NEW YORK (JTA) — A Jewish cemetery in Romania has suffered one of the worst attacks ever recorded 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.
Police said the boys had acted without malice toward Jews. They sneaked into the cemetery to pick berries and "then played by kicking the headstones, which fell over and broke," the police said.
But Jewish leaders said they doubted that the heavy granite and marble headstones could have been desecrated by children at play.
Earlier reports said the headstones had been hit with sledgehammers and an iron club.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, sent a letter last Friday to the Romanian ambassador to the United States, Mihail Botez, urging Romania "to apprehend those responsible for the desecration of graves and to publicly denounce the anti-Semitism and racism which provoked this action."
In a response, 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 Romania, whose shrinking community of mostly elderly Jews numbers about 16,000.
Dutchman sentenced for ruining memorial
AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A man convicted for destroying a glass monument to the victims of Auschwitz here in January 1993 has been sentenced to 100 hours of public labor.
Judge F. Salomon said the man, identified as J.R.S., should complete the sentence in the field of art, a positive way to make up for the destruction of the monument.
The glass structure was destroyed the night before an Auschwitz commemoration was to take place.
The district attorney had asked for two months imprisonment for J.R.S., an employee of the company that produced the broken, mirrored plates for the monument.
The monument is made up of six huge mirrors on the ground. A plaque at the top reads in Dutch, "Auschwitz never again."
Jan Wolkers, one of Holland's foremost writers, created the monument. Wolkers designed the cracks in the mirrors, which face heaven, symbolizing that Auschwitz violates the heavens.
J.R.S. had claimed that his employer offered him money to destroy the monument. There were mistakes in construction in the windows, which would have been obvious at the remembrance, J.R.S. had said. No proof for this claim could be found.
J.R.S. attacked the mirrors with a pickax so intensively that afterward, the glass mirrors looked like damaged car glass.
Chemist sentenced for Holocaust denial
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.
Germar Scheerer had been convicted for incitement to racial hatred.
News reports say former general and Hitler loyalist Otto Ernst Remer paid Scheerer to test brick in the death camp's gas chambers for Zyklon B, a deadly cyanide used to kill hundreds of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
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 disappears quickly. Also, some gas chambers at former camps have been rebuilt with new brick.
After publishing his report, Scheerer was fired from the prestigious Max Planck Institute.
In his ruling, Judge Dietmar Mayer called Scheerer an anti-Semite "fanatically committed" to denying the Holocaust, it was reported.
Mounties want help in hunting for Nazis
NEW YORK (JTA) — The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is seeking help hunting for Nazi war criminals.
The group's War Crimes and Special Investigations Section, which tracks down war criminals from World War II who live in Canada, is seeking:
*Witnesses with knowledge of crimes perpetrated by the German SS and gendarmerie in Novogrodek in the former Soviet Republic of Byelorussia, now called Belarus.
*Information on executions in Slonim, Tschepilowo and Petroiewizce, also in the former Soviet republic of Byelorussia, between July 1941 and August 1942.
*Information on individuals jailed in the Pawiak Prison in Warsaw between April 1943 and August 1943.
Those with information can contact Elliot Welles, Director, Anti-Defamation League Task Force on Nazi War Criminals, 823 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, or call (212) 885-7769, or contact Commanding Officer, A Division, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 155 McArthur Ave., Vanier, Ontario, Canada K1AOR4 Attn: War Crimes and Special Investigation Section, or call (613) 990-8467 collect and ask for investigator Ken LaVoie.