Friday, January 5, 2001 | return to: international


World Report

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SYDNEY (JTA) -- The governor-general of Australia recently wrote to the nation's Jewish leaders to express his "sincere regret" that any member of the Australian Jewish community had been subjected to anti-Semitic acts.

Sir William Deane, Queen Elizabeth's official representative Down Under, wrote the letter following a series of attacks on Jewish institutions, including synagogues and the home of a rabbi.

In his letter, Deane said he wanted to express "how absolutely abhorrent every decent Australian finds the recent attacks on synagogues and Jewish property."

Cyber giant concedes to French court ruling

PARIS (JTA) -- Yahoo! said it will stop carrying online auctions of Nazi artifacts, Ku Klux Klan memorabilia and other hate-related materials.

The restrictions, announced Wednesday and slated to take effect Jan. 10, could satisfy a French court's November ruling based on local laws requiring the Internet giant to block French users from such auctions.

"I believe we have won the battle," said Marc Knoble, an activist for the Paris-based International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, which led the legal battle against Yahoo! along with the Union of French Jewish Students.

Sweden nixed a trade: diplomat for defectors

ZURICH (JTA) -- The Soviet Union was willing to trade captured Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg after World War II for Soviet citizens who had defected to Sweden, but Sweden turned down the offer, a Swedish newspaper reported.

Wednesday's report is based on a Swedish-Russian panel's investigation into the fate of Wallenberg, who helped save tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II.

The panel said it plans to issue its finding later this month.

Shoah soap slur used in museum incident

BUCHAREST (JTA) -- Two men smashed windows and beat a guard at a Jewish museum here in the Romania capital, according to police officers who detained them.

Before going on their alleged rampage last Thursday, the two reportedly asked a guide in the museum, "Where is the soap made of human fat? Is there any Auschwitz soap?"

Many Holocaust scholars say the claim that the Nazis made soap from human fat is a myth. Before the Shoah, the museum had functioned as a synagogue.

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