ROME (JTA) — A lawyer in Rome has appealed to the United Nations to have former SS Capt. Erich Priebke face war crimes charges in an international court.
Priebke, 82, was extradited in November from Argentina to Italy to stand trial for involvement in the March 1944 mass murder of 335 civilians, including 75 Jews, in the Ardeatine Caves near Rome.
Pietro Nicotera, the lawyer representing a relative of one of the victims, wrote to the United Nations and to Italian legal authorities. He urged that Priebke be tried in an international arena on genocide charges.
"In allowing his extradition, the Argentine Supreme Court recognized that the fact of having killed 75 Jews who were not prisoners of war" constitutes the "crime of genocide," Nicotera wrote, according to the Rome daily Il Messaggero.
Argentines seize anti-Jewish material
BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Argentine federal police have raided a bookstore in the city, confiscating two magazines and one book deemed anti-Semitic.
Judge Jorge Urso, the official in charge of the Jan. 4 raid, said it was "the first step in a campaign to curb the sale and distribution of hate and racist literature in the country."
The owner of the bookstore may be charged with distribution of illegal materials in the near future, Urso said.
Books such as the notorious anti-Semitic tract "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" are easy to obtain in newsstands and bookstores in Buenos Aires and other major Argentine cities.
According to diplomatic sources, Israeli Ambassador Itzhak Aviran complained to Argentine authorities about the sale of such literature, saying that it was illegal under the terms of Argentina's anti-discrimination laws.
According to an official who took part in the raid, the judge chose that particular bookstore for the raid because "it had an extensive collection on Nazi and nationalist subjects."
Jewish trade center planned in Berlin
BERLIN (JTA) — The recent announcement of the 1997 opening of the Jewish Trade and Communication Center is another move toward rebuilding what once was a thriving Jewish neighborhood in the eastern part of this city.
The new building, which will house a permanent exhibit on Jewish culture and trade, will be located on Oranienburger Strasse in eastern Berlin's Scheunenviertel, a pre-World War II center of Jewish culture that's been undergoing a renewal.
The Jewish Trade and Com-munication Center will be near the newly reconstructed Neue Synagogue, which is home to Centrum Judaica, a center for Jewish learning and an exhibit on Berlin Judaism.
The private company overseeing the project has indicated that it will open a Jewish restaurant and bagel bakery.
In addition, plans for a Jewish bookstore and a Judaica shop are under way as well as a service for special events and a travel agency.
Historian: Germans resent Jewish state
BONN (JTA) — The German public harbors increasing amounts of resentment toward the Jewish state, according to an Israeli historian working in Germany.
Professor Michael Wolffsohn sounded the discordant note during a festive symposium last year to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany.
He cited a number of opinion polls that have been carried out within the past five years.
In one, 29 percent of the population in the western part of the country and 15 percent of those from the former East Germany believed that Israel was living off German reparations.
Wolffsohn also said many Germans consider Israel one of the least popular countries in the world. This attitude has not changed since the launching of the Middle East peace process, Wolffsohn added.
Businessman starts genealogy project
VIENNA (JTA) — A leading New York businessman has initiated an effort to sustain Jewish life in Poland and other Eastern European countries.
Businessman Ronald S. Lauder recently established the Ronald S. Lauder Genealogy Project at the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland in Warsaw.
"What a tragedy it would be if the legacy of one of history's greatest, most highly developed Jewish communities were finally destroyed — not by Nazis, not by Communists, not by natural disaster, but simply by our own indifference and neglect," said Lauder.
Lauder has founded an expanding collection of educational programs and institutions in parts of Eastern Europe since 1987.
A large amount of genealogical material long thought lost or destroyed has been found in Eastern European archives.