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U.N. exhibit remembers when the world turned its back on stateless Jewish refugees

(New York Jewish Week) — In 2017, Deborah Veach went back to Germany, looking for the site of the displaced persons camp where she and her parents had been housed after World War II. They were in suspension, between the lives her parents led in Belarus before they were shattered by the Nazis, and the unknown fate awaiting them as refugees without a country.

To her dismay, and despite the fact that Foehrenwald was one of the largest Jewish DP centers in the American-controlled zone of Germany, she found barely a trace. A complex that once included a yeshiva, a police force, a fire brigade, a youth home, a theater, a post office and a hospital was remembered by almost no one except a local woman who ran a museum in a former bath house.

“It was sort of an accident of history that we were there in that particular camp in Germany, of all places, with no ties, no extended family, no place to call home,” said Veach, who was born at Foehrenwald in 1949 and lives in New Jersey. Now, “they renamed it. They changed the names of all the streets. There is nothing recognizable about the fact that it had been a DP camp.”

Veach is part of a now-aging cohort of children born or raised in the DP camps, the last with a first-hand connection to the experience of some 250,000 Jewish survivors who passed through them at the end of the war. To make sure memories of the camps survive them, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and the United Nations Department of Global Communications have staged a short-term exhibit, “After the End of the World: Displaced Persons and Displaced Persons Camps.”

On display at U.N. headquarters in New York City Jan. 10 through Feb. 23, it is intended to illuminate “how the impact of the Holocaust continued to be felt after the Second World War ended and the courage and resilience of those that survived in their efforts to rebuild their lives despite having lost everything,” according to a press release.

Residents of a displaced persons camp in Salzburg, Austria. Undated, post-Second World War. (YIVO Institute for Jewish Research)

Among the artifacts on display are dolls created by Jewish children and copies of some of the 70-odd newspapers published by residents, as well as photographs of weddings, theatrical performances, sporting events and classroom lessons.

The exhibit is “about the displaced persons themselves, about their lives and their hopes and their dreams, their ambitions, their initiatives,” said Debórah Dwork, who directs the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at the Graduate Center-CUNY, who served as the scholar adviser for the exhibition.

“There’s no point where the residents of these DP camps were just sitting around waiting for other people to do things for them,” she told the New York Jewish Week. “They took initiative and developed a whole range of cultural and educational programs.”

As early as 1943, as the war displaced millions of people, dozens of nations came to Washington and signed onto the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Authority. (Despite its name, it preceded the founding of the U.N.) After the war, the British and U.S. military were in charge of supplying food, protection and medical care in hundreds of camps throughout Germany and Austria, and UNRRA administered the camps on a day-to-day basis.

Early on, Jewish Holocaust survivors — some who suffered in concentration camps, others who had escaped into the Soviet Union — were put in DP camps alongside their former tormentors, until the U.S. agreed to place them in separate compounds. Unable or unwilling to return to the countries where they had lost relatives, property and any semblance of a normal life, they began a waiting game, as few countries, including the United States, were willing to take them in, and Palestine was being blockaded by the British.

Abiding antisemitism was not the only reason they remained stateless. “Jews were [accused of being] subversives, communists, rebels, troublemakers, and the world war quickly gave way to cold war, and with it the notion that Hitler had been defeated and what we have to worry about is the communists,” David Nasaw, author of “The Last Million,” a history of the displaced persons, told the New York Jewish week in 2020.

In 1948 and 1950, Congress grudgingly passed legislation that allowed 50,000 Jewish survivors and their children to come to the United States. The rest were eventually able to go to Israel, after its independence in 1948.

The U.N. exhibit focuses less on this macro history — which includes what became another refugee crisis for the Palestinians displaced by Israel’s War for Independence — than on life in the DP camps.

“The exhibition illustrates how the displaced persons did not shrink from the task of rebuilding both their own lives and Jewish communal life,” said Jonathan Brent, chief executive officer at YIVO, in a statement.

Among those rebuilding their lives were Max Gitter and his parents, Polish Jews who had the perverse good luck of being exiled to Siberia during the war. The family made its way to Samarkand, in Uzbekistan, where Gitter was born in 1943. After the war ended, his parents returned to Poland, but repelled by antisemitism sought refuge in the American zone in Germany. They spent time in the Ainring DP camp, a former Luftwaffe base on the Austrian border, and at a small camp called Lechfeld, about 25 miles west of Munich.

Dolls made by stateless Jewish children residing in a DP camp near Florence, Italy, known as “Kibbutz HaOved.” The dolls are attired in local costumes based on the districts of the Tuscan city of Sienna. (YIVO Institute for Jewish Research)

“I was there until we came to the United States when I was six and a half, so I have some very distinct memories and some hazy memories,” said Gitter, emeritus director and vice chair of the YIVO board. One story he hasn’t forgotten is how his father and a friend were walking through the camp when they came upon a long line of people. “They were from the Soviet Union, so they knew that when there’s a line that it might be of interest.” It turned out to be a line for the lottery that would allow them to get into the United States under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948.

The family came to the United States in 1950, to “pretty shabby lodgings” in the Bronx, before his father bought a candy store and moved to Queens. Max went on to attend Harvard College and Yale Law School, and became a corporate litigator.

Gitter’s brother was born in one of the camps, and the exhibit includes a poster depicting the population increase between 1946 and 1947 at the Jewish DP center Bad Reichenhall. The birthrate in the camps has often been described as evidence of the optimism and defiance of the survivors, but Dwork said the truth is somewhat more complicated.

“There was a very high birth rate among the Jews in DP camps. This is the age group of reproductive age, at 20 to 40,” she said. “However, this image of fecundity hides what was rumored to be a significant abortion rate, too. And women had experienced years of starvation. Menstruation had only recently recommenced. So many women, in fact, miscarried or had trouble conceiving to begin with.”

A chart by artist O. Lec depicts the natural population increase of the Jewish Center Bad Reichenhall, Germany, 1946-1947. There was a very high birth rate among the Jews in DP camps. (YIVO Institute for Jewish Research)

“There is no silver lining here,” she added. “People live life on many levels. On the one hand, DPs look to the future and look with hope; at the same time, they carry tremendous burdens of pain and suffering and trauma and trepidations about the future.”

Veach, a member of the YIVO board, hopes visitors to the exhibit understand that such trauma is hardly a thing of the past.

“I think the real lesson is that history keeps repeating itself,” said Veach, growing emotional. “Basically we have DPs on our border with Mexico, you have DPs from Ukraine. I don’t think people realize the repercussions for these people who are trying to find a place to live. These are good people who are just placed where they are by history.”

Gitter, who like Veach will speak at an event Jan. 24 at the U.N. marking the exhibit, also hopes “After the End of the World” prods the consciences of visitors.

“A lot of the countries, a lot of places, including the United States, would not accept Jews after the war,” he said. “The issue of memory, the issue of statelessness, the issue of finally there was some hope for the Jews in their immigration to Israel and the United States — that part of the story also needs to be told.”

“After the End of the World: Displaced Persons and Displaced Persons Camps” is on view from Jan. 10-Feb. 23, 2023, at the United Nations Headquarters, 405 E 42nd St, New York, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Entrance to the United Nations Visitor Centre in New York is free, but there are requirements for all visitors. See the United Nations Visitor Centre entry guidelines.

The post U.N. exhibit remembers when the world turned its back on stateless Jewish refugees appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Canada’s economic growth projected to be about 1% in the first half of 2024

Canada is a country with a thriving Jewish community and has traditionally offered the security of a strong economy for residents. The national economic outlook is naturally something that everyone in Canada’s Jewish community keeps track of – especially those involved in business in the various provinces.

With this in mind, the July 2023 Monetary Policy Report from the Bank of Canada made for interesting reading, projecting a moderate economic growth figure of around 1% for the first half of 2024. This is in line with growth figures that had been forecast for the second half of 2023, and sees the country’s economy remain on a stable footing.

Steady projected growth for first half of 2024

Although projected economic growth of around 1% in early 2024 is not as impressive as figures of around 3.4% in 2022 and 1.8% in 2023, it is certainly no cause for alarm. But what might be behind it?

Higher interest rates are one major factor to consider and have had a negative impact on household spending nationally. This has effectively seen people with less spending power and businesses in Canada generating less revenue as a result.

Interest rate rises have also hit business investments nationally, and less money is being channelled into this area to fuel Canada’s economic growth. When you also factor in how the weak foreign demand for Canadian goods and services has hit export growth lately, the projected GDP growth figure for early 2024 is understandable.

Growth in second half of 2024 expected

Although the above may make for interesting reading for early 2024, the Bank of Canada’s report does show that economic growth is expected to pick up in the second half of the year. This is projected to be due to the decreasing effect of high interest rates on the Canadian economy and a stronger foreign demand for the country’s exports.

Moving forward from this period, it is predicted that inflation will remain at around 3% as we head into 2025, and hit the Bank of Canada’s inflation target of 2% come the middle of 2025. All of this should help the country’s financial status remain stable and prove encouraging for business leaders in the Jewish community.

Canada’s economic growth mirrors iGaming’s rise

When you take a look at the previous growth figures Canada has seen and also consider the growth predicted for 2024 (especially in the second half of the year), it is clear that the country has a vibrant, thriving economy.

This economic growth is something that can be compared with iGaming’s recent rise as an industry around the country. In the same way as Canada has steadily built a strong economy over time, iGaming has transformed itself into a powerful, flourishing sector.

This becomes even clearer when you consider that Canadian iGaming has been a major contributor to the sustained growth seen in the country’s arts, entertainment and recreation industry, which rose by around 1.9% in Q2 of 2023. The healthy state of online casino play in Canada is also evidenced by how many customers the most popular casino platforms attract and how the user experience these operators offer has enabled iGaming in the country to take off.

This, of course, is also something that translates to the world stage, where global iGaming revenues in 2023 hit an estimated $95 billion. iGaming’s global market volume is also pegged to rise to around $130 billion by 2027. These kinds of figures represent a sharp jump for iGaming worldwide and show how the sector is on the ascent.

Future economic outlook for Canada in line with global expectations

When considering the Canadian economic outlook for 2024, it is often useful to look at how this compares with global financial predictions. In addition to the rude health of iGaming in Canada being reflected in global online casino gaming, the positive economic outlook for the country is also broadly in line with expectations for many global economies.

Global growth is also predicted to rise steadily in the second half of 2024 before becoming stronger in 2025. This should be driven by the weakening effects of high interest rates on worldwide economic prosperity. With rate cuts in Canada already expected after Feb 2024’s inflation report, this could happen in the near future.

The performance of the US economy is always of interest in Canada, as this is the country’s biggest trading partner. Positive US Q2 performances in 2023, powered by a strong labor market, good consumer spending levels and robust business investments, were therefore a cause for optimism. As a US economy that continues to grow is something that Canadian businesses welcome, this can only be a healthy sign.

Canada set for further growth in 2024

Local news around Canada can cover many topics but the economy is arguably one of the most popular. A projected GDP growth figure of around 1% for Canada’s economy shows that the financial state of the country is heading in the right direction. An improved financial outlook heading into the latter half of 2024/2025 would make for even better reading, and the national economy should become even stronger.

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The Legal Landscape of Online Gambling in Canada

Online gambling has grown in popularity around the globe in recent years. While many jurisdictions have legalized land-based gambling, it hasn’t applied to online platforms. Nonetheless, Canada is one nation that has legalized online gambling with their provinces’ licensing and regulating sites.

Nonetheless, Canadians of legal age can enjoy playing their favourite online games where available. So many games like slots, blackjack, and roulette still maintain their popularity even in the digital sense.  Want to learn about what’s legal in Canada for online gambling? Let’s take a look.

What is legal for online gambling in Canada?

What is the best online casino in Canada? The list we provide you here should be a good start. It’s also important to note that most Canadian provinces do not have laws that prohibit offshore online casinos.

Many provinces provide licensing to online casinos. They even regulate them as well. For example, Alberta and British Columbia have sites regulated by their respective governing bodies. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) allows legal online gambling and oversees the services it offers to Maritime provinces such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

However, there are some caveats to address. In Newfoundland and Labrador, online gambling that is not offered by the ALC is considered illegal. Therefore, it is the only Canadian province as of 2024 that prohibits offshore options.

In terms of the legal age, there are three provinces where the legal age is 18: Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec. The remaining provinces establish 19 as the legal age for gambling including online.

Who are the regulatory bodies for gambling in Canada?

At the Federal level, the Canadian Gaming Association is the regulatory body for gambling in Canada. Thus, they cover both land-based and online gambling in the country. There are also provincial and regional regulatory bodies such as the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) – which covers the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.  

The Western Canada Lottery Corporation covers Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory. A handful of provinces also have their regulatory bodies covering lottery and gaming.

Canada requires online casinos that wish to accept players from the country to adhere to regulations and licensing. These licenses are provided by provincial regulatory bodies. When licensed, online casinos must follow the regulations and security standards.

However, there is the belief that many of the laws about gambling in Canada may be outdated. This could be because these laws were created long before the advent of the Internet. Therefore, such laws may need to be modernized. Nonetheless, online gambling for the most part is legal, just dependent on the province.

Are there any legal grey areas to discuss?

The grey area that is considered a concern pertains to the use of offshore sites. As mentioned earlier, Newfoundland and Labrador is believed to be the only province that prohibits it. Even online casinos with no licensing by Canadian or provincial authorities accept residents of the country.

On the players’ end, many Canadians are allowed to play at online casinos. However, they may be restricted from certain platforms. This is to ensure that the players themselves are protected from unknowingly playing on platforms that may be illegal. 

What are the other laws and regulations about online gambling in Canada?

Online casinos have implemented measures for responsible gambling. This includes providing support and resources to problem gamblers on their site. They are also restricted regarding the marketing and advertising aspects of promoting their platform. 

One restriction of note is that marketing that is targeted at minors is prohibited. Another prohibits professional athletes from appearing in online casino ads in Ontario.

Even offshore casinos must adhere to these laws and regulations. Especially if they have obtained a license from the provincial bodies that allow them to operate.

Canada’s online gambling is legal – but will things change

As it stands right now, the legality of online gambling in Canada seems to fall under the purview of provincial laws and regulations. Canadian citizens must perform their due diligence further to see which online casinos are allowed by their respective provinces. Just because it may be legal in one province, it may not be the same in others.

Nonetheless, the question is: will any laws relax certain restrictions? Will Newfoundland and Labrador change their tune regarding offshore casinos? It’s unclear what the future holds – but watch this space for any changes about online gambling in Canada.  

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Wiseman, Nathan Elliot
1944 – 2023
Nathan, our beloved husband, Dad, and Zaida, died unexpectedly on December 13, 2023. Nathan was born on December 16, 1944, in Winnipeg, MB, the eldest of Sam and Cissie Wiseman’s three children.
He is survived by his loving wife Eva; children Sam (Natalie) and Marni (Shane); grandchildren Jacob, Jonah, Molly, Isabel, Nicole, and Poppy; brother David (Sherrill); sister Barbara (Ron); sister-in-law Agi (Sam) and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Nathan grew up in the north end of Winnipeg surrounded by his loving family. He received his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1968, subsequently completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Manitoba and went on to complete a fellowship in Paediatric Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard University. His surgeon teachers and mentors were world renowned experts in the specialty, and even included a Nobel prize winner.
His practice of Paediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg spanned almost half a century. He loved his profession and helping patients, even decades later often recounting details about the many kiddies on whom he had operated. Patients and their family members would commonly approach him on the street and say, “Remember me Dr. Wiseman?”. And he did! His true joy was caring for his patients with compassion, patience, unwavering commitment, and excellence. He was a gifted surgeon and leaves a profound legacy. He had no intention of ever fully retiring and operated until his very last day. He felt privileged to have the opportunity to mentor, support and work with colleagues, trainees, nurses, and others health care workers that enriched his day-to-day life and brought him much happiness and fulfillment. He was recognized with many awards and honors throughout his career including serving as Chief of Surgery of Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, President of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. Most importantly of all he helped and saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Manitoba children. His impact on the generations of children he cared for, and their families, is truly immeasurable.
Nathan’s passion for golf was ignited during his childhood summers spent at the Winnipeg Beach Golf Course. Southwood Golf and Country Club has been his second home since 1980. His game was excellent and even in his last year he shot under his age twice! He played an honest “play as it lies” game. His golf buddies were true friends and provided him much happiness both on and off the course for over forty years. However, his passion for golf extended well beyond the eighteenth hole. He immersed himself in all aspects of the golf including collecting golf books, antiques, and memorabilia. He was a true scholar of the game, reading golf literature, writing golf poetry, and even rebuilding and repairing antique golf clubs. Unquestionably, his knowledge and passion for the game was limitless.
Nathan approached his many woodworking and workshop projects with zeal and creativity, and he always had many on the go. During the winter he was an avid curler, and in recent years he also enjoyed the study of Yiddish. Nathan never wasted any time and lived his life to the fullest.
Above all, Nathan was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, father-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, and granduncle. He loved his family and lived for them, and this love was reciprocated. He met his wife Eva when he was a 20-year-old medical student, and she was 18 years old. They were happily married for 56 years. They loved each other deeply and limitlessly and were proud of each other’s accomplishments. He loved the life and the family they created together. Nathan was truly the family patriarch, an inspiration and a mentor to his children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and many others. He shared his passion for surgery and collecting with his son and was very proud to join his daughter’s medical practice (he loved Thursdays). His six grandchildren were his pride and joy and the centre of his world.
Throughout his life Nathan lived up to the credo “May his memory be a blessing.” His life was a blessing for the countless newborns, infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers who he cared for, for his colleagues, for his friends and especially for his family. We love him so much and there are no words to describe how much he will be missed.
A graveside funeral was held at the Shaarey Zedek cemetery on December 15, 2023. Pallbearers were his loving grandchildren. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, in the name of Dr. Nathan Wiseman.

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