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>JN April 1, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 60

Arafat Visits Anne Frank's House

By Gillian Sharpe (VOA-The Hague)

Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat has paid a visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The museum is in the canal-side house where the young Jewish girl hid from the Nazis, along with her family and others during World War 2, and detailed her ordeal in what became her widely-published diary. But the visit -- made at Arafat's request -- has split the Dutch Jewish community.

During his 20-minute visit Tuesday, Arafat was shown around the tiny attic where eight people hid from the Nazis for more than two years. He also watched a video about the appalling conditions in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where Frank died.

The visit, Arafat said, had made a deep impression on him. It was a sad story, but he'd felt duty bound to take the opportunity to see for himself what the people there had suffered. He said the peace deal which he'd been working on with Israel -- what he called the "Peace of the Brave" -- was designed to ensure that this story would never repeat itself.

But a number of Jewish groups have reacted angrily, saying they're shocked by the visit and they've accused Arafat of political opportunism. Other Jewish groups, though, say they're pleased that the Palestinian leader has learned more about the Holocaust through the stop at the Frank house.

The "Diary of Anne Frank" has sold more than 20-million copies worldwide and been translated into 55 languages. The story in her diary -- and her later concentration camp death -- have made Anne Frank both a haunting and enduring symbol of the Holocaust.


Holocaust Survivor to Testify on Video

By Permission of United Press International

Adolf Stern, of Miami, an 82-year-old survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, is expected to videotape an emotionally charged deposition Monday in a case charging Italian insurer Assisicurazioni Generali with breach of contract for refusing to let him file a claim for family members who died in the Auschwitz death camp.

In what is expected to be moving testimony, Stern is expected to describe how in 1945 Generali staff in Prague threw him into the street, because he did not have any death certificates, when he tried to file an insurance claim for the deaths of his father Moshe, his mother Regina, his wife, infant daughter and two brothers who died in the gas chambers.

"Hitler wasn't handing out death certificates," the family's lawyers told UPI.

Generali is one of 16 defendants in a national class action suit, but the Sterns are the first individual family to file a lawsuit seeking redress for unpaid insurance benefits owed to survivors of Holocaust victims.

The Sterns, unlike the surviving relatives in most other cases, say they have written proof -- a copy of the 1929 policy they obtained in 1996. Because of Stern's advanced age and ill health his testimony will be videotaped for court use if necessary.

Moshe Stern, who was a wealthy wine producer from Uzshghorod in Hungary, purchased several life insurance, annuity and dowry policies in 1929 and paid premiums until the family were deported in 1944, the family say.

In the lawsuit, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court in February, the Stern family ask for $125 million in punitive damages in addition to the $10 million they estimate the unpaid life insurance policies are now worth.


Admor's Son Sentenced to 12-Years in Rape Case

By IINS News Service

In a criminal case that has received nationwide attention, the 40-year-old son of a prominent Tel-Aviv Chassidic Rebbe (Admor) has been found guilty and sentenced to 12-years in jail for rape and sodomy, involving his own niece. The court, in delivering its sentence, admonished the actions of the middle-aged Chassidic rabbi, and stated, "the victim is one of your own blood, your own family."

The convicted rapist, who was accompanied by his wife and prominent members of the community, insisted he is the target of anti-religious actions of the system and the charges leveled against him by his niece are all baseless. The niece told police that since she was 8-years-old, she was sodomized by her uncle and she made repeated attempts to report the incidents to her uncle, mother, and other family members.

The young woman stated that when she realized she had no other alternative, she went to police. The woman, (the rape victim), was since ostracized from the community, and she is living in a secret location. There is a ban prohibiting the publication of any details that would point to her identity, including information about the Chassidic group and the name of the Admor.

Many prominent rabbis testified on behalf of the defendant, but to no avail. The testimony and documentation presented by the victim appeared overwhelming and the Tel-Aviv District Court made its decision.




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