Tag Archives: Germany

The life, times, and dreams of a World Cup fan

Let me tell you about the life of a World Cup fan. 30 hours from the time I finish writing this I will either be happy, ecstatic, or miserable. The World Cup has captured the attention of people everywhere. While countries with teams in the tournament have the most at stake when following the results, there are those among us with split loyalties. It so happens that I am one of those people, as my loyalties coming in were not only split, they were split 3 ways.

In a tournament that is played every day, situations with various teams are always changing. If I had written this 7 days ago, all my favorite countries would still be playing. 30 hours from now, all three may have been eliminated. Be that as it may, I am going to share which teams I support, and why, as well as tell you what would be not only my dream final-if it is even possible in the brackets-and why I rank my teams as I do.

I was born in the United States to Dutch parents. My first soccer memory, while faint, is of Holland losing in the final of the World Cup to Germany in 1974 by a score of 2-1. When I was 14 I started 4 years of High School in London. I was once married to an Argentinian, and Argentina was the second team to beat Holland in a World Cup final in 1978, in a game I felt Argentina manipulated unfairly. While some people think my desire to beat the Argentinians is connected to having an ex wife from there, that is not the case. It doesn’t help their cause, but it is more about 1978. If you want to know more about that game I suggest that you go on You Tube.

While I was berated by some, lovingly of course, for wanting the Netherlands to defeat the U.S. last week, Holland is my number one team. It’s not about loyalty or patriotism, it’s about emotional investment. However, I do admit that if the U.S. had won, while I would not have been as happy as I am, I would still have been happy. And last weeks victory for Holland set up what will be a very intense, potentially remarkable next 30 hours. In one hour Holland will play Argentina in the quarterfinal, 24 hours before England will play France. What makes this next day or so potentially even more speoial, is that should Holland and England win, and then go one to win one more game each, they would face each other in the World Cup final, an event that would be my personal ultimate in sports joy.

There is one final twist to all of this wonderful drama. My father, who passed away 15 1/2 years ago at the age of 87, was an enormous fan. Back in the day when it was not easy to call overseas, if you would call my father in the middle of a game he would immediately say, “Call me back. I am watching football”. Naturally, as a man born and raised in Holland, his favorite team was the Dutch national team. Because of the fact that this World Cup is being played in Qatar, for the first time ever the final is not taking place in the summer. If Holland is to win their first ever World Cup, it will happen on December 18th. A day that also happens to have been my father’s birthday.

The stars are all aligned for the perfect ending. Of course 3 1/2 hours from now that dream might be over, but whatever happens, the great thing about sports is that it is wonderful to dream.

Hup Holland! (You understand that if you are Dutch or a fan).

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Open Letter to the Committee pursuing Disciplinary Action against the German Judge helping Holocaust survivors


To whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter in regard to Judge Jan-Robert von Renesse.  I understand that a hearing is being conducted this week regarding whether or not his actions as a judge were appropriate in regard to his efforts to make sure Holocaust survivors continued to receive financial restitution from the German government as a result of what they lost during the Nazi Party’s control of Germany.  I am here to make it very clear to anyone who will listen with a pure and open mind that if this hearing is to take place, not only should his actions be deemed appropriate, they should be praised rather than punished.

71 years after the end of the darkest days in Germany’s history, despite the fact that this is one situation in one location, it is still a significant test as to where the country has evolved.  Germany since the fall of Adolph Hitler has been a very different place, assuming responsibility, becoming an important and positive force in the world, and working towards human rights in a way diametrically opposed to the evil philosophy of the Third Reich.  What has very much been a symbol of the new Germany is it’s willingness to accept accountability and feel guilt for it’s persecution and murder of millions of innocents; specifically the 6 million Jewish Holocaust victims.  Judge Jan-Robert von Renesse is a symbol of that Germany.  A man who is fighting to help those who suffered, while being fully aware that nothing can ever give back to any Jew from European descent all that was lost during that time.  Judge von Renesse shows in his actions that he realizes that whatever financial benefit he is working towards providing will never be enough to make up for what happened, but it will help individuals who suffered as a result of the horrors and it is at least the most serious effort possible to, as the old cliche goes, put your money where your mouth is.  If the question is whether or not his actions are deemed appropriate because of his status as a judge, the answer is a simple one.  A judge’s job is to enforce justice.  Enforcing total justice will never be possible, but Jan-Robert von Renesse is coming as close as humanly possible in as difficult of circumstances as any judge will ever see to doing so.

I am the son of Holocaust survivors from Germany’s neighbor to the west, the Netherlands.  75% of Dutch Jewry was wiped out by Hitler and his Nazi Party.  For many Jews it has never been easy to look at Germany in a positive light.  Nevertheless with decades of behavior showing a newer, more human mentality, Germany is seen by many as an entirely different country than it was during the evil regime in power between 1933- 1945.  This is an important moment.  It is a moment not to step backwards towards the darkness but to continue moving forward to the light.  The light that Judge Jan-Robert von Renesse  represents.  We are all watching.  Do what is right.  Do what is just.  Honor Jan-Robert von Renesse and support his efforts rather than punish them.

David Groen








The Increasingly Rapid Destruction of Freedom









Anyone with any degree of normalcy and decency is of course horrified for the victims and families of the victims of today’s terrorist attack in Paris.   That being said, if people continue to deny the realities of the situation, what happened today will become increasingly more commonplace.

What we are witnessing is an attack on global freedom.  Working in a satirical magazine’s office should not be a dangerous job. However, forces within the Muslim world are choosing to make it one, and to deny that fact is tantamount to folding up the tent and running away.  As a Jew, and specifically as an American Jew, whether I speak up or remain silent I am ultimately in some danger anyway.  But for a citizen of France or any other western country who is not Jewish, their life is now clearly threatened by what they say or do in the name of freedom. Most importantly, this may have happened in Paris, but it was an attack on anyone on the planet who dares to make statements offensive to Muslims.

Earlier today I heard someone on CNN make the comment, and I paraphrase, “Muslims find killing innocent people abhorrent”.  I found it to be an interesting statement and predictably unchallenged on CNN.  Let’s assume his comment to be true. The problem with the statement is, what do radical Muslims consider innocent?  Is someone who commits blasphemy against Islam innocent in their eyes? If not, this commentators comments indirectly and possibly unintentionally justify today’s attack.  The other problem with this statement is very simply put, it is too little too late.

The comparisons between Nazi Germany and radical Muslim are becoming more and more prevalent.  For the most part this is due to the behaviors of those most vicious.  Sadly there needs to be one more comparison made.  Until Germany was not only defeated, but crushed, we did not have the luxury of distinguishing between good Germans and bad ones.  The only distinction was between those Germans fighting against the Nazis and those either staying neutral or participating in their activities.  If Muslims want to avoid Islamophobia and ultimately global catastrophe, they need to stand up against the evil within their midst.  It is no longer enough to assume that we know you don’t support murder.  You need to fight it with the rest of us.  If you do not, there will come a time when you will be victims of the same evil, albeit from the source or from those reacting to the source.

This is of course a much more complicated battle to fight than the battle against Nazi Germany.  After all, that evil was centralized in one country, while this evil has tentacles reaching all over the world.  But it must be fought, because ultimately it looks to encompass all those who cherish freedom and tolerance and subsequently may be the greatest global danger we’ve ever seen. I am certain it has already made many fearful of expressing their views, something that can only be seen as a victory for the enemy.

I know this attack was reportedly committed by only 3 men, but make no mistake, culpability falls on a large percentage of the Muslim world, for it is now no longer enough to meekly say you don’t like it once it has already happened.  The burden now falls on those claiming to cherish peace, to demand and fight for peace. Otherwise those words are hollow shells that do nothing to improve the situation.  Otherwise how do we even know you truly want a peaceful and tolerant world?

Peace, freedom and tolerance have no religion or passport. Those who truly want it, want it for everyone and will stand up to their own in order to make it happen.  We no longer have the luxury of assuming those who claim to want this freedom actually do if they do nothing to help make it happen.  Just as we couldn’t hope the quiet Germans didn’t support Adolph Hitler.  Had we assumed otherwise, freedom would have been destroyed many years ago.  Let’s not allow it to be destroyed today.





A Holocaust Survivor’s view on the relationship between US and Cuba










I have the wonderful blessing of hearing my mother’s views on world affairs, and whether I agree with all her sentiments or not, the one thing that is certain, is that I always learn something.  My mother has asked me to put into writing her opinion on the recent events regarding the relationship between the United States and Cuba.

The phrase she uttered 3 times in the discussion was, “Hate for the sake of Hate”.  She drew the comparison to the nation of Germany. Germany, the country responsible for the murder of 6 millions Jews and the evil protagonist in both WWI and WWII, is now a respected and civil democracy.  It is a nation where people can live freely and peacefully.  The Jewish people are able to live there happily and with a few exceptions no longer are exposed to anything resembling the hate once found there.  Whatever hate they do have to deal with is not sanctioned by the government.  On the contrary, it is condemned by the government.

It is my mother’s belief that if we can turn the page on Germany’s history, we can certainly do the same thing for Cuba.    Her feeling is by no means that Cuba is a perfect country without issues needing resolution, but the reaction people have had to the normalization of relations is nothing more that “hate for the sake of hate”.

There is much evil in the world today.  My mother recognizes that and often fears that we are headed for another global catastrophe. However, she also maintains that the world’s problems are not coming from Cuba, and that in reestablishing relations with the island only 90 miles from the United States, we have a lot more to gain than we have to lose.

Agree or disagree, it is hard to argue with the almost 93 years of experience of a clearheaded,  intelligent and lucid woman.






Nazi-style propaganda

Iran-Missiles11For those who want to even remotely consider accepting the word of a country like Iran, the following report should tell you exactly what kind of people are in control of this fascist government. In a report reminiscent of some of the most vile lies ever told about the Jewish people, Iranian state-run PressTV has come out with a report claiming that the Islamic State is selling Iraqi and Syrian children to Israel.  Their claim is that the trafficking is being done in order to take these children and populate the settlements in the West Bank.  READ REPORT HERE

This type of propaganda is the next step up from the Holocaust denial Iran has been so famous for over the years.  What makes it even more bizarre is that even as ISIL runs rampant through their neighboring countries, Iran somehow has found a way to bring Israel into the equation.  And yet, as usual, the world remains silent.  Some may have been mislead into believing that Iran has become a more reasonable and reliable player in global politics, but this report is just another example of how this Iranian government is run by liars potentially capable of the same evil as Nazi Germany.  Are these the people you would trust with nuclear weapons?  I think not.  The world better wake up before it is too late.





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If Muslims stay quiet they will largely have themselves to blame for what happens in Europe and beyond

muslimproIt seems as though now that things are relatively quiet in Israel, the popular cause among those looking to put their 2 cents into the Middle East situation is defending Muslims.  I’ve never had a problem with anyone who takes the stance that painting a brush over an entire group of people is wrong, assuming they recognize the rights of all parties and show even less tolerance for acts of unwarranted violence and terrorism.  However, when it comes to defending Muslims, the thing so many are missing, is that there is a silence within Islamic nations and populations that is deafening in its significance.

Despite the fact that it’s become cliché to say the next great war will start in the Middle East, I’ve maintained for quite some time now that World War III will actually start where the first 2 started, in Europe.  Of course this argument starts from the assumption that it has not already begun, something I am not necessarily prepared to do with  any real vigor, but that horrific escalation that leads to the death of millions may indeed find its origin in Europe. Naturally we all hope and pray it does not got that way, but if it does, here is why I say Europe would be ground zero.

Europeans are an interesting bunch.  They have an element of sophistication and enlightenment different from what you see on other continents.  On the surface they are a peaceful, educated bunch.  They are artists, musicians, scientists and when unprovoked racially progressive.  However, when pushed to the breaking point, they have produced some of the most vicious, evil and cold-hearted dictators the world has ever seen.  The vast majority of Europeans crave peace, but they also have limitations, and when those limitations are exceeded, they will often put their support behind those who will change the status quo at all costs.  Till now it’s been socio-economic circumstances that brought this on.  Hitler in Germany and Stalin in Russia both used poverty as the enemy to rally the masses behind them, justifying the murder of anyone they deemed in the way of their nations’ development.

Although it may turn out to be economic travails that break the proverbial camels back, the main factor building Europe to a dangerous boiling point is the increasing influence of the Muslim population as it coincides with Islamic extremism and terrorism.  A rising Muslim populous on its own would still potentially lead to problems in Europe during a faltering global economy. After all, scapegoating is not necessarily out of character for Europeans, but even without economic issues, as Europeans feel less and less safe, and their Muslim populations remain disproportionately silent, the  likelihood of a scapegoat scenario strengthens significantly.

If there is an outright World War III it seems destined to be in the form of a Muslim-Christian war, with other groups, most notably the Jewish people being caught in the cross hairs and winding up victims of the same devastation.  What makes this so frustrating is that if the “religion of peace”, as some insist on calling it would have a majority actually stand up against the forces of evil within its midst and demand peace, it would likely never come to that horrific outcome.

Unfortunately there is no real outcry from within the population.  Tens to hundreds of thousands protested Israel’s action in Gaza, but stay home while ISIS marches through Syria and Iraq, and Iran continues to sponsor terrorist organizations to instigate larger wars in the region.  This silence, if followed by a European continent that feels the threat level has exceeded any level of reason, could very well lead to the death of tens of millions of people, of which a multitude will be Muslim.  Just as many Germans died because they allowed Hitler to lead his Nazi party and commit their atrocities, so too the apathy or even worse in many cases, the quiet support of Muslims, could lead to millions dead, many of them actually Muslims.  It’s not out of the realm of possibility that right now they feel a sense of security and therefore remain quiet, but eventually they may not be very safe, and if that happens they will largely have themselves to blame for being silently complicit.

Let’s hope it never comes to that, for as my mother, a survivor of the Holocaust says, when it comes to war, no one ever really wins.





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Like the Judenrat, these Journalists wound up dead

judenratLet me start by being very clear.  These journalists did not deserve this fate. They were brutally murdered by savages who have no respect for human life and will do anything no matter how vile it may be  to further an agenda.  They will murder and torture people to achieve their goal of global domination. They are in many ways similar to the Nazis, with one terrifying distinction.   They put as little value on their own life as they do on others.  That makes them harder to stop.  So my hearts go out to the families of these two journalists and I hope they both rest in peace.

However, there is another point that needs to be made here and one that draws another comparison to the horrors committed by Nazi Germany.  When the Nazis occupied Europe they were able to find Jewish people willing to be members of the “Judenrat”, the Jewish committees set up to administrate the activities and fates of the bulk of the Jewish populations.  Many of the Judenrat’s members believed that by working with the Nazis they would suffer a better fate than those whose deportation and subsequent murder they were facilitating.  It was not till most of their work had been completed that most of them would come to realize that they indeed would suffer the same fate and would be murdered at the hands of the Nazis.

It has been reported that both James Foley and Steven Sotloff were sympathetic to the Islamist cause.  Perhaps they too felt that by showing a degree of solidarity and support they would be in a better position to survive the new horrors appearing on the horizon.  If that was their vision, and I don’t know that it was, they too were shown to be tragically wrong.  I am not indicting the two journalists by any means.  Their deaths are tragedies and they were committed by barbaric murderers who are capable of unspeakable horrors.  The message I am relaying to everyone is that if indeed people ever believe that by supporting Islamic extremists you are safe, understand that you will end up as safe as the members of the Judenrat and these 2 journalists.

As Winston Churchill once said: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” I hope James Foley and Steven Sotloff rest in peace, I also hope the world learns a lesson from their murders.




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Open Letter to the Jewish survivors condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza










Dear Friends,

If there is one thing you learn being a child of Holocaust survivors, it is that no matter how much you try to put yourself in their shoes, you just can’t.  It is with that knowledge and awareness that I write this letter to you, those survivors that are condemning Israel over its actions towards the Palestinian people.  Despite the shock your comments and sentiments have caused to so many of us, (CLICK HERE TO READ STATEMENT) out of the respect I have for what you went through I have chosen to write this letter as more of a plea for you to come to your senses than a criticism of your actions.  I will make it a given that your intentions are pure, even if I and many more like me believe they are misguided.

No one who survived the horrors of Nazi Germany needs a lesson from me or from anyone else of my generation as to the actions committed during what is one of the blackest mark in the history of humankind.  Having spoken often to my parents, my father of blessed memory and my mother who is, thank God still alive and well, I have as good of an understanding as I can in my position, as to what took place.  I know that Hitler hated the Jews from the start.  Targeted them, scapegoated them, dehumanized them, and ultimately murdered them in massive and devastating numbers.  He made the elimination of the Jewish race more than just an emotional cause, he made it a government sanctioned law.  Even before the mass murdering started, he left no doubt that he wanted Jews to be no part of society, not only in Germany but everywhere his Nazi party occupied.  As is so clearly stated in the definition of Genocide, once he managed to rally the support of a desperate German nation behind him, Hitler specifically targeted the Jews in a deliberate and systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish people.  I will spend the next paragraph outlining the similarities between what Nazi Germany did to the Jews and what Israel is doing to the Palestinians.

It will be a very short paragraph.  THERE ARE NO SIMILARITIES!

As I previously stated, this is more than a letter to all of you.  This is a plea.  I am practically begging you to come to your collective senses. Israel has not been perfect in its treatment of Palestinians, but it’s not only done more for them than many other nations do for a minority population, it’s done more for them than any Muslim nation in the world has done.

Please read the Hamas charter.  It calls for the elimination of Jews from Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide.  With that in mind I ask you this question. Had there been a Jewish army in 1943 or 1944 would it have been wrong for that army to bomb Berlin, even if in targeting official government locations it would have killed German women and children?

I appreciate and agree that dead women and children dying in war is always a tragedy.  I just urge you to realize that the deaths are not always the fault of the ones dropping the bombs.

In the name of God and all that is good and decent I ask all of you to stop this madness.  The last line of your statement may be the most important one in that it references the phrase “Never Again”.  I agree that “Never Again” means NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE, but it also means that sometimes actions, often harsh and painful actions, need to be taken to back up that phrase.


David Groen




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Creating Desperation: The Hamas Way

When World War I ended and Germany was defeated, their punishment for being the aggressors was so severe the economy plunged into depths that caused poverty and hunger of immense proportions.  I am not condemning this, merely stating this to address the circumstances leading to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.  Hitler fed off of the desperation of the German people, found a perfect scapegoat, and promised Germans a better life.  All they had to do was follow his leadership regardless of how evil and heinous the outcome.  He took their awful life and promised a good one, in the process convincing the masses the suffering of others was of no consequence. As we all know the strategy worked with tragic precision and Hitler reigned in Germany till his defeat by the allies in 1945.  Hitler used the suffering of the German people to push his agenda, and like many fascist regimes before him the process was successful.

One can hope and pray that history will show that Israel never allowed Hamas to grow into the killing machine the Nazi party was, but it certainly wont be for lack of trying.  What sets Hamas apart in the early stages of its rule over its people is something even more cynical and morally repugnant than the Nazis in their establishment of control over their people.  While the Nazis took the pain and suffering of the people to establish the regime, Hamas has actually created the pain and suffering to create theirs.  Israel left Gaza to its own means in 2005, and as Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said, “we hoped it would become a Singapore,  instead it became an Iran”,  implying what could have become a booming economy, technologically advanced, with a secure present and optimistic future became just the opposite.  Hamas took their funding and rather than help the population, they became Iran’s proxy, training terrorists, building terror tunnels and making their corrupt leadership perversely wealthy while keeping the money out of the hands of the community.  Rather than having to answer for their misappropriation, they used the suffering it caused to channel their desperation into hatred and the belief that death was better than life. With the life they gave them in Gaza it was an easy sell.  The video in this piece shows what happens to people when they feel the best outcome to their life is death.

While Hitler took the desperation he found and turned it into mass hysteria with his promises of a better life, Hamas has formed a new and cynical blueprint.  Create the desperation and then promise a better life, even if it is through murder and suicide.


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If anti-Semitism in Europe is the appetizer, wait till you see the main course.

249Anyone who knows even a little history knows that this is not Europe’s first go at anti-Jewish sentiment and actions.  However, this time around there are some significant differences, differences that could lead to the end of Europe as we now know it.

Traditionally anti-Semitism in Europe was government sanctioned.  The Spanish inquisition, Russian pogroms, Nazi Germany, Stalin’s U.S.S.R., all consisted of horrors and destruction for the Jews that were carried out by the ruling parties of each of these regimes.  In each one of these examples Jews were being eliminated because they were fraudulently declared a threat to the environment being created and were therefore, for all intents and purposes, illegal and harmful residents.  Today however, regardless of whether you call any particular nation in Europe a friend of the Jews or not, the anti-Semitism being generated comes more from mobs than governments.  At least for now.

These mobs are primarily organized and dominated by the Muslim communities of various countries.  Nothing represents the advancement of the Muslim cause in Europe more than France, where the mobs have turned so hateful and violent, Jews are starting to pick up and leave.  The behavior of these mobs is the precursor to what will ultimately be a much bigger issue in Europe, a radical new demographic.  That’s a technical way of saying an Islamic takeover.

I do not make this statement to be racist.  I would love to see a world where we all can live together in peace.  I know there are good and bad people in all races and religions, and yes, I have met many good Muslims.  But I also know, that only one group has leaders in their midst declaring a desire for world domination, a term not connected to such a significant threat since the days of Adolph Hitler.  Ironic that the Jews are being called Nazis, isn’t it?  I understand the Muslim fanatics drawing the comparison because it gets the people going and helps their cause.  Although they should know, that even though Hitler may have killed the Jews first, in a Europe such as the one we see today, if a Hitler-type rises to power, the Muslims would at worst be second.

The stupidity in all of this however is with the non-Muslims in Europe who are taking the side against Israel and the Jews.  I am not referring to decent people who are saddened by the events taking place in Gaza.  I am referring to those who are falling for the propaganda machine being used against Israel and the Jews, a machine getting a trial run before it takes on its much bigger target, anyone not Muslim.  Those who feel these mobs will stop at the Jews is not only not paying attention to what is happening, they are not being honest about its source.  If these mobs care so much about dead children, where have they been till now?  Ask them how many children have been murdered in Syria? Or better yet, tell them.  Over 9,000.  Let me repeat that.  Over 9,000 children have been killed in Syria. Where are the mobs protesting that?  Where are the signs equating the Syrian flag with the Swastika?  Then there is Mosul, a city of 1.8 million.  Interesting number.  Why?  Because Gaza has 1.8 million residents. But here is the difference.  150,000 Christians were recently attempting to flee because if they did not they would be slaughtered or forced to convert like those Christians that did not leave.  I am sure there are thousands of children in that number as well, but unlike Gaza, where the Israeli government actually wants people to see the truth, Mosul is unreachable by the press.  This allows ISIS to run rampant murdering and destroying anyone and anything they feel doesn’t help towards their goal of an Islamic Caliphate.  Where are the mobs protesting this?  Where are the signs comparing ISIS to Nazis?  Nowhere.

My point is that for these mobs it is not about the concern for the well-being of children, it is either about pushing their agenda or voicing their hatred for Jews.  When the time comes that governments need to fight against evil entities such as ISIS in Iraq or Boko Haram in Nigeria, or a nuclear Iran, just to keep Europe and the rest of the civilized world safe, the mobs will form all over again, and just like they are doing now, will pretend it is about dead babies.


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