Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

Ceremony to Honor German War Dead in Israel?

Spring 2002

Absolutely beyond belief was the comment of Dan Weiss, National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans USA, upon receipt of the news that the German Embassy in Israel is planning a Memorial Service to commemorate Germans soldiers killed while serving in the Army of the Third Reich. To be included in the Service are members of the Waffen SS. Invitations to the ceremony and small reception were distributed by the German Military Attache to senior reserve officers of the IDF, military historians, and representatives of those nations, on both sides, who were involved in WW2. Many Israeli invitees refused to attend and expressed shock at the entire idea. Col. Ernst Elbers, the Attache, was surprised at the negative reaction by the Israelis, indicating that the only German war criminals, were those convicted at Nuremberg, and that many who served in the Waffen SS were 17 year old boys, drafted against their will into the service. Commander Weiss condemned the entire ceremony as being totally insensitive to the history and background of the State of Israel, and is an insult to all Jewish men and women who served in the Armed Forces of each and every country that participated in World War 2. "Members of JWV USA valiantly served in the Armed Forces during both WW1 & WW2. We cannot forget, and will not forget what members of the German Army perpetrated on the Jewish people. These Memorial events may be perfectly normal in Germany, but to bring it to the home of hundreds of thousands of victims of the Holocaust is totally unacceptable." He urged the German Embassy to reconsider their invitations, and commended the IDF for their refusal to take part in these ceremonies.

 

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