World Report

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INNSBRUCK, Austria (JTA) — The ski resort town of Innsbruck in the Austrian Tyrol has erected a Kristallnacht monument thanks to a grassroots initiative by local students.

The monument, a 20-foot tall, stylized menorah, was unveiled in June. The candles on the monument, which is located on a central Innsbruck square, will be lighted by a laser beam each year on Nov. 9 in commemoration of the Kristallnacht pogroms on that date in 1938.

During those attacks, synagogues were burned, Jewish businesses were destroyed and Jews were assaulted, arrested, and killed throughout Germany.

Nazi Germany had annexed Austria earlier in 1938. In Innsbruck, four Jews were killed during Kristallnacht.

Pope sends letters to Mideast leaders

ROME (JTA) — Pope John Paul II has sent letters to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat expressing his "deep worry" over the deadlock in the peace process.

The letters, urging the two leaders to overcome obstacles and resume dialogue, were sent June 16, but the Vatican released their text only recently.

The pope said that the Vatican would be willing to host Israeli and Palestinian delegations to resume the talks "with good will."

In his letter to Netanyahu, the pope said, "The Israeli and Palestinian peoples are already shouldering a burden of suffering which is too heavy. This burden must not be increased; instead it deserves the utmost commitment to finding the paths of necessary and courageous compromises."

Arson and swastikas hit churches, temple

FRANKFURT (JTA) — A wave of mysterious church burnings and swastika scrawlings has swept across northern Germany in the past month.

In the most recent attack last week, the culprits set a room in a church community center in the town of Lubeck on fire. They also scrawled three swastikas on a wall of the church complex and graffiti threatening the church's pastor.

Police estimated tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

It was the sixth incident in northern Germany since late May. Last week, unknown culprits smeared swastikas and graffiti on the office door of the well-known novelist Günter Grass, who lives in Lubeck.