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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 6, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 81

Israel Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day Monday with somber ceremonies, including two-minutes of silence which stopped traffic, pedestrians, and workers throughout the country. Sirens sounded across Israel at precisely 10:00 a.m., signaling drivers to stop their vehicles, get out, and stand at attention for two minutes. Students, workers, pedestrians, and just about everyone else also stopped what they were doing and stood in silence to pay tribute to the 6-Million Jews who died in Nazi concentration camps and ghettos during World War 2.

The ceremonies focused on the hundreds of thousands of Jewish children who died in the Holocaust.The wife of Israel's president, Reumah Weizman, was the first of a series of dignitaries who read aloud a partial list of the child victims and their ages. The names read by Weizman included Ilsa Achs, 12, Freid Strauss, 4, and Ingrid Druca, 8. Weizman concluded with the phrase "May their memories be for a blessing."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marked his first Holocaust Day in office, reading the names of some of what he said were 100 of his wife's relatives killed by the Nazis.

Israel Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau spoke of his memories of the day the Nazis took away his mother when he was six-years old, and of the years he spent searching for her after the war, without success.

Ceremonies and commemorations continued throughout the day, many involving Israeli children and some involving elderly survivors of the Holocaust. An estimated 6 Million Jews and 6 Million other people were killed by the Nazis because of their religious beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, political views, or a variety of other traits the Nazis opposed.

Holocaust Day has a particularly strong resonance in Israel, partly because international sympathy helped build support for establishing the Jewish state shortly after the war, and also because many Jews view a strong Israel as the best chance of ensuring there will never be another Holocaust.

Bormann's Children Want his DNA Tested

By Kyle King (VOA-Bonn)

The children of former Nazi official Martin Bormann say they want DNA genetic tests done of the remains believed to be their father. The tests could finally resolve the lingering question of where and how the former Nazi official died.

The children of Nazi leader Martin Bormann have told the German news magazine Focus that they hope DNA testing on the remains believed to be those of their father will finally end the mystery of where he died.

Once the second most powerful official in the Nazi hierarchy, Bormann vanished from Berlin during the closing days of World War 2.

Remains, believed to be his have been in the custody of German officials since 1972 when they were accidentally discovered by construction workers in Berlin.

Experts who examined the bones and used the skull to reconstruct a model of what the face would have looked like have long believed the remains are those of Martin Bormann.

But, lingering doubts about the Nazi official's true fate have persisted. In 1993, a newspaper in Paraguay reported the former Hitler deputy had been living in South America until his death in the late 1950s.

Bormann's children, who have refused to take possession of the remains until the question is resolved, say they want DNA testing so any doubts can finally be removed.

Mubarak, Arafat Develop Their Strategy

By Jessica Jones (VOA-Cairo)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak hosted Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat Monday to talk about the stalled Middle East peace process. But Arafat says he doubts upcoming talks will help move the process forward.

Arafat told reporters after his meeting he does not think US envoy Dennis Ross will bring any new ideas to reactivate the peace process. But, the Palestinian leader added he is open to all options. Arafat says the Israeli government is "insisting on continuing its breaching of peace accords."

Ross is scheduled to return to the Middle East today and meet with Arafat and Israeli President Ezer Weizman. Arafat says Israelis are responsible for the problems facing the peace process, and he does not have high expectations for the meeting.

Sunday, Arafat called Israel's construction plans in east Jerusalem a serious crime. He also complained Israel has failed to implement previous agreements.

The current stalemate in the peace process started in March, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized construction for a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem.

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