Shorts: World

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Bishop apologizes for comparing abortion, Holocaust

berlin (ap) | A German bishop has apologized for appearing to compare abortion to the Holocaust and the killing of millions of people under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, a remark condemned by Germany’s most prominent Jewish leader.

Joachim Meisner, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Cologne, said he would have left out the reference to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler in his Epiphany sermon last week at the Cologne cathedral “had I had any inkling it would be misunderstood.”

“I am sorry it happened,” he said in a statement posted on his bishopric’s Web site.

During the sermon, Meisner cited what he said were examples of humans taking on unlimited powers: “First Herod, who had the children of Bethlehem killed; then, among others, under Hitler and Stalin, who had millions of people exterminated; and today, in our times, millions of unborn children are killed,” he said, according to his office.

German Jewish newspaper becomes monthly magazine

berlin (jta) | A German Jewish newspaper begun in New York by immigrants from Nazi Germany will survive as a monthly magazine.

The Zurich-based Jewish Media assumed the rights to Aufbau in 2004. The company will publish it from Berlin as a monthly magazine beginning this month along with its current publications, the French-language Revue Juive and the weekly Tachles.

The paper will no longer have English-language content.

U.N. will mark the liberation of Nazi camps

new york (jps) | The United Nations will hold a special session of the General Assembly on Jan. 24 to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced this week.

A majority of member states agreed to convene the special assembly of the world body, which was founded in the wake of the Holocaust partly to ensure that no such horror could ever take place again.

The countries supporting the convening of the special session include states with no diplomatic ties to the Jewish state, Israel’s U.N. ambassador said.

“This is not an Israeli event. This is a universal event,” Ambassador Dan Gillerman said. “I’m sure it will be a very solemn and historic occasion of a very universal nature.”

So far, 110 countries support the special session.

“There is an awareness around the world that anti-Semitism once again is raising its ugly head, especially in Europe, and that everyone should be very concerned and do everything in their power to stop it,” Gillerman said.

“This will be an important occasion, since the United Nations was founded as the world was learning the full horror of the camps, and is dedicated to doing everything in its power to protect human dignity and prevent any such horror from happening again,” Annan’s spokesman Fred Eckhard said.

Papal envoy to mark camp liberation

rome (jps) | A French archbishop whose mother was killed in Auschwitz will represent Pope John Paul II at events marking the 60th anniversary of the Nazi death camp’s liberation, the Vatican said.

The archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, will be John Paul’s special envoy at ceremonies on Jan. 27, the Vatican said in a statement. Lustiger was born Jewish and converted to Roman Catholicism as a teenager.

Bronfman, Singer re-elected amid WJC turmoil

brussels (jps) | Israel Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Congress’ governing board, and President Edgar Bronfman were re-elected unopposed during a meeting beset by charges of mismanagement.

Leaders said they hoped that what they described as “baseless” allegations of irregularities in its internal accounting have finally been laid to rest following a sometimes raucous assembly this week.

The organization’s chief internal critic, Senior Vice President Isi Leibler, who resigned this week, issued a call for further independent auditing of the WJC’s finances.

“We’re going to have to take some time to repair,” said the WJC’s incoming Secretary-General Stephen Herbits. “But I think today’s vote of confidence in the governing board will go a long way toward restoring any credibility that may have been damaged.”

Banks will expand Holocaust-era lists

geneva (jta) | More than 3,000 Holocaust survivors and their heirs will have another chance to apply for compensation for Holocaust-era bank accounts.

Swiss banks have agreed to publish an additional 3,100 names of account holders who likely were victims of the Holocaust.

The move is part of the $1.25 billion Swiss banks settlement and is in addition to a list of 21,000 names published in 2001.