Shorts: World

Turkey defends book fair selections

(jta) | Turkish officials defended themselves against charges of choosing anti-Semitic books for a recent book fair in Germany.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center complained last week that three anti-Semitic books were displayed at a Turkish Culture Ministry stand at the October fair in Frankfurt, one of the world’s largest book shows.

The ministry said the Publishers Association chose the books, but the association said it was not responsible for the books at the ministry’s stand. The association also denied that any of the books on display were anti-Semitic, but the Wiesenthal Center noted they included an account of alleged Jewish plots against Turkey titled “The Greater Israel Strategy,” and “Password Israel,” which claims that codes in the Torah show how Jews are planning World War III and the destruction of Turkey.

The Wiesenthal Center also recently criticized what it says is a rise of anti-Semitic literature in Turkey. Last year, “Mein Kampf” reportedly became a best-seller in the country, and several anti-Israel books — including “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” — enjoyed popularity as well.

Soccer clubs protesting racism

(jta) | European soccer clubs are holding an “Action Week” against racism.

From Oct. 17-30, team captains will wear armbands that say “United Against Racism,” players will sport “United Against Racism” T-shirts and stadium loudspeaker announcements will call for opposition to all forms of racism as part of a program sponsored by UEFA, European soccer’s governing body. The program comes during the Champions League matches of the top soccer clubs in Europe.

Racist chants against black players, as well as anti-Semitic symbols and slurs, are common among soccer fans in Europe.

Wiesel to be knighted

london (jta) | Elie Wiesel will receive an honorary knighthood.

The Nov. 30 honor will be presented to the Nobel Peace Prize winner for his contributions to Holocaust education in Britain. Wiesel was born in Romania in 1928 and survived both the Buchenwald and Auschwitz concentration camps.

His first book, “Night,” was a memoir of his experiences in the camps, and he has gone on to author dozens of books about the Holocaust and human rights. He recently made headlines after appearing in front of the United Nations to ask for increased efforts to mitigate the crisis in Darfur.

Historic Shabbat service in Polish town

warsaw (jta) | A Polish town will host its first Sabbath service since 1939. The service will be conducted Friday, Oct. 20 in Przemysl at a synagogue the Nazis used as a horse stable.

Rozia Felner, a Holocaust survivor from Przemysl who was hidden during the war by a Catholic family, will light the Sabbath candles. Michael Schudrich, Poland’s New York-born chief rabbi, will conduct the service, which kicks off a weekend of Polish-Jewish dialogue.

Przemysl College also will host a conference titled “Lost Nation: The Jews of Przemysl and the Polish Landscape.” Christians and Jews from all over Europe and the United States are expected to participate, including Polish Christian clergy and Israel’s ambassador to Poland, David Peleg.

Swiss Jews, Muslims want private burials

geneva (ap) | Jews and Muslims in Geneva want the right to hold private religious burials.

The groups are pressing to change a law in the city that requires all people to be buried in public ceremonies, as part of efforts to build tolerance.

Jews have long gotten around the issue by burying their dead in a cemetery that has an entryway in Switzerland and graves in France, but that cemetery is filling up.

Ukraine salutes WWII soldiers

kiev (jta) | Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko signed a decree calling for a law recognizing Ukrainians who fought alongside the Nazis.

Yuschenko also called for more studies of the history of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Rebel Army, the best known of the nationalist guerilla organizations that some historians say were responsible for killing Jews in western Ukraine during and after World War II when fighting against Soviet rule.

For years after Ukrainian independence in 1991, OUN-URA fighters have demanded official veteran status similar to that of Soviet Red Army veterans. On Saturday, Oct. 14 some Ukrainian fighters who fought both Soviet and Nazi forces in World War II rallied in Kiev. The nationalists briefly scuffled with counter-demonstrators, but police were largely successful in preventing clashes. Police detained about 20 activists from both sides.