World Report

BERLIN (JTA) — German prosecutors opened a formal investigation this week into French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen for calling the Holocaust a "mere detail" of history during a speech in Germany.

The move came after the European Parliament lifted the immunity of Le Pen, who is a member of the European Union's legislature.

Le Pen is expected to be questioned before the year's end, but it is not clear yet whether French or German officials will do it, a German prosecutor said. The investigation may lead to a trial of Le Pen in Germany, where it is a crime to trivialize the Holocaust.

Diplomat wants delay in Pius XII sainthood

ROME (JTA) — Israel's ambassador to the Vatican wants to delay plans to beatify Pope Pius XII.

Calling for a 50-year moratorium on planning for the beatification of the wartime pope, diplomat Aharon Lopez told reporters Tuesday that haste in setting Pius XII on the road to sainthood would constitute "a very destabilizing element" in relations between Israel and the Vatican.

Critics accuse Pius XII of remaining silent in the face of the Holocaust. The beatification process is the last step before someone is made a saint.

Lopez called on the Vatican to open its classified archives to let historians find out the full truth about Pius XII's wartime actions. Such archives, he noted, are usually kept secret for 70 years.

In response to Lopez's remarks, a Vatican spokesman said the beatification process "would take its due course," and the Israeli position would have no effect.

Argentinian woman extradited to Croatia

BERLIN (JTA) — An alleged former concentration camp guard appeared this week before a judge in the Croatian capital of Zagreb in the first step to determine whether she will be tried for war crimes.

Extradited from Argentina, Esperanza "Nada" Sakic is alleged to have been a guard in the women's section of the Jasenovac concentration camp, which was run by her husband during the war.

She has denied charges that she participated in torturing civilians and other activities that led to the deaths of thousands of inmates at the Jasenovac camp.

Her husband, Dinko Sakic, who ran the camp, is awaiting trial on similar charges.