World news

Auschwitz plea for UK donation

By Jessica Elgot, January 13, 2010

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation has called on Gordon Brown to fulfill his promise to donate some of the £110m needed to save the former concentration camp from decay and ruin.

The camp has been built on marshland between two rivers and damp is seeping into the barracks, which are rotting and splintering.

Restoration experts have warned that the camp has less than two years before some parts are beyond repair.

In early December, the infamous ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign was stolen by vandals, highlighting the vulnerability of the site.

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Demjanjuk's lawyers calls to abandon trial

By Jessica Elgot, January 12, 2010

The alleged Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk may have his trial postponed yet again after an appeal from his lawyer.

The 89-year-old Ukrainian is on trial in Munich charged with being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at the Sobibor death camp.

The case resumed today after being suspended in early December due to Demjanjuk’s apparent ill health.

His defence lawyer Ulrich Busch has launched a new argument that German law cannot be applied to Demjanjuk, who was born in the Ukraine.

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Tributes for Miep Gies, Anne Frank's 'helper'

By Jessica Elgot, January 12, 2010

Tributes have been paid to Miep Gies, the helper of Anne Frank's family, who has died aged 100.

Israeli president Shimon Peres wrote a letter to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands to express his admiration for Ms Gies.

In the letter he wrote: "I bow my head in mourning and deep respect for Miep Gies.

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Oliver Stone: "Hitler was a scapegoat"

By Jessica Elgot, January 12, 2010

A new project from the Oscar-winning film director Oliver Stone will aim to “correct” 20th century historical "inaccuracies", including his belief that Adolf Hitler was a scapegoat.

The Natural Born Killers director is putting together a ten-hour crash course on the history of the last century for American TV channel Showtime, Oliver Stone’s Secret History of America.

Launching his series in Pasadena, California, Mr Stone said: "Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it's been used cheaply.

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Anne Frank's helper Miep Gies dies aged 100

By Jessica Elgot, January 12, 2010

Miep Gies, the last survivor of the group which hid Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis, has died aged 100.

Mrs Gies was the first to discover 15-year-old Anne’s diary of her life in hiding for two years in Amsterdam. Anne died of typhus in concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, just two weeks before liberation.

Miep Gies kept the diary safe until after the war, when she returned it to Anne’s father Otto Frank.

She helped Otto publish the diary in 1947. It was eventually published in dozens of languages worldwide and sold, and continues to sell, millions of copies.

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Analysis: A sinister scheme to devalue the Holocaust is gathering steam

By Efraim Zuroff, January 8, 2010

The question of how Lithuania deals with its Holocaust past has simmered for 18 years, ever since it gained independence.

But in the past few weeks it has become crucial, due to Lithuania’s campaign to obtain recognition that Communism is the equivalent of Nazism.

The current controversy kicked off on November 30, 2009, when Lithuanian PM Andrius Kubilius was the guest on BBC’s Hardtalk.

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"Race hate" passenger thrown off jet

By Robyn Rosen, January 7, 2010

A man has been arrested after allegedly becoming aggressive and using antisemitic threats on a Detroit-bound airplane in Miami aiport.

Mansour Mohammad Asad stood up as Northwest Airlines Flight 2485 was about to take off from Miami International Airport on Wednesday evening and said: “I'm a Palestinian and want to kill all the Jews,” according to a report by the Miami-Dade Police Department.

The plane returned to the gate where police officers removed him and used a taser when he became aggressive during a search.

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Ancient Polish cemetery slated for destruction ‘saved by government’

By Leon Symons, January 7, 2010

An ancient Jewish cemetery slated for destruction has been saved by the Polish authorities.

The graveyard, in Wolberom, near Krakow, was supposed to have a $1 million school gym built on it. But the project was moved at the end of last year to a different site after skeletons were discovered on the grounds.

Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, praised both the local authorities and the government for the decision.

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Fears for Yemenites

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 7, 2010

The threat of permanent closure of the American and British embassies in Yemen has heightened fears for the safety of some 200 Yemenite Jews.

The main channel of contact with the community has, in recent years, been the American State Department.

American diplomats have helped Jewish groups transfer aid to the community and keep abreast of its condition. Last year, Moshe Yaish-Nahari was murdered by a former Yemeni Air Force pilot after he refused to convert.

The fear of al Qaida and other Islamic movements has caused many rural Jews to move to the capital, Sana’a.

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No trial for DJ’s killer

January 7, 2010

The alleged murderer of French DJ Sebastien Selam, who was killed with a knife and fork in the car park of his apartment building, is not mentally fit to stand trial, a Paris court has ruled.

Twenty-two-year-old Mr Selam was killed in December 2003 by a small-time drug dealer, Adel Amastaibou, who lived in the same building. Mr Amastaibou allegedly slit Mr Selam’s throat with a knife and gouged out his eyes. He is said to have run upstairs to his flat and, according to his mother, cried: “I killed a Jew! Now I will go to heaven!”

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