World Report

VIENNA (JTA) — Members of Austria's right-wing government are being asked to not attend an upcoming memorial ceremony at the site of Mauthausen, the largest concentration camp in Austria during World War II.

Leon Zelman, a Holocaust survivor and an organizer of the May 7 event, said Jorg Haider has "trampled" on the moral values the event wants to commemorate.

Haider stepped down last month as leader of the xenophobic Freedom Party, which is part of Austria's ruling coalition. He is still active in the party.

Zelman added that the appearance of government ministers would also inevitably lead to a counter-demonstration that would detract attention from the event.

Meanwhile, about 500 neo-Nazis chanting anti-foreigner slogans marched through Berlin earlier this month to show their support for Haider.

Vandals attack camp, German cemetery

BERLIN (JTA) — German police have asked for help in finding those responsible for desecrating a Jewish cemetery in the northern town of Hanover.

Vandals toppled about 90 gravestones, some of which were destroyed during the weekend attack, a police spokesman said.

Meanwhile, anti-Semitic graffiti was scrawled on the outer walls of the former San Sabba death camp near Trieste in northern Italy, the only World War II death camp on Italian soil. The graffiti, written overnight, included a star of David hanging from a gallows, and the German slogan "Juden raus," or out with the Jews.

Shul reopens 74 years after Soviet takeover

KIEV (JTA) — The Great Synagogue of Kiev reopened Wednesday after years of reconstruction financed by local Jewish leaders.

Built in 1898, the synagogue in the Ukrainian capital was confiscated by the Soviets in 1926. Under the Nazi occupation, it was used as a stable. After World War II, it was used as a puppet theater before being returned to the community.

Jews in the Balkans form umbrella group

SKOPJE, Macedonia (JTA) — Jews from half a dozen Balkan states met last week to discuss a possible umbrella group.

"There are very few Jews in the Balkans," said Viktor Mizrachi, the president of the 200-member Jewish community of Macedonia. "Each can love his own country, but we have to form a fist or we will disappear."