World Report

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LOS ANGELES (JTA) — The Swiss Bankers Association has agreed to freeze the dormant accounts of individuals believed to be former high-ranking Nazis and collaborators.

The move came in response to a request from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, which found 105 suspect names after it scrutinized the list of 1,800 dormant wartime accounts publicized in July by the bankers association.

The names were identical to, or closely resembled, those appearing on lists of suspected war criminals and SS officers drawn up by United Nations officials.

In a letter to Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Wiesenthal Center, Christoph Meier, a senior official of the Swiss Bankers Association, said these accounts will be submitted to the Independent Claims Resolution Panel, a group of independent international arbitrators created by the Swiss to review disputed dormant accounts.

Vandals desecrate graves near Moscow

MOSCOW (JTA) — Vandals have desecrated 14 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Kurgan, a city of 320,000 that is southwest of Moscow.

Each of the desecrated headstones was smeared with black paint; some were painted with swastikas.

This was the second act of vandalism to take place at a Russian Jewish cemetery in September.

Vandals recently desecrated 18 tombstones at a cemetery in Malakhovka, a small town near Moscow that had a sizable Jewish population from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Lithuania honoring Christian rescuers

MOSCOW (JTA) — Lithuania has observed its annual commemoration of Holocaust victims by honoring Christians who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II.

Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas last week decorated 27 Lithuanians with the Life Rescuer Cross, which was established in 1992, soon after Lithuania gained its independence from the Soviet Union.

The commemoration came amid ongoing tension over Lithuania's role during the Nazi occupation.

The Israeli ambassador to Lithuania, Oded Ben Hur, recently sparked controversy when, in a speech to the Lithuanian Parliament, he criticized the Baltic country for not vigorously prosecuting its war criminals.

In an apparent response to Ben Hur's remarks, a Lithuanian extremist group recently demanded that Jews working in governmental institutions be fired and that the Israeli ambassador to the Baltic country be declared persona non grata.

During World War II, Nazis backed by Lithuanian collaborators exterminated virtually the entire local Jewish population, wiping out 94 percent of a pre-war community that numbered 250,000.

Canada can continue 3 deportation cases

TORONTO (JTA) — Canada's Supreme Court ruled that deportation proceedings against three alleged Nazi war criminals can proceed despite defense claims that the government had improperly interfered in their cases.

Proceedings against Erichs Tobiass, Helmut Oberlander and Johann Dueck stopped last year after a judge ruled that there had been improper discussions between the chief justice of the Federal Court and a lawyer from Canada's Justice Department.

The high court ruled last week that the secret meetings had not prevented the three from receiving a fair trial.