English News Archive

News between October 28, and September 17, reversely ordered by date (i.e.: the newest can be found on top). For recent news select English News.


Headlines

October 28, 1998:

October 27, 1998:

October 26, 1998:

October 23, 1998:

October 22, 1998:

October 21, 1998:

October 20, 1998:

October 19, 1998:

October 18, 1998:

October 17, 1998:

October 16, 1998:

October 14, 1998:

October 13, 1998:

October 12, 1998:

October 11, 1998:

October 09, 1998:

October 08, 1998:

October 07, 1998:

October 06, 1998:

October 03, 1998:

October 02, 1998:

October 01, 1998:

September 30, 1998:

September 29, 1998:

September 28, 1998:

September 26, 1998:

September 23, 1998:

September 20, 1998:

September 18, 1998:

September 17, 1998:


TOP

Hull Sues Over Racism Charges 

Thursday, September 17, 1998; 6:09 p.m. EDT

TORONTO (AP) -- Hall of Famer Bobby Hull met with Jewish and black leaders Thursday and contended he was ``set up'' by a Russian newspaper that alleged he made anti-Semitic and racist remarks. 

After a meeting at the headquarters of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Hull vehemently denied making pro-Hitler remarks and said he is suing the Moscow Times and the Toronto Sun for defamation and slander. 

``I feel there is more to this than meets the eye. I believe I was set up. We will endeavor to prove this in a court of law,'' said the former NHL star. 

In a story printed three weeks ago, the English-language Moscow Times said Hull made disparaging remarks about the U.S. black population and suggested the Nazis' plan to build a master race was not entirely flawed. 

Hull said he also is suing the Toronto Sun, which carried the first North American report of the Moscow Times article. 

Mike Strobel, managing editor of the Toronto Sun, said earlier that his paper has no plans to apologize. 

``Bobby Hull is an icon and we're sorry he's upset about this,'' he said in Thursday's editions of his paper. ``But if he has a quarrel, it's with the Moscow paper. We just reported on their interview with him, as did lots of other media.'' 

The Moscow Times has said it stands by its story. 

Canadian Jewish Congress president Moshe Ronen and Antoni Shelton, executive director of Urban Alliance of Race Relations, both said they appreciated Hull's clarification of the story but would reserve their opinion until any court case is settled. 

``We were not here to judge Mr. Hull,'' said Ronen. 
 
 

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


TOP

Jewish Leader Backs Kohl 

Thursday, September 17, 1998; 3:30 p.m. EDT

BERLIN (AP) -- A planned Holocaust memorial in Berlin will be realized only if Chancellor Helmut Kohl is re-elected, the head of Germany's Central Council of Jews said Thursday. 

Ignatz Bubis, also member of the Free Democrats -- the junior coalition partner in Kohl's conservative-centrist government -- told the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel that if there is a change of government after the Sept. 27 election, the memorial plan will suffer. 

``Either Kohl remains the chancellor, or the memorial won't be built,'' the newspaper quoted Bubis as saying. 

Michael Naumann, designated to be culture minister if Kohl's main challenger Gerhard Schroeder wins the election, renewed his criticism of the planned memorial. 

Speaking at a meeting of the Cultural Political Society in Wiesbaden, Naumann said the design of the memorial by U.S. architect Peter Eisenman, which contains a labyrinth of 2,700 pillars resembling a cemetery, generated astonishment but not sorrow. Kohl favors the design. 

Naumann also said that noted Jewish authors in Israel and the United States such as Paul Auster, Harold Brodkey and Amos Oz were united on the controversial issue. ``All are against this memorial.'' 

Kohl, the strongest promoter of the decade-old project, backed off his pledge last month to push ahead with the memorial before the national elections, saying he wanted to avoid turning such a ``sensitive subject'' into a campaign issue. 

But Bubis' latest remarks appear aimed at doing just that. 

Schroeder, who is leading in the polls, has welcomed the delay, saying he is not against a memorial in principle but isn't sure whether the chosen site and the scale of the project are appropriate. 

Although the design has been scaled down significantly from an original proposal of 4,000 pillars, Berlin Mayor Eberhard Diepgen and other critics complain it is still too ``monumental'' and wrong for the site, just south of the historic Brandenburg Gate. 
 

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Israel court sends 80-year-old spy to house arrest
07:20 a.m. Sep 18, 1998 Eastern

JERUSALEM, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Israel released to house arrest on Friday an 80-year-old Israeli scientist jailed for nearly 16 years for spying for the former Soviet Union, the man's lawyer said.

Earlier this month the Beersheba district court said the ailing Marcus Klingberg, former deputy head of the Nes Ziona Biological Institute near Tel Aviv, would serve the remainder of his 20-year sentence at home.

``I want to wish a happy new year to the people of Israel. When I was in prison I merely existed. Now that I am free, I am alive, I am very excited,'' Israeli army radio quoted Klingberg as saying as he fought back tears.

His release had been held up until Friday to allow for a state appeal of the ruling. No appeal was made. The Jewish new year begins on Sunday night.

Foreign reports have called Nes Ziona Israel's biological warfare centre. Klingberg, an epidemiologist, worked there from 1957 until his arrest. Israeli censors banned news of his arrest and conviction until 1993, a decade after he was jailed.

Under the terms of his release Klingberg will be allowed to leave his house for two hours a day and security officials will have to approve any visitors.

Past parole boards have refused numerous requests by Klingberg for early release because of poor health.


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


TOP

Dutch Jews Attack Frank Researcher

By Kathryn Masterson
Associated Press Writer
Friday, September 18, 1998; 3:12 p.m. EDT

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- Dutch Jewish leaders have denounced a demand for money from a researcher holding five newly surfaced pages of Anne Frank's diary, saying it exploits the teen-ager's legacy.

``To darken her diary with his kind of dispute over money makes people sick,'' Ronni Naftaniel, director of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, said Friday.

Cor Suijk, who ignited furor last month when he revealed that he has five missing pages to ``The Diary of Anne Frank,'' repeated his demand at a meeting with members of the Dutch Jewish community on Thursday.

As the international director of the New York-based Anne Frank Center, Suijk stunned scholars last month by demanding money for the handwritten pages in which Anne criticizes her parents' marriage and describes her strained relationship with her mother.

``I feel that I have a mission. People are entitled to criticize me, but I feel I am morally right,'' Suijk said.

Suijk says Anne's father, Otto, gave them to him shortly before his death in 1980.

Suijk said he intends to give the pages to the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, the custodian of Anne's diary, as soon as a financial sponsor comes forward. The proceeds would help support his cash-strapped foundation.

He has not received an offer but there has been interest, he said. He declined to say who had inquired or disclose the price. A friend of his told AT5 television the price is $500,000.

Author Hans Knoop described the Jewish diarist as ``public domain'' and said no one should profit from her legacy.

``For millions of people, rightly or wrongly, Anne is the symbol of the Holocaust,'' he said. ``You should not abuse the pages ... or market them.''

Also entangled in the debate is the Anne Frank Fund, which holds the copyright to Anne's diary.

Suijk has repeatedly criticized the Swiss-based group for holding on to profits from the diary instead of using them for Holocaust education.

The fund denies that, saying it gives millions of dollars annually to U.S. Holocaust awareness efforts.

Anne and her family fled Nazi Germany before the war and hid in an Amsterdam canal house from July 1942 until they were betrayed in the fall of 1944. The teen-ager documented their life in a diary, which was published posthumously.

She died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen camp just weeks before it was liberated in the spring of 1945.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Letter Affects Swiss-Israeli Ties

Friday, September 18, 1998; 8:25 p.m. EDT

BERN, Switzerland (AP) -- A letter from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praising the head of the World Jewish Congress for his efforts on behalf of Holocaust victims has cooled relations with Switzerland.

Swiss Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Yasmine Chatila said the government was reconsidering whether to go ahead with a high-level Swiss-Israeli economic seminar planned for November.

Israeli officials tried to smooth things over Friday.

Sources in Tel Aviv said Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Eytan Bentsur phoned Pierre Monod, the Swiss ambassador in Israel, to explain that the letter was not meant to insult Switzerland.

Bentsur stressed that Israel respected the steps taken by Switzerland to make amends for its role in World War II, the sources said.

Switzerland stayed out of the war but was later accused by Jewish groups of profiting from the Holocaust and acting as banker to the Nazis.

After a campaign led by the World Jewish Congress, Swiss banks agreed in August to pay $1.25 billion to Holocaust survivors to compensate for World War II losses.

The Aug. 28 letter from Netanyahu thanks Edgar Bronfman for his efforts ``to redress a terrible injustice inflicted on the Jewish people.''

``You have provided moral leadership in a long and tough struggle against those who profited from the unspeakable suffering of millions of Jews. You have done this with great pride, dignity, skill and aplomb,'' Netanyahu said.

The letter was leaked and printed in a regional Swiss newspaper, the Thurgauer Zeitung.

The Swiss government is angry with Bronfman for what it considers unfair attacks and his remarks about ``total war'' on the Swiss.

When Swiss president Flavio Cotti visited Israel in May, Netanyahu criticized such bellicose statements. And in a veiled reference to Bronfman, he said that Israel was ``not at war with Switzerland.''

Diplomatic sources said Cotti and other government leaders were irritated that Netanyahu would then praise Bronfman's methods.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


TOP

More Crosses Placed Near Nazi Camp

Sunday, September 20, 1998; 11:55 a.m. EDT

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) -- Conservative Catholics erected four more wooden crosses Sunday next to the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz despite calls by church and government officials for them to stop.

The new, 13-foot tall crosses were set up by Poles from Chicago and New York and a group from Warsaw, bringing the total to about 200 crosses of various sizes, the Polish PAP news agency reported.

Conservative Catholics began erecting the crosses in recent months to protest a call from Jewish groups to remove a 26-foot cross outside the former Nazi death camp.

The cross, used in a 1979 Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II near Auschwitz, marks the site where 152 members of the Polish resistance were shot to death by the Nazis in 1941.

But Jewish groups say the large cross, which can be seen from inside Auschwitz, disturbs the memory of the more than 1 million Jews killed there.

Polish bishops and Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek's government called in late August for conservative Catholics to stop putting up more crosses while the question of who controls the property is sorted out.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


TOP

Siemens to Compensate Slave Labor

By Anne Thompson
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, September 23, 1998; 12:39 p.m. EDT

BERLIN (AP) -- Following Volkswagen's lead, Siemens announced plans Wednesday for a 20 million mark ($12 million) fund to compensate former slave laborers forced to work for the company by the Nazis during World War II.

The electronics giant, along with VW, is one of several German businesses under pressure from lawsuits in the United States and threats of more at home from Nazi-era victims.

Volkswagen last week became the first of these firms to agree to victim payments when it announced its own 20 million mark fund, a change of heart after arguing for years that it had no legal duty to pay back wages for labor forced on it by the Nazi war machine.

Siemens had a similar change of heart: Almost a year ago, at its 150th anniversary celebrations, the company had insisted it could do no more for its former slave laborers than express ``deepest regrets.''

The Munich-based Siemens said its fund is in addition to the 7.2 million marks it paid to the Jewish Claims Conference in 1961 and to providing humanitarian help for victims. Siemens estimates that between 10,000 and 20,000 slave laborer worked in its wartime factories.

Other firms that used slave labor during World War II also have donated to Jewish groups; Daimler gave 20 million marks ($11 million) and Krupp, the steel and engineering group, said it provided 10 million marks ($6 million) in 1959.

But the threat of lawsuits has raised the pressure on German firms to pay direct claims to the thousands of concentration camp inmates, mostly Jews, forced to work in their factories.

Lawyers representing former slave laborers criticized Siemens, as they did Volkswagen, for setting up a fund to avoid larger payments a lawsuit might demand.

Siemens is seeking ``the cheapest alternative,'' said Munich attorney Michael Witti, who filed the U.S. lawsuit with his New York-based colleague Ed Fagan. ``We will find justice for these people in the end.''

Along with Siemens and Volkswagen, Krupp, Daimler-Benz, Audi and BMW are named in a New York lawsuit seeking a portion of company profits for thousands of people for former slave laborers.

Recently some of Germany's biggest firms suggested they'd be willing to contribute to a publicly administered fund, but Chancellor Helmut Kohl has rejected any government involvement.

It is a long-running dispute: Companies say the current government, as successor to the Nazi regime, should handle compensation for slave laborers. But the government, which has paid billions in compensation for health damage and imprisonment, argues the companies are responsible for back wage claims.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


TOP

Polish bishop suspends priest for Auschwitz cross
03:41 p.m Sep 26, 1998 Eastern

WARSAW, Sept 26 (Reuters) - A Polish priest has been suspended by his bishop for his part in planting a cross at a controversial gravel pit adjoiniing the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz, private Radio Zet said on Saturday.

Bishop Marian Golebiewski told Monsignor Ryszard Krol to remove the 1.5-metre (4.5-foot) cross his parishioners had set up outside Auschwitz earlier this month and ordered him to take a one-year ``sick leave,'' the radio said.

Monsignor Krol, who told the radio he had hidden three Jews from the Nazis during the war, accused the media of turning him into an anti-Semite.

Observers said the suspension was the severest penalty imposed on a churchman to date in the continuing row over crosses at Auschwitz in the southern city of Oswiecim.

The controversy was sparked off earlier this year when Krzysztof Sliwinski, Poland's special ambassador to the Jewish Diaspora, said a seven-metre (22-foot) papal cross outside the walls of Auschwitz would soon be removed.

The cross, beneath which Pope John Paul prayed during his 1979 visit to Auschwitz, marks a former gravel pit where 152 Polish political prisoners were executed by the Germans at the start of the war.

Radical anti-communist Kazimierz Switon staged a 42-day hunger protest in defence of the cross, appealed to Poles to set up new crosses and continues to camp out at the site as their self-styled guardian.

The fenced-in area soon turned into a field of more than 300 crosses brought by worshippers from all over the country, severely antagonising world-wide Jewry.

Nearly 1.5 million people were murdered by the Nazi Germans at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death complex in World War Two, some 90 percent of them Jews.

Jews regard the camps as a symbol of the war-time Holocaust, in which some six million Jews were exterminated across Nazi-occupied Europe, and believe they should be free of crosses and other religious symbols.

But many Poles feel they have a right to honour the estimated 75,000 to 100,000 of their countrymen who also perished there.


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


TOP

FEATURE-Argentina on trail of more Nazi criminals
10:06 p.m. Sep 28, 1998 Eastern

By Gary Regenstreif

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 28 (Reuters) - In their first and probably last systematic hunt for Nazi war criminals, Argentine investigators believe they are closing in on several suspects after pouring over archives and even peering into bedrooms.

Embarrassed by the nation's image as a haven for Nazi criminals who found refuge here after World War Two, the government has created an independent committee to shed light on whether any remain and an anti-discrimination office to root them out.

Investigators, pressed by the advanced age of suspects, are scouring German archives and taking testimony from unlikely sources.

Authorities have been tipped off to one suspected Nazi by his wife's lover, one investigator told Reuters.

``I think there are more,'' said Victor Ramos, head of the government's anti-discrimination unit INADI, which was launched in January and is hunting down Nazi war criminals. ``We're investigating several leads. I expect to have some results soon.''

Asked about the gravity of their alleged crimes, Ramos would only say: ``They are all serious -- genocide.''

After decades of inaction, Argentine authorities arrested and extradited two men for war crimes in recent years. But both were found not by government agents, but by television crews.

Former Nazi captain Erich Priebke found refuge after the war in the picturesque Andean resort town Bariloche, where he ran a hotel and German community school.

NAZI WAS RESPECTED HOTELIER IN ARGENTINA

Highly respected in Bariloche, Priebke was extradited to Italy in 1995 for participating in the 1944 massacre of 335 men and boys at the Ardeatine Caves south of Rome, considered Italy's worst World War Two atrocity. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment and has appealed the conviction.

Earlier this year authorities arrested Croatian concentration camp chief Dinko Sakic and extradited him to Zagreb for alleged war crimes committed at the Jasenovac camp under the Ustasha puppet regime from 1942 to 1944.

Argentina was the hiding place of Adolf Eichmann, the Holocaust architect kidnapped by Israeli intelligence agents in 1960 and subsequently hung for crimes against humanity. It also provided refuge to concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele, the ``Angel of Death.''

They came in a wave of 40,000 German post-war emigrants attracted by President Juan Peron's open-door policy.

Some historians suggest Peron and his wife Eva had fascist sympathies and hired Nazis to help develop the arms industry.

Sakic said the Perons helped him settle in Argentina.

The local Jewish community group DAIA says government files reveal that Argentine hostility against the Jews was so great during the war that the country's customs chief had a Nazi war criminal, Pierre Daye, as an advisor.

Now, more than 50 years later, officials are racing against the clock as ageing Nazis die off.

``Time is on their side,'' said Ramos, whose walls are decorated by a picture of him with Argentine President Carlos Menem and South African President Nelson Mandela and by Benetton advertisements featuring photographs of racial unity.

SWAPPING INFORMATION WITH COUNTRIES

Argentina signed an accord with Germany, Israel and the United States earlier this year to exchange information for the capture of war criminals who may still be in hiding here.

But investigators agree the toughest job is tracing those who left Europe bound for Argentina. Many came in under false identities, some have since left Argentina and others died.

Sergio Widder, the Latin American representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which hunts Nazi criminals, believes ``a few dozen'' criminals entered Argentina after the war.

The Wiesenthal Centre has presented Argentine governments a list of 15 to 20 names of suspected criminals, mostly Croats and Lithuanians, who left for Argentina after the war. It opened an office in Argentina in 1992, when the government decided to open police and government archives on Nazis.

However, they were filled mostly with press clippings and shed no light on the existence of remaining criminals, said Widder. The archives did show that after Eichmann's capture, Argentine security forces were gripped by a ``paranoia that Israeli agents were everywhere.''

Last year the government created the independent Committee to Clarify Nazi Activities in Argentina and it is expected to produce a final report next year.

``Never before was there the opportunity to investigate seriously,'' Widder said. ``Only now are people working on this.''

PERHAPS 20 CRIMINALS ARRIVED IN ARGENTINA

One member of the independent committee, former economy minister Roberto Alemann, estimates that about 120 Nazis entered the country after the war and perhaps 20 of them from Germany, Belgium, France and elsewhere were war criminals.

Alemann, whose family runs a German-language newspaper in Argentina which came under attack from Hitler's regime for being anti-Nazi, reckons there are ``very few'' chances of finding criminals alive.

Last March the independent committee asked for arrest warrants for three alleged Nazi war criminals: Fridolin Guth, Friedrich Rauch, an ex-SS officer, and Erich Mueller, who worked for Joseph Goebbels.

But Goebbels' wartime press aide, Wilfred Von Oven, said in a recent interview that Mueller lived openly in Argentina until his death five or six years ago and that Rauch died six months ago in Austria at 90. He said he did not know Guth.

The hunt takes on greater significance for Argentina as Buenos Aires is home to one of the world's largest Jewish communities -- estimated at between 200,000 and 250,000.

It has suffered two serious attacks, one bomb killing 29 people at the Israeli embassy in 1992 and another blast killing 86 at the AMIA Jewish community centre in 1994.

Neither crime has been solved, provoking criticism from Israel and Jewish communities around the world.

``There are surely still people who are responsible,'' Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Aviran said in an interview. ``It may be that they are sardines and not the big fish. But if there is someone, he must pay.''

His insistence on that during a recent trip to Bariloche angered the town council there, where Priebke lived openly. It asked the government to summon Aviran to explain his comments that more Nazis lived among them.

``For 50 years they converted themselves into good citizens,'' Aviran said. ``But who can forgive them? I can't forgive them.''


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


TOP

Vienna lays foundation stone of Holocaust memorial
11:32 a.m. Sep 28, 1998 Eastern

VIENNA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Vienna on Monday laid the foundation stone of a memorial to city's Jews killed in the Holocaust after a delay of two years due to political infighting.

Construction of the memorial on the small baroque Judenplatz, or Jew's Square, in the heart of the Austrian capital came to a standstill in 1996 when excavation work uncovered the remains of a mediaeval synagogue.

Dozens of Jews and their rabbi committed suicide in 1421 in the ``Or Sarua'' temple to escape forced conversions by the Catholic church.

Leaders of Vienna's small Jewish community protested that the planned memorial -- a white concrete block by British artist Rachel Whiteread -- was redundant as the ruins of the synagogue spoke for themselves.

Now both constructions will coexist as a museum chronicling the persecution of Jews in Vienna. An estimated 65,000 Austrian Jews died in the Holocaust.


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


TOP

Croats say slurs against Stepinac are an insult
07:38 a.m. Sep 28, 1998 Eastern

By Caroline Smith

ZAGREB, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Croatian officials say a Nazi-hunting organisation was wrong to ask the Pope to postpone beatification of a controversial World War Two archbishop and say suggestions he collaborated with the Nazis are an insult.

Pope John Paul II will visit Croatia next weekend when he will beatify Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac -- the penultimate step in the Roman Catholic church before sainthood.

But the ceremony has rekindled a long-standing dispute about the role Stepinac played during the reign of the Nazi-backed Ustashe regime in Croatia from 1941-45.

While Croats now venerate him, during 50 years of communism Stepinac was officially branded as a collaborator of the brutal regime which murdered tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, gypsies and anti-fascist Croats.

On Friday the Simon Wiesenthal centre asked the Vatican to wait until historians had further studied the case because of religious sensitivities in the former Yugoslavia.

But Vatican sources said it was ``impossible'' plans would be changed at such short notice. Church scholars had carefully studied Stepinac and decided he should be beatified, they said.

Jure Radic, the Croatian government minister in charge of preparations for the papal visit, described the demand as ``improper'' during a weekend visit to a site for a mass to be celebrated by Pope John Paul II near Split.

``The church has its standards and its code of conduct. The beatification is not a secular procedure but (something) determined by thousands of examples through almost 2000 years.

Radic told Hina news agency that, as a believer, he was ``insulted by such an attitude from anyone who puts into question the saintliness of Cardinal Stepinac, who was a model and pillar of faith among the Croatian people.''

Juraj Batelja, a Croatian promoter of Stepinac's cause who has studied him since 1979, said it was ``a pure lie'' that the archbihop collaborated with the Germans.

``The Nazi service sent reports to its command in Berlin about Stepinac as a 'Germanophobe'.

``There was not a single bishop or politician in Europe who defended the freedom and honour of the human being, so openly denouncing from the pulpit the...Nazi, fascist and communist ideology,'' Batelja told daily Vjesnik on Monday.

A prominent member of Zagreb's Jewish community, Mihael Montiljo, told Reuters he believed the issue ``was not black and white'' but would not say whether he thought Stepinac should or should not be beatified.

There was firm evidence Stepinac had saved the lives of Jews, ``though if he could have done more, that's another question...Maybe the truth is in the middle,'' Montiljo said.

A decree signed by the Pope in July declared Stepinac died as a ``martyr for the faith'' while under house arrest in 1960.

In 1945 Yugoslav communists sentenced him to 16 years of hard labour for supporting the Ustashe regime. His sentence was later changed to house arrest, under which he died in 1960.

Roman Catholics maintain his trial was farce and his burial place in Zagreb cathedral has been a place of prayers since his death.


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


TOP

Austria to evaluate state's debt to Nazi victims
12:25 p.m. Sep 29, 1998 Eastern

VIENNA, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Austria set up an independent commission on Tuesday to investigate the claims of Austrian victims of the Nazi Holocaust, the Chancellor's office said in a statement.

The commission will investigate and report on dispossesions made by the government during the Nazi occupation and on payments made by the republic of Austria since 1945.

An estimated 65,000 Austrian Jews died in the Holocaust.


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


TOP

Calif. governor signs laws to aid Holocaust survivors
06:17 p.m Sep 29, 1998 Eastern

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept 29 (Reuters) - Saying it was time to speed up justice for survivors of the Holocaust, California Gov. Pete Wilson on Tuesday signed two bills aimed at helping survivors and their heirs recover insurance claims and other assets.

``Of course, nothing can atone for the magnitude and depravity of the Holocaust,'' Wilson said as he signed two bills on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

``But something can be done for the survivors and their families. Well-deserved attention has been brought to bear in recent years to the economic losses suffered by survivors of the Holocaust -- losses arising from thievery and pillage and also from the deliberate refusal by banks and insurers to honour just claims.''

The California Department of Insurance believes there are between 6,000 and 18,000 people in California who could potentially benefit from insurance policies bought in Europe between 1920 and 1945. The numbers are based on information received from the Holocaust Museum in Washington.

This month, just weeks after the two biggest Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion to Holocaust survivors to compensate them for unreturned wartime assets, four major European insurance companies signed an agreement to compensate Holocaust victims who held policies at the firms.

Some insurers are still reluctant to pay, however, and will be targeted by a bill approved by Wilson on Tuesday which appropriates $4 million to help claimants track and press their claims.

Under the bill, written by state Sen. Tom Hayden, Democrat of Los Angeles, any insurer that keeps refusing to pay a legitimate claim by a Holocaust survivor will loose its license to do business in California.

``I want to thank Gov. Wilson for signing (this bill),'' said Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush, calling the law a potent tool against ``recalcitrant insurers who foot-drag or balk in settling the claims of Holocaust survivors and heirs.''

The other bill approved Tuesday, by state Senator Jim Brulte, Republican of Rancho Cucamonga, exempts proceeds from those Holocaust settlements from California state income taxes.

``Imagine fighting a long, hard struggle to recoup what is rightfully yours ... and then being presented with a burdensome tax bill,'' Wilson said. ``That is indeed an Orwellian absurdity.''

Brulte's bill excuses Holocaust survivors or their heirs from paying state income tax on any restitution received from Swiss banks or European insurance companies.

It is similar to a state law that makes reparations to Japanese-Americans interned during the Second World War exempt from state taxes.


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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Polish WW2 slave labourers urge swift compensation
11:56 a.m. Sep 30, 1998 Eastern

VIENNA, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Poles forced to work as slave labourers in Austria by the Nazis called on Wednesday for compensation to be paid swiftly while they are still alive.

Jacek Turczynski, president of the Polish-German Reconciliation Foundation, said some 20,000 survivors of Austrian concentration camps and labour camps live in Poland today, most aged over 70 and many of them ill and poor.

``Their slave labour helped many Austrian firms that still exist today to their success,'' Turczynski told a news conference in Vienna. ``The unresolved problem of slave labour is a black mark on Europe's conscience.''

A delegation including former slave labourers called on the Austrian government and companies which had exploited them to set up a compensation fund which should quickly pay 35,000 schillings ($2,787) to each survivor.

It would prefer to avoid lengthy court proceedings.

``We are standing at the threshold of death,'' said Polish parlamentarian and wartime internee Miroslaw Podsiadlo.

In the years following Austria's annexation by Adolf Hitler's Third Reich in 1938, some 150,000 Poles were deported to Austria and forced to work in wartime factories or as farm labourers.

Turczynski said 400 Austrian companies had exploited the Polish prisoners during World War Two.

Earlier this month U.S. attorney Edward Fagan threatened Austrian banks, insurance companies and industry with lawsuits if they did not pay compensation to Holocaust victims.

Austria on Tuesday set up an independent commission to investigate the claims of Austrian victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

($1-12.56 Schilling)


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.


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Outdated German citizenship laws to be reformed
10:06 a.m. Sep 30, 1998 Eastern

By Tom Heneghan

BONN, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Germany's blood-based citizenship law, an anachronism blamed for discrimination against native- born ``foreigners,'' can be reformed soon after the new government takes over, a senior Social Democrat said on Wednesday.

Otto Schily, tipped to become interior minister under newly elected SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, said his party wanted to modernise the 1913 law that confers citizenship automatically only to children born of German parents.

``We can get that going fairly quickly,'' he told ARD TV.

Both the SPD and their future Greens coalition partners have campaigned for years for a modern citizenship law, arguing the old rules barred many of the seven million foreigners here -- especially the two million Turks -- from integrating.

The SPD position has been more cautious than that of the Greens, for whom citizenship reform is a high priority, but the signal from Schily appeared to be the green light for this major change in modern German society.

Many Turkish families originally came as ``guest workers'' in the 1960s but have since settled permanently. Their locally born children and grandchildren speak German better than Turkish and feel part of a multicultural society here.

But they are officially outsiders and are barred from many state jobs. Long-established Turkish families became targets for neo-Nazi firebombing attacks in the turbulent early 1990s.

Schily said the SPD would not insist applicants give up their foreign passports to become German citizens.

``That should not be a hurdle to integration,'' he said.

Unsure about Germany's commitment to integrating them, many foreigners have until now refused to cut off all ties to their ancestors' country.

The SPD and Greens positions differ on how soon to grant citizenship. The SPD would allow it for third generation immigrants -- those with at least one parent born in Germany -- while the Greens would give it to second generation residents.

They also want to shorten the 15-year residency minimum now required for foreigners wanting to be naturalised.

The 1913 law is so out of step with life in modern Germany that Kohl's liberal Free Democrat (FDP) coalition partner and even some of his own Christian Democrat (CDU) deputies agreed it should be changed.

But the issue was a red flag to the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), Kohl's Bavarian allies, and they used their leverage to ensure no change was ever made.

Under pressure from far-right parties chanting ``foreigners out,'' CSU populists refused to consider any liberalisation and even proposed taking away residency permits from foreigners who could not pass German language tests.

Kohl has for years insisted Germany is not a country of immigration, despite the fact that about nine percent of the population is listed as foreign.

In March, his coalition voted down a reform law proposed by the upper house of parliament, where the SPD has a majority.

Apart from pandering to popular fears of strangers, the CDU and CSU have strong political reasons to fear a liberalisation that could suddenly give a few million people the vote.

A recent opinion poll among Turks in Berlin showed 70 percent would vote for the SPD and 16 percent for the Greens.

Granting foreigners citizenship ``would amount to permanent electoral fraud against the present German people,'' charged a report by the CSU parliamentary group in Bonn that estimated the total of new voters at up to 4.2 million.

``This is a brazen attempt to put a 'red-green' majority in place for decades in Germany by creating a mass of new voters,'' it said.


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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Report: Marvel Comics Pulls Slur Issue

Thursday, October 1, 1998; 8:10 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Marvel Comics has recalled a best-selling issue that contained an anti-Semitic slur, the New York Post reported today.

The latest issue of ``Wolverine,'' which went on sale Wednesday, includes a scene in which a character refers to an adversary as ``the kike known as Sabretooth.''

The comic book was released on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. It should have read ``the killer known as Sabretooth,'' Marvel spokeswoman Maryanne Caruso told the newspaper.

``It was a grave mistake,'' she said. ``We're very, very sorry it happened and we're taking measures to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.'' She blamed the slur on ``human error.''

The company discovered the slur on Tuesday, when it was reviewing an advanced copy of the issue, Caruso said. But by that time, copies had been sent to retailers.

Marvel recalled the issue immediately, she said. More than 250,000 were printed and half were on the way back on Wednesday, Caruso said.

In June, rival DC Comics was criticized for a comic that featured Superman taking on the horrors of the Holocaust, but omitted the word ``Jew'' from the story.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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2nd Wife of Anne Frank's Dad Dies

Friday, October 2, 1998; 5:35 p.m. EDT

LONDON (AP) -- Elfriede Frank, who married the father of Anne Frank and helped him publicize his daughter's best-selling wartime diary, has died in London, the Anne Frank Educational Trust said Friday. She was 93.

Mrs. Frank, known as Fritzi, died peacefully in her sleep overnight Thursday, said the trust's executive director, Gillian Walnes. She did not give a cause of death.

After World War II, Mrs. Frank helped Otto Frank establish the Anne Frank House in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, and was a patron of the Anne Frank Educational Trust UK.

Elfriede Markovits was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1905. She fled to the Netherlands with her first husband, Erich Geiringer, and their two children, Heinz and Eva, in 1938, after Adolf Hitler annexed the country into Nazi Germany. The family settled in Amsterdam opposite the Frank family, where Eva become friends with Anne.

Like the Frank family, the Geiringers went into hiding in July 1942, after receiving a summons to be transported to a work camp in Germany. They were betrayed 23 months later and sent to Auschwitz, where Elfriede's husband and son died. She and her daughter survived and were liberated by the Russians in January 1945.

On a train returning Auschwitz survivors to the Netherlands after the war, Eva recognized Otto Frank and introduced him to her mother. Frank was the sole survivor from his family.

``They helped each other come to terms with their losses. Fritzi was one of the people Otto consulted as to whether to publish Anne's diaries,'' said Walnes.

The diary, which chronicled how Anne and her family hid in a secret annex behind a movable bookcase in a house along an Amsterdam canal, was published in 1947 and became a modern literary classic and inspired numerous books, films and a hit Broadway musical.

The couple were married in November 1953 and settled in Basel, Switzerland.

A large part of their life after the war was spent informing the world of the horrors of the Holocaust and Anne's life in Amsterdam. After Otto's death in August 1980, Mrs. Frank continued their work alone.

``She carried on correspondence with children all over the world. She continued that correspondence right into old age, until about 3 or 4 years ago,'' Walnes said.

Mrs. Frank is survived by her daughter and three granddaughters, all of whom live in Britain.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Pope Beatifies Croatian Cardinal

By Victor L. Simpson
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, October 3, 1998; 1:25 p.m. EDT

MARIJA BISTRICA, Croatia (AP) -- Declaring him a martyr of the faith, Pope John Paul II on Saturday honored Croatia's World War II cardinal, a hero to Roman Catholics, but long a symbol of divisions in the Balkans.

Half a million people watched with delight and gratitude as John Paul beatified Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, elevating him to the last step before possible sainthood, in Marija Bistrica, a leading Croatian shrine to the Virgin Mary.

John Paul appealed to a country that has suffered from war and ethnic divisions ``to forgive and reconcile and to purify one's memory of hatred'' and ``the desire for revenge.''

The pope said Stepinac ``having endured in his own body and his own spirit the atrocities of the communist system is now entrusted to the memory of his fellow countrymen with the radiant badge of martyrdom.''

Later Saturday, the pontiff met Croatian President Franjo Tudjman at his palace in the capital Zagreb. Government officials and foreign ambassadors, including Veljko Knezevic, the ambassador of Serb-led Yugoslavia, were also present to greet John Paul.

Stepinac was hailed as a hero by Catholics for his resistance to communism and refusal to separate the Croatian church from the Vatican. But his beatification is controversial because many Serbs and Jews accuse him of sympathizing with the Nazis.

While serving as Zagreb's archbishop in 1941, Stepinac supported Croatia's German-backed fascist puppet government led by dictator Ante Pavelic. By 1942, however, Stepinac denounced the regime's genocidal policies, which led to the extermination of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and Croat opponents.

He died at 62 in 1960 while under house arrest following his conviction on charges of collaborating with the Nazis. Stepinac's own notes and recent studies say he spoke out against the atrocities, and worked to save lives, but many Serbs still consider him a war criminal.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a U.S.-based Nazi-hunting group, also had asked the Vatican to postpone the beatification pending further study of the cardinal's actions, although some local Jews defended Stepinac.

John Paul addressed the criticism in his homily, quoting from a 1943 speech by the cardinal condemning injustices and the killing of innocents. He said Stepinac's figure summed up ``the whole tragedy which befell the Croatian people and Europe in the course of this century marked by the three great evils of fascism, national socialism and communism.''

``He is now in the joy of heaven, surrounded by those who, like him, fought the good fight, purifying their faith in the crucible of suffering,'' said John Paul, speaking from an altar before a 15-foot high portrait of Stepinac.

A silver box, containing a relic of the cardinal -- a finger -- was placed under the portrait.

The pope, who battled communism in his own Polish homeland, stressed Stepinac's treatment by Yugoslavia's communist regime after the war, saying the last 15 years of his life ``were a continual succession of trials.''

About 80 percent of Croatia's 4.7 million population is Catholic, and the Vatican looks at the country as a Catholic bastion in the Balkans, amid Orthodox Christians and Muslims.

Croatia was a part of communist-run Yugoslavia until 1991, when it proclaimed independence. The Vatican was one of the first states to recognize its independence.

The secession of Croatia, and later of neighboring Bosnia, led to bloody wars in which tens of thousands of people were killed.

It is John Paul's second visit to Croatia, following a 1994 pilgrimage.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Germany pays $122 bln in reparations - newspaper
08:06 a.m. Oct 03, 1998 Eastern

BONN, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Germany has paid more than 200 billion marks ($122 billion) in reparations to Jews and other Nazi victims, a report released on Saturday said.

The Welt am Sonntag newspaper, in an article to be published on Sunday, said the figures were based on calculations by the German finance ministry.

It said around half of the money had come from public funds and had gone mostly to Israel and to Jews who survived the Holocaust, in which six million European Jews were systematically killed.

``At the moment 1.25 billion marks each year goes to around 106,000 pension payments,'' it said. These were expected to cost another 24 billion marks over coming years.

Another 100 billion marks has been paid out in compensation for war damages.

Welt am Sonntag said German firms had to date paid about 75 million marks in compensation to wartime slave labourers.

Holocaust survivors are claiming billions of dollars in compensation from German firms in class-action law suits in the United States.

Some have now agreed to set up a compensation fund.

Germany's Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroeder, who defeated Chancellor Helmut Kohl in last Sunday's election, adheres to Kohl's view that the state should not pay into any new compensation fund with German business.

($1-1.636 Mark)


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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Jewish Leader Doubtful of Memorial

Tuesday, October 6, 1998; 4:38 p.m. EDT

DRESDEN, Germany (AP) -- The head of Germany's Central Council of Jews said he no longer expects a planned Holocaust Memorial to be built in Berlin because Chancellor Helmut Kohl lost his re-election bid.

Kohl, defeated in the Sept. 28 elections by the leftist Social Democrats and chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroeder, was the project's staunchest backer.

``I believe a decision has been made,'' Jewish leader Ignatz Bubis said in an interview published Tuesday in the Dresden-based Saechsische Zeitung.

Ten days before the election, Bubis told Der Tagesspiegel newspaper in Berlin that if Kohl lost, there would be no memorial.

But Volker Beck, a member of the environmental Greens party that is expected to form a government coalition with the Social Democrats, said in a statement from Bonn that the memorial issue was still alive. He said backing out of the project would lead to international criticism.

``A decision on a memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe has not been made. It would be false to give up the discussion,'' Beck said.

Kohl last month backed off his pledge to push ahead with the memorial before the elections, saying he didn't want it to become a campaign issue.

Schroeder has said he is not against the memorial in principle, but wasn't sure whether the chosen site and the scale of the project are appropriate.

The leading design, by U.S. architect Peter Eisenman, envisions a labyrinth of 2,700 pillars resembling a cemetery. Critics complain it is too monumental and wrong for the site, just south of the historic Brandenburg Gate.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Le Pen Cleared For Trial, Makes Dachau Jibe
11:57 a.m. Oct 06, 1998 Eastern

By Janet McEvoy

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to lift the immunity of French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, clearing the way for him to face trial in Germany for alleged anti-Jewish comments.

Le Pen, the flamboyant leader of the anti-immigrant National Front party, told France 2 television he would appear before a Munich court on condition that ``I will not be immediately sent to Dachau or Buchenwald'' -- two former Nazi concentration camps.

The assembly voted by 420 to 20 with six abstentions in favor of a request from Bavarian state prosecutor Helmut Meyer-Staude to let Le Pen go to trial for alleged remarks reportedly referring to the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis as a ``mere detail'' of history.

Le Pen stood up and bowed to the assembly and made a dismissive wave as the result of the vote was announced.

``I didn't build the gas chambers -- it was the fathers, uncles and grandfathers of my German colleagues here who did,'' he told France 2.

Asked if he would appear before the Munich court seeking to try him, he said: ``My condition is that they guarantee I will not be immediately sent to Dachau or Buchenwald.''

The two former concentration camps, near Munich and Weimar respectively, maintain museums where German school children are regularly brought to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust.

It was the third time the EU assembly had lifted Le Pen's immunity and the seventh time it had been requested.

Pauline Green, leader of the majority Socialist Group in the assembly, said it was only the second time the Parliament had responded to a request from the authorities of one EU member state to lift the immunity of a deputy from another.

The remarks were allegedly made by Le Pen at the Munich launch of the biography ``Le Pen the Rebel'' written by a German right-wing extremist.

It is illegal in Germany to trivialize or deny the Holocaust. The maximum sentence for the offence known as the Auschwitz lie is five years in jail and a stiff fine.

In a parliamentary debate Monday Le Pen said he had neither denied nor trivialized the Holocaust.

``Why should a statement 'gas chambers are a detail of the history of the Second World War' be a criminal negation? I have never denied the existence of the gas chambers, nor have I minimized the subject,'' he told the assembly Monday.

Green told a news conference just ahead of the vote that Le Pen's views on the Holocaust were ``totally unacceptable to those of us in this Parliament given that this Parliament was born on the ashes of the Holocaust.''

In a separate case a French court convicted Le Pen earlier this year of assaulting a French Socialist woman politician and stripped him of his civil rights for two years.

The decision by the Versailles court could mean Le Pen being ineligible to run in next year's European elections.

Speaking to French TF1 television, Le Pen said he wanted some kind of diplomatic immunity to travel to Germany for any trial appearance.

``I know there are thousands of people in prisons in Germany for expressing their opinions,'' he said.

A French Socialist member of the European Parliament, Olivier Duhamel, said the fact a German court was pursuing Le Pen for denying the Holocaust was a new twist in his long history of run-ins with the legal system.

``This knocks down the National Front argument that Le Pen is the victim of judicial harassment in France for electoral and political reasons,'' he said.

``Le Pen presents no electoral threat in Germany (but) the laws are the same.''


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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French Politician Holds Ground

Wednesday, October 7, 1998; 2:44 p.m. EDT

PARIS (AP) -- French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen hinted Wednesday he would not show up for a German trial on charges he trivialized the Holocaust.

``I'm not normally very keen on obeying orders and never when they come from abroad,'' Le Pen, head of the National Front party, told the all-news television channel LCI.

The European Parliament on Tuesday stripped Le Pen's immunity from prosecution so a German court can try him for his remarks last year at a Munich news conference. Le Pen referred to Nazi gas chambers as a ``detail in the history of the Second World War.''

Le Pen could face a maximum of five years in jail if convicted under the German law making it a criminal offense to trivialize the Holocaust.

Chief prosecutor Manfred Wick said his office will open an investigation into Le Pen's comments as soon as it has been formally notified of the decision of the European Parliament, where Le Pen is a deputy.

Under German law, members of the European Parliament cannot be prosecuted unless the 626-member assembly votes for a lifting of immunity.

Le Pen has often been accused of racism or anti-Semitism, and been taken to court on numerous occasions, winning some court fights and losing others.

In the interview, Le Pen continued to claim he is a victim, saying his words were twisted.

``The German prosecutor had to falsify (my) sentence,'' Le Pen said, so that it corresponds to the legal definition of what is referred to as negationism -- denying the Holocaust took place.

Le Pen has already been convicted and fined in France for referring to the gas chambers as a ``detail in history.''

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Poland seeks return of Stalinist official from UK
04:10 p.m Oct 08, 1998 Eastern

WARSAW, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Poland has summoned a Stalinist-era prosecutor, now a British citizen, to answer charges related to the execution of a World War Two hero after a 1952 show trial, a military prosecutor said on Thursday.

Helena Wolinska, 79, is suspected of failing to follow arrest rules and keeping August Emil Fieldorf, a general in the Polish ``Home Army'' which resisted Nazi German occupation, in jail without charge for more than 14 days, Colonel Tadeusz Krysicki told Reuters.

``The accusation is that she arrested General Fieldorf without presenting formal charges against him,'' Krysicki said.

Fieldorf, alias Nil, was purged by the post-war communist authorities at the urging of the Soviet Union because the Home Army had helped foster a spirit of independence among Poles resentful of Soviet domination after 1945.

Krysicki said Wolinska had confirmed receipt of the summons and was due to respond officially by October 15. If she failed to reply, the prosecutor's office would apply for extradition from Britain, he said.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, son of the former Polish foreign minister of the same name, said Wolinska had moved to Oxford after she fled Poland in 1968 to escape an anti-semitic campaign waged by the communist authorities.

Bartoszewski said Wolinska was responsible for keeping his father, a renowned dissident, in prison without charge for 18 months in the 1940s.

Sources in the former dissident movement said Wolinska was responsible for hundreds of arrests and had lost her job in 1956 when a new, milder leadership began to criticise the excesses of the previous years.

Fieldorf, a former deputy commander of Poland's underground resistance army, was arrested in November 1951 and executed on February 24, 1953 as punishment for allegedly trying to overthrow the Polish state.

In 1989 the Polish prosecutor-general cleared him of the charges on which he was executed.

Proceedings were launched against Maria Gurowska, the judge who sentenced him, but she died before the case could come to court. It is not clear whether any of the other people involved are still alive.

Poland has already convicted some secret police officials for crimes committed when the local communist authorities were under the tight grip of the Soviet Union's leader Josef Stalin, who died in 1953.


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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Vatican Holocaust files incomplete--Jewish memoir
10:31 a.m. Oct 09, 1998 Eastern

By Tom Heneghan

PARIS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Published wartime Vatican records detailing the Catholic Church's role during the Holocaust omit a key document showing Pope Pius XII knew Jews were being slaughtered as early as March 1942, a new book said on Friday.

The Vatican's authorised 11-volume history, the most it has released to date, leaves out a World Jewish Congress (WJC) telegram revealing the use of gas chambers to exterminate Jews, according to the just-published memoirs of Gerhart Riegner.

The Vatican clearly received the secret cable because the official history includes the note sent with it from the papal nuncio in Berne, Switzlerland, Riegner writes.

The Catholic Church has long defended its wartime leader Pius XII against critics who say he did not speak out enough against the Holocaust, but has until now refused to open its archives fully to prove he did all he could to stop it.

The official history, written in the 1960s by four Jesuit historians with access to the Holy See's secret files, was said at the time to contain everything of interest about the issue.

``Copies of this memorandum exist in different archives, but very curiously, they are not in the 11 volumes of diplomatic documents published by the Vatican,'' Riegner, now 87, wrote in the book Ne Jamais Desesperer (Never Lost Hope).

``The omission of this memorandum...is regrettable because it shows the Vatican had detailed information about the extent of anti-Jewish persecution relatively early, only about six weeks after the Wannsee conference.''

At the Wannsee Conference of January 1942, chaired by Nazi security chief Reinhard Heydrich, senior Nazi officials worked out the details of the ``Final Solution'' to exterminate the Jews.

Riegner, a Jew who fled his native Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933, used his post as head of the WJC office in Geneva during the Second World War to collect information about the fate of European Jews and inform the outside world about it.

In his memoirs, published in French by Les Editions du Cerf, he wrote that he sent his memorandum to the Vatican through Monsignor Filippe Bernardini, the papal nuncio in Berne.

His informant, a Jewish source in Zurich who knew a senior German industrialist with detailed knowledge of the Nazis' plans, said the Germans planned to kill up to four million Jews with prussic acid, a key element in the Zyklon B gas used in concentration camp gas chambers.

Riegner sent similar messages to Washington and London, only to be told by the U.S. State Department that the Allies could not act on it ``because of its unsubstantiated character.''

By that time, he noted, the Nazis had already rounded up Jews for deportation from Germany and occupied Austria and Czechoslovakia. Round-ups in occupied France, Belgium and Netherlands began in August 1942.

Riegner wrote that the omission of his telegram from the Vatican's published records was curious since those volumes included a WJC note thanking the Vatican for pressuring Slovakia into easing its anti-Jewish persecution.

The missing document had asked the Vatican to intervene in countries where it had special influence. The wartime Nazi puppet state in Slovakia was led by a Catholic priest, Jozef Tiso, and Riegner said Vatican pressure on him helped stop deportations of Jews to concentration camps.

``The Germans must have been furious and the deportations resumed less than a year later,'' Riegner wrote.

``There is no trace in the documents published by the Holy See of any intervention in other countries,'' he said. ``Probably nothing was attempted in Croatia. Whatever was undertaken in Romania appears to have taken place because of local initiatives.''


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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Lithuania WWII Survivors Home Opens

Friday, October 9, 1998; 2:15 p.m. EDT

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) -- As part of a German-funded compensation program, the first in a series of retirement homes for Holocaust survivors opened Friday in Lithuania.

The center, which has 30 two-room apartments, a dining room and a doctor's office, was paid for by a German government fund.

During Germany's 1941-44 occupation, over 90 percent of Lithuania's 240,000 Jews were killed -- one of the highest rates in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Today, fewer than 1,000 Holocaust survivors remain in Lithuania.

After Lithuania became independent in 1991, Jewish groups began lobbying for compensation similar to that provided by Germany to Jews living in the West and in Israel.

But while many Lithuanian Jews called for direct cash payments, Bonn refused, opting instead to spend about $1.2 million building health care facilities like the new retirement home.

Some Jewish leaders in Lithuania have criticized the program, saying many elderly Jews prefer living on their own or with their families and so would not benefit from the compensation package.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Canonization of Stein Angers Many

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Associated Press Writer
Friday, October 9, 1998; 1:58 p.m. EDT

ROME (AP) -- Edith Stein, the Orthodox Jew-turned-Catholic nun whom Pope John Paul II is elevating to sainthood on Sunday, once offered her life in atonement for the sins of her ``unbelieving'' people.

Today, those words of Stein, who was killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, make Catholics as uncomfortable as they make Jews angry.

Church officials avoid mentioning them while they prepare for the canonization of the German-born convert who embodied the conflicts and contradictions facing John Paul's papacy as it tries to come to terms with the Holocaust, and with Jews.

In 1933, Stein herself appealed to Pope Pius XI to speak out against the Nazis. Pius failed to respond; Jewish groups since have condemned him and his successor, Pius XII, for failing to say more.

Yet when Catholic bishops of the Netherlands spoke out nine years later, the Nazis retaliated by shipping Stein and other converts from Judaism to Catholicism to Auschwitz. Many Catholics say that's the very kind of retaliation the Vatican would have risked had it been more outspoken.

In Rome this week, posters heralding Sunday's ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica are taped up in churches. The woman in them stares out of a sepia photo, her eyes gleaming, intelligent, unreadable.

``Edith Stein,'' the lettering says about the oval of a face under a nun's wimple.

The name Stein chose in the church -- ``Teresa, Blessed of the Cross'' -- appears almost as an afterthought.

Jewish leaders loudly protested Stein's 1987 beatification, saying her martyrdom was not the Catholic church's to claim.

Her canonization approached far more quietly. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has concentrated its objections on the Oct. 3 beatification of Alojzije Stepinac, a Croatian cardinal whose detractors accuse him of collaboration with a Nazi-backed government.

``For us, these two steps taken by the Vatican should give us cause to reflect on the damage inflicted upon us by the two major scourges of the 20th century in Jewish terms: anti-Semitism and assimilation,'' said Ephraim Zuroff of the Wiesenthal center's office in Israel.

``And it's unfortunate that people whose lives represented those two phenomena are being canonized by the Catholic church,'' Zuroff said.

Born on Yom Kippur into an Orthodox Jewish family, Stein was an atheist before she joined the Catholic church in 1922. Prior to her conversion, she built a reputation in the phenomenology school of philosophy said to be important to the current pope.

Stein credited Catholicism with leading her back to appreciation of Judaism.

In 1938, Kristallnacht, the three-day Nazi attack on Jews and Jewish institutions in Germany, made clear the danger in Germany. Stein fled to Holland with her sister, Rosa, who also had followed her into Catholicism.

Once there, she wrote the spiritual last will and testament required of Carmelite nuns. In it, she offered her life ``for the sins of the unbelieving people, so the Lord will be accepted by his own.''

When the 1942 order came sending Holland's Jewish converts to Auschwitz, Stein took her sister by the hand. ``Come, Rosa. We're going for our people.''

Stein became one of at least five Holocaust figures whose canonization has been initiated under John Paul. That's not counting the wartime pope, Pius, also proposed for veneration.

``We see her canonization as a unique opportunity for Jews and Catholics and for reflection and reconciliation,'' said the Rev. Remi Hoeckman, secretary of the Vatican's commission for relations with Jews.

``It in no way lessens, but in reality strengthens, our need to honor the 6 million Jews who died in the Shoah,'' Hoeckman said.

As Stein's canonization approaches, he said, it would be wrong to focus exclusively on one of the most divisive aspects -- her own statement of atonement for the sins of her ``unbelieving people.'' ``Then we betray her as we were betraying the Jewish people,'' Hoeckman said.

One of the few accounts after Stein's Aug. 7, 1942, shipment to Auschwitz has a Nazi guard putting a crucial question to her: What are you?

A Catholic, she said.

The Nazi guard chose otherwise: ``You damn Jew, stand there,'' he said.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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FEATURE - Croatia bans book on war-time taboo
10:08 p.m. Oct 10, 1998 Eastern

By Davor Huic

ZAGREB, Oct 11 (Reuters) - A book dealing with one of Croatia's ultimate taboos -- its involvement in the Bosnian war -- has been banned by publishers in what intellectuals say is a denial of free speech.

The government-funded organisation Matica Hrvatska refused at the last minute to print Branko Matan's ``Homeland is a Difficult Question,'' his intimate diary from the early 1990s, because of the photograph he chose to grace its back cover.

Matan has become the latest in a line of independent intellectuals to be silenced by President Franjo Tudjman's right-wing government.

The picture shows an emaciated prisoner of war who has just been released from a Bosnian Croat-run prison camp at Dretelj, where the local Croat militia held hundreds of Moslems in harsh conditions in the summer of 1993.

Its striking resemblance to famous pictures of Moslem detainees in Serb camps suggests that what Croats did to Moslems during their 1993-94 war was similar to the Serbs' behaviour. It also has eerie echoes of the unforgettable images of Nazi prison camps.

In a statement explaining the move, Matica said authors do not have exclusive rights to choose the cover designs of their books, adding that it would not allow its publications to be edited by the public.

In the same breath, Matica sacked Matan and a colleague as executive editors of its cultural magazine ``Vijenac,'' triggering protests from journalists and intellectuals.

Matica said it was breaking off ``professional cooperation'' with Matan because of a ``series of incorrectnesses'' on his part. Matan said the simmering dispute had intensified during the last few months after he wrote two articles critical of Tudjman.

``Matica's behaviour is scandalous. Their problem is that Matan is disobedient,'' said Ivo Banac, a U.S.-based historian of Croatian descent who has had his own share of disagreements with a government that is determined to maintain its almost blanket control of the media.

QUESTION MARK OVER PUBLISHING

At a recent round table discussion, ``Vijenac'' editors won public support from the Zagreb cultural elite to move on and found their own title. But without public funding, the future of a low-circulation magazine would be at best uncertain.

The book's future is also unclear. Matan said he would look for a new publisher -- proving he was not afraid of addressing a controversial issue despite pressure from the ruling party -- but the problem, again, would be financing the project.

``Publishing in Croatia is in a catastrophic situation,'' he told Reuters in an interview. ``There are about 2,500 new titles per year, while other countries of a similar size have much more. We're scraping the bottom in Europe.''

The introduction of a blanket 22 percent value added tax in January all but destroyed private publishing. Only publishers such as Matica, which can rely on government help, are able to prosper.

``Some people in Matica were terrified they would lose that funding -- that's why my book was stopped,'' Matan said.

The book contains the deliberations of an intellectual who, by his own admission, followed solely through the media the story of Croatia's 1991 war for independence and its subsequent military involvement in Bosnia.

``This is a suppressed theme in Croatia -- the process of coming face to face with its role in the Bosnian war has not even started yet,'' Matan said.

His ambition was not to offer any new information or insight about the war, but to raise moral issues stemming from the fact that Croatia was involved in running prisoner of war camps on the territory of a foreign country.

``The silence about the camps is turning us all into criminals,'' Matan said.

``Of all the bad things that went on in Bosnia, the camps were by far the worst. It takes deliberate planning, organisation and involves a lot of people. That's why putting people in camps is an inexcusable crime.''

While the cover page depicts Croatian volunteers going to the front line in eastern Croatia to defend their homeland from Yugoslav army aggression, the back cover symbolises the other, darker side of the war.

Croatia at first supported allied Bosnian Moslems and Croats in their fight against the Yugoslav army and local Serb forces. But it turned against the Moslems in 1993 when Tudjman saw an opportunity for Croatia and Yugoslavia to carve up Bosnia.

Western pressure brought the two sides back together in 1994, but not before Croat forces shelled the historic town of Mostar and destroyed its famous Ottoman-era bridge, detained thousands of Moslem men in camps in the mountains of Herzegovina and committed massacres in villages in central Bosnia.

``It is a fact that nothing that went on in Bosnia during the war could have happened without Zagreb knowing about it,'' Matan said.

He also criticised Croatian liberal intellectuals for failing to address the issue in public.

``It is clear why the regime won't rummage through it, but what is stopping those who do not belong to it?'' he said.

Matan said he had heard the word ``Dretelj'' mentioned in public only three times, and then only in passing, in the last six months or so.

``There is nothing on the camps in the media or the historic archives,'' he said. ``Nobody has tried to research the subject or write a book on it. There is only silence.''


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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Le Pen says Nazi gas chambers minor part of war
08:53 a.m. Oct 11, 1998 Eastern

BONN, Oct 11 (Reuters) - French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was quoted on Sunday as saying the Nazi gas chambers were worth ``at most a few lines'' in any 1,000-page long history book of World War Two.

Le Pen, who faces charges in Germany for trivialising the Holocaust, told Der Spiegel magazine he wasn't afraid to enter Germany, where prosecutors want to put him on trial for calling the Nazi murder of six million Jews a ``mere detail.''

``I don't run away from anyone on principle, but I don't have any desire to follow orders dictated to me from abroad and that violate my freedom of speech,'' Le Pen said when asked if he would avoid Germany.

``Doesn't Jean-Marie Le Pen have the right to express his views about the gas chambers?'' he added. He said he did not know of Germany's laws on trivialising the Holocaust when he made his ``detail'' remark last year.

The European Parliament, in which the flamboyant leader of France's anti-immigration National Front sits, last week voted overwhelmingly to lift his immunity. The move, at the request of prosecutors in Munich, cleared the way for a trial in Germany.

Le Pen has admitted the remark, made at the German launch of his biography last December, but denied it trivialised the Holocaust insisting that ``detail'' had another meaning in French.

``I have never denied the existence of the gas chambers,'' Le Pen told Der Spiegel. ``But if one were to write the history of World War Two in a book of 1,000 pages, there would be at most a few lines about the gas chambers.''

Le Pen said that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. commander Dwight Eisenhower and French leader Charles de Gaulle had not devoted ``a single word'' to the gas chambers in their memoirs.

It is illegal in Germany to deny or trivialise the Holocaust. The offence, known as the ``Auschwitz lie,'' is included in Germany's law against incitement to racial hatred. The maximum penalty is five years in jail and a stiff fine.


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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FEATURE - New Hitler book seeks the man in the monster
10:10 p.m. Oct 10, 1998 Eastern

By Melanie Cheary

FRANKFURT, Oct 11 (Reuters) - ``I looked everywhere for a picture of Adolf Hitler in the bath with Eva Braun. Even better, Adolf Hitler in the bath with someone else,'' quipped historian Ian Kershaw about the German dictator and his mistress.

``But sensational, new material these days is hard to find.''

Kershaw, a mild-looking English professor, was presenting his recently published biography ``Hitler 1889-1936'' at last week's Frankfurt book fair.

Speaking in German, he described years of studying both primary accounts of Nazism and the thousands of books and articles spawned by Germany's darkest days to compile an account of Hitler the man.

Fellow historians say Kershaw's biography surpasses all others in dealing with Nazism, the Holocaust and ``how could it have happened.''

It does what few would like to do -- gets into Hitler's head and under Hitler's skin.

BUT STILL NO ANSWER

Illustrated with photographs, among them Hitler hugging children and grinning with his girlfriends, the book traces the life of the failed Austrian painter from his birth to 1936, before his invasion of Europe and the outbreak of World War Two.

Kershaw is working on a second volume which will take the biography to Hitler's death in 1945.

By 1936 Hitler had control over Germany and a change occurred in the man, he said.

``He started to thoroughly believe in his own invincibility,'' Kershaw said.

The ranting, raving, fist-pounding orator who held Germany in the palm of his hand, like an emperor accepting the stiff-armed salute and frenzied cheers of millions, is only half the character to emerge from Kershaw's book.

The other is a disorganised, inert drop-out.

Kershaw emphasises he is in no way making an apology for Hitler but trying to make sense of the man held responsible for the systematic slaughter of six million Jews and millions of others.

``One can't find a newer, simpler explanation. Hitler alone does not explain Hitler. This is not meant as an apology for Hitler, but Hitler couldn't have controlled everything,'' Kershaw told reporters.

``You can't explain the radicalism of Nazism with Hitler alone. For example, Hitler was hardly involved with the (Hitler Youth) and look how it spread there. There were specific things in Germany which let it happen. You couldn't have Hitler without Nazism or Nazism without Hitler.''

Kershaw's book presents Hitler as the epicentre of Nazism but not its primary cause.

HITLER A BARRIER TO GERMAN UNDERSTANDING

The world's macabre fascination with Hitler does not end.

The recent rise of right-wing groups in the former east Germany and incidents of neo-Nazism in Europe's biggest army leave most Germans disturbed.

For them, still ridden with the guilt of their Nazi past, Hitler is a matter of great importance, Kershaw says.

He has published the biography simultaneously in English and German and says there is obviously a vast difference between its reception in the two countries.

``Hitler blocked the understanding of history in Germany. The British Empire did some awful things but it doesn't prevent us looking back. In Germany one can't look to Bismarck (who united German in the 19th century) without having Hitler in mind,'' Kershaw said.

Fellow historians hail Kershaw's use of fresh facts and astute analysis.

``This surpasses all to now: the most up-to-date facts, balanced judgment, brilliant writing -- a masterpiece,'' said Eberhard Jaeckel, author of the history ``The German Century.''


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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Pope Canonizes Jewish-Born Nun

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Associated Press Writer
Monday, October 12, 1998; 2:18 a.m. EDT

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Declaring a martyr of Auschwitz to be the first Jewish-born saint of the modern era, Pope John Paul II said Catholics should mark her saint's day as an annual commemoration for all the Holocaust's murdered Jews.

The pope called Edith Stein an ``eminent daughter of Israel and a faithful daughter of the church.''

``In the martyr, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, so many differences meet and are resolved in peace,'' John Paul, using the name Stein chose when she became a nun, told the thousands filling St. Peter's Square for Sunday's canonization.

It was a ceremony filled with remarkable gestures of reconciliation: The Roman Catholic Church exerting all its ceremony, pomp and grandeur in a tribute to a woman of Jewish heritage. Relatives of Holocaust victims -- Stein's family -- sharing a dais with the leader of Germany, Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

But the conciliatory spirit was not shared by all.

In Jerusalem, an official of the Simon Wiesenthal Center protested Stein's canonization, saying Stein ``could in no way symbolize the Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust because she chose to leave Judaism.''

The official, Ephraim Zuroff, said the decision ``sends the worst possible message to Catholics all over the world -- that is, that the Jews that the Catholic Church likes the best are those who have left Judaism.''

Stein is believed to be the first Jewish-born saint since the early days of the church, said the Rev. Simion Fernandez, who advocated Stein's canonization. Incomplete records and the prevalence of conversions, voluntary and forced, make it impossible to verify the claim.

She was born into an Orthodox Jewish German family on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in 1891. An atheist, she joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1922 and later became a Carmelite nun.

In 1942, Adolf Hitler's regime ordered all the converts in the Netherlands shipped to Auschwitz to punish the Dutch bishops for speaking out against it.

Stein was offered a chance to escape deportation, the pope said, but turned it down.

``Why should I be excluded?'' he quoted her as saying. ``If I cannot share the fate of my brothers and sisters, my life is, in a certain way, destroyed.''

Stein was in a chapel praying with nuns of her order when the Nazis came to arrest her. Her sister, who had followed her into Catholicism, also was among the converts deported. They were killed at Auschwitz on Aug. 9.

``We remember all of them today with profound respect,'' said John Paul, whose voice stayed strong throughout the 2 1/2-hour ceremony.

``From now on, in celebrating the memory of our new saint, from year to year we also cannot forget the Shoah, which slowly worked at the elimination of a people, costing the lives of millions of Jewish brothers and sisters,'' the pontiff declared, using the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.

In naming Stein a saint, the church credits her with at least three miracles, one of which was her intercession almost a half-century after her death to save a toddler's life.

More than a decade ago, 2 1/2-year-old Teresia Benedicta McCarthy of Brockton, Mass., swallowed an overdose of Tylenol and suffered such severe liver damage that she was put on a priority list for a transplant. Overnight, she recovered.

Her doctor called the recovery miraculous, and the church agreed -- saying the only explanation was the prayers that the McCarthys and their friends offered to Stein.

Both Stein's family and the McCarthys had independently urged the Vatican to mark Stein's sainthood with a fuller accounting of its actions before and during the Holocaust.

The family of Stein's grandnephew, Michael Biberstein of Kensington, Calif., wrote the pope in August, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

They praised John Paul for his ``goodwill to the Jewish people'' but said the past is ``still waiting to be fully acknowledged.''

In March, the Vatican issued a long-awaited statement of regret that Catholics did not say and do more to stop Nazi persecution of Jews, but praised the conduct of Pope Pius XII, whom some accuse of failing to do enough during the war.

Improving relations with Jews has been a tenet of John Paul's papacy, as has been the creation of saints. More people have been canonized during his papacy, which reaches its 20th anniversary on Friday, than in any other.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Fate of Jehovah's Witnesses Shown

Monday, October 12, 1998; 3:19 p.m. EDT

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- The Jehovah's Witnesses opened an exhibit Monday in the eastern city of Dresden focusing on the persecution of its followers under the Nazis.

About 300 Jehovah's Witnesses were executed by the Nazis and 1,700 others died in concentration camps, said exhibit organizer Martin Jahn. More than 6,000 were jailed or sent to Nazi camps.

Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted by the Nazis largely because of their opposition to military service, Jahn said.

The exhibit, including 500 documents and diagrams, is being displayed in a former courthouse where the Nazis executed more than 1,300 Czechs, Poles and Germans. Eleven million people died during the Holocaust, including 6 million Jews.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Pope Canonizes Jewish-Born Nun; Jews Protest
12:16 a.m. Oct 12, 1998 Eastern

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Jewish leaders reacted with outrage Sunday after Pope John Paul canonized Edith Stein, a nun gassed at Auschwitz who became what the Vatican believes is the first Jewish-born Catholic saint since the time of the Apostles.

Although the Pope twinned the canonization with one of his strongest appeals to the world to guarantee that a ``bestial plan'' like the Holocaust was never repeated, Jews said the move offended the memory of the Holocaust's Jewish victims.

``It's outrageous. This is a very public slap in the face to the Jewish community,'' said Efraim Zuroff head of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Jerusalem office.

``The Pope is sending an extremely negative message to the Jewish community that in the eyes of the Catholic Church the best Jews are those that convert to Catholicism,'' he said.

The Pope's words at the ceremony before tens of thousands of people in St Peter's Square tried to soothe Jewish concerns.

The 78-year-old Pope, who spoke in a strong voice, said Stein was both ``an eminent daughter of Israel and a faithful daughter of the Church.''

He paid moving tribute to all victims of the Holocaust, saying the new saint's feast day each year would help to remind the world ``of that bestial plan to eliminate a people, which cost millions of Jewish brothers and sisters their lives.''

Although the Pope acknowledged that Stein was deported ''because she was Jewish,'' Rabbi David Rosen, director of the Anti-Defamation League's Israel office, said the Church had failed to emphasize Stein's Jewish roots.

``She wasn't killed because she was a Catholic...she was killed because she was born to Jewish parents and that is what needed to be emphasized in any statement about her death. It was not adequately emphasized,'' Rosen said.

``It is a matter for the Catholic Church, however if the Church claims, as it does, that it cares about its relationship with the Jewish people then it should be sensitive to Jewish concerns,'' he said.

The Pope issued a plea to guard against another Holocaust.

``For the love of God and man, I once again raise my voice in a heartfelt cry: never again may such a criminal act be repeated against any ethnic group, any people, any race, in any corner of the earth!'' he said.

Born at Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) in 1891, Stein became an atheist at 14. She later wrote books on philosophy and had a brilliant academic career.

She converted to Catholicism at the age of 29 and became a Carmelite nun in 1934, a year after Hitler took power.

Because of her Jewish origins she was smuggled into the Netherlands, where her superiors felt she would be safer.

The Gestapo arrested her in August, 1942 and shipped her to Auschwitz, where she was gassed on August 9 with other arrivals.

The controversy over Stein, which has been going on for several decades, boils down to one question: Was she killed because she was born a Jew or because she was a Catholic nun?

The Catholic Church said Stein was also killed because of the Dutch church's opposition to anti-Semitism, which led to a round-up of Jewish converts to Catholicism in the Netherlands.

Rosen said Stein's canonization contributed to an imbalanced portrayal of the Catholic Church's role during the Holocaust.

``There is a sense that the...Catholic Church has been portrayed exclusively as a victim of Nazi atrocities rather than as a collaborator at times,'' Rosen said.

When he beatified Stein during a trip to Germany 11 years ago, the Pope said she had died a ``Catholic Jew.''

Rabbi Daniel Farhi, head of the French Jewish Liberal Movement (MJLF), said the Pope wounded Holocaust survivors.

Tullia Zevi, former president of the Italian Jewish communities, said Stein's canonization was at best ``an ambiguous choice which could hurt dialogue between Catholics and Jews.''

A Vatican spokesman and Father Simeone Fernandez, the Carmelite historian who promoted Stein's sainthood cause, told Reuters she was believed to be Catholicism's first Jewish-born saint since the early days of Christianity.

They said, however that it was impossible to know for sure because of the number of Jews who converted during the Middle Ages and may have gone on to become saints without the details of their birth known.


Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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Wyoming Has No Hate-Crime Law

By Robin Mcdowell
Associated Press Writer
Monday, October 12, 1998; 3:38 p.m. EDT

Eighteen states have hate-crime laws that cover offenses based on sexual orientation, but not Wyoming, where a 21-year-old gay student was beaten to death.

Efforts to pass a hate-crime law in Wyoming have failed repeatedly because critics have said it would give homosexuals and others special rights.

But the beating of Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student who died early Monday, has galvanized many in Wyoming and elsewhere about the need for such legislation.

``I'm in favor of anything that can improve our local law enforcement efforts,'' Gov. Jim Geringer said Monday. ``If our system is inadequate, let's talk about it ...(but) let's make sure there is an equality of justice.''

Marv Johnson of the American Civil Liberties Union in Wyoming said past hate-crime bills regarding attacks on homosexuals were defeated because of language about sexual orientation.

``We have legislators in the past who have essentially equated gays with bulls that don't mate and therefore are useless and should be sent to the packing plant,'' he said. ``That is the kind of attitude that you see in Wyoming which leads to this behavior. People don't understand that gays are as human as anybody else.''

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery, Ala., which tracks violence against blacks, gays and others, said attacks against gays tend be more severe than offenses against other groups.

According to his group's records, 21 men and women were slain in the United States in 1996 because of their sexual orientation.

Brian Levin, director of Stockton State College's Center on Hate and Extremism in Pomona, N.J., said that like those charged in the attack on Shepard, most of the offenders are 22 or younger, and most are male.

Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin have anti-hate laws based on sexual orientation, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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In Response to an Increase in Hate Crimes, City of West Hollywood to Host U.S. Treasury Department Training for Regional Law Enforcement Officials
05:23 p.m Oct 13, 1998 Eastern

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 13, 1998--To help law enforcement officers identify, investigate and prosecute hate crimes, the City of West Hollywood is sponsoring a 4-day Hate/Bias Crimes Train-the-Trainer Program from Tuesday, Oct. 20, to Friday, Oct. 23, 1998, at the Hyatt West Hollywood, 8401 Sunset Blvd., in West Hollywood.

The importance of this training is underscored by the recent brutal beating and murder of a Wyoming university student; an incident believed to be a hate crime motivated by the victim's sexual orientation.

"We are sponsoring this training program to provide law enforcement officers a unique opportunity to learn how to identify and investigate these heinous crimes to ensure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said David Petersen, the City of West Hollywood's Public Safety Administrator.

The City's Hate/Bias Crimes Training Program will be conducted by the U.S. Department of Treasury's National Center for State and Local Law Enforcement Training.

It will bring together law enforcement personnel from throughout the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, including stations in West Hollywood, East Los Angeles, Industry, Lancaster and Palmdale; the Glendale Police Department; Pomona Police Department; San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department; and Cal State L.A.

The program is geared toward individuals responsible for providing hate/bias crimes training to others, either under their command or within their organization.

The West Hollywood Hate/Bias Crimes Train-the-Trainer Program will cover a number of topics, including recognizing hate/bias-motivated crimes, the nature of hate/bias crime problems, proper initial response, investigative strategies and victim considerations.

The program will also look at the problem of hate/bias crimes in rural communities and the dynamics of crimes of this type in undeveloped areas vs. urban neighborhoods.

Hate crime experts from across the United States and Canada will participate in the training, including: Carla Arranaga, Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles; Morris S. Casuto, regional director, Anti-Defamation League, San Diego; Robert Chavez, detective, City of Phoenix; Thomas E. Culp, Sr., state investigator, Office of the Attorney General, New Jersey; Dino Doria, detective, Toronto Police Service, Canada; Trent Hargrove, attorney at law, Office of the Attorney General, Pennsylvania; John T. Holland, program specialist, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, New Mexico; Gary W. Johns, criminal justice instructor, Spokane Community College, Washington; Robert P. Johnson, police officer, Wyomissing Police Department, Pennsylvania; Alfred A. Samaniego, detective, Nassau County Police department, New York; Rosemary Webb, program administrator, Uniform Crime Reporting, Texas Department of Public Safety; and Laurie L. Wood, research manager, Southern Poverty Law Center, Alabama.


Copyright 1998, Business Wire

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Former Nazi Doctor Under Probe

By George Boehmer
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, October 14, 1998; 8:07 p.m. EDT

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- A retired German physician who admits to helping Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele carry out medical experiments on concentration camp inmates is under investigation, authorities said Wednesday.

Bavarian prosecutors said they began examining Hans Muench, 87, two weeks ago after a magazine quoted him as saying that gassing Jews at Auschwitz spared them from having to suffer longer from deadly diseases that were rampant in the camp.

Helmut Schuetz, a spokesman at the Bavarian state chancellery, said prosecutors immediately began investigating Muench for downplaying what the Nazis did at Auschwitz, where some 1.5 million Jews perished.

Frankfurt prosecutors also are revisiting war crimes charges that Muench, who lives in the Bavarian town of Rosshaupten, was acquitted of in 1947. Schuetz said the two probes may be combined to speed up the process.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Paris sent a letter to Bavarian Gov. Edmund Stoiber, asking him to ``immediately detain Muench pending an investigation of his complicity in war crimes and his current violation of German laws against the banalization of the Holocaust.''

``He speaks of the Jews as subhuman and the laborious problems in burning them. Rejecting any remorse, Muench praises his notorious colleague, Dr. Joseph Mengele,'' the letter said.

Mengele, known as the Nazi ``Angel of Death,'' conducted experiments on Jewish inmates at Auschwitz, including injections in their eyes to try to change the color.

In the Spiegel interview, Muench is quoted as saying he could only ``speak the best'' about Mengele, who arrived at Auschwitz on the same day as Muench in the summer of 1943.

``Mengele and the others sent us their material, heads, livers, spinal fluid, whatever came up. We analyzed it,'' Spiegel quotes Muench as saying.

Spiegel said Muench had no remorse about working at Auschwitz, and claims the medical experiments prevented more inmates from dying of diseases at Auschwitz.

``I was the king in the hygiene institute. ...to live at a place where hundreds of thousands of people were gassed. That didn't bother me,'' the report quotes Muench as saying.

Muench was tried as a war criminal in an Auschwitz trial at Krakow, Poland, in 1947 for his malaria and rheumatism experiments in which Jews were infected on purpose to study if they were immune, according to Spiegel. He was acquitted by a Polish court.

``A string of my prisoners spoke up for me,'' Spiegel quoted Muench as saying.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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James: Siegelman Becoming Pinnochio

ALABAMA :(STATEWIDE) -- The Fob James re-election campaign has fired its first serious broadside at Democratic opponent Don Siegelman by comparing Siegelman's campaign tactics to those used by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. James said Goebbels strategy was that it's easier to fool the people with a big lie than a lot of little lies. James said he has had ``a dose of that now for about six weeks or two months.'' James has also launched a new flight of campaign ads this week that compare Siegelman to Pinnochio. The ad replies to the blizzard of fax statements originating in the Siegelman campaign accusing the administration of corruption, influence peddling, and ``harming Alabama's children.'' In the ad, Siegelman's nose gets longer and longer... just like Pinnochio's did when he told a lie.


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Swiss Study Critic's Immunity

Friday, October 16, 1998; 11:45 a.m. EDT

BERN, Switzerland (AP) -- The Swiss parliament has been asked to decide whether to lift a lawmaker's immunity after his criticism of the country's role in World War II, a federal prosecutor's spokesman said today.

Jean Ziegler faces a lawsuit filed by about 20 Swiss conservatives alleging he committed treason in criticizing Swiss bank dealings during the war, the Lausanne daily Le Matin reported today.

Dominique Reymond, the federal prosecutor's spokesman, confirmed that a parliamentary commission has been asked to rule on Ziegler's immunity, but gave no details.

In July, Ziegler was the only Swiss public figure to accept an invitation to testify at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on World War II called by Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., a leading critic of the Swiss over World War II.

The lawsuit criticized Ziegler's testimony and accused him of acting to ``bring harm to Switzerland in the extremely difficult situation in which it finds itself due to the cupidity of Jewish organizations and Senator D'Amato,'' Le Matin said.

The lawsuit also attacks Ziegler's book ``Switzerland, Gold and the Dead,'' which alleges that Swiss banks prolonged World War II by up to two years. The book, published last year, has been widely criticized in Switzerland as historically inaccurate and deliberately distorting the truth.

The prospect of Ziegler being tried ``is an assault on the very foundations of democracy which the Swiss people hold dear,'' Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement.

Branded a troublemaker and self-promoter by fellow lawmakers, Ziegler has faced seven charges of defamation over the years, with claims amounting to more than $5 million.

In a series of bestsellers, he has accused Switzerland's banks of providing a safe haven for the assets of many of the world's dictators and of turning a blind eye to money laundering.

Neutral Switzerland, surrounded during World War II by the Nazis and their allies, stayed out of the war. It was subsequently accused by Jewish groups of profiting from the Holocaust, retaining the assets of Jews killed by the Germans and acting as banker to the Nazis.

The two biggest Swiss banks agreed in August to pay $1.25 billion in settlement of Holocaust survivors' claims for World War II losses.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Lawmakers Call for Hate Crime Laws

By Michelle Boorstein
Associated Press Writer
Friday, October 16, 1998; 1:22 a.m. EDT

Since the slaying of a gay University of Wyoming student, lawmakers from more than a dozen states have called for hate crime bills to protect homosexuals.

Some states -- including Wyoming -- have had such bills introduced year after year only to have them rejected or die without a hearing. The latest calls follow Monday's death of Matthew Shepard, 21, who was pistol-whipped and tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyo., last week.

``I think it's a statement of principle that indicates people, regardless of their race, sexual orientation or gender, that society won't tolerate acts of violence toward those people,'' Montana Gov. Marc Racicot said.

Legislators in New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, among other places, have called for hate crime laws to protect gays.

Opponents of hate crime laws say Shepard's death, while tragic, doesn't change their belief that the laws either don't work, are unfair to non-minorities or wrongly condone homosexuality.

``If someone deserves an extra five years for a crime, they ought to get an extra five years whether they committed it against you, me, a straight person, or anybody, not just for somebody who is considered gay or senior or Jewish,'' said New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

In Congress on Thursday, Democrats and Republicans urged Congress to act swiftly on pending legislation that would expand the existing federal hate crimes law to include gender, disability and sexual orientation. Current federal hate crime law covers crimes motivated by race, color, religion or national origin.

``May the meaning of his life be that we pass a hate crimes act in this Congress before we leave,'' House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt said, referring to Shepard.

Of the 40 or so states that have hate crime laws, 21 cover offenses motivated by the victim's sexual orientation.

Indiana Rep. Bill Crawford said next year he will try, as he has done for the past seven years, to get a hate crimes law passed.

``We are way behind the rest of the country on this issue, and incidents like the one in Wyoming show that it's time we caught up,'' said the Indianapolis Democrat.

The effect of hate crime laws isn't clear. Some states that have passed the laws, including California and Iowa, have seen more hate crimes reported, but that could be due to better reporting and not more incidents, said Michael Lieberman, counsel to the Anti-Defamation League in Washington.

``It's 100 percent certain that the response of the criminal justice system has improved,'' he said. ``There are far more law enforcement officials who know how to identify and respond effectively to hate crimes. It's not a quantifiable thing.''

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Nazi Doctor Denies Atrocities

By George Boehmer
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, October 17, 1998; 1:00 p.m. EDT

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- A former Nazi doctor who admits working in a medical laboratory at Auschwitz denied Saturday that he took part in Holocaust atrocities.

Hans Muench, 87, appeared confused at times in the interview with Associated Press Television News at his home in Bavaria.

Bavarian prosecutors began investigating Muench this month after a magazine quoted him as saying that he wasn't bothered by working at Auschwitz, and that gassing Jews spared them from having to suffer longer from deadly diseases that were rampant in the Nazi death camp.

Muench's daughter, Ruli, 58, at her father's side, called the report in Der Spiegel weekly ``absolutely false.'' But Muench said he had not interpreted it as having any ``big mistakes.''

At times, though, Muench appeared to mix his personal experiences with things he first heard of or read about in later years.

He insisted that he had only worked in a lab diagnosing ``prepared samples'' of Auschwitz prisoners for possible disease.

Muench said the hygiene institute also employed Jewish inmates but was separated from the Auschwitz camp. ``We knew only the prisoner's number,'' he said.

He said that while he could surmise that inmates that were the victims of ``questionable,'' experiments at Auschwitz had been gassed, he had not been in a position to know for sure.

Muench was acquitted of war crimes in 1947 after former Auschwitz inmates he worked with testified he had in fact helped them.

His daughter gave APTN a letter dated Oct. 1 from Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes-Kor, of Terre Haute, Ind., who said she accompanied Muench to Auschwitz for the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the camp in 1995.

In the letter, Mozes-Kor says a doctor who had worked with Muench told her he had saved his life as well as the lives of other inmates.

Mozes-Kor, a victim of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele's experiments on twins at Auschwitz, confirmed in a telephone interview she had written the letter and knew Muench. ``He was a decent man even if he was in the SS,'' she said.

In the Spiegel interview, Muench was quoted as saying he could only ``speak the best'' about Mengele and that the medical experiments prevented more inmates from dying of diseases at Auschwitz.

Bavarian prosecutors forwarded their files on Muench to Frankfurt prosecutors, who deal with most cases on Auschwitz.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Conflict Marks Holocaust Settlement

Sunday, October 18, 1998; 5:08 p.m. EDT

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- The leader of Germany's Jewish community accused a U.S. attorney of hindering talks aimed at securing compensation for Holocaust victims from German companies.

Ignatz Bubis, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in Monday's Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that lawyer Ed Fagan was using Nazi victims for his own financial gain.

``Fagan doesn't want anything more than to earn a lot of money,'' the newspaper quoted Bubis as saying.

Fagan has been the lead attorney in several lawsuits filed in New York on behalf of Holocaust victims. He is seeking compensation from German banks that handled assets of Holocaust victims as well as from companies that used slave labor during World War II.

Bubis said he believed ``the companies would quickly reach an agreement with the World Jewish Congress'' if they weren't facing legal action from Fagan and other attorneys.

An advance copy of the interview was released Sunday.

In New York, Fagan said his lawsuits were responsible for forcing institutions to finally address the issue of money owed to Holocaust survivors.

``What Bubis and the organizations are worried about is being exposed for their failure to do anything for the last 10 to 50 years,'' he said.

He also said Bubis and leaders of other Jewish organizations had rebuffed overtures to work with him or to meet with the survivors he represents.

Fagan also again denied charges by Bubis and others that he had demanded a $250 million fee from the World Jewish Restitution Organization, which recently came to a $1.25 billion settlement with Swiss banks for compensation to Holocaust survivors and heirs.

Fagan, who initiated the action against Swiss banks two years ago, said he is willing to accept whatever fee a court deems appropriate.

Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, said Sunday his group believes lawyers should not receive any fees for working on Holocaust-related cases.

``Neither lawyers nor anyone else should be making a profit from the Holocaust,'' he said in New York.

The World Jewish Restitution Organization is a branch of the World Jewish Congress.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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N.Y. Candidates Argue Over Holocaust

By Beth J. Harpaz
Associated Press Writer
Monday, October 19, 1998; 10:45 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Rep. Charles Schumer accused Sen. Alfonse D'Amato of misusing the Holocaust for political purposes after D'Amato criticized Schumer for missing House votes on Holocaust-related issues.

Schumer, who is running for the Senate against the three-term Republican, was responding to a campaign appearance D'Amato made Sunday with a Holocaust Memorial Wall, near the United Nations, as a backdrop.

D'Amato recounted his efforts at winning a settlement from Swiss banks for the return of assets to Holocaust victims and their heirs.

The Republican, a Roman Catholic, said Schumer, who is Jewish, missed a June 4 House Banking Committee vote related to the search for Holocaust assets in the United States and another vote making the U.S. Capitol Rotunda available for a Holocaust commemoration.

``I'm proud to have been there fighting every day, making a difference for justice for those who have been stonewalled,'' said D'Amato, who was accompanied by two Holocaust survivors and a rabbi. ``My opponent ... does not care. ... He's not there on the battlefields because he was too busy attempting to (further) his own political career.''

Later, Schumer responded: ``I think it's a shame that Al D'Amato would stoop to using the Holocaust for political purposes. He finds some vote from 20 years ago and says that Chuck Schumer doesn't care about the Holocaust. That's appalling and silly. My record on the Holocaust, on Jewish issues, is second to none.''

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi also held a news conference where D'Amato had been.

``I think what Sen. D'Amato did was outrageous,'' Hevesi said. ``You do not trivialize the Holocaust and try to use the Holocaust and related issues for political advantage. You certainly don't use it against a leader in the Jewish community such as Congressman Chuck Schumer.''

Recent polls show D'Amato and Schumer in a virtual dead heat.

Most Jewish organizations say both men have excellent records on issues such as Israel and the Holocaust. While polls show a majority of Jews support Schumer, D'Amato has more support among Jews than do most other Republicans running for office.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Germany Commits to WWII Foundations

By Paul Geitner
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, October 20, 1998; 5:40 p.m. EDT

BONN, Germany (AP) -- Reversing German policy, the new center-left government pledged Tuesday to set up foundations to compensate World War II slave laborers and ``forgotten victims'' of the Nazis.

Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroeder said no concrete plans or figures had been set for either fund.

``But we want to do something together with industry,'' he said. ``We've already started thinking about it.''

He has scheduled a first meeting for Wednesday with bosses from Germany's leading firms to begin working out plans.

Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, called the announcement ``a significant turning point'' for the German government, which had long insisted it was not responsible for slave laborers.

He also welcomed the fund for ``forgotten victims,'' meant to include gays, gypsies, deserters and others persecuted by the Nazis but not covered by current law.

``There are blanks in Germany's otherwise honorable efforts to deal with Holocaust victims, and this is a good way to fill them,'' he said.

Since World War II, the German government has paid billions in compensation to Holocaust victims for health damage and imprisonment. But it had rejected claims for back wages from slave laborers, saying the companies involved were responsible.

Most German firms, though, argued the government, as legal successor to the Nazi regime, should be responsible.

Yet the filing of lawsuits in the United States and threats of more at home from Nazi-era victims have prompted a reassessment.

Some of Germany's biggest firms suggested this year they would be willing to contribute to a publicly administered fund. But outgoing Chancellor Helmut Kohl had rejected any government involvement.

At a news conference to present his center-left government's planned programs, Schroeder said German firms that used slave labor during the Nazi era have ``a historical, moral duty to fulfill.''

But he also stressed that they have ``a need for protection against legal action that we have to guarantee.''

Der Spiegel newsmagazine reported this week that German industry leaders were seeking Schroeder's help in finding a solution that would also help them fend off lawsuits from abroad. They include Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen, Siemens, BASF, Bayer, Hoechst, Degussa, DMW, Allianz, Dresdner Bank and Deutsche Bank.

Earlier this year, Volkswagen and electronics giant Siemens announced plans to establish their own funds to compensate former slave laborers forced to work for them by the Nazis during World War II.

The two companies, along with Krupp, Daimler-Benz, Audi and BMW, are among those named in a New York lawsuit seeking a portion of company profits for thousands of former slave laborers.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Tuesday October 20, 1:01 pm Eastern Time

Company Press Release

Nickelodeon Assures ADL Specific Comic Strip, Character Offensive to Jews to Never Run Again

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 20, 1998--Nickelodeon, the children's television network, has assured the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that it will never again use a specific character illustration or run a particular edition of a comic strip that was offensive to Jews.

The strip, which ran the week of Rosh Hashanah -- the Jewish New Year -- and is part of the ``Rugrats'' syndicated comic strip series, portrayed the character ``Granpa Boris'' in a synagogue reciting the Mourner's Kaddish. The League called the caricature of Granpa Boris reminiscent of Nazi-era depictions of Jews and said the use of the Mourner's Kaddish demeans the prayer's solemnity.

Nickelodeon agreed with ADL about the inapproriateness of the strip, apologized and assured the League that it would never run the character or the specific strip again.

Herb Scannel, president of Nickelodeon, told ADL that ``...to your point that the television character of Granpa Boris may not translate well into a comic strip, we agree. In order to prevent any potential misinterpretation, the Granpa Boris illustration will no longer be used in the comic strip series.'' He continued by saying that, ``this particular comic strip will not be repeated in any form, and we will not make any further use of religious or sacred prayers in the comic strip.

``Unfortunately, the creators of the strip made an error in judgment by referencing the Kaddish. I agree with you that, however well-meaning, the use of the Kaddish in the comic strip was inappropriate,'' said Scannel.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director, said, ``We are pleased by the speedy response from Nickelodeon regarding our concerns about the particular ''Rugrats`` comic strip. We commend them for understanding and we are satisfied by their promise to be more sensitive to these matters in the future and to not run the Granpa Boris illustration or this particular strip again.

``The caricature of Granpa Boris is reminiscent of stereotypical Nazi-era depictions of Jews and the use of the Mourner's Kaddish in a jocular fashion demeans the solemnity of the prayer,'' said Foxman. ``We appreciate Nickelodeon's long record of creative and quality programming and understand that it was not their intention to offend.''

The ``Rugrats'' comic strip is a spin-off from the ``Rugrats'' cartoon television show on Nickelodeon, the Viacom International Inc.-owned station.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.


Contact:

     Anti-Defamation League, New York
     Myrna Shinbaum, 212-885-7747
     or
     Tracy Gary, 212-885-7715


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Tuesday October 20 8:04 AM EDT

Schwarzenegger has a ball

By Leonard Klady

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Arnold Schwarzenegger confessed to feeling ``great and embarrassed'' Sunday when he was honored at the 13th annual Moving Picture Ball.

The three-hour charity bash, organized by the American Cinematheque, was equal parts homage and roast.

``I'll tell you Arnold's dark secret,'' said James Cameron in a hushed tone. ``He loves to shop. He has no problem spending four hours trying on clothes.''

The tribute will televised nationally, for the first time, Friday on TNT as a 90-minute special. Among the clip highlights were early appearances by Schwarzenegger as a contestant on ``The Dating Game'' and a guest stint on ``The Lucy Show.''

The presence of the box office superstar was a magnet for major players from both sides of the camera. Among the attending presenters were Sharon Stone, Danny DeVito, Tim Allen, Robin Williams, Jamie Lee Curtis, directors Cameron, Ivan Reitman and John Milius, father-in-law Sargent Shriver, Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and such sports greats as Magic Johnson, Carl Lewis, Mary Lou Retton, Greg Louganis, Evander Holyfield and Shaquille O'Neal, with Garry Shandling as the adroit host.

The witnesses were equally glittering, with warm kudos and deep respect from the likes of Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Bruce Willis and the President of Austria, Thomas Klestil. Jay Leno provided a hilarious tape in which he asked people in the street to spell the honoree's name. Few managed to provide even the correct first five letters.

Accepting his kudos, Schwarzenegger quipped that it was ``an honor and pleasure to receive an award from an organization he'd never heard of.''

He assiduously thanked all who participated but saved his highest praise for his wife Maria, whom he credited for ``doing all the work'' and participating in every aspect of the evening. He also thanked America for fulfilling his dreams and more.

The event raised $800,000 for the American Cinematheque's renovations on the landmark Egyptian Theater, which will open in December as its permanent home.

Reuters/Variety


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Tuesday October 20 9:01 PM EDT

Nickelodeon Apologizes to ADL

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Nickelodeon television network has apologized to the Anti-Defamation League for using a Jewish caricature in its ``Rugrats'' comic strip.

The ADL said the comic's ``Grandpa Boris'' character _ drawn with a large hook nose and heavy-lidded eyes _ was similar to Nazi-era depictions of Jews.

Some Jews were particularly offended because the syndicated strip with the character ran during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman.

Further, the character was shown reciting the Mourner's Kaddish, the prayer for the dead.

The president of Nickelodeon, Herb Scannel, promised not to use the ``Grandpa Boris'' character again.

In a statement released by the ADL on Tuesday, Scannel is quoted as saying: ``To your point that the television character of `Grandpa Boris' may not translate well into a comic strip, we agree. In order to prevent any potential misinterpretation, the 'Grandpa Boris' illustration will no longer be used in the comic strip series.''


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Race Taints California Senate Race

By John Howard
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, October 21, 1998; 7:05 p.m. EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Republican challenger Matt Fong, a fourth-generation Chinese-American, stepped up his complaints on Wednesday that incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer is injecting race into a tight U.S. Senate campaign.

Fong, the state treasurer, is angry about a TV ad about HMOs produced by the state Democratic party that links him to ``foreign diplomats.'' He also is upset about a leaked report by House Democrats raising questions about $100,000 in campaign donations he received from an Indonesian businessman.

``She's raising references about race and ethnicity that are very inappropriate. It's very negative. It's very shameful and despicable to try and distort my position,'' Fong said.

The liberal Boxer, whose mother was a first-generation Jewish immigrant, flatly rejects Fong's allegations of racism. ``Those are kind of desperate comments,'' she said.

Privately, Democrats suggest Fong may be raising the issue himself in an attempt to galvanize Asian Americans to vote on Nov. 3.

With the Senate race a dead heat, California's roughly 700,000 Asian American voters could decide the election.

The ad, which attacks Fong's position on health maintenance organizations, shows the United Nations, and juxtaposes the words ``Matt Fong'' and ``foreign diplomats.'' It claims that Fong ``wants laws that mean just about the only people in America who can't be sued are foreign diplomats and HMOs.''

The House report, written by minority Democrats and not yet released, cites discrepancies in Fong's testimony to House and Senate investigators looking into campaign contributions from foreigners.

In 1995 Fong received $100,000 in donations from businessman Ted Sioeng, who is barred by federal law from contributing to U.S. political campaigns because he is not a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Fong returned the money in 1997 after reports linking Sioeng to the Chinese government.

Fong said his testimony was consistent, and blamed Democrats for leaking the report just days before the election.

Boxer denied any involvement. ``The Republicans released their part of the report, they are the ones who set the deadlines, and then the Democrats had to release the minority side,'' she said.

Fong has tried to woo Asian American voters, running television ads in Mandarin and Cantonese. Fong's mother, former state elections officer March Fong Eu and a Democrat who is revered in the Asian American community, has campaigned for her son.

She has urged Asian Americans in both major parties to support her son in order to put an Asian American into ``the corridors of power.''

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Catholics, Jews to Mark Holocaust

Wednesday, October 21, 1998; 9:25 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- The archbishop of Paris has invited Cardinal John O'Connor and other Catholics in New York and Paris to pray with Jews next year on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Jewish-born Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, whose mother died at Auschwitz, said Tuesday he extended the invitation ``in the spirit of penance and an act of faith in the Lord of the living and the dead.''

He said Cardinal O'Connor, archbishop of New York, had accepted his invitation to commemorate the Holocaust next April 13.

His remarks were made during a ceremony at Sutton Place Synagogue in Manhattan, where he and Rabbi Rene-Samuel Sirat, chief rabbi of France, were given awards for their work toward interreligious understanding.

Cardinal Lustiger outlined the history between Jews and Christians ``to open a new dialogue that will not merely reproduce the controversies of past centuries.''

Rabbi Sirat touched upon subjects ranging from achieving peace in the Middle East to elevating the role of women in Orthodox Judaism.

``I have helped the careers of my women colleagues as much as it was possible,'' said the rabbi, a professor and director of Hebrew studies for more than 30 years. ``On the other hand, as chief rabbi of France ... I have failed miserably.''

The speeches came against a backdrop of recent tensions between Jews and Catholics. The canonization earlier this month of Edith Stein, an Orthodox Jew-turned-nun who died at Auschwitz, sparked debate. Some Jewish leaders said Stein died because she was a Jew and saw the church as laying claim to her martyrdom.

Church leaders had expressed hope that the canonization would boost dialogue and reconciliation between Jews and Catholics. Pope John Paul II has made improving relations between the two religions a cornerstone of his papacy.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Ex-Nazi Guard Deportation Upheld

By Michael J. Sniffen
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, October 21, 1998; 6:03 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals has upheld an order to deport a 77-year-old retired foundry supervisor for covering up his past as a guard at Nazi concentration camps during World War II, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

Originally entered in 1997, the order directed that Ferdinand Hammer, of Sterling Heights, Mich., be deported to Croatia, his native land. Hammer was stripped of his naturalized U.S. citizenship for concealing his Nazi past when he applied for U.S. citizenship in 1963.

Hammer's attorney, William Bufalino II, said he would appeal the board's ruling to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The deportation will depend on the appeal.

The board ``denied us the chance to have oral arguments,'' Bufalino complained. Hammer has admitted he was a member of the German army's Waffen-SS, but denied being part of an SS battalion that served at concentration camps. Bufalino has challenged the constitutionality of deportation law and argued that too much time has passed for the government to bring the case.

As an armed SS guard, ``Ferdinand Hammer participated in the persecution of unarmed civilians at some of the most notorious concentration camps of the Nazi era and served as an armed guard on inhumane transports of inmates between Nazi camps,'' said Eli M. Rosenbaum, head of the department's Office of Special Investigations, which hunts Nazi war criminals in this country. ``He should not continue to enjoy the privilege of living in the United States.''

In June 1996, U.S. District Judge Horace W. Gilmore stripped Hammer of citizenship after a four-day trial. Judge Gilmore found Hammer had served as a guard at the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland and at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany, and guarded prisoner transports between camps.

``Horrible mistreatment was meted out to inmates of these camps,'' Judge Gilmore wrote. Hammer did not appeal his loss of citizenship.

On April 24, 1997, Chief Immigration Judge Michael J. Creppy ordered Hammer deported to Croatia. Judge Creppy found that Hammer had assisted in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution.

Upholding Creppy in all respects, the appeal board said prisoners were subjected to ``extermination through work'' at the camps where Hammer served and they endured ``inhuman living conditions, corporal punishment, torture and medical experiments.''

The board said the victims included ``Protestant and Catholic clergymen, Jehovah's Witnesses, Russians, Ukrainians, Czechs, Poles, Gypsies, Communists and, of course, Jews.'' It noted guards were under orders to shoot escaping prisoners and those who could not maintain the pace of a forced march during bitter cold winter.

The special investigations office has gotten 61 Nazi persecutors stripped of citizenship and 48 removed from this country since it began work in 1979. About 300 people are still under investigation.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Jews Update 'Rabbi's Manual

By Richard N. Ostling
AP Religion Writer
Wednesday, October 21, 1998; 5:31 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Conservative branch of Judaism has issued an updated manual for rabbis that features gender-neutral language, modernized prayers, guidelines on end-of-life medical decisions and the first-ever ``grieving ritual'' for a couple after an abortion.

The ``Rabbi's Manual'' is being published by the Rabbinical Assembly, whose members serve 750 Conservative synagogues in North America and 200 elsewhere.

Conservatism is Judaism's middle-of-the-road denomination, standing between the strict traditionalism of Orthodoxy and the Reform branch's liberal attitude toward religious law.

The pocket-sized manual issued Tuesday is published in two volumes and at 688 pages is three times the size of the previous edition of 1965.

Rabbi Gordon M. Freeman of Walnut Creek, Calif., who edited the manual with Rabbi Perry Raphael Rank of Springfield, N.J., said the numerous new rituals were provided ``to help people transform the events of their lives into sacred moments, and to recognize that there are many transitions beyond birth, marriage, and death.''

For example, the manual has ceremonies for Jews coping with infertility, miscarriage, the death of a newborn and the birth of a handicapped child. Female rabbis, an impossibility in Conservatism at the time of the 1965 manual, helped create these liturgies.

Other new rituals mark birthdays, 25th and 50th wedding anniversaries, adoption, retirement from work, a move to another city and going off to summer camp or college.

The manual also includes suggestions for participating in interfaith Thanksgiving Day and secular New Year's observances.

The controversial post-abortion ritual, which takes a non-judgmental attitude toward the practice, was written by Rabbi Amy Eilberg of San Francisco. The 1965 manual did not take up the issue of abortion. In wording that can be adapted to the reasons for a specific abortion, the rabbi says:

``You made a choice, choosing life for (mother's name), for the two of you as a couple, for your family, for the well-being of children yet to come into your lives. We grieve with you over the loss of this seed of life, and we affirm your essence as people gifted with the ability to nurture other life.''

The manual rewrites the 1982 Jewish Publication Society Bible to adopt gender-neutral language, using ``monarch'' instead of ``king'' and ``mortal'' instead of ``man.'' A prayer for the sick mentions Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah along with the traditional ``Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.''

Reflecting divided opinion in Conservatism, the manual offers two options on living wills for those who are terminally ill or permanently unconscious. One option specifies that all measures to extend life should be taken. The other authorizes the halting of life-sustaining treatment.

In both instances, however, the Conservative Jew's living will declares: ``I unequivocally reject any form of active euthanasia (`mercy killing') or assisted suicide.''

The manual relaxes the wording in the ``Confessional Prayer'' recited at the end of life.

In the 1965 version, the congregant prayed: ``Forgive me for all the sins which I have committed in my lifetime. I am abashed and ashamed of the wicked deeds and sins which I committed. Please accept my pain and suffering as atonement and forgive my wrongdoing''.

The 1998 rewrite: ``Forgive me for all the times I may have disappointed You. I am aware of the wrongs I have committed. May my pain and suffering serve as atonement. Forgive my shortcomings''.

On the other hand, the latest ``Rabbi's Manual'' is stricter in handling conversions to Judaism. The convert now should sign a detailed paper in the presence of a rabbinical court, pledging to give children ``a quality Jewish education,'' make the Sabbath and Jewish holidays ``important moments of holiness,'' incorporate kosher dietary rules, identify with Israel, join a synagogue and attend regularly. The 1965 pledge was more general.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Wednesday October 21, 3:19 pm Eastern Time

Company Press Release

SOURCE: Toward Tradition

Anti-Defamation League Wrong on School Choice Says Toward Tradition; States Jewish Position Favoring School Choice

MERCER ISLAND, Wash., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Voucher programs, by allowing parents of all faiths to choose schools that reflect their own values, may offer the Jewish community one of the strongest defenses against assimilation and the waning of religious knowledge and commitment, Toward Tradition said today. Toward Tradition, a Jewish educational foundation, released the report entitled, ``Toward Tradition on Educational Vouchers/School Choice.''

Written in direct response to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) resolution condemning school vouchers, the report examines the school choice debate in light of Jewish teachings and its potential impact on the Jewish community. ``An authentically Jewish position on education must rest on the letter and spirit of traditional Jewish sources, including the Hebrew Scriptures and two millenia of Rabbinic literature,'' the report states. Toward Tradition articulates three clear principles of Jewish teachings relevant to the school choice debate: 1) parents must have responsibility and control; 2) teachers and schools are agents of parents; and 3) education should inculcate values as well as knowledge.

``The Jewish view of education is that parents should have the final say,'' the report notes. ``This is incompatible with ADL's position (against school vouchers), and congenial to the concept of educational choice in all its forms -_ especially vouchers, which provide the greatest degree of parental control.''

Furthermore, ``the greatest threat to our community is its ongoing evaporation, through assimilation and the waning of religious knowledge and commitment,'' Toward Tradition writes. ``Jewish survival in the coming decades will depend on rejecting secularism and combating assimilation; Jewish education is the only proven strategy for achieving these goals. Voucher programs would increase the number of families who could afford to send their children to Jewish day schools, and significantly lessen the financial burden on those families already doing so.''

Responding to ADL's argument that voucher programs are unconstitutional on church-state grounds, Toward Tradition cites the recent Jackson v. Benson decision upholding a Milwaukee voucher plan that included parochial schools. The crux of that decision, which carefully applied Supreme Court precedents, is that, since their use is controlled by parents, school vouchers become private funds, and therefore do not constitute state support of religion. Toward Tradition criticizes the ADL for its dogmatic adherence to the ``strict separationist'' position, which misreads the First Amendment.

A complete copy of the report is available; call 206-236-3046 or 800-591- 7579.

Toward Tradition, founded in 1991, is an educational foundation dedicated to creating a national movement of Jews allied with Christians who want to apply traditional, conservative values to America's cultural, political, and economic life.

SOURCE: Toward Tradition


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Wednesday October 21 8:58 AM EDT

ARCHERD: Lindbergh movie takes shape

By Army Archerd, Daily Variety Senior Columnist

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Will Charles A. Lindbergh be portrayed as an anti-Semite in Steven Spielberg's film version of A. Scott Berg's biography?

On Monday night, the Mark Taper Forum was the site of a special event, a Blue Ribbon ``Between the Lines'' program was a preview and promise of the film to come from Berg's ``Lindbergh.'' The evening featured words and newsreels on the subject (including the 1935 murder-kidnapping trial footage, which looked like the O.J. Simpson circus!).

The book, 9-1/2 years in the writing, is a bestseller and major topic of conversation. Berg said Lindbergh was a ``genteel anti-Semite,'' which he described as ``the most insidious kind.'' He added that Lindbergh blamed the U.S. entry into World War II on ``the New Deal, the British and the Jews. He believed it was not our war. He believed the Jews ran the press and movies as well. He said it was the Jews against America.'' Lindbergh was medal'd by Goering and was enamored of the Nazis. ``But he didn't realize what he said.''

Berg met with Spielberg before the producer-director had read the book. ``At breakfast, he (Spielberg) told me his impression of Lindbergh -- and I told him, 'You're wrong.'''

Now Spielberg has read the book ``slowly and carefully.'' Berg believes ``Lindbergh'' will be part of Spielberg's trilogy, joining ``Schindler's List'' and 'Saving Private Ryan.'' Berg says ``'Schindler' wiped me out and 'Ryan' was one of the greatest pictures ever made.''

Among those attending Berg's Blue Ribbon event was Paul Attanasio, who is writing the screenplay for the DreamWorks film. But Berg volunteered to be a ``resource'' for the picture and admitted, ``I'd like to be around.'' Attanasio said he will have to write the screenplay slowly, and will ``try to tell one story rather that a series of episodes,'' such as the flight of the Spirit of St. Louis, the Bruno Hauptmann trial, the America First era and the final years. Attanasio allowed the Lindbergh story is a challenge to get all in one film, but he laughingly reminded that Robert Bolt got the T.E. Lawrence story into a movie.

Attanasio and wife, Katie Jacobs, have their Heel to Toe development banner at Paramount, where he also hopes to direct. They also want to develop writers, as Baltimore Films had done for him.

The Blue Ribbon evening was chaired by Nancy Livingston (who introduced longtime friend Berg), and Phyllis Hennigan. Joanie Smith, president of the Blue Ribbon, opened the evening. Berg's father, Dick Berg (who is readying Elmore Leonard's ``Riding the Rap'') was on hand, but none of Berg's brothers (Jeff, Tony and Rick) was invited. ``I wanted to give them a night off,'' laughed Scott.

Lindbergh's four remaining children liked the book -- which includes their mother, Anne Morrow Lindbergh's claim that the marriage ``was a sham'' and that she had an affair with her doctor. But Berg maintains the Lindberghs were a great love story ``and very sexy!''

But who will Spielberg choose to play Lindbergh, the first modern media celebrity: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio or -?

Christopher Darden, who resigned from the District Attorney's Office on Oct. 3, 1995, the day of the O.J. Simpson (criminal) verdict, has opened a private practice: Darden, Gibbs & Walker, for criminal defense, civil litigation, insurance, family law, etc. The first case, he tells me, is a $5 million suit vs. L.A. County representing a rape victim in juvenile hall. Darden, who has appeared in many movies, hosted shows and took on commentator roles, read Monday for a role in a sitcom ``and I'm taking acting lessons.'' He is married to Marcie Carter Darden, who is a comptroller at Rysher Entertainment.

Michael Feinstein is departing Vegas's new Bellagio hotel, where he'd had a longterm agreement to star in the Fontana Room. ``We agreed to a parting of the ways,'' confirms Feinstein's manager, Allen Sviritoff. Hotel owner ``Steve Wynn was a gentleman all the way.'' Feinstein has agreed to stay until a replacement can be found as a star performer in the 250-seat room. During the celeb opening weekend, Cynthia Sikes (Mrs. Bud Yorkin) sang with Feinstein to an audience including the Sidney Poitiers, Drew Barrymore, Bob Wagner and Jill St. John. Wagner will star with Antonio Sabato Jr. and Janine Turner in TBS's original movie, ``The Reaper.'' He'll boss a communications company that's created a computer virus.

AFI Life Achievement Award winners Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, Jack Lemmon and Sidney Poitier -- plus Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Woods, James Garner, Chevy Chase, Andy Garcia, etc. -- will compete in the first AFI Golf Classic, Nov. 2 at Riviera Country Club, with Yorkin chairing the tourney plus Oct. 31 gala and auction at the Century Plaza (tix are available).

How would you like Tony Randall as your dinner party butler? Liz (Mrs. Charles) Frank bid $21,000, and got Randall at the National Repertory Theater dinner-fundraiser at Manhattan's Plaza Hotel Monday night, when $900,000 was raised. Bill Cosby performed generously and David Letterman did a top 10 list for such guests as Paul Newman (back from filming ``Where the Money Is'') and Joanne Woodward, A.E. Hochner, Harry Belafonte, etc. Randall next stars in Harold Pinter's ``No Man's Land'' before reteaming with Jack Klugman in ``The Sunshine Boys'' in Fort Worth.

Reuters/Variety


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D'Amato Accused of Yiddish Slur

By Beth J. Harpaz
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, October 21, 1998; 7:26 p.m. EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sen. Alfonse D'Amato was accused Wednesday of using a Yiddish insult against opponent Rep. Charles Schumer and of mocking Rep. Jerrold Nadler's weight.

In a private meeting Tuesday with about 40 Jewish supporters, the Republican senator called Schumer a ``putzhead'' and referred to the heavyset Nadler as ``Congressman Waddler.'' He also did a physical imitation of Nadler, D-N.Y., waddling like a duck.

``Putz'' means fool or bumbler in Yiddish, but has a secondary, less well-known meaning of penis.

``Yesterday Al D'Amato used a cheap slur against me and then when asked, lied about it,'' Schumer, a Democrat who is Jewish, said at a news conference.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Schumer, D'Amato neither denied it nor apologized. ``The Yiddish word I used to describe you at a private meeting means fool,'' D'Amato wrote. ``You are trying to twist that into a religious slur ... I stand by my remark 100 percent. Your attempt to inject religious differences into this campaign is appalling, and it's a sign of desperation on your part.''

In 1992, D'Amato eked out a 49 percent to 48 percent victory over state Attorney General Robert Abrams after Abrams referred to D'Amato as a ``fascist.'' D'Amato attacked Abrams for the remark, claiming it was anti-Italian. The controversy may well have cost Abrams the race.

During the O.J. Simpson trial, D'Amato mocked Judge Lance Ito, who is Japanese-American, by using a Japanese accent in a radio interview. D'Amato later apologized.

Nadler said that ``to talk about my physical attributes is not justified.''

Former Mayor Ed Koch, a D'Amato supporter who was at the meeting where D'Amato made the comments, said he did not find them offensive.

``The senator's Yiddish was impeccable,'' Koch said. ``Putzhead means jerk or fool and it was said in relationship to Chuck having called the senator a liar. ... Anybody who thinks there's something wrong with it, they're too sensitive.''

As for the comment on Nadler, Koch said D'Amato ``was jocularly and seriously concerned about the congressman's weight, as all of his friends are, as I am.''

On Sunday, D'Amato held a news conference in front of a Holocaust memorial to talk about his investigation of Swiss banks that hid the assets of Nazi victims for 50 years. He went on to attack Schumer for missing a vote that approved the use of the Presidential Rotunda for a Holocaust commemoration ceremony.

Schumer called D'Amato's attack ``appalling and silly,'' while Nadler criticized the senator for using the Holocaust as a political issue.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Wednesday October 21 4:11 AM EDT

No Taxes On Holocaust Compensation - (WEST ORANGE) -- More than four-thousand Holocaust survivors living in New Jersey will not have to pay state income tax on compensation to be made to them by Swiss banks. Governor Christie Todd Whitman signed legislation at a West Orange synagogue yesterday. In August, Swiss banks agreed to pay Holocaust survivors more than one-point-two- BILLION dollars to settle lawsuits by Jewish groups who charged that the banks were retaining money of the survivors.


Reward Offered For Stolen Torahs - (ENGLEWOOD) -- Temple Emmanuel in Englewood is offering a 100-thousand dollar reward for the return of sacred objects that were recently stolen. Two Torahs and ornamental breastplates were taken during a burglary. The reward amount is reported to be slightly more than the total value of the missing objects.
REUTERS


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No Words Minced in N.Y. Senate Race

By Beth J. Harpaz
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, October 22, 1998; 11:36 a.m. EDT

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (AP) -- Rep. Chuck Schumer wades through a dense crowd at a Long Island street fair, introducing himself with a grin and outstretched hand as the man running against Sen. Al D'Amato.

Suddenly a shout pierces the air. ``Senator Al rules! Senator Al is the best! He's not a talker -- he's a doer.''

Moments later comes the retort: ``Get that bum outta there! That's what D'Amato is. He is the biggest liar ever encountered. He's just no good.''

It was just another day on the New York campaign trail -- another day of voters from Brooklyn to Buffalo reciting slogans, confronting the candidates and insulting the other guy as much as possible.

Schumer, a Democrat who's served in Congress for 18 years, is trying to unseat D'Amato, a three-term Republican. Democrats are desperate to win the Senate seat in a year when their party could lose several others.

It is one of the closest and nastiest races in the nation.

Every poll shows the two men neck and neck; every day brings an accusation from one against the other, a blizzard of negative ads and forays to connect with voters in unlikely places -- often on each other's turf and with no shortage of personal insults.

Schumer tried to appeal to D'Amato's fellow Italian-Americans by marching in New York City's Columbus Day Parade with former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

D'Amato last month stood in front of a Holocaust memorial in Manhattan to tout his role in forcing Swiss banks to restore the lost assets of Nazi victims. He accused Schumer, who is Jewish, of not caring about the Holocaust because he missed a vote to establish a commission.

Schumer said Wednesday that members of his family perished in the Holocaust. ``I challenge you, Al D'Amato, to say to my face that I am not committed to victims of the Holocaust,'' he said.

Then, in a private meeting Tuesday with about 40 Jewish supporters, D'Amato called Schumer a ``putzhead.''

``Putz'' means fool or bumbler in Yiddish, but has a secondary, less well-known meaning of penis.

``Yesterday Al D'Amato used a cheap slur against me and then when asked, lied about it,'' Schumer said Wednesday.

After first denying in a TV interview that he had used the word, D'Amato later acknowledged that he had. ``The Yiddish word I used to describe you at a private meeting means fool,'' D'Amato wrote. ``I stand by my remark 100 percent.''

D'Amato also mocked the heavyset Democrat Jerrold Nadler as ``Congressman Waddler'' and imitated him by waddling like a duck.

The audience laughed when D'Amato used the Yiddish word, but became quiet and started whispering when he did the Nadler imitation.

Nadler said he did not think it was appropriate for D'Amato ``to talk about my physical attributes.''

D'Amato has been involved in mudslinging before.

In 1992, he eked out a 49 percent to 48 percent victory over state Attorney General Robert Abrams after Abrams referred to his opponent as a ``fascist.'' D'Amato attacked Abrams for the remark, claiming it was anti-Italian. The controversy may well have cost Abrams the race.

During the O.J. Simpson trial, D'Amato mocked Judge Lance Ito, who is Japanese-American, by putting on a Japanese accent in a radio interview. He later apologized.

Still, the race may come down to how the two play out of town.

D'Amato was met by several hundred supporters in Albany a week ago, where the Long Island native reminded voters that he secured federal aid for them after a devastating ice storm.

Richard Schiotis, from upstate Troy, attended the rally and recalled writing to the senator to seek his support for federal approval of a new drug that could help Schiotis' autistic son.

``I wouldn't think of writing to anyone else,'' he said.

Schumer, who is sure to carry the New York City vote, went upstate for a Rochester soccer game and visited a house in Utica where his father once lived, but it's a hard sell.

``A lot of people would just perceive him as caring only about the city,'' said Luke Minogue, from upstate Plattsburgh.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Faked Persecution Ring Terminated

Thursday, October 22, 1998; 3:07 p.m. EDT

CHICAGO (AP) -- Seeking political asylum in the United States, 23 people from the former Soviet Union told of businesses being bombed and friends and relatives being burned to death or electrocuted, all because they were Jewish.

But the immigrants weren't Jewish and weren't persecuted.

Their stories were fabrications woven with the help of one man, Victor Voinenko, the federal government says.

On Wednesday, Voinenko, a 34-year-old Russian-language translator from Ukraine, was charged with making false statements to the government.

The government said that in exchange for cash, he helped the immigrants pose as persecuted Jews so they could gain asylum in the United States. He is accused of accepting almost $13,000 from the 23 asylum seekers in a scheme that ran from 1993 to 1997.

The government said the immigrants' applications for asylum contained false birth certificates identifying them as Jewish. To help them pass interviews with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Voinenko allegedly coached applicants on the tenets of Judaism.

Voinenko's lawyer, Eugene Steingold, said he expects his client to plead guilty to one count of making a false statement. He could get up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The government did not charge any of the asylum seekers, although authorities said the immigrants knew Voinenko was submitting fraudulent asylum requests on their behalf.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Thursday October 22 12:21 AM EDT

Germany's Schroeder Says No To WW1 Ceremony

PARIS (Reuters) - German Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroeder has opted out of high-profile World War One Armistice Day ceremonies, saying Germany should now turn to the future and not the past, a senior French official said Wednesday.

The official, who declined to be named, told reporters Schroeder had advised Paris that Germany would not go along with plans by French President Jacques Chirac for symbolic joint commemorations around November 11, 80th anniversary of the end of World War One.

``We were told Schroeder said he wanted a new Germany that presented a new face to the world and not one of guilt,'' said the official.

Chirac had proposed earlier this year that the leaders of France and Germany commemorate Armistice Day on a French battlefield and then in Aachen, on Germany's border with France.

Schroeder not only said he would not take part but also ruled out any German participation, the French official said.

The chancellor-elect, the first to have no direct personal recollection of World War Two, has stirred controversy in Germany by indicating he did not favor building a memorial to Holocaust victims planned for the center of Berlin.

Critics have taken such statements to indicate that Schroeder will not be driven by the same sense of historical responsibility as his predecessor Helmut Kohl.

Schroeder's decision is a second snub for Chirac. United States President Clinton has already indicated that he could not come to France for the anniversary.

France had hoped he might come late last month for a major Franco-American commemoration near the Argonne forest, where U.S. troops were heavily involved.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth is the highest ranking foreign leader who will come to France. She will lay a wreath on the Tomb of France's Unknown soldier with Chirac on November 11 and then visit the World War One battlefield at Ypres in Belgium.

France and Germany have fought three wars against each other. The 1914-1918 conflict was the most costly for France, which lost nearly 1.5 million dead.

Germany suffered its highest losses in World War Two when it fought against the Allies on several fronts, including in eastern Europe where Schroeder's father was killed shortly after his son was born in April 1944.

Critics say Chirac, who is expected to stand for re-election in 2002, had hoped to benefit from presiding at a gathering of world leaders in the same way his predecessor Mitterrand did for the 50th anniversary of the end of World War Two in May 1995.


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Thursday October 22 7:29 PM EDT

Spielberg Shoah project endorsed for Berlin memorial

By Deborah Cole

BERLIN (Reuters) - The leader of Berlin's Jewish community said Thursday he supported a proposal to use a video history created by Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg to form a central monument to the Holocaust in Germany.

The incoming German government has proposed that part of the Shoah Foundation, a huge library of videotaped interviews with Holocaust survivors put together by Spielberg, be housed on a site near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported.

Berlin Jewish leader Andreas Nachama said such a memorial would be far more effective reminder of the slaughter of 6 million Jews by the Nazis than the more traditional designs under consideration.

``The main thing is that we need an active memorial, which is why I feel the idea to include Spielberg's project is also good,'' Nachama told journalists at an event in Berlin.

``It fulfils the principle of an active memorial by bringing people to consider the consequences of the Holocaust.''

Tagesspiegel said the proposal by new cultural affairs minister of state Michael Naumann was aimed at resolving a years-long dispute over what form Germany's central monument to the Holocaust should take.

It also said Michel Friedman, a board member of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, had reacted positively to the idea of integrating Spielberg's video recordings into a larger memorial.

Nachama called on Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroeder's government to present a detailed proposal soon.

Germany in September awarded Spielberg its highest honor, the Federal Cross of Merit, for his work in preserving the memory of the Holocaust. Spielberg directed the 1994 Oscar-winning film about the Holocaust, ``Schindler's List.''

Both Naumann and Schroeder have come out against a traditional monument to the Holocaust, arguing that no design could capture the full horror of the mass murder.

Outgoing Chancellor Helmut Kohl favored a design by New York-based architect Peter Eisenman which envisages a graveyard-like labyrinth of some 4,000 concrete pillars on the Brandenburg Gate site.

But Germany's Jewish community also has been divided on the project, which needs backing from Bonn, the Berlin state and a citizen's group set up to promote the project.

Reuters/Variety


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Thursday October 22 4:14 AM EDT

Holocaust Masters Degree Introduced - (GALLOWAY) -- A New Jersey college is the first in the nation to offer a Masters degree in Holocaust Studies. Richard Stockton College will introduce the degree at a college conference tonight. Afterwards, a panel of experts will explain the need and value of the degree.

REUTERS


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Fighting hate on the Web

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH

(October 18) - While racist and antisemitic groups worldwide use the Internet to spread their propaganda, B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League fights to stop them. But patrolling the Internet is no easy task.

While the Internet is a cornucopia of helpful information, it can also be a bottomless pit for the dissemination of hate.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai B'rith is increasingly concerned about the use of the World Wide Web to spread lies against the Jewish people and other ethnic, racial or religious groups, and its New York headquarters has hired numerous full-time staffers to monitor it.

The propagandists use not only written text and pictures, but have applied the latest technology in streaming audio and even video to broadcast radio and films over the Internet to a potential audience of millions.

As the Internet grows, notorious extremists are experimenting to find the most effective way to exploit its potential for propaganda distribution while lesser-known haters - attracted by the low cost and the relative ease of Internet publishing - are increasingly cranking out their messages of hate.

"Along with the advantages of technology bringing the world to our fingertips comes the invasion of hate into our homes, schools and offices when we least expect it," says ADL national director Abe Foxman. "We will continue to expose the shrewd bigots who are rushing out to take advantage of the enormous power of the Internet.

"The days of smudgy mimeographed hate tracts arriving in unmarked brown envelopes are over; today's bigots offer their message on-line in full-color animation with music and video, all designed to attract and influence young people.

"More than 50 years after the horror of the Holocaust and strides made in civil rights, we are confronted on our computer screens by age-old antisemitism and racism repackaged to entice and incite some to act out their animosity," Foxman says.

The fastest-growing types of hate sites on the Internet are those denying the Holocaust, says Laura Kam, assistant director for public affairs at the ADL's Jerusalem office, who has just distributed copies here of High-Tech Hate: Extremist Use of the Internet.

The well-documented, 86-page softcover book was released recently by ADL headquarters and distributed to law enforcers like the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the police, schools, computer experts and journalists.

Containing a detailed glossary of technical Internet terms, it updates a previous edition, issued by the ADL in 1996.

But the newer version is much more in depth and appears at a time when access to the Internet has expanded to millions of people, adults as well as children.

"Schools are increasingly going on line, and when pupils encounter hate material they don't know what to do," Kam says.

"Let's say that a youngster is doing a paper on the Holocaust and goes to a search engine. If he writes 'Holocaust,' he'll get not only Yad Vashem and other legitimate sources of information, but also the Web site of Bradley Smith, a major denier of the Holocaust, whose site looks as legitimate as Yad Vashem's. Smith's lies could then be incorporated into the school report and be passed on and on."

According to the volume, since the first edition was published, the number of hate sites on the Web has more than doubled. Not only have sites devoted to Holocaust denial proliferated, but many antisemites are republishing or linking to Holocaust denial materials. More of the well known hate groups are now on the Web and many are using more sophisticated technology.

The Ku Klux Klan, a veteran American spreader of hate against blacks and Jews whose members used to spend most of their energy prancing around in sheets and burning crosses, has expanded its Web presence as a way of recruiting members to offset its declining influence.

David Duke, an American white supremacist, has established a connection with the neo-Nazi National Alliance and has begun to use the Internet extensively. He has even started an Internet-only "radio" program.

William Pierce's National Alliance is also making extensive use of Internet radio. The "Identity Church Movement" has established a significant number of Web sites, appropriating the language of Christianity to justify white supremacy, racism and antisemitism.

The aforementioned Bradley Smith has moved the focus of his attempt to spread his Holocaust denial mythology on college campuses to the Internet. Canadian Ernst ZŸndel and his eager disciple, Ingrid Rimland, are using the Web to promote their neo-Nazi apologetics.

These groups, according to High-Tech Hate, use the World Wide Web to spread their anti-government conspiracy theories and to create a community of interest.

The Internet has also become a major source of gun and survival information. Many individuals not specifically connected to organized hate groups are using the Internet supplementing the on-line activities of the established groups.

The ADL volume carefully eliminated all site addresses from graphic material, fearful that antisemites would use them to promote their ideas; however, anyone with a modicum of Internet experience could locate them using any one of the popular search engines.

Fortunately, the book lists all ADL branches in the US, Israel, Canada and Austria, including their e-mail addresses.

People who come across anti-Jewish hate sites on the Web can report them to the office in Jerusalem ([email protected]) or in the US ([email protected]) or go into the Web site of ADL's headquarters (www.adl.org).

Besides monitoring, the ADL cannot easily stop the river of enmity.

"Although Germany and Canada have taken harsh measures against promoters of hate, there are no laws against dissemination of this material on the Web," Kam says. "But at the very least, we can inform parents, educators and others so that the potential audience becomes immune to it. Parents must become more aware of what their children are encountering on the Internet."

Existing filter programs can prevent access to many pornographic sites, but there has been nothing available to keep hate sites beyond the pale. Therefore, in its continuing effort to combat hate on the Internet, the ADL recently reached an agreement with The Learning Company (TLC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to develop a proprietary Internet filter. The ADL version of TLC's Cyber Patrol software, to be downloadable from the Internet, will provide users with the option of screening out hate sites and educate about the dangers of prejudice.

"We are working with the most innovative filtering software developer in the US to create a tool that will give parents the option to protect their children from hate and keep bigotry out of their homes," says ADL national chairman Howard Berkowitz. "We hope to foster an atmosphere of responsibility on-line and to set standards within the framework of the First Amendment that will give assurances to parents, educators and communities that there are means with which to help children safely navigate the Internet."

Internet users with ADL's Cyber Patrol who attempt to access hate sites will be re-directed to ADL's own Web site and be exposed to educational content devoted to informing people about prejudice and hate.

Those who want a copy of High-Tech Hate can contact the ADL's Jerusalem office at (02) 625-1171. It is also sold though the ADL's Web site for $9.95 (NIS 42.40).


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Ukrainian to Get Political Asylum

By Bob Egelko
Associated Press Writer
Friday, October 23, 1998; 8:53 p.m. EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A Jewish woman from the Ukraine who suffered job discrimination as a Soviet citizen and physical attacks from ultranationalists as the Soviet Union crumbled is eligible for political asylum, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

Immigration officials had concluded that Vera Korablina, who fled to the United States in 1994, had suffered only ``discrimination'' and not ``persecution'' and ordered her deported to the Ukraine.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and allowed her to stay.

Korablina suffered not merely social bias but violent attacks on herself, friends and family by ``groups that the government is unable or unwilling to control,'' Judge Stephen Trott said in the 3-0 ruling.

``The suffering inflicted on Korablina because she is Jewish was not simply a minor disadvantage or trivial inconvenience,'' Trott said. ``It amounted to the infliction of suffering or harm upon one who differs ... in a way regarded as offensive.''

Korablina, now in her late 50s, lives in the Los Angeles area.

Korablina, who lived in Kiev, testified that she was denied admittance to a polytechnical school because of her religion, attended a technical school and then worked in a factory from 1962 to 1990.

She said she was denied promotions because she was Jewish and was fired in 1990 by a new boss who belonged to an ultranationalist, anti-Semitic group. Such extremist organizations were previously suppressed but started speaking openly and agitating against Jews after Mikhail Gorbachev eased Soviet control in the mid-1980s, she said.

After Ukrainian independence, she said, she was working as a secretary to a Jewish man in October 1993 when three men burst in, called him a Jew who lived at Ukrainians' expense, beat him and took money and a list of employees. She said she soon started getting anti-Semitic calls and notes threatening to kill her.

Later, she said, two men approached her, demanded business records, and, when she refused, put a noose around her neck and tightened it until she released the papers. They said her name could not conceal her Jewish origin.

Korablina said the police belonged to the ultranationalist group and did not respond to complaints. She said many people who protested later disappeared, including a friend who had promised to help her.

She fled a month after her boss disappeared, leaving her husband and daughter behind. At Korablina's deportation hearing, her daughter testified that both she and her father were later beaten by attackers who used anti-Semitic words and said they were still looking for Korablina.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Friday October 23, 9:49 am Eastern Time

Veteran diplomat asked to head Holocaust commission

NEW YORK, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger has been asked to chair the international commission charged with resolving all unpaid insurance claims of Holocaust victims, a source close to the group said on Thursday.

The source said Eagleburger, who was President George Bush's last secretary of state, was the unanimous choice of the 12-member international commission formed a month ago to resolve the issue.

The commission is composed of European insurance companies, U.S. states insurance commissioners and representatives of the state of Israel and the World Jewish Commission.

Eagleburger is considering the proposal and is expected to let the commission know his decision within a few days, the source said.

At issue are the claims against insurance companies from Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland that issued policies in prewar Europe which Holocaust survivors claim were never paid after the war.

The World Jewish Congress has estimated that life insurance policies held by Jews in prewar Europe alone would amount to $2.5 billion today.

Six European insurance companies agreed to forming the commission last month. They are Allianz AG of Germany, Axa of France, Generale of Italy and three from Switzerland: Zurich, Basler Leben and Wintherthur Leben.

They signed a memorandum of understanding to create an international commission together with the U.S. National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Jewish representatives.

The 12-member commission, which met for first time Wednesday, asked Eagleburger to become the 13th member and chairman.

The commission will be charged with auditing and investigating the records of the insurance companies and setting up a mechanism for paying out claims in a process that is to be completed within two years.


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Clarkson in the doghouse
Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble with a car company after claims he made "bigoted and racist" comments at the Motor Show in Birmingham.

Hyundai UK claim he told visitors to the BBC Two show's stand that its staff had all eaten dog.

He also allegedly said one of the South Korean-based company's designers had probably eaten a spaniel.

Complaint sent to BBC

Hyundai UK spokesman Stephen Kitson said a letter of complaint had been sent to the BBC.

"What was reported back to me was that he said the people on the Hyundai stand had eaten dog, and that the designer of one of our cars, the XG, had probably eaten a spaniel for lunch.

"Our people on the stand, which is right next to Top Gear's, are offended by these comments. They are bigoted and racist and deliberately vindictive."

'Constant culinary carping'

He added: "Jeremy can say whatever he wants about our motor vehicles," but he said he wanted the TV presenter's "constant carping about Korean culinary habits" to stop.

"When he drives a French car it is not as if he says that the French eat horses and frogs," he said.

Hyundai UK is a separate outfit from the Korean company, working under a franchise to import and distribute its cars in Britain.

The company is not the only one taken aback by Clarkson.

'Called Germans Nazis'

BMW's public affairs manager Chris Willows said he had been told Clarkson had allegedly referred to Germans as Nazis, but the company will not be complaining.

"He has been given the benefit of the doubt," he said.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Jeremy's colourful comments are always entertaining, but they are his own comments and not those of the BBC.

"More often than not they are said with a twinkle in his eye."


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Le Pen Hails Pinochet's Fight

Monday, October 26, 1998; 4:16 p.m. EST

PARIS (AP) -- French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen on Monday criticized the arrest of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, saying the former Chilean dictator probably saved South America -- and maybe the world -- from communism.

Le Pen, who heads the anti-immigrant National Front, also criticized what he said was an increasing ``worldwide judicial witch hunt'' against figures such as Pinochet.

Pinochet seized power in a violent 1973 coup, ousting President Salvador Allende, a democratically elected Marxist. Pinochet has said the takeover helped stop the momentum of leftist movements in the world.

British police arrested Pinochet on Oct. 16 at a London clinic where he had undergone back surgery. A Spanish magistrate is seeking his extradition on charges of genocide, torture and terrorism during his 17-year rule which ended in 1990.

Le Pen has also had legal problems, including a conviction in France for contesting crimes against humanity by referring to Nazi gas chambers as a ``detail in history.'' In Germany, prosecutors want to charge him under a law making it a criminal offense to trivialize the Holocaust.

On Monday, Le Pen told reporters, ``Pinochet prevented communists from coming to power in his country. By doing that he perhaps saved South America and maybe even the whole world'' from communism.

Swiss authorities on Monday also requested Pinochet's arrest following a criminal complaint filed last week in Geneva by the widow of a student who disappeared in May 1977.

It is suspected that he was kidnapped by the Chilean secret police in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A similar complaint was filed in a Paris court on Monday on behalf of Anne-Marie Pesle, whose father, Etienne Pesle, disappeared while working in Chile in September 1973.

A group representing Chileans in France, the Franco-Chilean Coordination against Impunity, said the Pesle family wanted Pinochet extradited there to face charges of crimes against humanity.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Friday October 23 4:06 AM EDT

Koken Involved In Holocaust Repayment - (NEW YORK) -- State Insurance Commissioner Diane Koken has been named to an international commission that will set guidelines for returning assets to the families of Holocaust victims. She is one of just five U.S. regulators named to the panel. Their first meeting was held in New York City this week. The money is coming from banks in Switzerland where much of the stolen money was deposited. It is believed that several thousand Pennsylvania residents are eligible for some sort of payment from the Holocaust fund.


Hate Toy Discovered In Manayunk - (PHILADELPHIA) -- Laser pointers with swastika symbols have been discovered at a toy store located in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. The pointers are distributed by Cool Things of New Jersey, which says it doesn't know where the Nazi symbol came from. Barry Morrison of the Anti- Defamation League says he wants the pointers with the Swastika removed from the market.
REUTERS


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Hitler Films Surface in US Basement

Tuesday, October 27, 1998; 2:29 a.m. EST

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Amateur movies shot by Adolf Hitler's pilot showing the Nazi leader meeting with Mussolini and touring occupied Paris have been recovered from the basement of a former Army sergeant.

Herbert St. Goar headed an intelligence branch of the U.S. military government in Germany when he learned of 16 cans of Hitler's home movies in 1945 and 1946.

St. Goar said he kept four cans as a war souvenir and showed them to friends and civic groups over the years before stashing them in his basement and forgetting about them.

A visitor from Switzerland recently convinced him to turn over the film to Der Spiegel magazine for an undisclosed price.

The movies show Hitler's travels around Europe, from meetings with Benito Mussolini in Rome in 1938 to a quick tour of newly occupied Paris on June 28, 1940.

The Paris trip includes the only known color shots of Hitler visiting with German war wounded, Der Spiegel reported Monday.

Hans Guenther Voigt from the Berlin Federal Film Archive called the reels ``authentic'' and ``extremely interesting as contemporaneous documentation.'' The Munich Institute for Contemporary History called them an important addition to film material about Hitler.

St. Goar, 82, suffered seizures late Sunday and was in the intensive care unit of Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga on Monday, said his wife, Maria St. Goar.

``Maybe there was too much excitement,'' she said.

Earlier Sunday, St. Goar told WTVC-TV he was in Munich in late 1945 or early 1946 interviewing German army officers and soldiers to learn their involvement in Nazi atrocities when a man revealed he had been one of Hitler's personal pilots.

``He said, `Well, I tell you a thing I also did. I took movies of Hitler,''' St. Goar recalled. ``I said, `What happened to those movies?' He said, `I hid them in my back yard in Munich.'''

They drove to the pilot's home and dug up the reels. No film projector was available in the military office, so St. Goar did not see the movies until he returned to Chattanooga in October 1946.

He said he gave 12 reels to his commanding officer and kept four.

St. Goar, who is Jewish, was born in Hamburg, Germany, immigrated to the United States in 1938 and became a citizen five years later.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press


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Wednesday October 28, 11:29 am Eastern Time

Company Press Release

Anti-Defamation League Honors PLATINUM technology's President and CEO Andrew "Flip" Filipowski with Torch of Liberty Award

Inaugural Silicon Prairie Award Recognizes PLATINUM's CEO for Leadership in Technology, Business and Community

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 28, 1998-- The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today announced that it will honor Andrew ``Flip'' Filipowski, president and CEO of PLATINUM technology, inc. (NASDAQ: PLAT - news), with its Torch of Liberty Award for his outstanding achievements in the technology, business and philanthropic arenas. The award, which will be given at an Inaugural Silicon Prairie Torch of Liberty Award Dinner tonight at the Field Museum in Chicago, was established to recognize individuals or companies in the technology industry who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to community, equality and justice, and whose everyday actions exemplify the principles on which the ADL was founded.

The award is ADL's first technology industry award given in Chicago. The honor has been awarded several times by ADL's San Francisco office to such esteemed recipients as Scott McNealy (Sun Microsystems, Inc.), Dr. Gordon E. Moore (Intel Corp.), John Scully (Apple Computer, Inc.), and James G. Treybig (Tandem Computers, Inc.).

``Flip's charitable work and his company's business practices demonstrate the positive difference business leaders can make in improving the world around them. PLATINUM's Digital Schoolhouse program, for example, which provides children with hands-on training and experience with computers and the Internet, is both a generous and creative response to the growing `information gap' that exists in our society,'' stated Richard Hirschhaut, Anti-Defamation League regional director. ``Whether it be preserving wildlife through the PLATINUM Wildlife Foundation or bringing technology to underprivileged children, Flip's compassion for giving something back to the community exemplifies what we look for in Torch of Liberty recipients.''

Business Leadership

Filipowski founded PLATINUM technology, inc. in 1987. Under his leadership, it has grown into the 11th largest independent software company worldwide with 1998 revenues expected to reach $1 billion. PLATINUM, headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, provides software and services that help IT organizations manage and improve the IT infrastructure. PLATINUM's solutions include database and systems management, data warehousing and decision support, application lifecycle, Internet commerce, and Year 2000 reengineering. Prior to founding PLATINUM, Filipowski was founder of DBMS, Inc., a software products and services company; he served as its president, CEO and chairman from 1979 until March 1987.

In 1998, PLATINUM was named as one of the ``Top 100 Public Companies'' by Forbes magazine and is one of the fastest growing software firms of all time.

Philanthropic/Community Leadership

Additionally, Filipowski's accomplishments extend beyond the business community. He has contributed significantly to charitable organizations including PLATINUM Wildlife Foundation, PLATINUM Black Rhino Rescue Foundation and PLATINUM Digital Schoolhouse Foundation. He also has served on a number of boards for non-profit organizations, including the University of Chicago Hospital, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the John G. Shedd Aquarium, St. John's Northwestern Military Academy and the Advisory Board for the Chicago Public Schools Cluster/Curriculum Enhancement Project. Additionally, Filipowski has received numerous awards, including the Illinois High Tech and KPMG Peat Marwick's Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the Ernst & Young and Merrill Lynch Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Tickets are available at $400 each; tables of 10 at the $5,000- or $4,000-level. To purchase tickets, call Diane Blakey at (312) 782-5080.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.


Contact:

     Anti-Defamation League
     Diane Blakey, 312/782-5080


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