Europe culture news roundup

Danube’s roundup of the week’s Europe culture news includes fears about the Holocaust, Denmark’s controversial jewellery law and a skyscraper battle


27 January was Holocaust Memorial Day. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the EU’s implementing body, the European Commission, expressed deep concern about Europe’s remembrance of history’s darkest time in comments to mark the occasion:

“Six million Jewish women, men, and children as well as all other victims [were] murdered during the Holocaust. On this day, 74 years ago, the Allied Forces liberated the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they discovered unspeakable horrors. Hatred against ‘the other’ was translated into killing ‘the other’.

On this day, I am deeply worried. I would never have thought that during my lifetime Jews would be afraid to practice their faith in Europe. It saddens me that nearly 40% of them are considering leaving Europe. Holocaust denial is still alive in Europe. One in three Europeans declares to know ‘just a little’ about the Holocaust and one out of 20 has never heard of it.

Our Union was built on the ashes of the Holocaust. Remembering it and fighting Antisemitism is our duty towards the Jewish community and indispensable to protect our common European values.”

Politico reported on a study which found that the governments of some European countries, in particular Poland, Hungary, Croatia and Lithuania, are downplaying their role in the Holocaust or their relationship to it.

AFP published an article looking at why a planned Holocaust museum in the Hungarian capital Budapest is proving controversial. About 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust, it reports, “most of them deported […] with the assistance of the Hungarian authorities”.

Elsewhere, according to The Local, Danish authorities have confiscated one car and 186,000 kroner but no jewellery from refugees since a 2016 law was passed permitting the confiscation of valuable items.

Politico went all-out with infographics in a look at how voters are thinking ahead of the May European election.

If you didn’t read Danube’s coverage of the warning from many prominent cultural figures about how that election could go, do so now.

Italy’s deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio, the leader of the Five Star Movement party, has controversially appointed Lino Banfi, an actor in bawdy/sexist (depending on your views) films, to the Italian National Commission for UNESCO, the United Nations agency for education, science and culture, The Economist reports.

Meanwhile, politicians in the other party in Italy’s governing coalition, called the League, were annoyed that a TV show got a transgender actor and former politician to speak to children about transgender issues, according to The Local.

A piece published by UnHerd got up close with France’s gilets jaunes protest movement, describing it as defying all categorisation.

A real-life Indiana Jones has tracked down some stolen Spanish Visigoth artworks, in a story brought to us by AFP.

And finally, Wired ran a quirky story on how the owners and operators of skyscrapers in London are struggling to prevent their buildings being scaled by trespassing daredevil Youtubers. (Danube does not endorse or recommend any such dangerous and costly tomfoolery.)

Words: Craig Nicholson

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