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May 17, 1985 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-05-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

6

Friday, May 17, 1985

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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LOCAL NEWS

A Holocaust Survivor
Fights Religious Bias

BY SHERI PICKOVER

Staff Writer

"Jewish people can't afford to be
bigoted," said Martin Waters, vice
president of Shaarit Haplaytah,
the Holocaust survivor's organ-
ization. Waters is among a group
of volunteers from the Greater
Detroit Round Table of the Na-
tional Conference of Christian
and Jews (NCCJ) who have been
fighting a recent wave of anti-
Catholic posters that have sur-
faced in the Detroit area for the
second time.
The red, yellow and black post-
ers first began cropping up last
summer according to Robert Ar-
cand, director of the NCCJ. He de-
scribed the original posters as ap-
proximately 18 inches by 30 in-
ches.
The new posters, which are
twice as large, warn Catholics to
stay away from the Vatican. They
are accompanied by a poster of a
Nazi swastika that insinuates
Hitler was raised as a Catholic
and had ties to the Catholic
Church.
Although the posters them-
selves claim to be anti-Vatican,
not anti-Catholic, Eric Op-
penheim, who is in charge of
mobilizing NCCJ volunteers, said
that the posters are "viciously
anti-Catholic because it is very
difficult to separate the Vatican
from the Catholics. Both are too
interrelated."
Arcand said he felt a sense of
urgency about fighting the post-
ers because "they carry on, and
that's how stereotypes are born."
Arcand, along with Oppenheim,
began organizing volunteers by
phone.
The volunteers obtain permis-
sion from the property owner be-
fore going to the site. They either
tear down the anti-Vatican
poster, paint over it, or cover it
with a NCCJ poster.
So far, two sites, Detroit and
Highland Park, have been taken
care of but Oppenheim said the
problem is growing into a "major
project" and more volunteers will
be needed.
Waters, a survivor of Au-
schwitz, is one volunteer who feels
that fighting the posters is essen-
tial because "we can't afford to be
prejudiced."
On one occasion, the owner of a
building where one poster was
hung came out and told the volun-
teers that he believed the Jews
were responsible for the posters.
Waters responded to the owner, "I
am Jewish and I don't believe in
hate."
Raised in Poland, Waters came
to the United States in 1948 and
became a U.S. citizen in 1954. He
volunteered for the NCCJ project
because, he explained, he was
raised in a bigoted country. The
Jews in Poland were subjugated,
he said. They were afraid to go out
after dark. Because of this experi-
ence, Waters feels that any hate,
regardless of who it is aimed at, is
awful. He said he can not hate be-
cause "I know what it's like to be
hated."
Waters believes that one way to
fight prejudice is through in-
volvement. "Complacency is the
biggest sin we can indulge," he
said. He feels that a tragedy like
the Holocaust could occur again
because of a lack of people willing

Martin Waters:
Fighting hatred.

to get involved. People cannot just
sit back and forget, he argued.
"Never forgive, never forget.
When people forget, they become
complacent."
Hatred should be fought, he
said. "Bigotry has no place in a
civilized society, or any society."
Waters does feel, however, that
hate cannot be entirely elimi-
nated from our society. Although
he wishes and hopes that hate
groups could be wiped out, he be-
lieves it is highly unlikely that
this will ever occur. "Where
genocide is concerned, nobody
knows who might be next."
Persons wanting to join the vol-
unteers can call the NCCJ, 869-
6306.

Sisterhood Donor
Lunch Wednesday

Reservations are still being
taken for the B'nai David Sister-
hood donor luncheon to be held
noon Wednesday in the syna-
gogue.
Boutiques will open at 11 a.m.
Among the special features will
be pen-and-ink drawings by Amy
Goldman Koss which will be
available for purchase.
A fashion show will follow the
luncheon. Helen Brown is sister-
hood president and Jennie Sol-
omon, donor book chairman.
There is a charge.

Radomer Society
To Hold Meeting

The Radomer Aid Society will
meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the
Zionist Cultural Center.
The evening will include nomi-
nation and election of officers.
Special refreshments will be pre-
pared and served by the commit-
tee. For reservations, call Renee
Zahler, 355-5588; or Anita Carr,

355-0973.

Award Recipient

The Detroit Chapter of the Fed-
eral Bar Association awarded the
first Leonard R. Gilman Award to
U.S. Attorney Joel M. Shere.
The award was established to
honor a criminal lawyer who best
personified the qualities that
were the hallmarks of the late Mr.
Gilman's career, capability and
compassion.

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