Newsletter : 6fax0126.txt
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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
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
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
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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