SWC in letter to German Justice Minister: “Condemn Anti-Semitism and Threats at Berlin Maccabi Games.”


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“Apprehend those who would return us to 1936.”

Paris, 3 August 2015

In a letter to German Federal Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, protested the, “Jew-baiting of Maccabi athletes at the Berlin Games.”

Samuels commended the Minister for, “Welcoming the Maccabi Games to Berlin as a gift that Germany, after the Holocaust, did not deserve,” as also, Federal President Joachim Gauck, who expressed himself, “very moved that the Maccabi Games had chosen Berlin.”

The letter pointed out, “Apparently, not everyone shared those sentiments:

- anti-Semitic taunting, reportedly, by German Muslims of Maccabi athletes at the Hotel Estrel, which hosted several of the teams

- new-Nazi threats against them on the Internet

- a leftist journalist, Silke Burmester, deprecated the athletes, stating: 'Jewish sport has again arrived in Berlin. What should that be? A swastika-throw?'”

Samuels noted, “Maccabi was born in 1929, holding its first games in Prague as a response to the exclusion of Jewish athletes from national teams, which reached an apogee of Nazi contempt in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.”

The letter stressed, “Maccabi's return to Berlin, to the very stadium built for Adolf Hitler, was to have been a vindication of the united democratic Federal German Republic. Instead, the Jewish contestants had to be warned not to wear Stars of David or Kippot for fear of violence.”

The Centre urged the Minister to, “Vigorously condemn this Jew-baiting and take all legal measures available to apprehend those who would return us to 1936.”

“This anti-Semitism targets Jews directly on German soil. It cannot be argued away as 'anti-Zionism' or 'anti-Israelism.' The ironic context of Jewish sports reincarnated in Berlin that reawaken dormant phantoms is unacceptable for Jews as for Germans,” concluded Samuels.

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at 00 33 6 09 77 01 58, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.


The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).