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News & Observer

Raleigh, North Carolina, Wednesday, July 23, 2003

(and newspapers of the Knight-Ridder chain)

Rabbi sues to block contruction of memorial at Polish death camp


NEW YORK (AP) - A rabbi has sued the American Jewish Committee to block construction of part of a Holocaust memorial at the site of a Polish death camp.

David Irving comments:

NOW why would any learned person seek to prevent a 600 foot trench being dug across the site of a former Nazi camp? This is what archeologists routinely do when they seek to unravel the mysteries of the past.
   Of course, wise people have done their damndest to prevent any proper archeological surveys of the more mystery-shrouded Nazi death sites. Cynics would say that their purpose is to prevent Real History from replacing or at least downsizing the Myth.
  We are sure this consideration can not be what underlies this Rabbi's belated concerns.
   Perish the thought.

Rabbi Avi Weiss, who says he lost at least seven relatives at the camp known as Belzec, said in court papers filed Monday that digging a 600-foot-long memorial trench through the site desecrates what is essentially a graveyard. Nearly all of the 500,000 people killed at Belzec were gassed and buried in mass graves, Weiss' court papers say. In 1943, the Nazis, to hide evidence of the mass murders, disinterred the bodies, burned them, crushed the bones with a machine and scattered the ashes over the site, the papers say.

"The soil of the camp is suffused with human bone shards and ash, and construction of the trench will involve displacing, disturbing and disinterring the remains of those who were murdered at Belzec," says the complaint filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court.

American Jewish Committee spokesman Ken Bandler said planning for the Belzec memorial began in 1994, and questioned why Weiss had not shown interest earlier.

The AJC, a Jewish cultural and civil rights organization, is serving as international partner with the Polish government to build the memorial at Belzec, about 100 miles southeast of Warsaw. The organization describes the 11.5-foot-wide, cobblestone-paved trench as a walkway meant to evoke the history of the grounds.

Weiss claims the state court has jurisdiction because the AJC's main offices are in New York. He says he has standing in the lawsuit because his relatives were killed at Belzec.

AJC President David Harris called the lawsuit "frivolous" and "without any merit." He said AJC's plans for the memorial had received almost universal support from Holocaust survivors and their families and from rabbinical authorities.


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