First Read For Jan. 31
News RoundupThe headlines American Jews are waking up to today.

First Read For Jan. 31

New UN chief defends Jewish tie to Temple Mount; charedi transgender father barred from contact with his children; Goebbels’ secretary dies.

Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks to reporters at UN Headquarters, in New York City. Getty Images
Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks to reporters at UN Headquarters, in New York City. Getty Images

The United Nations has not had a good reputation among supporters of Israel for many years.

That may be changing.

The breakingisraelnews website reports that António Guterres, the U.N. new Secretary-General, who formerly served as the organization’s High Commissioner for Refugees, has declared that it is clear the Temple on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount was Jewish. His statement contradicts Arab attempts to deny a Jewish connection to Judaism’s holiest site.

A UNESCO statement a few months ago ignored any connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem.

Guterres, former prime minister of Portugal, said “no one today can deny that Jerusalem is sacred to the world’s three monotheistic religions,” the website reported.

During the General Assembly’s special session last week commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day, he said the world has a duty to remember that the Holocaust was a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people.


A High Court judge in England has rejected the request of a transgender father who has left the charedi community and now lives as a woman to have direct contact with his five young children, according to the London Jewish Chronicle.

Justice Peter Jackson said he had reached “the unwelcome conclusion” there was a real risk of the mother and the children being marginalized or excluded by the strictly Orthodox community if they saw their father face-to-face, the paper reported.

While family court proceedings were held in private last year, Jackson published his judgment this week on condition that the family’s anonymity is preserved. He ruled that the father could have “indirect contact” with the children — such as writing letters — four times a year for their birthdays or Jewish festivals.

The transgender believes herself “the first transgender person to have left a UK Charedi community”.



One of the last remaining members of the Nazis’ leadership circles has died.

Brunhilde Pomsel, a secretary to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels who late in life came forward to publicly reflect on, if perhaps not fully reckon with, questions of personal and collective guilt in the face of the Holocaust, died on Jan. 27 at her home in Munich, at 106, Canada’s National Post reported.

According to Roland Schrotthofer, who directed “A German Life,” a documentary drawn from dozens of hours of interviews conducted with Pomsel when she was 103, she was one of the last surviving members of the Nazi hierarchy’s most intimate staff, but she spent most of her life in obscurity.

The documentary, the Post reports, “presents an arresting portrait of an ordinary German swept into the Nazi apparatus in her youth, then left to reflect for more than seven decades on her complicity, if any, in its crimes. Even as the Nazi government launched its campaign of persecution and then deportation of Jews, she maintained her long-standing relationship with a Jewish friend, Eva Lowenthal, who would later perish at Auschwitz.”

Pomsel said she had believed that Jews deported were relocated to the Sudetenland, a portion of Czechoslovakia annexed by Germany in 1938, and that concentration camps were correctional facilities for people who had disturbed the peace. “No one ever believes us. Everyone thinks we all knew everything. We knew nothing,” she told the filmmakers.



A list of the names of Nazi SS commanders and guards who served at the Auschwitz concentration camp was published online.

The list, believed to be the most complete ever, went online Monday here, according to JTA. The list was prepared by the Polish Institute of National Remembrance in cooperation with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

The database also provides the SS staff members’ personal data, including date and place of birth, service number, date of arrival to and departure from the camp, education and citizenship. Photographs of some of the SS officers are shown and, in the case of those who were tried in courts after the war, their court records.

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