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>PD Jan. 27, 1995, V3, #19
Israeli Officer Under Fire for Sexist Remark
United Press International reported Thursday that a senior
Israeli officer is under fire for saying women have little to offer
the Israeli army, and that throughout history they have served as
"whores" while men do the fighting. An IDF spokesman said Col.
Gershon Cohen's remarks to high school students "is not
representative of the attitude in the Israel Defense Forces."
Jordanian-Palestinian Agreement Signed
By Al Pessin (Amman)
Jordan's King Hussein and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat have
reached a wide-ranging cooperation agreement, but a senior
Palestinian official says a disagreement over responsibility for
the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem has not been resolved.
Arafat and Jordan's Prime Minister Sharif Zeid Bin Shaker signed
the cooperation agreement, with King Hussein looking on. Other
senior officials signed sections covering economic, cultural and
political cooperation, as well as transportation, communications
and other issues.
Arafat wants Hussein's help in developing the Palestinian
autonomous areas, and the two must cooperate on such issues as
currency circulation, banking and trade.
Officials said earlier in the week the two sides had agreed also
that Jordan would be the custodian of the Islamic holy sites in
Jerusalem, as it has arranged with Israel, and that Jordan had
promised to transfer the responsibility to the Palestinians if
and when they gain control of Jerusalem. Officials said King
Hussein emphasized that point in his talks with Arafat.
But reports say the document signed Thursday does not include
that arrangement and a top Arafat adviser says the matter "remains
unsettled." Arafat had cast some doubt on the expected agreement
when he arrived here on Wednesday.
As part of the new Jordanian-Palestinian relationship, officials
say Jordan will become the third Arab country to open an office
in Gaza, where Arafat has his headquarters.
Thursday's agreement also reportedly gives the Palestinians more
economic authority over such issues as banking and other financial
matters, but also provides Jordan with guarantees that the
Palestinian authority will not do anything to hurt the value of
the Jordanian currency. About one-third of all Jordanian dinars
circulate in the West Bank, where Palestinian autonomy is due to be
expanded this year if ongoing talks with Israel succeed.
The top leaders did not speak publicly about their accord, but
Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Karim al-Kabariti said it is
designed to put Jordanian-Palestinian relations on what he called
a "solid foundation."
U.S. Warns Russia About Helping Iran Build Nukes
By David Gollust (Washington)
Secretary of State Warren Christopher has again appealed for an end
to international assistance to Iran and its nuclear program.
Christopher told a congressional committee Thursday Iran is
mounting a crash program to obtain nuclear weapons.
Reflecting growing concern about Iran's nuclear activities,
Christopher said those countries providing nuclear aid to the
Tehran government put the security of the entire Middle East at
Appearing before the House International Relations Committee, the
secretary said those providing assistance are making it easier
for Iran to sponsor terrorism and undermine peace -- and must
bear the consequences of their actions:
Christopher's comments were aimed at Russia, which is pursuing a
contract to complete work on two large nuclear reactors in Iran,
and China, which is negotiating its own reactor sale. US officials
believe Iran is still years away from a nuclear weapons capability,
but say the timetable could be advanced if Iran is able to buy or
otherwise acquire critical technology.
The secretary termed Iran a rogue state, leading rejectionist
efforts to kill chances for Middle East peace by supporting
Hizbullah, Hamas and other radical Islamic factions involved in
Under questioning, the secretary said the US draws a distinction
between fundamentalist Islam -- and acts of violence committed in
its name: "We have no quarrel with Islam -- indeed we have great
respect for the religion of Islam. But when it turns to terrorism,
when it turns to radicalism, when it turns to extremism, then it
undercuts the democratic trends around the world."
Christopher said Islamic radicalism feeds on what he called a
seedbed of economic unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere --
and said countries in the Islamic world should be concerned about
addressing unemployment and other chronic economic problems that
lead to political and religious upheaval.
Jews and Gentiles Hold Separate Auschwitz Ceremonies; Walesa:
'Genocide Could be Repeated'
By Wayne Corey (Krakow, Poland)
Two days of commemorations are underway in Poland on the
50th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp of
Auschwitz. In a ceremony to honor the 1.5 million people who died
there, Polish President Lech Walesa said Auschwitz represents
everything about man that is loathsome. The president spoke to
heads of state and other representatives of many countries and to
international Jewish leaders at a gathering at Wawel Castle, the
former residence of Polish kings.
Walesa said the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz symbolizes the darkest
corners of the human soul. He said it is a symbol of the desire to
kill. Echoing the Jewish slogan, "Never Again," Walesa warned that
the genocide carried out by the Nazis could be repeated.
Earlier, the head of the International Auschwitz Committee,
Auschwitz survivor Maurice Goldstein, said the former Nazi death
camp should be preserved as a permanent scar on the face of
The head of the American delegation to the Auschwitz liberation
commemoration, Elie Wiesel, attended a Jewish religious
observance at the Birkenau sub-camp. The gas chambers that killed
as many as 8,000 mainly jewish men, women and children each day,
and the crematoria that burned the bodies, were located in the
Jewish leaders insisted on a separate observance. As one of them
said at the Jewish religious ceremony, "Only we can shed our own
tears; only we can chant our lamentations for our people."
Today, foreign and Polish dignitaries will hold a solemn, official
ceremony at Auschwitz. It will begin with the sound of sirens.
There will be more speeches and an appeal for peace and tolerance.
Floral wreaths will be laid at the Wall of Death, where thousands
of people were brutally shot. Candles will be lit along a ramp
where trains unloaded new prisoners, ignorant of their impending
Jewish Souls Celebrate Death and Life
By Wayne Corey (Krakow, Poland)
A visitor to Auschwitz, near the town of Krakow in southern Poland,
can quickly feel, as well as understand, what happened here during
the Second World War.
There may be no other single place on earth that radiates so
much blind hatred, so much monstrous evil, as Auschwitz.
The passage of 50 years since the Soviet army liberated thousands
of remaining prisoners from the Nazi death camp has not cleansed
The Auschwitz death camp was established by Nazi occupation forces
in Poland in 1940 to hold members of the Polish resistance. A
secondary camp at Birkenau was added two years later, to
exterminate European Jews.
An estimated 1.5 million people, mainly Jews, from more than 20
countries died in the gas chambers here. Their bodies were burned
in crematoria, some of which still exist.
Prisoners who arrived in good condition were forced to engage in
slave labor. When they were no longer useful, the Nazis killed
One survivor, Menachem Yoskovich, recalls that the German guards
simply laughed when they shot at women with children in their
If someone managed to escape, 10 other prisoners were deliberately
starved to death in retaliation.
Auschwitz was the most notorious Nazi death camp. Others like
Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald were simply not as brutally
Shortly before Auschwitz was liberated, exactly 50 years ago today,
the Nazis forced about 60,000 cold, hungry and sick inmates to
begin a long march to Germany. Thousands died along the way.
Until the very end, the Nazis showed no mercy to people they
regarded as sub-human. This is why Auschwitz is such an important
symbol of terror, humiliation and degradation for Jews everywhere.
People elsewhere probably better understand the meaning of
Auschwitz than many Poles do. During the communist rule of Poland,
the extermination of the Jews was almost ignored.
Anti-Semitism has hardly been unknown in Poland. Even the Polish
Catholic church acknowledges that its own attitudes toward the
Holocaust in Poland have not completely matured.
The Jews will never forget Auschwitz because it has become part
of the Jewish soul. For non-Jews, Auschwitz should continue to
stand as a shocking, almost unbelievable reminder of human
The Auschwitz Liberator
By John Pitman (Washington)
Thursday and today mark the 50th anniversary of the liberation of
the Auschwitz death camp by Soviet troops. The Soviets' arrival
had been expected for weeks -- and nine days before, the Germans
had evacuated the camp, taking more than 60,000 prisoners with
them. But 7,000 prisoners remained at Auschwitz, as did much of
the grisly evidence of more than 1 million mostly Jewish prisoners
who had already been killed there. We spoke to a former Soviet
soldier, who was one of the first liberators to discover Auschwitz.
The liberation of Auschwitz was not dramatic. The German troops
who had run the camp had been gone for more than a week when the
first Soviet units arrived. One survivor recalls walking through
the deserted camp and coming across what he thought was a pack of
furry little dogs sleeping near the open gate.
Then the "dogs" moved, and several Soviet soldiers wearing white
camouflage uniforms and large fur hats stood up. The liberation
Fifty years ago, Naum Reznik was a young officer in the 11th
Ukrainian artillery brigade. His unit had one task -- push
the Germans all the way back to Berlin. In January 1945 -- as
the brigade closed in on Krakow, in Poland -- Reznik was
already a four year veteran of the war.
But, he says nothing he had seen in battle could have prepared
him for Auschwitz.
"Though I had come through four years of war, and seen and taken
part in many fierce battles -- still, I was horrified to see the
traces of the crimes committed in Auschwitz: women's hair, bones
and demolished crematoria -- it shook us. When I saw those who
survived, the sight was just horrifying. And not a single battle
of the war could be compared to it."
Reznik remembers feeling uncomfortable looking at the ghost-like
figures he encountered in the camp. He says he had expected to
find Soviet prisoners-of-war, not civilians -- and certainly not
the starving, nearly dead survivors he found at Auschwitz.
But the war did not end with the liberation of Auschwitz.
Reznik's unit only had a few hours to rest before pushing west
again. Before leaving, Reznik says he and a group of
soldiers gathered up a small package of food and medicine, and
took it to the camp.
Along with the food, Reznik also carried a message of hope
for the Jewish prisoners. "I spoke to them and I told them I was
Jewish. They were surprised and happy to hear that. It encouraged
Naum Reznik would eventually lead his brigade all the way into
Berlin. Now in his 70s, Reznik says he still remembers the
rage he felt on leaving the camp, and returning to the war.
Having seen all the traces of the crimes committed in the camps, I
was so full of anger. We couldn't even imagine how the Germans --
who we believed were such an educated nation -- could do such
things. After that, we fought harder, with more anger, until
Germany was defeated."
Reznik was demobilized after the German surrender. He was allowed
to emigrate to the US in the 1980s, and has lived in California
A German Jew Speaks Out
By Evans Hays (Bonn)
The Auschwitz death camp in Poland is a symbol of tyranny and
horror, a reminder of the dark and not-too-distant past when
millions of Jews and others were systematically murdered by the
Nazis during World War 2. The leader of Germany's Jewish
community, Ignatz Bubis, says he hopes that commemorations this
week marking the liberation of Auschwitz will serve as a reminder
for those who might all too easily forget the past.
Ignatz Bubis is a large, almost bear-like man with a comfortable
smile that puts listeners at ease as he discusses what for many
Germans is a painful topic -- the Nazi years.
As chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Bubis
is a roving ambassador within the country, carrying a message of
tolerance and remembrance. He has spoken to tens of thousands of
people about the Holocaust and is among the dignitaries attending
the commemoration in Auschwitz.
Before leaving for Poland, Bubis spoke about the significance of
the Auschwitz events for Germany today and about the awareness
young Germans may have concerning their past. Bubis said young
people know about the Holocaust, but he is not sure they fully
understand its significance.
"They know about the Holocaust. I am not sure if they understand
the Holocaust. This has to do, I don't know, if the system of
education is done by the right way. I don't know. In my
discussions, and I discussed the last two years with more than
200,000 young people in schools, universities and other young
organizations, and my feeling is that a part of them, only a part,
would like not to listen any more about the time of the
Bubis said his goal is to explain that understanding past
events does not mean feeling guilty about them personally.
"I am trying to explain (to) them that speaking on the Holocaust,
to do everything not to forget what's happened, that this doesn't
mean that they are feeling guilt...to feel guilty. If you today
start speaking of the Holocaust with young people, their first
reaction is: I don't feel guilty. I said I am not making you
feel guilty, but I want you to know what's happened, that in your
generation or in the generation of your kids nothing similar will
happen and this is why you should know about this time."
Bubis said the Nazi era is part of more than 1,000 years of German
history. He said he tries to explain to young people that their
nation's history is not 1,000 years plus or minus the 12 Nazi
Asked what he expects to result from the Auschwitz commemoration
in Poland, Bubis said some people hope it will symbolize an
end to a painful era. But this view, he said, is wrong.
"And for some people it will be something like a final act. They
would like to make a big commemoration as a final act and then it's
finished. There will be a next act on May 8, end of the war, and
Bubis said he is trying to explain that the commemoration in
Auschwitz is not a final act in one chapter of German history.
It must, he believes, remain a symbol for the future.
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