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>JN Oct. 9. 1997, Vol. 5, No. 184
Socialite Who Helped Jews is Mourned
American socialite Mary Jayne Gold died Sunday, after an
exemplary career just prior to World War 2, in helping many
intellectual Jews escape Hitler's solution to the "Jewish problem."
The committee she founded rescued 1,000 artists, writers and
others. The list reads like a Who's Who -- painters Marc Chagall
and Max Ernst, sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, authors Hannah Arendt,
Hans Habe and Franz Werfel and Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Otto
Meyerhof. Gold's passing at the age of 88 is mourned as much as her
selfless, glorious life is celebrated.
Papon Nazi Trial Gets Under Way
By Julian Nundy (VOA-Bordeaux)
The trial of 87-year-old Maurice Papon, a former French
government budget minister accused of active involvement in the
deportation of Jews from France to Nazi death-camps during World
War 2, has opened in Bordeaux. But it quickly adjourned to examine
a defense request to allow Papon to remain at liberty during the
The first day of the trial was adjourned after only two hours when
Jean-Marc Varaut, Papon's lawyer, asked for his client to be
allowed to remain at liberty during the trial. Normally, defendants
facing serious charges in France are always held in prison during
their trials. Varaut argued that his client is too old and weak and
might not survive several weeks in jail.
Varaut said, Papon suffered the beginnings of suffocation during
his first night in a cell. In addition, he was disturbed by
warders turning on his cell light as he slept and by insults
shouted by other prisoners.
Papon is accused of organizing the rail convoys that took some
1,600 Jews from Bordeaux to death camps. As a senior civil servant,
he signed documents but never actually saw the victims.
The basis of Papon's defense is clear. He says that he only knew
that the convoys were going to Drancy in the Paris suburbs. From
there, the Jews were later taken east to concentration camps. Papon
says he knew nothing of the death camps and that he tried to
improve the Jews' conditions of transport.
The prosecution and lawyers for families of those who were deported
will try to prove that Papon was aware of what was happening and
knowingly participated in genocide.
The trial was adjourned until today to allow the court to seek
medical advice. Lawyers for victims' families and the prosecutor
said they will oppose any concessions for Papon.
Already he was allowed to enter the court without handcuffs and
was driven from his prison in a police limousine, rather than in
the usual prison van. The trial is expected to last about
Arafat and Netanyahu Meet at Midnight
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian
leader Yasir Arafat have held a midnight summit, which the chief US
mediator called a new beginning for the peace process. It was their
first meeting in eight months, and while they did not announce any
progress on key disputes, they did agree to hold regular summits
and to expand the lower-level talks on various issues which resumed
The two leaders did not speak to reporters after the meeting, but
the senior US mediator, Dennis Ross, did. "It was a very good
meeting. It was a meeting in which both of them re-affirmed their
commitment to work together to overcome all problems, all
differences. They re-affirmed their commitment to achieve peace and
security. I think, at one point, they also emphasized that they
saw this as a new beginning between the leaders, and indeed a new
beginning for the process."
At the midnight summit, the leaders also decided to postpone until
the end of the month meetings which were to have been held in
Washington next week. Those talks are to discuss the suggestion for
a time-out made by Secretary of State Nadeleine Albright. She says
both sides need to suspend policies the other side finds
objectionable to improve the atmosphere for talks on the tough
issues which lie ahead, including Palestinian statehood and the
future of Jerusalem.
Some analysts say there may be a new incentive for progress. On
Monday, the Hamas spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, returned
to Gaza after nearly 10 years in an Israeli prison. Some experts
believe the militant and charismatic Sheikh's return gives Arafat
and Netanyahu a new and compelling reason to demonstrate that their
peace process is working.
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