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December 6, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS. DECEMBER 6, 2013 French Jews who anticipated the Nazi onslaught By Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)--His hearing isn't what it used to be, but Georges Loinger still re- members Adolf Hitler's voice emanating from the radio at his Strasbourg home. Growing up in the heavily Germanic Alsace region of eastern France, Loinger and his family tuned in regu- larly to broadcasts of Hitler's speeches. They heard his "electrifying voice" and the plans he had in store for the Jews of Europe. So when the Nazis' anti- Jewish propaganda turned to deadly violence on Kristall- nacht, the pogrom unleashed on the Jews of Germany and Austria 75 years ago last week, the Jews of Strasbourg were ready. "We had read Nazi propa- ganda," said Loinger, 103, who fought in the French resistance. "We spoke to hundreds of Jewish refugees from Germany. We knew what was coming." Historians say the knowl- edge, unusual for Jewish communities outside Ger- many and Austria, made the 20,000 Jews of Alsace and nearby Lorraine better pre- pared to face the forthcoming Nazi occupation. The community was able to help German Jews, hide heritage assets and private possessions and, most im- portant, survive. Ten percent of the Jewish population of Alsace and Lorraine perished in the Holocaust, compared to 22 percent elsewhere in France. "From testimonies and the wealth of material we have, we see that Alsatian Jews were much more aware of what was happening in Germany than Jews in Paris," said Serge Klarsfeld, a Nazi hunter and one of the world's foremost authorities on the Holocaust in France. A key figure in the effort, according to Klarsfeld, was a Strasbourg physician named Joseph Weil, who used a vast network of contacts to help Jews flee Nazi Germany for Switzerland and southern France. One of the groups, OSE, is credited with rescu- ing 5,000 Jewish children. Weil also began sounding the alarm as a volunteer instructor at Strasbourg's Merkaz Hanoar youth center, telling his charges that Hitler was much more powerful than they had been told. Weill's warnings went un- heeded by Parisian Jewish leaders, who believed Hitler to be no match for the mighty French army. Between 1934 and 1941, Alsatian Jews launched other groups to protect themselves and help others, including the Committee for Assistance to Refugees led by Raymond- Raoul Lambert. Meanwhile, the Stras- bourg-based Jewish maga- zine Tribune Juive "warned against the rise of Hitler to power--much more fre- quently and forcefully than Paris Jewish publications," said Lucien Lazare, a histo- rian at Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The level of mobilization was unusual in France, whose 300,000 Jews formed what then was the largest Jewish community in continental Western Europe outside Germany. "Jews in Paris were distant from Germany, theywere not as aware of the threat," said Lazare, 89. "In the minds of French Jews, who were very patriotic, the French army was the strongest in the world. They didn't think the Nazis were an existential threat even after Kristall- nacht." But the Jews of Alsace- Lorraine knew better thanks in part to what Yad Vashem describes as "riotous dem- onstrations" that erupted there in September 1938, two months before Kristallnacht. Though no one was hurt, Jewish shops were attacked in a precursor to the much larger and more deadly Kristallnacht pogrorfis. I "You have to recall that Alsace used to be German until 1918," Lazare said. "So some locals considered them- selves Germans. There was some virulent anti-Semitic propaganda there. There was Nazi agitation. It showed us just how strong the Nazi ideology was in the hearts of its supporters." Like many Alsatian Jews, Lazare's family sold their home and other valuables Travel to Cadbury World is cocotastic--and kosher By Nathan Jeffay It's easy to imagine that if the ancient Israelites had been familiar with the cocoa bean, G-d might have promised them a land flowingwith milk and chocolate. He didn't, but such a land does exist. In the English city of Birmingham, a 90-minute train ride from London, Cadbury--the company that popularized modern British milk chocolate--welcomes half a million visitors a year who come to pay homage to Cadbury World. And if you are kosher observant and accustomed to foodie travel attractions where you can look but can't taste, you should rejoice--the London Beth Din regards almost all products made by Cadbury as kosher. Non-Brits may not grasp just how big Cadbury is--as a cultural institution as well as a brand. But you'll quickly get the hang of it at their huge visitor center. In addition to the main exhibition, there's an outdoor children's play areawith climbing zones, tube slides and tunnels, a separate area at a lower level for the under-5s, and a multimedia show. The show consists of two five-minute features during which you meet the earnest Quakers who set up the company back in 1824, after which you get to create your own chocolate, with melted Cadbury chocolate and fillings. Avisit to Cadbury World can take up to three hours, but it is so well choreographed that time flies by. It isn't an "ex- hibition" in the conventional sense, but rather a mixture of displays, acted sketches, 3D multimedia presenta- tions, demonstrations of the production process, and of course, tastings. Yet you do learn a lot--in fact, Cadbury World was one of the first institutions in the UK to be awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, recognizing it as a provider of quality, safely managed educational experiences for young people. For those of us used to family outings where different people circulate at different speeds and everyone loses each other, Cadbury World is brilliant. As you go past various junctures, such as the shows, in batches of around 50 people, you are constantly synchronized with your party. The various components of the experience have been designed to hold the atten- tion of the very young while stimulating the grown ups. There was a 70-year age span in my family group, and both granddad and toddler daugh- ter loved every minute. The exhibition begins with a series of 3D stages where miniature figures give you short snippets of the history of chocolate. You find out about "chocolate houses" where grown men (women and children were barred) Used to gather to drink hot chocolate and gamble, and you meet an actress who recreates the atmosphere of these dens of sugary indulgence. Then an actor introduces the members of the Cadbury family who established the company and made it great. They tell their story of how their chocolate is made through a series of presentations, one of them featuring seats that move as the cocoa breaks are shaken. You find out how specific Cadbury lines are made, and you make your way through- a packaging plant to an area where you can watch the production ofone of the com- pany's premium handmade products. The place really does flow with chocolate--a kilometer of piping on the ceiling takes it around. And even after nearly three hours, the kids are still on a high--not just because of their pockets full of samples or the cup of liquid chocolate (the day's second), but because the whole trip ends with an adorable ride, Cadabra, which takes you on little carriages through aworld in which cute cocoa beans are engaged in all sorts of activities, including skiing. I always dreamed of visiting Willy Wonka's chocolate fac- tory. This was definitely the next best thing. While most products dis- tributed at Cadbury World are kosher, some re not. The London Beth Din's listing of kosher Cadbury products can be found at Originally published by www.Jewish.Travel, the new online Jewish travel mag- azine. PAGE 11A Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Raymond-Raoul Lambert, seen in his Strasbourg office in the 1930s, founded the Com- mittee for Assistance to Refugees. months before the Nazi in- vasion. Within hours of the arrival of the German army in 1940, the family was prepared to go into hiding. Their preparedness was due in part to the family's exposure to Jewish refugees who had fled the Nazis. Lazare recalls hearing from his high school teacher "of the bands of Nazi thugs that would go around attacking Jews in Berlin" in 1939, a full year before the Nazis overran France. But Alsatian Jewry's high level of alert also may have been connected to memories of persecution that long predated the Nazis. In 1848, a series of pogroms erupted - perfectthatitwentundetected amid claims that Jews in Da- mascus were responsible for the ritual murder of a French priest in the Syrian city. The false espionage conviction of the Alsatian Jew Alfred Drey- fus in 1894 generated a fresh wave of anti-Semitic hostility. An impressive testament to the caution of Alsatian Jews was discovered last year in Dambach-la-Ville, for more than a century. Jewish families that survived the war and briefly returned to Dambach never told the locals about the cache in the old synagogue, which was sold to the municipality several years ago. Other Alsatian towns may have similar caches, accord- ing to Jean-Camille Bloch, the president of the SHIAL a small town southwest of historical society, which fo- Strasbourg where construc- tion workers found a Jewish archive that had been mas- terfully concealed in the late 19th century inside a dummy ceiling at a synagogue. The concealment was so cused on the Jewish presence in theAlsace-Lorraine region. "The 1930s were a lesson that I have not forgotten to this day," Loinger said. "You always have to face reality and be prepared." JOIN00 IN CELEBRATION OF A % Reme, SPECIAL CELEBRATION ISSUE JANUARY 31, 2014 Hundreds of different parties will be held in the Jewish community throughout the coming year. HERITAGE readers will be in need of a variety of products and services, including hotels, hair salons, clothing stores, jewelers, printers, florists, restaurants and many others. You can reach this exclusive buying market by placing your advertising message in the HERITAGE Special Celebration Issue. Don't let those weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and other simchas pass you by. Make sure your business is inciuded on our readers' shopping lists. g For More Call: 407-834-8787