World Report

BERLIN (JTA) — German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder accidentally extinguished Israel's eternal flame for the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

During a visit to Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial on Tuesday, Schroeder turned a handle that was supposed to make the flame rise. When it went out instead, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak tried to help, but to no avail.

A technician, who used a cigarette lighter to re-ignite the flame, finally solved the problem.

In another diplomatic gesture that same day, the chancellor carefully laid a wreath at former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's grave.

Schroeder arrived from Damascus on Tuesday for two days of talks as part of a sweeping Middle East tour planned long before the current violence.

Israeli watchdogs blast Vatican sainthood plan

PRAGUE (JTA) — Five Israeli historians are calling on the Vatican to halt its plans to make a Slovak Catholic bishop a candidate for sainthood.

The historians charge that the late Bishop Jan Vojtassak played an active role in the Holocaust as a senior official in the wartime Slovak government, which was sympathetic to the Nazis.

During a visit to Slovakia in 1995, Pope John Paul II suggested that Vojtassak could be a candidate for sainthood because he had been a victim of the Communists.

French can tune in to 'Butcher' Barbie trial

PARIS (JTA) — French television just launched a month-long series of daily broadcasts from the 1987 trial of the Nazi official known as the "Butcher of Lyons."

The trial, in which Klaus Barbie was jailed for life for sending thousands of French Jews and Resistance fighters to the death camps, was the first French trial by jury to be filmed.

The Gestapo police chief in Lyons during the war, Barbie died in prison in 1991.

A wave of violence spurs neo-Nazi protest

BERLIN (JTA) — Some 25,000 people demonstrated in Germany against the nation's recent wave of neo-Nazi violence.

Paul Spiegel, the country's Jewish community leader, said at Saturday's Dusseldorf demonstration that Germans must not remain silent about neo-Nazis.

"When ranting skinheads can claim they are carrying out the will of the silent majority, then the silent majority is not without blame," he said.