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>Israel Faxx
>PD Feb. 11. 1997, Vol.5, Number 23

Children of the Holocaust

By Paula Wolfson (VOA-Congress)

One million children died in the Nazi Holocaust. Many more lived and found their lives changed. Some witnessed the atrocities; some learned of them after World War 2; and others became aware of the linkage only as adults. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is not alone. Long after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, many children of the Holocaust are facing new revelations about their ancestry.

For some, their heritage died in the gas chambers of Nazi-occupied Europe. Their immediate families survived by giving up their religious identities. And they dealt with the pain by building new lives.

Madeleine Korbel Albright was only a toddler when the Nazis moved into her beloved Czechoslovakia. Her family found refuge in London, where her father -- a Czech diplomat -- worked for the government-in-exile. She was raised Catholic and told they left their homeland for political reasons.

Congressman Tom Lantos' life was also shaped by the Nazi invasion of his homeland. As a teenager in Budapest, he was a messenger for Raoul Wallenberg -- the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of 100,000 Hungarian Jews.

He says he has heard many stories of families torn apart during the war, of parents who chose to hide their religion to save their children, and of adults -- like Madeleine Korbel Albright -- who learned of their religious heritage late in life.

The boy from Hungary is now a grandfather and the only survivor of the Holocaust ever elected to the US Congress. He says he does not find it in the least bit odd that Madeleine Albright never knew that members of her family were among the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis.

He says her loss is tragic. But he says at least she can take comfort that, at long last, the true fate of her relatives has become known. He says she is now confronting her ancestry, then adds: "I am sure she will be proud."

Erich Priebke to be Retried

By Peggy Polk (VOA-Rome)

Italy's highest court has ruled that former Nazi SS captain, Erich Priebke, should be retried in a military court on war crimes charges. Priebke is accused of complicity in the SS massacre of 335 men and boys in Rome during World War 2.

At his first trial last year, the 83-year-old Priebke admitted taking part in the massacre but claimed that he had no choice because he would have been executed if he had refused.

The trial ended August 1 when a three-judge military panel found the former SS captain guilty of murder but acquitted him of acting with premeditation and cruelty -- which meant the statute of limitations applied.

Priebke was released, but his freedom lasted only hours. He was rearrested after relatives of the victims laid siege to the courthouse, and Germany requested his extradition.

The defense accused the judges of bias, and a military appeals court ordered a new trial. The question of jurisdiction went to the court of cassation -- Italy's highest court -- after both military and civilian authorities concluded they were not competent to hear the case.

The prosecution and the defense agreed that the high court's decision was the correct one.

No date was set for the trial, but defense attorney Carlo Taormina said it would probably be in April.

Priebke will be tried with a former SS major -- 84-year-old Karl Hass. A prosecution witness at the first trial, Hass's testimony resulted in an indictment similar to Priebke's, and he is under house arrest in Rome.

Both men are accused of taking part in the massacre of 335 men and boys at the Ardeatine Caves near the Roman catacombs on March 24, 1944. Adolf Hitler personally ordered the shootings in reprisal for a partisan bombing that had killed 33 German soldiers as they marched through the center of Rome one day earlier.

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