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September 08, 1989 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-08

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

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Special to The Jewish News

T

he breach of the
Catholic-Jewish agree-
ment to relocate the
convent at Auschwitz by last
February - and the in-
temperate words of the Ar-
chbishop of Poland have been
condemned in several
newspapers around the
country.
An editorial in the New
York Times called remarks by
Jozef Cardinal Glemp "insen-
sitive," "untimely" and
"blundering." The cardinal,
said the Times, with his thin-
ly veiled anti-Semitism, "had
no warrant to echo ancient
prejudices." Referring to
Jewish protests that the con-
vent be taken from
Auschwitz, Cardinal Glemp
had advised Jews not to talk
"from the position of a people
raised above all others." He
added what the Times called
"the gratuitous warning" to
Jews not to "spread anti-
Polish feeling" by using their
"power" in mass media "that
are easily at your disposal."
"World War II," observed
the Times,."was catastrophic
for Poland, and for the Jews of
Europe . . . [The archbishop's
remarks] will do little to
bring two suffering peoples
together — and could well
drive them apart!'
But the Times found some
light in the situation. Car-
dinal Glemp's comments were
censured by the Solidarity
newspaper in Poland,
Catholics in "many coun-
tries" were "dismayed by the
remarks, and New York's Car-
dinal O'Conner tagged Car-
dinal Glemp's words "shock-
ing" and urged the Polish
church "to get on" with im-
plementing its agreement

about the convent.
"That," said the Times, "is
a welcome, constructive
response. Surely it is time, a
half-century after World War
II began; for all these victims
to calm the rancors it still in-
cites!'
In the Baltimore Sun, col-
umnist Ernest B. Furguson
used the Cardinal Glemp in-
cident as evidence that the
racial and religious
animosities that lay beneath
World War II still exist,
although driven
"underground," making them
"impolite in public discourse!'
Cardinal Glemp, said
Furguson, "knows his consti-
tuency: long before Hitler,
anti-Semitism was deep-
rooted in Poland and the
Baltic states. It has not disap-
peared, even after the shared
sufferings of war."
Perhaps the most outraged
voice against the Auschwitz
convent came from Leon
Wieseltier, literary editor of
the New Republic. In an op-ed
essay in the New. York Times,
Wieseltier noted that what
now "greets the vistor to the
greatest charnel house in
Jewish history is a cross,
more than 20 feet high . . Its
shadow, with all due respect,
is sickening!' The nuns who
prayed in penance for the
souls lost at Auschwitz com-
mitted "no offense" to Jews,
insisted Wieseltier, "because
Catholic penance at
Auschwitz is appropriate .. .
The Jews of Europe were
almost completely exter-
minated by Christians who
called themselves Chris-
tians."
But all, Jews and Chris-
tians, who have been calling
Auschwitz "a sacred place"
are mistaken, wrote
Wieseltier.

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