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
By SAMUEL MAULL, ASSOCIATED PRESS
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.
"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.