Israeli-born author and the director of the Jewish Theater of New York Tuvia Tenenbom said that the head of the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial has told him that Jews should have settled in Uganda instead of Israel.
Tenenbom spoke about his conversation with Volkhard Knigge in an interview with the German newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, and also described it in his book, I Sleep in Hitler’s Room: An American Jew Visits Germany.
“Volkhard… recommends a bar in Jerusalem, one he really likes: Uganda. Free-minded people are there, he tells me. Uganda? Why Uganda?… He refers to the idea that Jews should have settled in Uganda instead of Palestine. Uganda, the bar, made a name for itself as a place that sympathizes with the Palestinian plight… Why the director of the Buchenwald memorial gets his hands wet in the Israeli-Palestinian mess is beyond my understanding,” Tenenbom said.
In response, Knigge wrote in a statement to the Jerusalem Post that Tenenbom “reproduces the conversations he held with me and the head of the memorial education department in distorted form.”
“I never at any time said that Jews should have been settled in Uganda… The Uganda Bar is an establishment which presents artistic events and is very popular among young Israelis,” he wrote. “I enjoyed going to that bar with my Israeli wife of many years, who is herself an artist.”
Tenenbom also criticized Daniel Gaede, an educator at the Buchenwald memorial camp, for participating in anti-Israel rallies. “Yes, he too has the right to think whatever he wishes… Gaza has the world’s highest concentration of people who believe in driving the Jews into the sea. Why would anybody from Buchenwald join them?” Gaede called Tenebom’s interpretation of his remarks as “random and distorting.”