(JTA) — Barely 200 yards from the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, visitors can now purchase ice cream, a fact that a spokesman for the museum called a sign of “disrespect.”
Since early May, an ice cream stand has sat some 200 meters (about 218 yards) from the camp’s red-brick “Death Gate,” where double rail tracks led directly to Nazi gas chambers. A photo of the stand circulated on social media this week, showing a kiosk with a pink logo reading “icelove,” along with signs advertising “ice cream” and “waffles” in Polish.
maybe auschwitz isn’t the best spot for an ice cream stand pic.twitter.com/7NJcfNI4Dx
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) May 8, 2023
Paweł Sawicki, a spokesman for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, called the ice cream stand “an example not only of aesthetic tastelessness, but also of disrespect for a nearby special historical site.”
But the trailer has set up shop outside the boundaries of the memorial’s legally protected zone.
“Unfortunately we have no influence over it,” Sawicki told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “We trust that the relevant authorities will solve this embarrassing problem.”
The largest Nazi extermination camp has been preserved in Brzezinka, outside the southern Polish town of Oświęcim, also known under German occupation as Auschwitz. At least 1.1 million people died at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945, including about 1 million Jews. Some 83,000 Poles and about 21,000 Roma also perished at the camp.
The people living in Brzezinka know the history of their village well, said Dagmar Kopijasz of the locally based Foundation of Memory Sites Near Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 1941-42, the Germans completely displaced Brzezinka to create the camp zone.
“It’s obvious that the local residents are appalled by this ice cream stand and upset by the whole situation,” Kopijasz told the JTA. “Everyone says in one voice that this is no place to sell ice cream.”
Today the camp is a tourist hotspot, seeing more than 2 million visitors a year before COVID-19-related lockdowns. The Auschwitz Museum’s bylaws require visitors to “behave with due solemnity and respect,” adhering to a respectful dress code. They are not permitted to carry or eat food, talk on the phone or take photos in certain areas. The bylaws extend to speaking in any way that violates the memory of Auschwitz victims, denies Nazi crimes, defames the memorial site or encourages “hatred of any kind.”
Nonetheless, several tourists have come under fire for perceived misbehavior. Alabama teenager Breanna Mitchell was lambasted for posting a grinning selfie at the death camp in 2014. That same year, an Israeli Facebook page with a title translated as “With My Besties in Auschwitz” collected real social media posts of Israeli teens posing with humorous faces and peace signs at the camp, going viral overnight before it was taken down.
Temperatures for visitors waiting in line in the summer can get hot, and in 2015, the museum attempted to cool people off with sprinklers — which were quickly criticized by some who found them too similar to gas showers.
Holocaust-themed selfie scandals have flared up around other memorials, too. Israeli-German writer Shahak Shapira created a website called “Yolocaust” to shame self-indulgent selfie-takers at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, imposing their photos over historical images of the Holocaust.
Local authorities in Oświęcim are investigating the ice cream stand’s location, according to Notes From Poland. Municipality Mayor Andrzej Skrzypiński announced that it was set up on private property, based on a contract between the owner of the land and the owner of the kiosk. However, it’s still unclear whether the operation is allowed under the local zoning plan, which requires approval from the governor of the province.
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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