Newsletter : 6fax0826.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Aug. 26, 1996 V4, #157
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Bomb Explodes at Moscow Synagogue
Moscow (LNS)--A bomb exploded last week outside the Marina Roscha
synagogue in Moscow, blasting out the windows of the southern face
of the building, caving in part of the roof and leaving deep gouges
in the wall. No one was inside the synagogue at the time of the
blast. The bomb was apparently placed against the outside of the
southern wall of the building where the ark housing the Torah
scrolls stands. The Torahs were knocked down by the force of the
explosion, but were not damaged.
Arafat to Meet with President Weizman
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
There were signs Sunday of some easing of the tension in relations
between Israel's new government and the Palestinian Autonomy
Authority. Israel's president agreed to meet with the Palestinian
leader, Yasir Arafat, and Arafat's Autonomy Authority agreed to
close two offices in Jerusalem, as demanded by Israel.
Sunday's developments contrasted sharply with the often harsh
rhetoric from both sides, and could pave the way for the
Palestinian Authority and Israel's new government to move beyond
verbal sparring to the hard, detailed work of building peace.
Israeli President Ezer Weizman, who has a largely ceremonial role,
agreed to invite Arafat to his private home on Israel's northern
coast, after receiving a letter which the president described as a
"distress" call. The two men have met before, but it would be
Arafat's first official meeting in Israel. There is no date for the
visit, but Israel Radio says it will be within the next two weeks.
Weizman's decision to meet with Arafat initially angered Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has so far refused to do so, but
he relented after meeting with Weizman Sunday morning. Netanyahu
also made his most positive statement ever on the prospects he
might meet with Arafat, saying when such a meeting would be useful
it will happen, rather than his usual statement that he might
meet with Arafat if it becomes necessary.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians have taken a step apparently intended
to make it possible for the talks to be fruitful. The Palestinian
Authority has closed two offices in east Jerusalem -- a move
Netanyahu demanded as a pre-condition for withdrawing Israeli
troops from the West Bank town of Hebron.
The fate of a third Palestinian office Israel wants closed remains
unclear. That issue will be for the negotiators to work out. But
now at least, with Arafat assured of a meeting with Weizman, the
negotiating teams apparently ready to resume talks and one of the
obstacles to progress removed, Palestinians and Israelis might
finally begin to see what Israel's change of government will mean
for their peace process.
Nazis Hid $186 Million Worth of Jewish Gold
By Larry Freund (VOA-New York)
Investigators searching for assets stolen from victims of the Nazis
during World War 2 say they have located a document indicating that
Hitler's foreign minister sent 15 tons of gold out of Germany
before the end of the war, most of which is still missing.
A letter written in 1948 by an American prosecutor at the Nuremberg
war crimes trials indicates concern that the 15 tons of gold
smuggled out of Germany would fall into Nazi hands in the post-war
era. The letter, written by Prosecutor Robert Kempner, was
recently located in the US National Archives after it was
declassified. Kempner warns that a large amount of uncontrolled
gold constitutes a force of evil and mischief in the hands of
The letter was discovered in the last few weeks by researchers
working for the World Jewish Congress. The organization has been
trying to locate assets that were taken from victims of the Nazis
during World War 2.
The gold at today's prices would be worth more than $186 million.
(Editor: Approximately $30 for each of the 6 million murdered
Elan Steinberg, executive director of the WJC, says the recently
discovered letter confirms that Nazi officials were able to hoard
massive amounts of looted assets and send them out of Germany at
the end of the war, and that the Allies were aware of the movement
of those assets. Now, Steinberg says, his organization is
considering steps to ensure that the assets are returned to their
According to the prosecutor's letter, Germany's Foreign Minister
from 1938 to 1945 Joachim Von Ribbentrop sent the looted gold to
various places, including his castle in Austria, to Spain, Turkey,
Switzerland, Sweden and Portugal. Von Ribbentrop was hanged as a
war criminal in 1946. Steinberg says he expects additional
information to emerge from the documents in the Archives.
In May, Swiss banking officials signed an agreement allowing
independent auditors access to Swiss bank accounts that may have
belonged to Jewish and other victims of the Nazis. The Swiss
bankers say they have found $34 million in unclaimed accounts,
possibly belonging to Nazi victims. Jewish groups say the unclaimed
funds could amount to as much as $7 billion.
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