Shorts: World

Diplomat’s son arrested for abduction

The son of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Poland was charged with abducting three Jewish teenagers at a hotel and claiming he had a bomb, police said this week.

The 23-year-old son of Ambassador Khaled al Shaibani, identified only as Mohammad A., was charged with holding the teenagers against their will.

Police said the suspect has confessed and faces a suspended sentence of 10 months to three years.

The three teenagers were among about 10,000 people from around the world who came to Poland to take part May 1 in the March of the Living, an annual event at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. — ap

Australian official resigns over slur

Susan Chandler, a senior Australian Liberal Party official, resigned this week after slurring a candidate from her own party.

Chandler had sent an email referring to Jewish candidate Adam Held as a “greedy f—ing Jew” after he had requested more campaign material to distribute in his electorate, which has a large Jewish population. Held’s bid for office in 2007 fell short.

Chandler said she had “many Jewish friends and am in no way anti-Semitic.” — jta

Einstein letter: Jews not ‘chosen’

Jews are not the chosen people and religious belief is “childish,” Albert Einstein said in a 1954 letter that will go on sale this week in England.

The letter was written in German to philosopher Eric Gutkind. At a May 15 auction, it is expected to sell for up to $15,400, according to the Daily Telegraph.

In the letter, Einstein said he started questioning religion at the age of 12.

“For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions,” he wrote. “[Jews] are no better than other human groups … I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”

Einstein’s opinion on religion has long been debated. Previous statements attributed to him have been more ambivalent than this letter. — jta

Hitler doll on sale in Ukraine

Adolf Hitler dolls are on sale in some Ukraine supermarkets, according to London’s Daily Mail.

The $200 figure stands more than a foot high and comes with movable arms to reproduce Hitler’s infamous salute. The action-figure dolls, which will be mass marketed this summer, are being sold in Kiev.

The manufacturer was unnamed in published reports.

Consumers will have a choice of outfits, including “early days Adolf,” sporting a brown shirt and jodhpurs, and “wartime Adolf,” wearing a gray, double-breasted tunic, black trousers and simple Iron Cross medal. — jta

Nazi invited to judge pageant

Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke reportedly was invited to judge a beauty pageant in Rome.

Recent news reports said Claudio Marini, the organizer of the “Star of the Year” beauty contest, had invited the former SS officer to be on its jury.

Newly elected Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno called the idea “crazy.”

Priebke, 95, is serving a life sentence under house arrest for his part in the World War II massacre of 335 men and boys at the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome.

Marini was quoted as saying he did not invite Priebke as a publicity stunt but as part of a “process of pacification.” — jta

Historic house might be demolished

A house once owned by the last Jewish resident of the city where the Nazis built Auschwitz faces demolition if funds are not found for its renovation.

The two-story house in Oswiecim has been vacant for eight years despite attempts by the Auschwitz Jewish Center to raise funds to turn it into a museum, said Tomasz Kuncewicz, who runs the center.

“The technical state of the house is very bad … and is unfortunately getting worse,” Kuncewicz said, noting that repairs on the crumbling walls alone would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Szymon Kluger, whose family owned the home, survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and immigrated to Sweden after the war. He returned to Oswiecim in 1961 and lived there until his death in 2000. — ap