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July 28, 1995 - Image 84

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-07-28

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

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Attack On Cemetery
Saddens Ambassador

New York (JTA) — The Roman-
ian ambassador to the United
States has expressed his coun-
try's "sorrow and consternation"
for one of the worst attacks on a
Jewish cemetery in Romanian
history.
Romanian police said 12 boys
— ranging in age from 9 to 14 —
smashed 86 graves in Bucharest's
largest Jewish cemetery on June
15.
But police said the boys had
acted without malice toward
Jews.
"The incident has no anti-
Semitic character," said police
Col. Serban Stan, adding, "The
underage children were not
aware of the gravity of their acts."
A police statement said the
youths apparently sneaked into
the cemetery to pick berries and
"then played by kicking the head-
stones, which fell over and broke."
Earlier reports said the head-
stones had been hit with sledge-
hammers and an iron club.
Jewish leaders said they
doubted that the heavy granite
and marble headstones could
have been desecrated by children
at play.
"It's hard to believe small chil-
dren playing could knock down
dozens of massive headstones,"
said Iulian Sorin, a leader of the
Federation of Jewish Communi-
ties in Romania.
Earlier, Mr. Sorin had said of
the desecration, "Not even dur-
ing the war did such a thing hap-
pen."
Abraham Foxman, national di-
rector of the Anti-Defamation
League, sent a letter to the Ro-
manian ambassador to the Unit-
ed States, Mihail Botez.
In the letter, ADL urged Ro-
mania "to apprehend those re-
sponsible for the desecration of
graves and to publicly denounce
the anti-Semitism and racism
which provoked this action."
Mr. Foxman said ADL is con-
cerned that "this horrific incident
is further evidence of rising anti-
Semitism and racism in Roma-
nia."
In a response to Mr. Foxman,
the ambassador wrote, "Words
will hardly be able to express our
sorrow and consternation over
such acts of vandalism."
Since the 1989 overthrow of
communism, anti-Semitic acts
have been more prevalent in Ro-
mania, whose shrinking com-
munity of mostly elderly Jews
numbers about 16,000.
About 400,000 Jews emigrated
during the Communist rule of
Nicolae Ceausescu.
Mr. Foxman also expressed
concern in the letter about the in-
creasing influence of extremist

politicians and the efforts across
Romania to officially honor fas-
cist dictator Ion Antonescu.
During the 1940-1944 rule of
the pro-Nazi Antonescu, more
than 250,000 Jews died in terri-
tories controlled by Romania.
He was executed in 1946 in Ro-
mania as a war hero, but Jews
around the world have been fear-

Police said the boys
had acted without
malice toward Jews.

c/

ful that some government offi-
cials are rehabilitating his
reputation.
Recently, statues of the fascist
leader have been erected and
some officials have described him
as a patriotic hero for Romani-
ans.

Chemist Jailed
For Role In Hoax

New York (JTA) — A chemist
in Stuttgart, Germany, has been
sentenced to 14 months in jail in
connection with his "scientific"
paper claiming that the
Auschwitz gas chambers were a
Jewish hoax.
According to news reports, for-
mer general and Hitler loyalist
Otto Ernst Remer had paid Mr.
Scheerer to test brick in the death
camp's gas chambers for Zyklon
B, a deadly cyanide compound
used to kill hundreds of thou-
sands of Jews during the Holo-
caust.
Mr. Scheerer wrote a report in
1991 asserting that because he
found none of the compound, it
could not have been used to kill
Jews.
Scientists said the cyanide
compound decomposes and dis-
appears quickly. Also, some gas
chambers at former camps have
been rebuilt with new bricks in
restoration efforts.
After publishing his report, Mr.
Scheerer was fired from the pres-
tigious Max Planck Institute.
In his ruling, Judge Dietmar
Mayer called Mr. Scheerer an
anti- Semite "fanatically com-
mitted" to denying the Holocaust,
it was reported.
Mr. Remer rounded up dozens
of people involved in the July
1944 assassination attempt
against Hitler. In 1992, he was
sentenced to 22 months in prison
for incitement to racial hatred.
He reportedly lives under house
arrest in southern Spain.

C-

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