World Report

BUDAPEST, Hungary (JTA) — Hungarian survivors of the Holocaust held a remembrance day here this week.

The commemoration, which attracted several hundred people out of the city's approximately 20,000 survivors, was organized by the Hungarian Jewish Heritage Foundation. The foundation was created in 1997 to provide pensions to survivors from a government-sponsored fund.

In other news, Israel and Hungary jointly issued a stamp featuring Budapest's Dohany Street Synagogue, said to be Europe's largest active synagogue.

The Hungarian stamp depicts the synagogue's facade, while the Israeli issue carries a picture of its interior. The historic 3,000-seat synagogue was renovated four years ago.

Putin receives shofar at Moscow dedication

MOSCOW (JTA) — Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the Russian Jewish community's revival at a ceremony dedicating a Lubavitch-sponsored Jewish Community Center, the first of its kind in the region.

During a speech Monday seen as an unprecedented demonstration of Kremlin support for Russia's Jewish community, Putin also praised the Lubavitch-dominated Federation of Jewish Communities as a "highly constructive and influential organization."

At the dedication, one of Israel's former chief rabbis, Mordechai Eliyahu, presented Putin with a shofar.

Meanwhile, the federation-sponsored third annual Solomon Mikhoels Festival featuring dance and musical performances by Russian, Israeli and U.S. artists is under way this week.

The festival is named for the Yiddish actor killed by the Stalinist regime in 1948.

Czech synagogue honors WWII Jews

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (JTA) — A 260-year-old dilapidated synagogue in the Czech town of Ledec Nad Sazavou has been restored and converted into a concert and exhibition hall.

It will be used to commemorate the local Jewish community, which was wiped out by the Nazis during World War II.

Also, a Jewish club offering lectures on Jewish culture and courses in modern Hebrew has opened in the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary. The town's 90-strong Jewish community is planning to set up a children's club to acquaint young people with Jewish traditions.

Brazil cops intercept neo-Nazis' explosive

BRASILIA (JTA) — Brazilian police defused a letter bomb sent to a gay rights group in Sao Paulo. Police are characterizing the action as part of a neo-Nazi terror campaign.

Earlier, a similar package was sent to a human rights activist. Both parcels had a scrawled image of a swastika and bore the return address of the city's Israelite Foundation.

Officials said the return address was a clear hoax.

WJC proposes giving heroic guard money

ZURICH (JTA) — A former security guard who blocked one of Switzerland's biggest banks from shredding Holocaust-era documents should receive an award from the $1.25 billion settlement being paid by Swiss banks, according to the World Jewish Congress.

"We certainly support an award to Christoph Meili from the bank settlement in recognition of his courageous and selfless act," the WJC said.

Meili embarrassed the Union Bank of Switzerland in January 1997, when he rescued the documents from the shredder and turned them in to a local Jewish group. Now a U.S. resident, he said at the time that he took the action weeks after seeing the movie "Schindler's List."