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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       Jan. 26, 1996 V4, #15
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Germans Will Celebrate Holocaust Remembrance Day

By Dagmar Breitenbach (VOA-Bonn)

For the first time, Germans tomorrow will be observing the newly-created National Day of Remembrance for the victims of Nazism. Jan. 27 was chosen to mark the day more than 50 years ago when Soviet soldiers liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp, which has come to symbolize the Nazi genocide of millions of Jews. The National Day of Remembrance was created both as a solemn tribute to the Holocaust victims, and to guard against any renewal of Nazism.

Ignatz Bubis, head of the German Jewish Council, was one of the initiators of the proposal for a memorial day to remember the victims of Nazism. He says that while such a memorial day cannot in itself guard against the past being forgotten, it can stand as a reminder to urge people to think about the past.

"Many people in the last year --when we have commemorated 50 years end of World War II -- many people said it is time now to finish the commemoration, and to start not to discuss anymore the past. Not everyone said it and it didn't happen, but I was very worried that after this commemoration, after the year 1995, there will be no more discussion of the past, and I think the past should not be forgotten, not only for the things of the past, just for the future and for the present time, people should know what happened in this time between 1933 and 1945, and where nationalism has brought Germany to a Second World War, with concentration camps, murdering, trying to murder the whole Jewish people, and with 55-million victims. So I asked for a commemoration day in Germany for all victims of the National Socialist era."

It does not really matter, bubis says, that the memorial day was not introduced at an earlier time. Better later than never, he says. And he adds that the date is well-chosen. "The 27th is the day of the liberation of Auschwitz, and Auschwitz is the most synonymous for what happened in those years, and Auschwitz is also the place where people, millions of people were killed from all European countries, so I think this is the right day to commemorate the past."

German media commentators generally agree, but they say the most important thing is that Germany finally has a designated Day of Remembrance -- an important political signal, they say. Many note that Germany has taken more than 50 years to introduce the National Day of Commemoration -- late, they agree, but not too late.

Still, some editorial writers and columnists caution that one should not expect such a Day of Remembrance to be embraced by all Germans, saying that neither remembrance nor sorrow can be officially mandated. But all agree it is important for Germans to try and keep the memory of Holocaust victims alive for future generations.

That point was stressed by German President Roman Herzog in an address to the German parliament: Herzog told delegates in the Bundestag -- Germany's lower house of parliament -- the most important thing is to sharpen young people's perception of how to recognize the beginnings of racism and totalitarianism. In a speech marking Germany's new national day, the president appealed to schools and also the media to find new ways of remembering the past. Instead of concentrating on the mind-boggling facts of the Holocaust, Herzog said, teachers could stress personal tragedies that children could understand. He said maybe young people can understand symbols better than adults, like the pain children suffer when separated from their parents, the horrors of being in a concentration camp, the constant fear.

Herzog urged Germans to make Jan. 27th a real day of reflection.

A week earlier, Israeli President Ezer Weizman addressed the Bundestag and urged Germans to be aware and recognize and smash any stirring of racism or neo-Nazism. The Israeli leader told a hushed parliament that it was not easy for him to be in Germany, the country where he said he could still hear voices crying from the earth, voices of the millions of victims of the Holocaust. I can only urge, Weizman told the deputies, that you look to the future with a knowledge of the past.

Peres Denies Asking for German Troops

By Kyle King (VOA-Bonn)

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres says he has not asked Germany to contribute troops for a possible peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights. Peres made the comments in Munich, where he attended a ceremony to honor Chancellor Helmut Kohl with an award for humanitarian service and promoting trust between Germans and Jews.

Speaking to reporters between talks with the German finance and defense ministers, Peres said he never raised the issue of German troops serving on the Golan. He said there must first be a peace agreement between Israel and Syria, before there can be any decisions about how to monitor the agreement.

Earlier this week, an Israeli newspaper reported Peres was planning to ask Germany to take part in a peacekeeping mission, if Israel returns the heights as part of a peace treaty.

During Kohl's visit to Israel last June, German officials say Israeli officials expressed an interest in the idea of German troops serving in an international force, but there has never been any formal request.

Diagnosing Malignancies in Fetuses

A new ultra-sound technique has been developed by Israeli doctors to diagnose, in the 25th week of pregnancy, malignancies in a fetus. The type of malignancy can also be determined. The findings have been published in world medical literature. Dr. Israel Goldstein led the development, at the Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, where he heads the Ultrasound Dept. In the past 10 years, he has examined 10,000 fetuses and found a tendency for malignancies to occur, in the second half of pregnancies. These can now be discovered with the new technique in the brain, heart and even kidneys of fetuses.

Research on Snake Poisons

Snake poisons and nerve-gases (of the kind suspected that Iraq would use against Israel in the Gulf War five years ago) act identically in paralyzing their victims, by swallowing enzymes at the junctions between nerves and muscles.

In Israel, the Weizmann Institute's Professor Israel Silman of the Neurobiology Dept., together with Dr. Michal Harel and Prof. Yoel Zusman of the Structural Biology Dept., have carried out research on such poisons. They have discovered the linkage and this may open the way to devising new drugs through genetic engineering -- and possibly a better medication against Alzheimer's disease. Scientists from abroad gathered at the Weizmann Institute to hear details of the development.

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