The Deadly Attack on a Vision of Peace

Remembering 4 November 1995

A portrait of a man in suit and tie

Jitzchak Rabin, drawing by Chaim Topol
CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Twenty years ago today, 4 November 1995, Israel prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated following a peace rally in central Tel Aviv. Mirjam Wenzel was there.

“It was a mild evening at Kikar Malchei Yisrael (Kings of Israel Square, now Yitzhak Rabin Square) in the middle of Tel Aviv, where throngs of people had gathered under signs of shalom achshav (peace now) to show their support for Rabin and Shimon Peres and their push for peace. The national religious movement had grown more hostile towards the government in recent weeks, and the media had been reporting its demonstrations with posters of Rabin in a SS uniform. No one could imagine, at least not within my circles, that this movement could turn deadly. From the Tel Aviv office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, where I had a semester internship, the Oslo Accords were viewed as a political and economic fact.  continue reading


“I’m Not Drawing the Big Arc Back to 1936”

The 14th European Maccabi Games (EMG) are taking place in Berlin from 27 July until 5 August 2015. More than 2,000 Jewish athletes from 36 countries will compete in 19 sports from football to fencing to chess. To accompany the games Tamar Lewinsky and Theresia Ziehe are producing a series of portraits with interviews, introducing a new member of the German delegation from Berlin every day here on the blog. They conducted the interviews on the grounds of the TuS Maccabi in Berlin’s Grunewald where Stephan Pramme also shot the portraits.

Dr. Alon Padovicz, 60, half-marathon

Portrait of a man in sports wear in a locker room

Alon (60) Half Marathon © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Stephan Pramme

What meaning do you feel it has, that the European Maccabi Games are taking place in Berlin, and in particular at the Olympic Stadium? It’s a place of symbolic importance since Jewish athletes weren’t allowed to participate in the 1936 Olympics…

To be honest, for me it’s nothing special. I’ve lived in Berlin for more than 50 years, and it’s normal to me that Jews come to Berlin or undertake some project in Berlin. Even the place – the Olympic Stadium – isn’t extraordinary to me. I often participate in competitive events in Berlin, for instance in the 25-kilometer race, and we always finish at the Olympic Stadium. It’s not a new feeling for me. I think it’s nice that we can do this here. But I’m not drawing the big arc back to 1936, although I am of course aware of the historical significance.

And being part of the German delegation – what role does that play for you?  continue reading


“The Maccabiah Is a Strong Symbol Against Anti-Semitism”

The 14th European Maccabi Games (EMG) are taking place in Berlin from 27 July until 5 August 2015. More than 2,000 Jewish athletes from 36 countries will compete in 19 sports from football to fencing to chess. To accompany the games Tamar Lewinsky and Theresia Ziehe are producing a series of portraits with interviews, introducing a new member of the German delegation from Berlin every day here on the blog. They conducted the interviews on the grounds of the TuS Maccabi in Berlin’s Grunewald where Stephan Pramme also shot the portraits.

Sarah Geldmann (25), Hockey

Young woman with hockey stick

Sarah (25) hockey © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Stephan Pramme

Sarah, what meaning does it hold for you that the European Maccabi Games are taking place in Berlin?

The symbolism is intense, I think. We represent Jewish life in Germany, and, as hosts, we can show other nations that there aren’t just a few of us in Germany, as some may think. There is Jewish life here, and Berlin has become a hotspot for Israelis. Even if some had concerns, it’ll for sure be a great event.

Jewish athletes were barred from the 1936 Olympics. Now this is exactly where most of the European Maccabi Games are taking place. What do you think about that?

Of course, it has a huge historical meaning. There are survivors who are with us, and I’m proud we can show them we’re here again.  continue reading