal jetzt geplant ist, und von wo aus viele die Ereignisse 1972s beobachteten, war wirklich der höchste mit seinen etwa 20 Metern, mit Ausnahme eines noch besseren Rodelhügels, dem 15 Minuten weiter gelegenen Olympiaberg. So schlimm wäre der Bau einer Gedenkstätte am „Connollyberg“ dann doch nicht, höchstens weniger bequem, weil man ein bisschen weiter für mehr für den Spaß laufen müsste. Wenn man zusätzlich bedenkt, dass dieses Jahr gerade mal 10 Tage Schnee lag, sind Proteste zum Connollyhügel als geeigneter Ort für eine Gedenkstätte ziemlich fragwürdig.

Was da 1972 geschah, das vergaß man hier zumindest in den erste 20 Jahren einfach. Es wurde weder erwähnt, noch war es für die meisten sichtbar, mit Ausnahme jener, die im hinteren Teil der Connollystrasse lebten. Jeden fünften September pilgerten Funktionäre des Landes und der Stadt sowie der jüdischen Gemeinde zur Connollystrasse 31 und legten Kränze nieder. Nur kleine Steine fremder Besucher auf mehreren Ebenen häufen sich stets auf der steinernen Gedenktafel vor dem Eingang des Hauses.

So sah ich mich gezwungen, 1984 war es, glaube ich – ich war gerade inmitten der Pubertät und Identitätsbildung – mehrere Wände im Dorf mit schwarzer Farbe zu beschmieren. “Vergesst nicht 5.9.1972”!, schrieb ich in schwarzen Großbuchstaben unter anderen an das damals orange Wachhäuserl der Hochschulsportanlagen und beim Aufgang zum Dorf von der U-Bahn-Haltestelle.

Vergesst nicht 5.9.72!  ZHS Anlage Einfahrt Connollystrasse München, c.a. 1984

Vergesst nicht 5.9.72! ZHS Anlage Einfahrt Connollystrasse München, c.a. 1984

Meine Kindheit, mein Aufwachsen, Teil meiner jüdische Identität waren in den Worten, die ich an die Mauer schrieb, mit einbegriffen, ganz im Gegenteil zu den meisten anderen Bewohnern, denen dies nicht sehr kümmerte. Wie viele andere jüdisch waren, weiß ich nicht, zumindest dachte ich lange, dass wir die einzigen jüdischen Bewohner des Olympiadorf waren. Als ich so die Wände beschmierte, hat mich einmal sogar jemand erwischt und ich bekam den Topf schwarzer Farbe, wie Pech auf meinen Kopf geschüttet, er war wütend dass ich schmierte, ich schimpfte zurück mit der Frage, wer denn hier nicht recht schaffend sei, „denn ich versuche nur die Leute an den 5. September 1972 zu erinnern, den sie vergessen wollen“.

Ein vermummter dürrer Mann steht im Obergeschoss der Connollystrasse 31. Männer schauen hinter ihm seltsam und ängstlich aus dem Fenster. Die Szenen der Übertragungen des Dramas während der Olympiade liegt tief in in meiner Erinnerung. Erst später wurde mir bewusst, dass die Familiarität auf Erinnerungen zurückgeht, was meine Eltern damals am Fernseher stundenlang bis in die Nacht fesselte. Wie enttäuscht und verunsichert sie sich damals fühlten, wo sie sich gerade dazu entschieden hatten, genau dort hinzuziehen, oder soll ich sogar sagen, wo sie sich vor 25 Jahre vorher entschieden hatten, Deutschland, und München, trotz allem was ihre Familien erlebt hatten, wieder zu ihrer Wahlheimat zu machen, kann ich nur vermuten. Kinder merken so etwas, auch im Alter von zwei bis drei Jahren, und die vielen Dokumentationssendungen und Filme darüber, machten sicher, dass es sich in mir vollkommen einprägte.

Bei späteren Besuchen meiner israelischen Verwandten begleiteten wir sie oft in die Connollystrasse und standen minutenlang vor der Gedenktafel. Es waren für sie belastende Momente dort. Ich wusste schon früh, dass hier etwas geschehen ist, was diese Familienangehörige sehr bewegte, auch wenn ich den Zusammenhang erst viel später verstand. Man diskutierte oft darüber, ob es richtig war, dass wir hier leben. Viele Jahre später, und selber aus dem Dorf ausgezogen, sollte bei jeden Besuch in München den Gang zur Gedenktafel in der Connollystrasse nahezu obligatorisch wiederholen.

Sportschiesser Olympia 1972 Poster im Durchgang eines der Häuser (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Sportschiesser Olympia 1972 Poster im Durchgang eines der Häuser (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Aber es wäre gelogen, wenn ich nicht bestätigen könnte, dass es meist sehr gute Kinderjahre im olympischen Dorf waren, modern, mit vielen Spiel-und-Sportmöglichkeiten, und guter Grundschule, und wäre ich nicht jüdisch, so würde mich auch das 1972 Originalposter der Olympischen Sportschießer, dass man vor 10 Jahren in einen der Durchgänge im Dorf der Nostalgie wegen aufhängte, nicht stören. Ich denke dann immer, wie ironisch das ist, war es doch gerade das Fehlen von kompetenten Schafschützen unter dem bayerischen Sicherheitskräften, welches das Disaster mittrug. Vielleicht würde ich auch gegen das Aufstellen eines Denkmals protestieren, dass Kindern den Rodelberg nimmt, oder den Studentenberg und die Bewohner stets an den Terrortag 5.12.1972 erinnert?

Der Olympiapark und alles, was dazugehört, ist, heute gut in München integriert. Hier ist der Austrageort vieler Aktivitäten und Stunden der Freizeit und des Sportes. Aber wer durch die Welt reist, ich lebe seit 1991 in London, der weiß, dass Olympia 1972 für nichts anderes mehr bekannt ist, als das Attentat, und

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn Olympiadorf Initiative. Ladenstrassen Ankauf

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn Olympiadorf Initiative. Ladenstrassen Ankauf

das Olympiastadion bestenfalls noch als ehemaliges Heimstadion des F.C. Bayern München. Engagement ist den Dorfbewohnern wichtig. Auch gegen den Bau des neues Bayernfußballstadions, im Ursprung geplant auf dem Gelände der Zentralhochschulsportanlagen am östlichen Rand des Olympiadorfes, protestierten die Olympiadorfler, genau, wie gegen eine magnetische Flughafentransrapidbahn, deren Strecke an der alten Olympiapressestadt entlang gehen sollte. Die Einwohnerinteressengesellschaft (E.I.G.) machte sich außerdem stark, Anteile der Ladenstrasse des Olympiadorfes selber aufzukaufen, um mitbestimmen zu können, welche Geschäfte es im Dorf gibt.  Von solchem exemplarischen  Bürgerbewusstsein können eigentlich viele lernen, dass bedeutet aber nicht, dass die kollektive Stimme immer die moralisch richtige ist.

Was viele Münchner Olympidorfler wohl nicht merken (wollen?), ist, dass die gesamte Welt auch wahrnimmt, dass hier im olympischen Dorf und dem Olympiagelände etwas fehlt, eine Gedenkstätte. Olympisches München und Terror laufen parallel zu Mexiko City 1968, Moskau 1980 und Los Angeles 1984. Es sind nicht die Medaillen und sportlichen Erfolge, nicht einmal das gute Leben im Olympischen Dorf, was weltweit im Vorschein steht.

Obwohl es trotz Prozess und dem Entschädigungsabkommen an die Familienangehörigen der Ermordeten im Jahr 2003 noch einige rohe Punkte in der Aufarbeitung des Massakers von 1972 gibt, vor allen persönliche Stellungnahmen der Verantwortung der bayerischen Polizei und des Geheimdienstes auf höchster Ebene (ex-Polizeichef Manfred Schreiber beispielsweise), kann man aber durchaus nicht mehr sagen, dass das Vergessen, so wie ich es einst auf die Wände des olympischen Dorfes verzeichnete, so besteht, wie einst.

Während ich 1990 noch telefonisch im Kontakt mit Ankie Rekhess-Spitzer, der einstigen Gattin des ermordeten israelischen Sportler Andre Spitzer stand – wir diskutierten die deutsche Mitschuld


Wegweiser zur Connollystrasse 31bei der U-Bahnhaltestelle (C) Daniel Zylbersztajn

und das Fehlen einer angemessenen Erinnerungsstätte schon damals – wurde bereits fünf Jahre später ein großes Denkmal vor dem Olympiastadion aufgestellt, auf dem die Namen der Ermordeten, darunter auch ein deutscher Polizist, auf Hebräisch und Deutsch stehen. Seit ein paar Jahren gibt es auch einen Wegweiser mit Bild und Text, beim nördlichen Ausgang aus der U-Bahn, die auf die Gedenktafel vor dem Haus in der Connollystrasse hinweist. Dies ist besonders wichtig, denn an ihm müssen alle die ins Olympiadorf gehen, vorbeigehen. Es gleicht in diesem Sinne meinem Graffiti aus dem Jahre 1984. Aber es gibt auch noch Punkte die falsch scheinen.

Teil der Wohnungen, in denen einst die israelischen Athleten lebten, gehört schon lange dem Max Planck Institut, “als deren Münchner Gästewohnung.” Wer tatsächlich in diesen Räumen ruhig schlafen kann, dem fehlt es wohl am Wissen oder Moral. Neben der Max Planck Gesellschaft fanden auch andere Menschen hier ein Zuhause, bei meinem letzten Besuch zur Weihnachtszeit, flickerte ein Weihnachtsmann in der Paterrewohnung rechts vom Eingang. Hier wurde am Fenster öffentlich frohe Weihnachtlichkeit an einem Ort des einstigen Terrors an Juden gefeiert. Ich erinnere mich, wie vor vielen Jahren hier einst ein handgeschriebener Zettel auf Hebräisch israelische Besucher aufforderte hier nicht Blumen zu pflücken. Anteilnehmende als Pest der Nachbarn. Und trotzdem ist es gut, dass das Leben im olympischen Dorf weiterging und weitergeht.

In Israel, gibt es viele Straßen in denen Terrorattentate verübt wurden und wo mit entschiedener Kraft das Leben weitergeht. Israelis sind geradezu berüchtigt dafür, dass sie nach schlimmen Ereignissen wieder aufstehen können. Nicht mehr als höchstens eine kleine Gedenktafel erinnert an besonders grausame Ereignisse. Warum also soll es mehr im olympischen Dorf in München geben, wenn es um israelische Sportler geht?

Die Ermordung der israelischen Athleten 1972 hat in der olympischen Geschichte inzwischen besondere Relevanz, genau wie 1968 ein symbolischer Wendepunkt für African Americans war. Olympiaden sollen nicht politisch sein, sind es aber immer, zuletzt bei Sotschi für LGBT Rechte. Was alles jedoch übergreifen soll, ist, dass sich Menschen verschiedener Nationalitäten, Identitäten, Hautfarben, Religionen und Ethnizitäten, auch wenn sie miteinander im Konflikt stehen, im olympischen Sportkampf gemäß sportlichen Regeln gegeneinander gegenüber stellen. Jüdische Athleten und die des Staates Israels werden aber immer noch boykottiert, obwohl es viele andere Staaten gäbe, mit deren politischer Ausrichtung man nicht einverstanden sein könnte und deren Athleten man dann wohl auch boykotieren müsste. Und gerade der Boykott und die Attacke von Juden ist geschichtsträchtig, nirgendswo mehr als in Deutschland. Somit gilt, dass es nie wieder toleriert werden darf, dass eine Organisation aus politischen Gründen bestimmte Athleten als politisches Druckmittel betrachtet, deren Leben deshalb bedroht oder gar gewaltsam beendet.Wir haben das seit neuestem mit dem Geschehnissen in Paris wieder mal direkt vor Augen.


(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

München 1972 ist deshalb zumindest olympisch gesehen ein riesengroßes internationales Wahnmahl. Deshalb soll man es nicht vergessen, deshalb ein Plan für eine große Gedenkstätte, welches sich mit den Dimensionen des olympischen Dorfes und des Olympiageländes messen kann. Sicherlich wichtiger als die neue gigantische Raumschiffselbsthuldigung des Autohersteller BMW die auf Teilen des alten Parkplatz im Süden der U-Bahn-Haltestelle Olympiazentrums genehmigt wurde.

Und genau deshalb sollte man die Wohnungen, die einst vom israelischen Olympiateam bewohnt wurden, dem Max Planck Institut abkaufen und in eine Gedenkstätte verwandeln. Die Groteske des “Gästehauses” eines wissenschaftlichen Institutes im Haus des ehemaligen Terrors sollte ein für alle Mal ein Ende nehmen. Aus

Tauben der Hoffnung?  Verlassen Olympiazentrum Busbahnhof (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Tauben der Hoffnung? Verlassen Olympiazentrum Busbahnhof (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

denkmalschutzrechtlichen Gründen mag ein großer Umbau dort jedoch schwer sein, denn das Dorf und die Olympiastätten sind seit 1998 geschützt. Hier deshalb ein Alternativvorschlag: Wie wäre es, wenn man die ehemalige und seit einigen Jahren brachliegende Bushaltestelle des Olympiazentrums in eine Erinnerungs- und Mahnstätte verwandelt? Über der U-Bahn-Haltestelle Olympiazentrum gelegen, kann man sich eigentlich keinen besser gelegenes Zentrum vorstellen, auch wenn man von dort aus nicht Aussicht auf die Wohnungen des ehemaligen israelischen Teams hat. Dazu reicht jedoch ein kleiner Spaziergang.

Keiner kann die Toten wieder zum Leben erwecken, doch die Namen der israelischen Sportler werden ewig auf dem olympischen Dorf lasten und die Bewohner können nur durch aktive Anteilnahme an dieser Geschichte beweisen, dass sie sich dessen bewusst sind. Statt Poster der olympischen Sportschießer, sollte man Bilder der Ermordeten aufhängen. Mehr als ein Museum, das nur auf Vergangenes verweist, könnte eine Stiftung den Sport zwischen Menschen aus sich im Konflikt gegenüberstehenden Zonen der Welt fördern und neue Brücken erschaffen.

Ob nun auf dem alten Busbahnhofgelände, auf dem Connollyrodelberg, oder ein paar hundert Meter östlich davon, wie es seit neuestem heißt, es wird richtig sein etwas mehr zu leisten als nur eine Gedenktafel oder ein Denkmal. Die Leichtigkeit und Heiterkeit des Olympiadorfes ist nun mal mit dem Ernst der Welt vermischt, das gehört genauso zur Erziehung der Kinder, die dort im Dorf aufwachsen, wenn sie älter sind, wie ihr sorgenloses Rodeln im Winter in jungen Jahren.

Bewusst sollen sie weiterleben, und gut leben im Dorf, und dürfen auch zeigen, dass es im Konzept1 Buergerversammlung Einladung und Realität ein ganz besonderer menschenfreundlicher Ort ist, weil ohne Autos, mit Ladenzentrum und künstlichen Springbrunnenanlagen, und viel grün. Doch auch mit klarer Sicht, für was das olympische Dorf in München für viele andere gilt, der Ort eines schrecklichen unvergesslichen historischen Ereignisses.

Demokratie bedeutet mehr als Unterschriften sammeln, sondern auch Geschichte und Zusammenhänge über lokale Begebenheiten hinaus verstehen und demnach handeln.

Am 15.1.2015 will man in einer öffentlichen Einwohnerversammlung des Bezirks München Milbertshofen, zu dem das olympische Dorf gehört) dieses Thema diskutieren und wahrscheinlich darüber im Kirchenzentrum des Olympiadorfes abstimmen.

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn, All Rights reserved.

Background: In autumn 2014 the inhabitants of the Olympic Village in Munich rejected the proposal for a memorial site to commemorate the slaughter of almost the entire Israeli Olympic team. Signatures were collected to prevent the winning design to be erected on a hill near the former Israeli team house. Many journalists and camera teams followed the unfolding drama in 1972 from precisely that hill which gives full view of the Israeli house in Connollystreet 31. Nearly half of the village’s inhabitants, mostly private owners of the many flats in which once the Olympic teams lived, argued, that the memorial site would destroy the hill on which their children engage in snow fun activities during the winter months (see The Bavarian State has now proposed to erect the memorial slightly more to the East and yet again there was hostility. This, it was argued, was the „students hill.“ On the 12th of January 2015 the city of Munich is now hosting a civic meeting in which residents can make decisions about the memorial site. Amongst the invited guests are Bavarian Minister for Culture, the Munich Jewish Museum, and the chosen architects Brueckner and Brueckner whose design was chosen as the best amongst a handful of independent international proposals.

Journalist Daniel Zylbersztajn, now based in London, grew up in the Olympic Village, when his parents moved there in 1973. As far as he knows his was the only Jewish family there. He writes about the controversy concerning the memorial site and growing up Jewish there.


Part of this text was the lead commentary of the German Jewish Juedische Allgemeine on 8//1/15

Ready and available in English on request