Posts Tagged ‘Germany’


>Jewish Texts Lost in War Are Surfacing in New York
NY Times
By SAM DOLNICK
March 7, 2011

In 1932, as the Nazis rose to power in Germany, a Jewish librarian in Frankfurt published a catalog of 15,000 books he had painstakingly collected for decades.

It listed the key texts of a groundbreaking field called the Science of Judaism, in which scholars analyzed the religion’s philosophy and culture as they would study those of ancient Greece or Rome. The school of thought became the foundation for modern Jewish studies around the world.

In the tumult of war, great chunks of the collection vanished. Now, librarians an ocean away have determined that most of the missing titles have been sitting for years on the crowded shelves of the Leo Baeck Institute, a Manhattan center dedicated to preserving German Jewish culture.

The story of how the hundreds of tattered, cloth-bound books with esoteric German titles ended up in New York includes impossible escapes, careful scholarship and some very heavy suitcases. And while the exact trails of many of the volumes remain murky, they wind through book-lined apartments on the Upper West Side, across a 97-year-old woman’s cluttered coffee table and into a library’s cavernous stacks.

For Jewish scholars, the collection of Science of Judaism texts (in German, Wissenschaft des Judentums) is a touchstone marking the emergence of Jewish tradition as a philosophy and culture worthy of academic study.

“We’re all heirs to the legacy of Wissenschaft,” said Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

The University Library Frankfurt still houses the bulk of the collection, but experts there have determined over several decades that they were missing some 2,000 books listed in the 1932 catalog. In the last two years, a team led by Renate Evers, head librarian at the Leo Baeck Institute, found that her shelves had more than 1,000 of the lost titles.

While scholars say the books in New York are probably not the same copies as those lost from the Frankfurt library, their rediscovery offers the chance to rebuild what one professor called “a legendary collection.” Frankfurt librarians are putting the collection online, while the Center for Jewish History, the institute’s parent organization, is seeking a grant to do the same.

“This is very exciting,” said Rachel Heuberger, head of the library’s Judaica division. “You can reconstruct a collection that otherwise never would have come to life again.”

Scholars say the books were most likely brought to New York from Europe by private collectors and antiquities dealers. In the past 50 years, donors, nearly all of them German Jews who immigrated and prospered here, gave them to the Leo Baeck Institute.

The donors, photographed in their cinched ties and sober suits, represent a generation of scholarly New York immigrants that is nearly gone. They escaped the Nazis, built new lives and created a sophisticated community that centered on books, culture and learning. Their ranks included the political philosopher Hannah Arendt and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

Many came to this country hauling suitcases filled with books, and as they settled here, they created academic journals and scholarly institutes. They debated politics during formal dinners in Washington Heights parlors. They took typewriters along on vacation so they could keep working.

Herbert A. Strauss, who came to New York with his wife in 1946, owned one of the lost books, an 1843 volume by Ludwig Philippson. Where he got it, his widow, Lotte, has no idea. A historian and a professor, he was always coming home to their Upper Manhattan apartment with his arms full of new tomes.

“He was not only married to me,” Mrs. Strauss said. “He was also married to his desk.”

When he died in 2005, she donated 4,500 of his books to the Leo Baeck Institute.

The couple had met in Germany, and escaped together to Switzerland just steps ahead of the Gestapo. They recounted their ordeals in separate memoirs published in 1999.

Mrs. Strauss, 97, a great-grandmother, recalled meeting her husband. “I was fascinated by him,” she said. “He was good-looking and he had new ideas.”

On a recent afternoon in her sun-drenched apartment, Mrs. Strauss pulled out her husband’s brittle papers. There were Nazi-era ration cards decorated with swastikas — red for bread, blue for meat. There was a lifeguard certificate from Berlin that showed a young man, sleeves rolled up past his elbows, smiling at something off-camera.

Did he carry books with him when he came to New York?

Mrs. Strauss laughed. “We came here poor as church mice,” she said. “You went as you were; you didn’t carry a thing.” She was eight months pregnant and had one dress to her name. Mr. Strauss built his library, and their life, in New York.

Ludwig Schwarzschild, a dermatologist, brought his library with him when he came to the United States in 1934. Although his practice north of Frankfurt was shuttered by the authorities, he, his wife and their two young children were able to take most of their possessions out of Germany, said their daughter, Lore Singerman, of Annapolis, Md.

Mrs. Singerman, 78, remembered a Manhattan childhood of heavy European furniture and crowded bookcases. Reading was highly prized — prayer books, The Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic.

Her father owned one of the lost Wissenschaft volumes, an 1888 edition of a Hermann Cohen book. His family donated it to the institute in 1970, the year he died. Mrs. Singerman does not know where her father got the book, but said, “If it was in German, he probably brought it with him — he didn’t buy German books here.”

Fred W. Lessing, another German Jewish donor, built such a vast book collection at his home in Scarsdale, N.Y., that he ordered catalog cards from the Library of Congress to keep track of it all. He was chief executive of a Yonkers metal company, but his passion was his library and discussions with professors and writers.

Mr. Lessing scoured auction catalogs for treasures, with a special focus on the history of the Enlightenment. His children knew enough not to touch his “good books,” said his daughter Joan Lessing. “His library was part of our lives,” she said. “Books were in every room.”

Mr. Lessing gave the institute an early-20th-century edition of a volume by Adolf Eckstein, but his daughter did not know where he had gotten it.

Even the Frankfurt librarian who cataloged the entire collection, Aron Freimann, came to New York. After arriving in 1939, he went on to work at the New York Public Library.

Today, his granddaughter, Ruth Dresner, lives in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. She keeps her grandfather’s catalog on her shelf — she calls it his “magnum opus” — and plans to leave it to her children.

“I’m 80 years old, and I’m very devoted and dedicated to perpetuating tradition,” she said. “I am very proud.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 9, 2011

A caption on Tuesday with an article about Jewish texts lost in World War II that have resurfaced in New York described an accompanying map incorrectly. It is a map of central Europe, not only of Frankfurt.

Jewish Texts Lost in War Are Surfacing in New York – NYTimes.com

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H.P.’s Foreign Entanglement

September 13, 2010, 11:30 am


hewlett

Peter J. Henning follows issues involving securities law and white-collar crime for DealBook’s White Collar Watch.
The last month or so has not been very pleasant for Hewlett-Packard.
The company’s recent 10-Q disclosed that the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have expanded an investigation of possible bribe payments in connection with contracts the company obtained in Russia. Such payments may violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (F.C.P.A.), an area where the federal government has investigated more aggressively over the last few years.
This disclosure comes on top of other recent legal problems at H.P. Joe Nocera’s recent column in The New York Times described H.P.’s directors as “the most inept board in America” for its lawsuit against its former chief executive, Mark V. Hurd. On Aug. 30, the Justice Department announced a $55 million settlement of a civil fraud claim against H.P. for paying “influencer fees” — in other words, kickbacks — in return for favorable recommendations to the federal government to buy the company’s products.

About White Collar Watch
Peter J. Henning, writing for DealBook’s White Collar Watch, is a commentator on white-collar crime and litigation. A former lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division and then a prosecutor at the Justice Department, he is a professor at the Wayne State University Law School. He is currently working on a book, “The Prosecution and Defense of Public Corruption: The Law & Legal Strategies,” to be published by Oxford University Press.

As Mr. Nocera pointed out, H.P. is unlikely to succeed in its legal battle with Mr. Hurd, but that is more of a distraction than anything else. A widening F.C.P.A. investigation, on the other hand, may end up costing the company millions of dollars in legal fees as it deals with demands for documents while conducting its own internal inquiry. And any settlement with the government would likely involve both criminal fines and civil monetary penalties, along with other remedial measures, ratcheting the price up further.
The bribery investigation began in Russia in connection with a contract with a former German subsidiary of H.P. that involved the installation of a computer network in, of all places, Russia’s chief prosecutor’s office. Russian and German prosecutors are looking into the transaction, which took place from 2002 to 2006, and have requested documents from the company.
In its 10-Q, H.P. notes for the first time that the investigation is not limited to that one contract in Russia: “The U.S. enforcement authorities have recently requested information from H.P. relating to certain governmental and quasi-governmental transactions in Russia and in the Commonwealth of Independent States subregion dating back to 2000.”
It is not clear how many contracts or transactions may be involved, but the expanded time frame and geographic scope probably means the inquiry will be an extended one, rather than something H.P. can wrap up quickly. As sometimes happens, once one part of a multinational company is scrutinized for bribery, problems in other areas can pop to the surface.
The recent settlement by Siemens of overseas bribery charges shows how corruption can spread throughout a company. Subsidiaries operating in France, Argentina, Turkey and the Middle East were found to have paid bribes to obtain contracts, and Siemens paid $800 million in criminal fines to the Justice Department and disgorgement to the S.E.C. as part of the settlement.
The F.C.P.A. is part of the federal securities laws, and most cases involve the S.E.C. along with the Justice Department because one part of the act requires corporations to maintain proper books and records, something that is rarely done when a bribe is paid. The Justice Department has become much more aggressive in pursuing foreign bribery cases, including conducting an undercover sting operation that resulted in more than 20 people being arrested on charges of offering bribes to participate in a fictitious security contract with an African nation.
The recent addition of enhanced whistle-blower rewards in the Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the S.E.C. to pay 10 percent of any recovery realized, up to a maximum of 30 percent, to those who provide valuable information related to any type of securities fraud. F.C.P.A. cases are very likely to be among the most common instances for whistle-blowing by corporate employees.
F.C.P.A. charges are also very difficult to defend once the government obtains evidence that payments were made to foreign officials “in obtaining or retaining business” in that country. The act recognizes two defenses to a charge, first the payment was lawful under the laws of the country where it was made, and second the expenses were reasonable for the promoting the product or implementing the contract.
Neither defense has been successfully offered in court to this point. Even worse, according to an article by Kyle Sheahen that will be published shortly in the Wisconsin International Law Journal, “the defenses are virtually useless in practice.”
Even if H.P. is found to have violated the F.C.P.A., that does not mean the company’s ability to win government contracts would be at risk. Professor Mike Koehler, who analyzes these issues on the FCPA Professor blog, noted that the Siemens settlement did not seem to have any real effect on the company’s relationship with the federal government. “One of the unfortunate beauties of engaging in bribery the U.S. government terms ‘unprecedented in scale and geographic scope’ is no slowdown in U.S. government contracts in the immediate aftermath of the enforcement action,” he noted.
The impact from any F.C.P.A. violation may change, however, under a bill under consideration in Congress. The legislation, called the Overseas Contractor Reform Act and passed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in July, requires debarment from future government contracts for any person or company found in violation of the F.C.P.A. The bill states the policy that “no Government contracts or grants should be awarded to individuals or companies who violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”
Whether the House and Senate will pass the legislation remains to be seen, but corporate integrity is, like mom and apple pie, not easily opposed. While the current aversion to corporate America may be abating, this is the type of reform that may well take hold to put some more bite into the F.C.P.A.
For H.P., a burgeoning foreign bribery investigation is not good news because of the costs and uncertainly it engenders. If the Overseas Contractor Reform Act becomes law, it will make it even more imperative that the company try to avoid any finding of a violation of the F.C.P.A., perhaps through a deferred or non-prosecution agreement that can let it avoid a finding of a violation.
Peter J. Henning
The Overseas Contractor Reform Act
H.P.’s Foreign Entanglement – NYTimes.com

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Tyler Durden

Subject: Hypo Fails, All Other German, Portuguese, French Banks Pass Test

And we uncover that the German Landesbanks (the equivalent of the bankrupt
Spanish cajas) did their own stress tests. Time for the PPT to step in with
this pretext and soak up all offers. Totally pathetic BS.
Update 1: Somehow Bank of Ireland “passes” the test but needs over €2
billion in extra equity… uhm… WTF??? This is the point where the
audience rushes the stage and burns the theater down.
Update 2: 5 Spanish cajas, 1 German and 1 Greek banks are eliminated on
their quest to marry the US taxpayer. 84 other banks will soon be the
recipients of far more US taxpayer generosity. And with that the season
finale of the farce comes to a close.
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View article…
Hypo Fails, All Other German, Portuguese, French Banks Pass Test | zero hedge



Haven-seeking Europeans buy physical gold

The Perth Mint has doubled capacity, while the Rand Refinery has experienced its highest sales in 25 years, all due to European investors seeking a haven in gold.

Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Monday , 07 Jun 2010

RENO, NV
The European debt crisis spurred physical gold sales on two continents this past week, as the latest U.S. Mint gold bullion coin went on sale at the open price of US$1,510.
Production of South African’s Krugerrand gold coins soared by 50% to 30,000 ounces a week, the Rand Refinery said.
The Perth Mint in Australia said European buyers have accounted for 69% of new gold purchases.
In an interview with Reuters, Debra Thomson, the Rand Refinery treasurer, said, “Basically the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is behind this. There is a lot of demand especially from Germany; people are looking for gold.”
Meanwhile the Perth Mint in Australia reported gold sales to Europe have soared. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Ron Currie, sales and marketing director for the Perth Mint, said European buyers accounted for 69% of gold-coin purchases last month compared to 51% a year ago.
“As soon as it was announced that the European Commission was bailing out Greece, the German population decided they’d better hedge their euros by buying precious metals,” he added. “We had stock before this blip in the market, then it all went.”
Controlled by the Western Australian government, the Perth Mint had doubled capacity in this past 18 months.
U.S. MINT INTRODUCES 2010 AMERICAN BUFFALO
In the meantime, the collector’s version of the American Buffalo bullion coin went on sale this past week at an opening price of $1,510.
The bullion version of the coin was released April 29th and has sold 135,000 one-ounce coins so far.
As of Sunday, the U.S. Mint reported 542,000 ounces in gold bullion sales, including 20,500 ounces sold since June 1st.
The 2010 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin can be ordered directly from the U.S. Mint.
Sales of this year’s proof coin occurred much earlier than last year when the 2009 Proof Gold Buffalo was not offered for sale until October 29, 2009. Within five months, last year’s proof coin was sold out with a total of 49,388 coins.

Mineweb.com – The world’s premier mining and mining investment website Haven-seeking Europeans buy physical gold – GOLD NEWS | Mineweb

________________________The MasterBlog


Opinions of the financial crisis

Europeans blame bankers for turmoil

By Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt

Published: October 19 2008 22:12 | Last updated: October 19 2008 22:12

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Europeans believe bankers are most to blame for the global financial crisis but not that capitalism itself has failed.

The latest Financial Times/Harris opinion poll, published on Monday, found widespread antagonism towards bankers and only modest support for taxpayer-funded bank bail-outs.

It found strong backing for the view that the US would lose economic influence globally as a result of recent events.

The crisis was attributed largely to abuses of capitalism, however, rather than to a failure of the system itself.

Carried out between October 1 and October 13, the poll found 80 per cent of European Union respondents said commercial and investment banks were “completely responsible” or held “a lot of responsibility” for the recent financial turmoil.

Central banks were also said to share much of the blame, with a surprisingly high score of 70 per cent giving them a lot or complete responsibility.

That could reflect a view that monetary authorities should have done more to rein in bankers’ excesses, or had created the conditions for damaging credit bubbles by holding interest rates too low for too long.

In September, Peer Steinbrück, German finance minister, created controversy when he blamed the US for the severity of the crisis and declared the US would “lose its status as the superpower of the world financial system”. German sensitivities increased two weeks ago when the government hurriedly had to bail-out property lender, Hypo Real Estate.

The Financial Times/Harris poll showed that overwhelming majorities in the main European countries, and more than 80 per cent in the US, agreed that the role of the US in the world economy had been “weakened”.

The feeling, however, was not that Europe would necessarily benefit. Even among Germans, who were most positive about Europe’s influence, only 25 per cent said its global importance had risen as a result of the crisis.

When it came to putting state resources behind bank rescue plans, those polled were ambivalent. Asked about governments using taxpayers’ money to fund bail-outs, the Germans were most supportive. But more than half of the French polled and a little less than half of Americans were opposed.

In the UK, 49 per cent supported the bail-outs having been made at taxpayers’ expense, 36 per cent did not. The balance was accounted for by those who were not sure.

Voters in Europe and the US agreed overwhelmingly that taxpayers’ money should only be used for bailouts in exceptional circumstances.

There was strong support for strengthened regulation of commercial banks. The poll revealed considerable support for governments capping the pay of bankers at banks that received public help. The figures ranged from 68 per cent in favour in Italy to 88 per cent in Spain.

Majorities in the UK, France, Spain, Italy and the US attributed the financial market crisis to “abuses of capitalism” rather than the “failure of capitalism”. The Germans were more divided, with 46 per cent blaming abuses, and 30 per cent saying capitalism itself had failed.

The poll was conducted online among 6,276 adults in France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Italy and the US.

FT.com print article.





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