Shorts: World

Suspicious fire razes Anne Frank’s Westerbork barrack

A suspicious fire in northeast Holland on July 18 destroyed the barrack that Anne Frank stayed in while at the Westerbork work camp. The fire destroyed two barracks from the Dutch work camp, where Frank was detained before being deported to Auschwitz in 1944.

Her barrack, number 57, was set to be moved back to the site of the work camp as part of a Holocaust memorial center. The barracks had been sold in 1957 to a nearby village and were used to store farm equipment. — jta

Mayor goose-steps in German uniform

The mayor of Constana, a port city on the Black Sea in Romania, and his 15-year-old son dressed in German World War II uniforms for a fashion show.

Mayor Radu Mazare and his son, wearing the uniforms of German infantry generals that did not have swastikas on them and reportedly had nothing to do with the Nazi SS, goose-stepped across the stage of a weekend fashion show.

The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism filed a complaint this week with the country’s general prosecutor. Wearing a Nazi uniform is illegal in Romania and is punishable by up to three years in prison. — jta

Germany honors critic of Israel

Jewish leaders and Israeli officials expressed dismay at Germany’s decision to honor a “fanatic Israel hater” with the nation’s Order of Merit. Attorney Felicia Langer, 79, was selected for the honor by the mayor of her adopted hometown, Tubingen, to recognize her humanitarian work.

Critics charge that Langer, an Israeli, has called Israel an apartheid state, suggested that Israeli leaders be tried for war crimes and praised the anti-Semitic speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Geneva in April.

In presenting the award July 16, Hubert Wicker, the undersecretary of the State of Baden-Württemberg, praised Langer for her “tireless efforts to reach her goal of building a bridge between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Langer, who fled into the Soviet Union to escape approaching Nazi forces, reportedly used her acceptance speech to decry conditions for the Palestinians. She said the Holocaust had taught her to feel empathy with victims and to reject injustice. — jta