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September 15, 1989 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-15

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

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Vive L'Revolution
Maybe

ARTHUR J. MAGIDA

Special to The Jewish News

rance's 650,000 Jews
greeted the 200th
anniversary of the
French with "joy and skep-
ticism," according to an arti-
cle in the B'nai B'rith Inter-
national's Jewish Monthly.
The revolution of 1789,
which "grudgingly" eman-
cipated French Jews two
years after the fall of the
Bastille, did "not eliminate
anti-Semitism," according to
writer Mark Lieberman. And -
the freedom that came with
emancipation "fostered
assimilation?'
Today's French Jews labor

under a recent history that
has not been kind to them.
During the Nazi occupation,
80,000 French Jews were
deported, "with French com-
plicity," to their deaths. And
last May, French President
Francois Mitterrand hosted a
meeting in Paris with
Palestine Liberation
Organization chairman
Yassir Arafat.

Asked whether his French
non-Jewish friends would re-
main loyal to him if the ex-
treme right-wing again came
to power in France, a 19-year-
old French Jew said, "I can't
predict. The French are
awfully xenophobic, you
know. Their record isn't that
great? "

More On
Auschwitz Convent

In the midst of the tempest
swirling in Jewish-Catholic
circles over his intemperate
remarks about Jews' desire to
move the convent near the en-
trance to Auschwitz, Polish
Cardinal Jozef Glemp
somehow found time for an
interview with a reporter
from the Jerusalem Post. His
comments did not especially
exonerate him, although he
stayed clear of the anti-
Semitism that had marked
his earlier remarks.
"No one," said the cardinal,
"understands who is offended
by the sisters praying near
the wall of the concentration
camp. The sisters dedicate
their lives to prayer in a place
near a center of Catholic mar-
tyrdom ... Who can unders-
tand why they must be loved?
Do you? No? The people don't,
either.
"What shall we do with
them [the nuns]?" he asked.

"Pitch tents and put the nuns
into tents?"
After great editorial
wisdom was expended the
convent fracas, a unique
worry about the matter ap-
peared in a Jerusalem Post
column written by Shlomo

"No one
"understands who
is offended."

Avineri, a former director-
general of Israel's Foreign
Ministry.
Avineri was concerned that
the convent issue and such
controversies as whether
Kurt Waldheim aided the
Nazis' implementation of the
Holocaust are all side issues
that have been elevated to
center stage: They divert at-
tention from the Germans'
ultimate responsibility for
the Holocaust.

Germans And Italians
Look Back At WWII

The recent 50th anniver-
sary of the start of World-War
II was marked by some
honest, revealing remarks.
Among these was a letter in
the New York Times sent by
West Germany's president,
Richard von Weizsacker, to
Poland's president, Wojciech
Jaruzelski.
Germany, wrote von Weiz-
sacker, "alone launched the
attack [on Poland on Sept. 1,
1939] showing utter contempt
for humanity, international

law and the need for
reconciliation.

"Countless are the victims
and indescribable is the suf-
fering which the people of
your country had to bear dur-
ing and after the war . . . Who
could ever forget the fate
which befell Jews from
Poland and the whole of
Europe in Auschwitz, Ma-
jdanek, Treblinka, Sobibor
and elsewhere in your coun-
try at the hands of Germans?

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