Axel Springer (left) & Teddy Kolek in a previous Israel Museum ceremony, Jerusalem, Nov. 1966 (Israel National Photo Collection, Photography department – Government Press Office)

Jerusalem Post (English language daily, organ of the Israeli establishment) of 31st March, Weekly Overseas Edition, carries an item about the recent visit to Israel of the notorious reactionary German press tycoon, Herr Axel Springer. The following are extras from that article:

Speaking at the dedication ceremony of the Israel’s Museum of Art and Archaeology, Library and Auditorium, built with a $ 1 million gift from him, Mr. Springer declared: “I believe that today, almost 25 years after the horror ended, it is more important at times to mention the liabilities and the history of our nation than it was then”.

The ceremony took place in a slightly charged atmosphere generated by a rather bedraggled demonstration of 22 young persons, including seven German students, who bore banners saying: “We denounce the reactionary alliance between Axel Springer and his Israeli friends”. Asked to define what they meant by “reactionary” the demonstrators, who included members of Matzpen, Israel’s Guevaraist group, declined to elaborate.

The participants in the exceedingly well organized ceremony, included the German ambassador, Dr. Karl Knoke; the Austrian ambassador, Dr. Arthur Agstner; film actress Romy Schneider and Mr. Springer’s son, Axel Jnr.

Mayor Teddy Kollek said in a short appreciation of Mr. Springer:

“In a world beset by the spectre of growing disregard for justice and the rights of individual and small nations he has helped to strengthen, by public advocacy, and personal resources, the development of Israel and Jerusalem”.

Mr. Kollek read a cable he had just received from Mr. David Hacohen, M.K. and Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, who headed an official Knesset delegation then visiting the Federal Republic. The cable said: “Speaking from the top of the Springer building in divided Berlin we greet you in united Jerusalem and express our great hopes for a free, peaceful and united Berlin.”

Mr. Walter Hesselbach, Chairman of the West German Bank for Co-operation, who donated IL 10,000 towards the Auditorium, also sent greetings, as did west Berlin’s Mayor, Klaus Schuetz.

[Next report in the ISRACA bulletin: Maki as Informers for the Tel Aviv Police]