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December 13, 2002 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-12-13

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

How many bites
will Uncle Sam
take this year?

Washington Watch


anniversary of an event few Americans
know about: the creation of Zegota,
the Polish Council for Aid to the Jews.
The underground organization,
which operated from late 1942 until
the liberation of Poland, was the only
rescue organization run by both Jews
and non-Jews; historians say the organ-
ization helped uncounted numbers of
Jews who were hiding from the Nazis.
On Tuesday, the Holocaust Museum
marked the creation of Zegota with a
ceremony at the museum featuring
Przemyslaw Grudzinski, the Polish
ambassador in Washington, and
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski,
the former Polish foreign
minister and one of the
founders of Zegota.
Bartoszewski "is one of
the very few founders of
Zegota still alive," said
Miles Lerman, a former
chair of the Holocaust
Council and partisan
fighter in Poland durinc,
the war. "The govern-
ment of Israel, evaluating
his deeds, bestowed hon-
orary citizenship on him;
that's a very rare honor.
More recently,
Bartoszewski played a
major role in negotiations with
Lerman over the future of the
Auschwitz death camp site. The for-
mer foreign minister was interred at
Auschwitz early in the camp's history.
Lerman said conservative estimates
suggest Zegota saved at least 4,000
Jews, more than half of them children.
The group's partisans supplied false
documents to Jews in hiding and
financial and medical support.

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Bias Meetings

to press the issue of rising anti-
Semitism in Europe, and to encourage
European leaders to use their influence
to fight the even more virulent anti-
Semitism now surging through the
Arab world.
That was the underlying theme at
Tuesday's Capitol Hill "inter-parlia-
mentary forum" hosted by the U.S.
Helsinki Commission. The commis-
sion, comprised of nine lawmakers
from each house of Congress and
administration officials, was created to
monitor and promote the Helsinki
Accords on human rights. The session
included testimony by Jewish leaders
and participation by a delegation from
the German Bundestag.
Alfred Moses, representing the

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This is Federation

Zegota, a Polish
underground organization
run by both Jews and
non-Jews, saved at least
4,000 Jews, more than half
of them children, during
the Holocaust.

A group of lawmakers are determined

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American Jewish Committee (AJC),
told the panel that "the historical anti-
Seniitism of Europe has been given
new life by voices on both the political
right and the left." He said the wors-
ening Arab-Israeli conflict, the increas-
ingly visible Holocaust restitution
movement and the surge of anti-for-
eigner sentiment in Europe have pro-
vided "intellectual cover" for "tradi-
tional anti-Semites."
Moses, incidentally, is being pro-
moted bx the AJC as a candidate for
the 10-member National Commission
on Terrorist Attacks upon the United

States, the panel chaired by former
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to
investigate the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Kenneth Jacobson, associate national
director of the Anti-Defamation
League, urged participating nations to
"turn bold recognition and understand-
ing of the problem and its urgency into
concerted, multilateral action." The
ADL offered a 10-point "action agenda
against global anti-Semitism."

Among its recom-
mendations: greater

public acknowledge-
ment of the problem
by political leaders,
greater use of educa-
tional institutions to
fight anti-Semitism,
expanded Holocaust
education and better
training to help law enforcement
authorities respond to hate crimes.
Rep. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a long-
time member of the Helsinki
Commission, said the session was a fol-
low-up to meetings between American

and German parliamentarians held in
Berlin in July. The goal of the meet-

ings, he said, is to get European gov-
ernments to "acknowledge that anti-
Semitism is real and that it is increas-
ing, and that it cannot be justified
because of international events." 0

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