World Report

LEIDEN, Holland (JTA) — The Dutch Ministry of Finance deliberately destroyed hundreds of archives detailing the wartime liquidation of Jewish companies by Nazi-appointed administrators, according to a report in a Dutch daily newspaper.

The archives, which contained important information for those with claims resulting from such liquidations, were destroyed in 1991 — a year before unclaimed moneys were legally transferred to the Dutch state, the report said.

A Ministry of Finance spokesman said the archives were destroyed "in accordance with the regulations applying at the time."

These archives should have been kept at least until 1992, when new legislation transferred unclaimed money to the state, said a Dutch lawyer.

The lawyer, who specializes in the restitution of unclaimed Holocaust assets, fears archives of other unclaimed moneys still held by the Dutch state have also been destroyed.

Belarus congregation receives U.S. Torah

MOSCOW (JTA) — A Reform congregation in Belarus has received a Torah scroll as a gift from its sister congregation in Oklahoma.

The scroll, which the Minsk congregation, Simcha, received in a ceremony in the Belarussian capital recently, is being kept at a private apartment.

Simcha is the only Reform congregation in Belarus to have its own scroll.

The Belarussian Reform movement — which is relatively new in the country — does not have ordained rabbis or permanent synagogues.

Holocaust monument is unveiled in Milan

ROME (JTA) — A Roman Catholic cardinal joined Milan's chief rabbi in a ceremony unveiling the first public monument to the Jews and anti-fascists deported from the Italian city to Nazi death camps.

The memorial plaque commemorates the 1,580 people, including 1,237 Jews, who were deported during World War II for political reasons.

The city's chief rabbi, Giuseppe Laras, told the gathering, "When the eyewitnesses are dead, the time of forgetting may begin.

"It is that which troubles us, because silence can be the condition in which that evil repeats itself. But as long as there are young people to acquire the lesson of their fathers, as now, this concern will be tempered."