World Report

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BERLIN (JTA) — A group of Holocaust memorial sculptures that have been vandalized repeatedly were to be removed last week from public display.

The 16 sculptures at Berlin's Anhalt train station — in memory of the deportation of Jews during World War II — had been seriously damaged in recent incidents.

In October, there were three cases of vandalism at the train station memorial within a week. The police have five suspects, and do not think that the incidents were motivated by anti-Semitism.

Stuart Wolfe, the sculptor, told the German press agency that eight of the 16 sculptures were so badly damaged that they are ready for the garbage dump.

Australian Jewry elects woman chief

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Diane Shteinman has been elected president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the umbrella organization representing the Australian Jewish community.

Shteinman succeeds Isi Leibler, who completed the maximum three-year term. Leibler now serves as a co-chairman of the governing board of the World Jewish Congress.

Shteinman, the first woman to be elected president in the council's 51-year history, made her mark during the past decade through leadership in advocating for the rights of Soviet and Syrian Jews, as well as other victims of discrimination and persecution.

Shteinman said the council "must now concentrate" on "Jewish education for all our children, Jewish identity and continuity, and combating assimilation and intermarriage."

Jewish institutions hit by Paris strike

PARIS (JTA) — As a public transit strike grips the French capital for a second week, the city's Jewish schools and synagogues are feeling the effects of the shutdown.

"We are functioning with about 20 percent fewer students," said Benjamin Touati, director of the Lucien de Hirsch School, a Jewish institution. "Those who live in the suburbs just can't come. The others hitchhike, or they come on bicycles and roller skates."

"I'm working with only half of my teachers," said Rabbi David Mamou of Synagogue Bethel. "On Tuesday night, I had only three students when there should be 15. For Talmud Torah on Sunday, I usually have 40 kids. There were less than 30."

Shopkeepers, kosher butchers and restaurant owners in the Marais, Paris' famous Jewish quarter, said their businesses have been severely hurt by the stoppage.