Bookshelf of old copies of J. Previous names of this publication have included Emanu-El and Jewish Bulletin. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)
Previous names of this publication have included Emanu-El and The Jewish Bulletin. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)

Local Nazi hunter (1997); Jewish unemployment (1977)

Jan. 17, 1997 — Local Nazi hunter alleges Israel unresponsive to query for help

Frustrated in his attempts to bring to justice an alleged Nazi war criminal still living in Germany, a Greenbrae physician has begun accusing the Israeli government of inadequately pursuing the case.

antique ad for "The 'Change: Used Books & Records" from June 3, 1977
From June 3, 1977

Dr. Michael Franzblau, who is also an Anti-Defamation League national commissioner and executive committee member, has been going after Dr. Hans Joachim Sewering since the German was forced to withdraw as president-elect of the World Medical Association in January 1993 under public pressure.

Sewering allegedly sent 900 German Catholic children with disabilities to a “healing center,” where they were killed during World War II. Sewering has repeatedly denied knowing the purpose of the center.

Franzblau took on Sewering’s case as a personal mission. He has traveled to Germany five times — most recently last month — to try to convince officials to prosecute the 81-year-old Sewering. He paid $62,500 for a full-page ad about Sewering in the New York Times in July 1995, and convinced a lawmaker to raise the matter in the U.S. Senate.

But the Israeli government apparently hasn’t responded as forcefully as Franzblau expected since he first wrote Israeli President Ezer Weizman in October 1994.

Sent in a diplomatic pouch to Weizman through the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco were a letter from Franzblau and San Anselmo resident Walter Firestone, as well as a video of a 1993 local television news series about Franzblau’s efforts. The letters requested that the Israeli government formally ask the German state of Bavaria to investigate Sewering.

“I’ve never gotten a ‘thank-you-very-much’ for sending the video,” said the Jewish dermatologist and medical historian, who lost more than two dozen relatives in the Holocaust.

Franzblau has since concluded that the Israeli officials have reached a “tacit agreement” with the German government not to pursue Nazi war criminals. Franzblau said he believes that Israel doesn’t want to jeopardize the strong economic ties between the two nations.

Jan. 7, 1977 — Jewish Unemployment Highest in Bay Area

The highest rate of Jewish joblessness in 15 major cities is reported in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the City, Marin County and the Peninsula, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Jewish Vocational Services.

The survey reports that the Jewish joblessness rate in the Bay Area is 9.3 percent, compared with 11.3 percent for the general population. The survey listed the Jewish population of the Bay Area as 87,000.

In general, the survey indicated that rising unemployment in the United States is affecting Jews, though at a generally lower rate than for the overall population. The survey reveals that Jewish college graduates, particularly in the liberal arts, continue to face very bleak job prospects.