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>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
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
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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