Shorts: World

Holocaust remains buried in Germany

stuttgart, germany (ap) | The remains of 34 Jews who died doing slave labor for the Nazis were re-interred with full religious rites last week at the U.S. Army airfield where their mass grave was discovered.

The remains were found in September at the airfield next to Stuttgart’s airport during construction work. They are believed to be the bodies of Jewish inmates from a subcamp of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp who were used as slave laborers between November 1944 and February 1945.

Stuttgart prosecutors had planned on doing DNA analysis of the remains to establish beyond a doubt who they were, but backed down after Jewish organizations protested that the bodies should be left alone for religious reasons.

Ex-Nazi acquitted in Slovakian massacres

munich (ap) | A former Nazi commander was acquitted of murder in three massacres in Slovakia after a court said this week there was no reliable evidence he was involved in the killings.

Ladislav Niznansky, 88, sat stone-faced as his acquittal on 164 counts of murder was announced in the Munich state court Monday, Dec. 19.

The charges were filed in connection with the slaughter of 146 men, women and children in two Slovak villages and the later killing of 18 Jewish civilians after a failed uprising against Slovakia’s Nazi puppet government.

Judge Manfred Goetzl cited contradictory evidence from witnesses as a reason for the acquittal, noting that some withdrew testimony given when Niznansky was convicted in absentia by communist Czechoslovakia in 1962.

Prosecutors leaned heavily on evidence from that trial, but several witnesses sought out by the court this time either contradicted or withdrew their previous testimony.

Niznansky was convicted of the massacres and sentenced to death in absentia by Czechoslovakia in 1962. By then, he had moved to Germany, where he retired. He became a German citizen in 1996.

Slovakia releases wartime information

bratislavia, slovakia (jta) | A Slovakian institute began publishing information on anti-Jewish measures introduced in World War II Slovakia.

Information publicly available for the first time includes the names of more than 10,000 Jewish-owned companies that were liquidated.

The head of the Slovak Institute of National Memory, Jan Langos, said Slovaks would be able to see the names of “Aryanizers” who implemented Nazi Germany’s policy of economic exclusion of Jews and confiscation of their property from 1933 to 1945.

There will also be detailed information online about each Jew persecuted by the state. About 70,000 Slovak Jews were sent to Nazi extermination camps during World War II, where most of them died. The confiscated Jewish property made up 38 percent of the national wealth of wartime Slovakia, Langos said.

German leader to visit Israel

berlin (ap) | German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to visit Israel next month, on a trip meant in part to signal solidarity following recent anti-Israel outbursts by the president of Iran.

Merkel will travel to Israel in late January, a German government spokeswoman said on customary condition of anonymity.

The visit will underline “Germany’s unconditional defense of Israel’s right to exist,” she added, confirming a report by the weekly Der Spiegel that one of the trip’s aims is to send a signal of opposition to recent comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Le Pen ‘shocked’ by Iranian’s comments

paris (jta) | A controversial French politician said he is “shocked” by the recent comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling the Holocaust a “myth.”

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, has made remarks on several occasions over the years questioning the Holocaust.

While talking to radio station France-Inter, Le Pen said, “I find his statements shocking, and do not in any way share the sentiments expressed by the Iranian president.”

Le Pen is under criminal investigation for having called the Holocaust a “detail” of World War II last month.

French extremist to go on trial

paris (jta) | The European Parliament refused parliamentary immunity to a French far-right leader.

After this week’s decision, Bruno Gollnisch, the second in command of France’s National Front can be tried for comments he made in October 2004.

At that time, he questioned the ways in which the Nazis used the gas chambers during World War II. His trial has been postponed several times while he sought immunity. The trial is now slated to begin in May 2006.

Survivors to get more compensation

new york (jta) | Holocaust survivors in former Eastern Bloc countries that are now members of the European Union will get increased compensation.

The payments, negotiated by the Claims Conference, will increase from $162 per month to $210 per month starting Jan. 1.

The increase, which the Claims Conference had been seeking for several years, reflects the dramatic increase in the cost of living in the region since the original settlement was agreed to in 1998 under the Claims Conference Central and Eastern European Fund. About 17,000 people are recipients of the money.