BONN (JTA) — Near the site of the 1972 massacre that took the lives of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, a monument in their memory was unveiled last week.
But even as German and Jewish dignitaries gathered alongside the victims' family members to commemorate the dead, there was bitterness over the monument.
Family members had planned to boycott the event just 10 days before — but the German Olympic Committee agreed to say on the plaque that the Israelis were victims of a terrorist attack.
The original text said the athletes were victims of "violence," wording that angered many Jews invited to the ceremony.
The plaque unveiled at the ceremony Wednesday of last week did not reflect the change because the new one was not ready in time.
Palestinian terrorists belonging to the Black September movement infiltrated the Olympic Village on Sept. 5, 1972, the 11th day of the Munich Olympics. The terrorists killed two Israeli athletes and took nine others hostage, demanding the release of 200 Arab prisoners in Israel.
In a shootout in the airport later that day when German police attempted to free the Israeli hostages, the nine were killed, as were a German police officer and five of the terrorists. Three of the Palestinians were arrested.
Relatives of the victims have blamed the German police for the attack, and have sued the local authorities for compensation. The trial is pending.
Polish memorial to honor Polish rescuers
ROME (JTA) — A monument recently unveiled in Warsaw honors Poles who risked their lives during World War II by forming a secret organization to save Jews from the Nazis.
The obelisk unveiled two weeks ago honored Zegota, an organization sponsored by the London-based Polish government in exile during World War II to help Jews in Poland.
The monument stands near the larger Ghetto Heroes Monument, which pays homage to the hundreds of thousands of Warsaw Jews who died during the war and to those who died during the failed ghetto uprising in 1943.
Zegota, the Relief Council for Jews, was active from Sept. 27, 1942 in Warsaw, Krakow and other cities, and was the "only such government-funded institution in German-occupied Europe," said Stanislaw Krajewski, American Jewish Committee consultant in Warsaw.
"In Warsaw alone, 2,400 children were placed in families and Catholic or secular institutions," he said.
During the ecumenical dedication ceremony, prayers were offered by Warsaw Chief Rabbi Menachem Joskowicz and by Bishop Stanislaw Gadecki, president of the Polish Episcopate's Commission for Dialogue with the Jews.
Speakers included Poland's Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski — one of the founders of Zegota — who stressed that the creation of the group was a common activity of Christians and Jews helping the most vulnerable.
Bartoszewski is one of nearly 5,000 Poles honored as Righteous Gentiles by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
Holocaust denier loses appeal for visa
SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — A federal court has dismissed the appeal of Holocaust denier David Irving, blocking the London-based writer from entering Australia.
Irving, who was appealing two government decisions not to grant him a visa, also was ordered to pay court costs. In a statement from London, Irving said he would appeal the court ruling.
In making his decision, the federal judge stressed that Irving's views were not the cause for the ban, despite the claim by Irving and his Australian supporters that he had been the victim of censorship.
Rather, the judge said, Irving's record of contempt for the law in a number of jurisdictions was sound legal reason for him to be refused entry to Australia.
The judge was referring to actions that include a conviction in Germany for remarks denying the Holocaust, and deportation from Canada for lying under oath to immigration officials.
Irving was appealing the May 1994 decision of Nick Bolkus, a senator and federal minister for immigration, not to approve a visa for Irving.
Irving was refused entry in December 1992 on the grounds that he "did not meet the good character requirements" of Australia's migration regulations.
Fascist street name shelved in Rome
NEW YORK (JTA) — The mayor of Rome has shelved his plan to rename a street for a leading official in fascist dictator Benito Mussolini's government.
After pressure from Jewish and left-wing groups, Mayor Francesco Rutelli on Monday announced his decision — which came after the city's council's 11-1 vote backing the idea — saying that the "unshakable moral opposition" to the plan by Jews in Rome had been a decisive factor.
The mayor had defended his idea of naming the street for former Education Minister Giuseppe Bottai, who signed laws ordering Jews out of Italy's schools, as a way for Italians to come to terms with their Fascist past.