'Zionist' Holocaust survivor's lecture canceled

German left-wing center

karl pfeifer 248.88 (photo credit: haGalil)
karl pfeifer 248.88
(photo credit: haGalil)
The left-wing Autonomous Youth Center (AJZ) located in the university city of Bielefeld in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has been accused of anti-Semitism for canceling a lecture last week by Karl Pfeifer, a prominent Austrian Jewish journalist and survivor of the Shoah. The 81-year-old Pfeifer was told two days before the scheduled lecture on "Hungary 2009: anti-Semitism, hate against Roma and Sinti, and neo-Nazism" that the AJZ pulled the plug on his talk because as a Palmah soldier he allegedly participated in the massacre of a Palestinian village. Speaking from Vienna, Pfeifer told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that "the unit was not involved in a crime. The point is not what I did or what I am doing, but what I am. When I was child, I heard the 'the Jew is guilty.'" Yet a modernized version of anti-Semitism has appeared, according to Pfeifer, and now "the anti-Semites replaced the word Jew with Zionist." According to the minutes of the November 17 meeting where Pfeifer's planned lecture was terminated, participants said, "He is a Zionist." However, the minutes of the meeting state that even the AJZ "members conceded that they did know if the information is accurate" regarding Pfeifer and the Palmah. In an e-mail to the Post , Theresia Julianow of the AJZ wrote that the "topic and the continued handling" of the Pfeifer matter will be discussed next week at a residents' meeting and a statement will be issued. The author of the minutes and a member of the Antifa-AG University Bielefeld, a left-wing group that organized Pfeifer's lecture, told the Post that the rationale for barring Pfeifer's talk at the AJZ is "anti-Semitism." The Antifa-AG member spoke on condition of anonymity because he could face "personal difficulties." Antifa is an abbreviation for anti-fascists, and the chapter in Bielefeld said the member will draft a press statement which will condemn the cancellation of Pfeifer's talk as anti-Semitism. Pfeifer's lecture was relocated on November 19 to the University of Bielefeld. Approximately 50 students attended his talk. Pfeifer fled fascist Austria in 1938 and found refuge in Hungary. In 1943, he was forced to flee Hungary and arrived in British-controlled Palestine.