Diver Freddy van Tuil in the Netherlands made this video.
This January 2019 film says about itself:
Memory of the [Hitler’s concentration] Camps (full film) | FRONTLINE
In 1945, Allied forces found evidence of atrocities. This is the historical record.
By Justus Leicht in Germany:
Berlin Tax Office withdraws charitable status from Nazi victims’ organisation
30 November 2019
The Berlin Tax Office has withdrawn the charitable status of one of the largest and most long-established anti-fascist associations in Germany. The action removes certain tax concessions from the nonpartisan and nondenominational Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes-Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten (Association of Those Persecuted by the Nazi Regime—League of Anti-fascists). The VVN-BdA was founded in 1947.
The decision is tantamount to a ban. Charitable status allows donors to claim their financial contributions up to a certain amount for tax purposes and thus get back part of the donated money. Charitable status is also a basic prerequisite for accessing funding from foundations, other non-profit associations and state programmes.
Associations with anti-fascist, social or environmental protection goals are often dependent on donations from the population, since they naturally receive little support from the state or large enterprises. Conversely, large companies can deduct lobbying costs from their taxes.
To what extent the work of the VVN can continue cannot be foreseen, the VVN-BdA federal managing director Thomas Willms told the Frankfurter Rundschau. “Those who will be pleased now are the AfD,” he said, referring to the far-right Alternative for Germany.
According to Willms, the VVN-BdA will appeal the decision of the Berlin Tax Office. The withdrawal of charitable status means that the association must now pay five-figure tax bills for 2016 and 2017. Willms fears that VAT (sales tax) claims will be added “and the assessments for 2018/2019 are still pending.”
The VVN was founded in 1947, shortly after the end of the Second World War, by resistance fighters and survivors of the Nazi concentration camps and prisons. Well-known leading members include Kurt Goldstein, Esther Bejarano and the first president of the Central Council of Jews, Heinz Galinski. The writers Eugen Kogon and Victor Klemperer were also VVN members for a time.
Since then, the organisation has mainly undertaken educational and informational work against fascist, militaristic and new-right tendencies, as well as against the presence of old Nazis in state and social offices. For this reason, it was persecuted in the former West Germany from the beginning and faced many attempts to have it banned.
In 1951, the VVN council was banned by the Adenauer government. The implementation of the ban, however, was partially blocked in the administrative courts. In 1959, the federal government made another attempt to ban the VVN. However, a trial in the Federal Administrative Court was broken off after two days in 1962 because the responsible judges and prosecutors had a Nazi past.
The resistance fighter August Baumgarte (a survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp), who was persecuted by the Nazis, presented documents in the trial which showed that the presiding judge and president of the Federal Administrative Court, Fritz Werner, had joined the NSDAP (Nazi Party) and the SA (Storm Troopers) even before 1933, and had later been appointed as a higher SA leader. The government lawyer, Hermann Reuß, had also been a former member of the NSDAP and a judge under the Nazis.
Nevertheless, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassunsschutz), as the secret service is called, continued to treat the VVN as an “object of surveillance” and denounce and spy on it as “left-wing extremist”, which for its members often meant a de facto ban on working in the public sector. In recent years, the VVN was mentioned only in the report of the Bavarian state secret service branch, which states that the VVN-BdA is the “largest nationwide left-wing extremist-influenced organisation in the area of anti-fascism,” and pursues a “communist-oriented anti-fascism.”
This report was cited by the Oberhausen South Tax Office to justify withdrawal of charitable status for the VVN-BdA regional organisation in North-Rhine/Westphalia. It was based on section 51 paragraph 3 of the tax code, according to which bodies listed as “extremist organisations” in the report of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution of the federal government or of a federal state do not enjoy tax privileges as charitable organisations. Unlike the Berlin Tax Office, however, the Oberhausen office accepted the VVN’s reasoning and revised its decision.
The Berlin Tax Office, however, decided that the VVN-BdA federal association could not refute the accusation of left-wing extremist influence, thus reversing the burden of proof. The VVN-BdA must prove its innocence to a domestic intelligence service whose decisions are completely opaque, and which has been riddled with old Nazis since its foundation.
“We must fully prove that the allegations made are false. This runs according to the motto: ‘Prove that you are not a witch,’” commented Federal Managing Director Willms.
The VVN-BdA is not listed in the report of the Berlin state branch of the secret service, and the Berlin Senate, an alliance of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Left Party, has refused to express any official response. But the responsibility for the tax office that made the decision lies with the so-called “red-red-green” Senate. SPD Senator Matthias Kollatz is in charge of the financial administration in Berlin.
Jewish organisations have reacted with horror. Sigmount Königsberg, the representative of the Jewish Community Against Anti-Semitism, condemned the decision with the remark, “What kind of signal is this? Showing commitment against Nazis is sanctioned. That cannot be allowed.” Königsberg warned that it could affect the VVN-BdA today and another association tomorrow.
The International Auschwitz Committee has also sharply criticized the denial of charitable status. Against the background of daily right-wing extremist threats, Executive Vice President Christoph Heubner described the decision as a scandal in a statement on Saturday.
Auschwitz survivor and honorary VVN-BdA chairman Esther Bejarano wrote in an open letter to Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD), “The work of Antifa, the work of anti-fascist associations is—still—bitterly necessary today. For us survivors it is unbearable when Nazi slogans are again shouted today, when Jewish people and synagogues are attacked, when people are chased and threatened through the streets, when death lists are circulating and extreme right-wingers do not even shy away from attacks against representatives of the state.”
Denouncing Scholz, Bejarano wrote: “The house is on fire—and you lock out the fire brigade! You want to make the work of the largest and oldest anti-fascist association in the country impossible? This devaluation of our work is a serious affront for all of us… We survivors of the Shoah are the uncomfortable admonishers, but we have not lost our hope for a better and peaceful world. For this, we and the many who think like us need help! We need organisations to support and coordinate this work.”
She had never imagined, Bejarano continued, “that the charitable nature of our work could be doubted or denied!” She continued: “That I have to experience it today! Have those already won who want to falsify the history of our country, who want to rewrite and overwrite it? Who speak of memorials as ‘memorials of shame’ and call the Nazi state and its murder machine ‘bird shit in German history’?” The latter was a direct reference to a leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany.
She asked, “What can be more charitable than conducting this struggle? Does a tax authority in this country really decide on the existence of an association of survivors of Nazi crimes?”
Apparently so. Olaf Scholz has plans that go even further.
As the newsweekly Der Spiegel reported, the federal minister of finance and favourite to win the leadership of the SPD wants to place politically active associations on a leash, with the help of the tax offices. Tax concessions for charitable associations would be abolished if the organisations interfered too much in day-to-day politics. Concretely, this would mean that an association could express itself politically within the context of its objectives but could not intervene in the wider political debate. Attac and [environmentalist] Campact have already been deprived of charitable status on this basis.
The action against Attac was approved by the Federal Fiscal Court (BFH). In a ruling in January of this year, the court stated: “Anyone who pursues political ends by exerting influence on political decision-making and shaping public opinion does not fulfil a charitable purpose.”
The court added that “influencing political decision-making” is incompatible with receiving tax benefits. This applied even to “minor general political activity by a student association.”
Demands directed against welfare and labour reforms, such as “Away with Agenda 2010 and Hartz IV,” “No dismantling of social benefits,” “Against forced labour,” “For the introduction of a statutory minimum wage,” “No EU constitution” and “Abolition of the WTO” are, according to the BFH judgement, “incompatible with tax relief according to section 52 AO (of the tax code).”
While the campaign against fascism, social cuts and neoliberalism is not “charitable”, according to German tax offices and courts, the situation as far as right-wing organisations is concerned is quite different. For many years, notoriously far-right federations have been considered charitable and enjoyed tax concessions.
One example is the “Landsmannschaft Schlesien,” which, according to its own account, “politically, legally and culturally represents the interests of Silesia and the Silesians” and demands “the right to self-determination and the right to one’s homeland, including the right to property”—in other words, revanchist goals that can be achieved only through war against Poland. In recent years, the organisation’s youth group has repeatedly made a name for itself through its links with the neo-Nazi German National Party (NPD) and other right-wing extremist organisations.
Another organisation whose charitable status is recognized by the state is the “Uniter” association. This is part of a right-wing radical network of soldiers and policemen suspected of being involved in the construction of a right-wing shadow army … . According to research in the Tagesspiegel, Uniter not only explicitly advertises the tax deductibility of donations, it is also awarded regular “donor orders”.
Conversely, democratic, social and anti-fascist organisations are under constant observation by the domestic intelligence services and in danger of losing existentially necessary funds at the nod of the secret service.
According to research by the blog FragdenStaat, from 2015 to 2018, the Ministry of Family Affairs forwarded the data of a total of 51 projects to the secret service, including six project sponsors in the field of anti-Semitism, eight project sponsors in the field of racism and six project sponsors in the field of living together in the immigration society. The secret service then informed the ministry whether or not the promoters were eligible. The ministry keeps secret the criteria and data used in the checks.
This video is about a whinchat in Sweden.
This November 2019 video says about itself:
Over a thousand students took part in a demonstration in Lyon on Tuesday to remember a classmate who set himself on fire on November 8 over his dire financial situation.
“[His suicide attempt] serves a purpose, to put student precariousness and political fights in the news. But it’s terrifying that this could be the only way to get that,” remarked one of his friends.
The rally was organised close to where the Lyon University student performed his self-immolation after struggling to survive on the monthly stipend of €450 ($495). The 22 year old is now fighting for his life in hospital with burns to the body of 90 per cent.
The individual in question has not been officially identified but the student union who organised the rally said he posted a message on Facebook explaining that financial difficulties had become too much. In the message he accused French politicians as well as the European Union for creating the situation.
The demonstrators marched towards the rectorate and university of Lyon II’s campus where they staged a sit in and chanted that they would neither forgive, nor forget that authorities let the situation deteriorate so badly.
The university authorities said they would set up a psychological support unit due to the incident, while the president claimed the institution was not aware of his “personal struggle”, despite being “very involved” with the student body.
By Francis Dubois in France:
30 November 2019
Following the self-immolation of Anas K., a student from the city of Lyon, demonstrations organised by student unions mobilized thousands of students across all of France last Wednesday, including in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Grenoble and Rennes.
This 26 November 2019 video is called French students begin nationwide protest over high living costs.
Anas K., 22, is studying political science at the University of Lyon. His self-immolation on November 8 triggered protests throughout the country. His desperate action and his scathing denunciation of the Macron government and of capitalism reverberated powerfully among tens of thousands of students who face the same conditions. Anas K., with burns to 90 percent of his body, is still in hospital in a grave but stable state.
Another suicide attempt, this time by a senior high school student aged 18, who tried to burn herself to death on Monday in a suburban Paris high school, is an indication of the immense social distress that students in France are suffering.
This 25 November 2019 French video is called, translated: A high school girl has attempted suicide by setting herself on fire in Seine-Saint-Denis region.
In his letter, Anas described the poverty-stricken conditions that students are enduring: “This year, doing the second year of my degree for a third time, I had no government assistance. And even when I did, is 450 euros per month enough to survive?”
He then directly denounced the government: “I condemn the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, and by extension the entire government. Let us fight this rising tide of fascism which does nothing but divide us and create liberalism, which creates inequality. I accuse Macron, Hollande, Sarkozy and the EU of killing me.”
Anas was living under conditions of very severe economic insecurity, according to his friends. During the first year of his degree, he was living with his parents in St. Etienne and was making the daily trip to Lyon (approximately 55 km away). Having obtained university accommodation last year, he lost it this year along with his bursary, and accommodation subsidy. It was cancelled by CROUS because he had to re-take some classes. (CROUS is the government body under the Ministry for Higher Education and Research responsible for providing public assistance to students). He was also refused any emergency assistance.
Even with his bursary, Anas was having difficulty in paying his bills. “Furthermore, his accommodation was unhealthy and substandard. It was infested with bed fleas and cockroaches,” according to a female friend. Since then, he has been living partly with his parents and partly with his girlfriend, who describes him as “proud of his home town’s popular working-class traditions.”
Anas’ act was followed by dozens of student meetings and demonstrations in university towns as well as barricades being set up at numerous universities.
In Lyon, more than a thousand students demonstrated and set up barriers to prevent lectures taking place in several faculties at the University of Lyon, while surrounding Anas’ girlfriend Laetitia. In Lille, students prevented a conference by former French President Francois Hollande (Parti Socialiste) on the “crisis of democracy” from taking place, with cries of “Hollande: murderer!”
It was Hollande who was responsible for setting up the structure of a police state in France, for imposing a state of emergency, under which fundamental democratic rights were abrogated, and for resuscitating the politics of Vichy. The Lille students also organized “free meal operations” in which they blockaded the cash registers of the university cafeteria. Several marches left different Paris universities.
At Tolbiac, students shared with WSWS reporters their emotion and their anger at the role of the public authorities. Marius stated that he was able to “understand if living as a student in precarious and sometimes very complicated situations led some to go that far. Such things could be stopped earlier with a little more assistance, not only financial, just psychological support for example.”
Aissata added: “I think that the government and the heads of institutions are not close enough to the students, and I think that is why they burnt themselves.” She added, “at uni, the standard is more demanding than at high school. The university lecturers mark harshly and students must really work hard … If I attend class, I go home, and I must do more study there in order to get the best marks, it’s really difficult.”
The mobilisation of students in France against the relentless conditions of financial precariousness imposed by the financial aristocracy and its political representatives is part of the rapid radicalisation of students and youth worldwide, their rebellion against social inequality and impoverishment.
The youth have been at the forefront of the recent mass popular movements, facing bloody police repression in Iraq, Hong Kong, Chile, Algeria and many other countries. They … are rebelling against the social attacks, against the deeply unjust manner in which social resources are distributed. They are rejecting the divisions of race, religion and gender that governments such as that of Macron use to divide them.
Terrified by the perspective of a unified movement of students and the working class against Macron, various figures in the Macron government are making despicable attempts to deny the political character of Anas K.’s act. Gabriel Attal, Secretary of State to the minister of National Education and Youth, declared viciously before the National Assembly: “It is never a political act to put an end to one’s life.” He received an ovation from the government party deputies.
Anas K.’s horrible and tragic action does not offer a perspective for millions of youth and workers now mobilizing in struggle against the Macron government. However, it is evident that his gesture is a condemnation of the policies imposed by successive governments on the youth in France.
The conditions of life and study for students from less well-off sections of society have been deteriorating for years, and the degradation has accelerated since the arrival of Macron. One in every five students today lives on the brink of poverty. One in five goes without a meal several times a week. One in three cannot adequately look after their health due to lack of money. Three out of four have no social welfare entitlements.
Student bursaries (covering 38 percent of students), amounting on average to 234 euros per month, are sufficient neither to live nor to study. Many students are forced to work, which either causes a delay in their studies or impedes them. This in turn causes them to lose the right to any assistance. The bursaries are only paid for 10 months. Many students must abandon their studies before obtaining a degree. According to the OVE (Student Life Observer), nearly half of all students (46 percent) work outside of their studies.
Once accommodation assistance is deducted, a bedroom is available to a student for 80 euros per month, while a fitted-out apartment of 18 square metres would cost between 150 and 200 euros per month, according to CROUS. CROUS manages the stock of student accommodation, which only has the capacity to house 6 percent of the total student population (2.3 million).
In the towns, the cost of renting a room is exorbitant. The 800,000 students who receive Accommodation assistance (APL) have been directly impacted by the cut of 5 euros (the price of a meal and a half) imposed by Macron in 2017, as well as the deindexation of rents.
Half of all students cannot finance accommodation outside their academic institution. Half cannot study what they would like due to lack of means.
Already in 2016, 22.7 percent of students surveyed reported to the OVE that they had been confronted with “significant financial difficulties during the year.” About 60 percent were experiencing fatigue and were suffering from stress, 45 percent mentioned problems with sleep, and 32 percent were depressed.
Numerous interviews with students bring out the impossible conditions they are compelled to endure. “If I stop before I have submitted my thesis, I will have lost all these years, and developed chronic illnesses for nothing,” declared one female student who works up to 40 hours per week.
A student message on Twitter said: “We, the precarious ones, have a duty to let our difficulties be seen, to stop hiding them, and to stop being ashamed of them. For it is not our fault if we are slaves, if we panic, if we have psychological problems linked to our material situation. The State is pushing us over the edge. It is killing us every day.”
This 30 November 2019 video from Africa says about itself:
A female leopard uses her superior night vision to get closer to a herd of grazing impala. Just as she’s about to pounce, a hyena shows up revealing her position and taking away her element of surprise.
This September 2017 Dutch video clip from a radio debate says (translated): ‘I want white supremacy and culture to stay as it is in Europe’; the racism of [FvD leader Thierry] Baudet and the FvD [political party].
In his speech, Hoekstra said (once again) that Dutch taxpayers should pay more on
bloody wars … sorry, Hoekstra used the euphemism ‘defence’. Against Russia and China, which are so dangerous, he said. Baudet reacted that, as far as that depends on FvD, the Netherlands would obey the Trump administration.
Hoekstra ‘got a long applause when he called himself the representative of his president, Donald Trump‘.
Translated from the NOS report:
FvD MEP Rob Roos spoke out unambiguously for a departure from the Netherlands from the European Union. …
This was in contrast to another speaker, the Belgian [Dutch speaking right-wing] politician Theo Francken from N-VA. “It would hurt me terribly if the Netherlands would leave the EU. And I don’t know if it’s the solution to migration problems“, he said. …
A few months ago, FvD co-founder Henk Otten split off after a fight with Baudet. He took two senators along to his Otten Group and a number of FvD members in various provincial assemblies also opted for Otten.
One of many penny buns.
A young natterjack toad crawling through the moss. Still just about one centimetre in size, but already with a yellowish line on its back.
Then, small mushrooms. Probably pinwheel mushrooms.
A Russula fungus.
Stay tuned for more on 25 September on Terschelling!