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290,000 Israelis Eligible to Vote in Iraqi Elections

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Jews around the world who were born in Iraq are eligible to vote in the Iraqi elections this week. According to Hamida Al-Husseini, in charge of absentee ballots in the coming elections, even Iraqi Jews holding Israeli citizenship can vote. "How can we know what additional citizenships a voter holds?" Al-Husseini told Ma'ariv. "We only check the documents confirming that the voter in question holds Iraqi citizenship." Anybody holding Iraqi citizenship, whether he/she was born in Iraq, or was born to an Iraqi father, is eligible to vote, according to Iraqi law. An estimated 290,000 Israelis are therefore eligible to vote. In order to exercise that right, however, one must report to the nearest polling station - which in the case of Israelis is in Jordan.


Israel Outraged Over Iranian President's Remarks

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem), Reuters & AKI

Israel has expressed outrage over remarks by Iran's president, who said that the Jewish state should be moved to Europe. The Iranian leader also expressed doubts about the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed six million Jews during World War II.

Tension has been rising between the two countries since October, when the Iranian president called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." The comments send a chill here because of Iran's nuclear program. "Israel is deeply concerned about Iran's ongoing nuclear and missile activities," said Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.

Iran has developed the long-range Shihab-three ballistic missile that is capable of hitting targets anywhere in Israel. Shalom said it's just a matter of time before Iran is able to tip those missiles with nuclear warheads. "We believe that the international community must take every necessary step to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities."

But Israel believes that the U.S. and Europe are moving too slowly, and that Iran will reach the "point of no return" in developing a nuclear weapon next year. "This is why we believe that the matter should be referred to the U.N. Security Council as early as possible," Shalom explained. "If Iran does not comply with its international obligations and continues to threaten global security, then sanctions must be initiated and the sooner the better."

Iran is becoming an issue in Israel's election campaign as the nation heads to the polls in March. Hawkish former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if he were elected, he would support an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. There is a precedent. The Israeli air force destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday stuck by comments casting doubt on the Holocaust that drew censure from the U.N. Security Council and widespread condemnation by world leaders.

Ahmadinejad, echoing statements he made in Saudi Arabia last week, was quoted by state television and the semi-official ILNA news agency as accusing the West of using the Holocaust as an excuse to favor Israel. "If the killing of Jews in Europe is true and the Zionists are supported because of this excuse, why should the Palestinian nation pay the price?"

Since taking office in August, Ahmadinejad has spoken out frequently against Israel in terms that were almost unheard of under his reformist predecessor Mohammad Khatami.

European diplomats say his anti-Israel comments, which have included calling the Jewish state a "tumor" that should be "wiped off the map", may cause a delay in planned talks between the European Union and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.

And in the wake of last week's suggestion by Iran's president that Israel move to Europe and his claim that the Holocaust did not happen, former Iranian President Hojatolislam Ali Akbar Rafsanjani on Monday called for the "end of Israel". His statement was made at the end of a meeting with Khaled Mashaal, the head of the political office of the radical Islamist Palestinian group, Hamas.

"The new political developments in the region and the all-out struggle of the Palestinian resistance, will cause the end of Israel," said Rafsanjani who is often regarded a pragmatic conservative within Iran's Islamic fundamentalist establishment. "The pressures faced by some Islamic countries such as the Islamic Republic [Iran], Lebanon and Syria, are prompted by their support for the Palestinian cause and the revolutionary movements that fight Zionism."

According to the Iranian website Baztab, Rafsanjani's remarks were shared by Mashaal, who was quoted as saying that he expressed "the most" profound appreciation on behalf of Palestinians for Ahmadinejad remarks.

Another hardline Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad, has also welcomed Ahmadinehad's anti-Israeli remarks. "What Ahmadinejad said recently in Mecca, expressed exactly the thoughts of all Muslim believers, wherever they are and whatever their political position," Islamic Jihad leader, Sheikh Khazar Habib, said in an interview with the satellite television channel Al Alam.


Brazil Probes If Eichmann Aide is Hiding in Country

By Ha'aretz

The Brazilian police are investigating whether a suspect living in the country under an assumed name is the most-wanted Nazi criminal, Alois Brunner. The Brazilian announcement came after it received a number of requests from several countries calling for Brunner's extradition.

The Austrian-born Brunner, who is 95 if he is still alive, is believed to have spent the past 40 years in Syria under the assumed name of Dr. Georg Fischer before moving to South America. During World War II, Brunner was Adolf Eichmann's assistant.

The man suspected by Brazil denies any connection to Brunner. Ha'aretz has discovered that he is currently on vacation in Lucerne, Switzerland. He said in a telephone call last night that he was born in Switzerland in 1939.

Brazilian police sources said they had found Brunner in Salvador de Bahia. The man was carrying papers claiming he was born in Switzerland in 1939 and received permanent residence in Brazil in 1999. Brazilian police believed the papers were forged and turned to Interpol, but in the interim, the man left for Switzerland.

The man whom Ha'aretz spoke to speaks Portuguese with a foreign accent. He said he plans to return to Brazil next month, and his voice sounded younger than that of a 95-year-old.

The Brazilian police sent a letter in May to Interpol, after Parisian officials said they had suspicions that Brunner was living in Brazil. The Interpol unit sent requests to a number of countries, including Israel, asking them to provide information that could help identify the Nazi criminal.

Chief Superintendent Asher Ben-Artzi, who is in charge of contacts with Interpol at national police headquarters, spent the last few months trying to track down Brunner's fingerprints or other identification from archives. He also turned to the Simon Wiesenthal Center for assistance. However, all such attempts were unsuccessful, and Israel informed the Brazilians it had found no proof.

However, the Brazilian police had another lead. They were informed that Brunner had twice been injured by letter bombs sent to him while he was in Syria. In 1961, he was assumed to have lost his left eye due to the explosion of a letter bomb sent to him in Damascus. Almost 20 years later, in 1980, he lost three fingers in a similar incident. According to international media reports, the Mossad sent the letter bombs to Brunner.

Brunner managed to escape from Germany at the end of World War II, and is believed to have gone to Syria via Egypt. He was tried in France in 1945, and has been wanted ever since. At the beginning of the 1990s, rumors surfaced that he had reached South America.

In May 1995, a discussion was held in the Austrian parliament regarding whether the Austrian Embassy in Cairo had mistakenly granted Brunner a new passport under an assumed name.

Informed Israeli sources said last night that Brazil had never shown great interest in searching for Nazi war criminals. The current Brazilian moves are the result of pressure from Paris, they added.


German Officers 'Knew of Holocaust'

By Murdo MacLeod

High-ranking German officers knew much more about Adolf Hitler's plans to murder millions of Jews than previously thought, according to newly revealed transcripts of conversations between captured generals.

During the Second World War, British intelligence secretly bugged the cells occupied by some of the most senior German army, navy and air force commanders who had been captured by the Allies.

The transcripts have only recently been made available to researchers and show that: Senior Luftwaffe officers mused together at the end of 1943 that millions of Jews had already been killed; General Dietrich von Choltitz, the German commander who defied Hitler's orders by not allowing Paris to be destroyed, admitted that he had been involved in killing Jews; Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had been fully briefed about the 1944 attempt to kill the Nazi leader, and refused to betray the plotters.

The British bugging operation took place in the then country estate of Trent Park on the northwest outskirts of London, in a building now used by the University of Middlesex.

Senior German officers were lulled into a false sense of security by being allowed to live in relative luxury, even sometimes having their adjutants and batmen to attend to them.

However, all the time the British were bugging their cells in an effort to get the Germans to reveal vital military secrets about chains of commands, tactics and who made the decisions in the Nazi war machine.

The transcripts, which have been published in Germany by Sönke Neitzel, professor of modern history at the University of Mainz, contradict the traditional image of senior German officers as having little or no knowledge of the mass-killings.

One of the most dramatic revelations concerns Choltitz, the German general in command of Paris in 1944 as the Allied armies closed in. He became known as the "Unlikely Savior of Paris" when he defied a direct order of Hitler who demanded that the city should be destroyed rather than fall to the Allies. He was captured and sent to Trent Park.

Speaking of an earlier episode in the war, Choltitz - who had previously been stationed on the Eastern Front - said: "The gravest task I ever undertook, and I did it at the time strictly, was the liquidation of the Jews."

Another clue to the Holocaust being common knowledge was a conversation involving Luftwaffe General Georg Neuffer, who was captured in North Africa in 1943, in which they discussed later that year how many Jews had been killed. Neuffer said: "It must be three million by now."

The transcripts also point to closer links between Rommel and the plotters who attempted to kill Hitler in 1944. It was previously known that the conspirators asked Rommel whether he would take over if Hitler were no longer alive to run the Nazi state, but never told him of their plans to bomb the Führer.

However, a conversation involving General Heinrich Eberbach, who worked closely with Rommel in 1944, suggests Rommel had been fully told about the plans and kept them to himself.

Neitzel, whose book has been hailed as an important development in studying the war, said: "This is further evidence that knowledge of the atrocities was much more widespread among senior officers than many wanted to admit after the war. They all wanted to say: 'I was just a simple soldier.' This evidence defies that."

Asked why the admissions had not been used to bring more officers to trial for war crimes, he said: "It is clear that the British wanted to protect their sources of information and the fact that they had bugged the conversations. It would have been difficult to use at the trials anyway because it was not precise enough. Having someone say that they 'killed Jews' would not be enough at a trial. If they had given a date and place it could have been linked to witnesses and charges brought."

Dr Christoph Dartmann, a lecturer in European History at Aberdeen University, said: "This is a blow against the sanitized Hollywood image of the German army as a clean army totally removed from the atrocities."


New Holocaust Search Engine Helps Jews With Roots in Poland Learn the Fate of Lost Relatives

By Israel Faxx News Service

For Jews with roots in Poland, a new search engine on the web provides help and hope, with a database of over 250,000 records -- one of the largest Holocaust search tools in existence.

The search engine (at www.CRARG.org) was created by the Czestochowa-Radomsko Area Research Group. The data includes both survivor records and death records, from professional research and volunteer typing.

"Most of our research and typing is based on highly detailed lists made during or right after the War," says CRARG president Daniel Kazez, a professor at Wittenberg University (Ohio).

The Czestochowa-Radomsko Area Research Group was founded in 2003 by a group of individuals with family roots in southern Poland.

"Because of both voluntary and forced migration of Jews in Poland during World War II, we understand that our families from southern Poland could have been almost anywhere in Poland or Europe by the end of the War," mentions Kazez. "Therefore, we broadly target our data collecting to cover any Jews who were in Poland or from Poland."

Additional search engines listing Holocaust victims or survivors are maintained by Yad Vashem (www.yadvashem.org), JewishGen (www.jewishgen.org), and Jewish Records Indexing Poland www.jri-poland.org).






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