Highlights of the Year 5743
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Highlights of the Year 5743

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While the plight of Soviet Jewry was of primary concern for world Jewry, a new focus of attention was that of the small 50-member Jewish community of Nicaragua. It was revealed during the year 1983 that the Sandinista government had forced the community into exile, confiscating Jewish owned property and taking over the synagogue in Managua.

Among the many other issues on the international scene was the Rumanian directive which imposed an education tax on would be emigrants, the announcement by El Salvador that it will move its Embassy back to Jerusalem and that Israel will reopen its Embassy in San Salvador, and the formal United States apology to France for preventing the extradition to France of Klaus Barbie by lying about his whereabouts and then helping him to flee Germany to South America.


JANUARY 1983 Klaus Barbie, known as the "butcher of Lyon," the French city where he was Gestapo chief during World War II, is arrested in La Paz, Bolivia for a local criminal offense. France seeks his extradition for his role in the deportation of thousands of French Jews to Nazi death camps and the murder of French resistance leader, Jean Moulin.

Defense Minister Ariel Sharon holds talks in Kinshasa, Zaire, with President Mubuto Sese Seko that are said to primarily focus on the terms of the five-year military agreement between Israel and Zaire, which among other things, calls for Israel to re-equip and train the Zaire army and establish and train the Presidential guard.

Maurice Papon, who served as Secretary for Budget in the Cabinet of former President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, is formally charged in Bordeaux with "crimes against humanity" allegedly committed when he was a senior official of the Vichy government during World War II.

Israeli President Yitzhak Navon meets with President Reagan in Washington in what is described as a low-keyed visit, excluding discussions on issues other than those which have received bipartisan consensus approval in Israel.

Three Arabs — two Jordanians and an Iraqi — identified as members of a PLO splinter group go on trial in London for the attempted murder of Shlomo Argov, the Israeli Ambassador who was shot and severely wounded last June outside a London hotel.

Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, in a letter to French Communist Party leader Georges Marchais, claims that Anatoly Shcharansky has ended his hunger strike he began in September, that he is in "a satisfactory condition" and that "recently he was in contact with his mother." (Avital Shcharansky says she is unable to "independently verify" the claim.)

FEBRUARY — Barbie is expelled from Bolivia and handed over to French authorities where he will face trial on charges of "crimes against humanity" for his role in the deportation of some 11,000 persons, including Jews and members of the French resistance movement when he headed the gestapo in Lyon from 1942-1944.

Rumanian Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen reverses an earlier statement and says that the new Rumanian law requiring all emigrants to reimburse the government for the free secondary and higher education they had received, would in fact be applied to those Jews seeking to make aliya.

Shcharansky is reported to have ended his more than four-month hunger strike in protest of the denial of mail and visits from his family members, privileges allowed to other prisoners.

Charles Allen Jr., an internationally prominent authority on Nazi war criminals living in the U.S., writes in an exclusive three-part series for the JTA that based on "various documents, including the State Department’s," Klaus Barbie was aided in his escape from Europe in late 1949 and 1950 by the Vatican, the U.S. Army’s Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) and the International Red Cross."

MARCH — A 75-year-old retired factory worker, Feodor Fedorenko of Philadelphia, is ordered deported to the Soviet Union for concealing his work as an armed guard at the Treblinka death camp during World War II.

Three members of a Baghdad-based Palestinian terrorist group are sentenced to 30 and 35 year prison terms in Central Criminal Court in London for the attempted assassination of Shlomo Argov, the Israeli Ambassador, last June.

Some 3,000 Jewish and non-Jewish delegates from 31 countries attending the Third World Conference on Soviet Jewry receive a pledge from the United States that it will "lead" efforts by the free world "to stem and reverse the trends of plummeting emigration and increasing harassment which plague Soviet Jews."

Werner Vogel, who won a seat in the Bundestag as a representative of the Green Party in the March 6 elections, resigns from Parliament after acknowledging that he was a member of the Nazi Party, the SA (storm troopers) and had served in the Interior Ministry of the Third Reich which implemented anti-Jewish statutes and supervised the gestapo and secret police.

APRIL — A mysterious ailment that hospitalizes more than 550 West Bank Arabs mostly teenage girls, and becomes the focus of international attention, is finally attributed to "anxiety," according to a report by U.S. epidemiologists released by the State Department.

Nazi literature and propaganda, banned in Argentina three years ago, returns to the newsstands of Buenos Aires, according to a report in 0 Estado Sao Paulo by its Buenos Aires correspondent Hugo Martinez.

Some 300 delegates from Israel are joined with more than 100 delegates representing world Jewry to attend the week-long commemoration in Poland of the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Hans Lipschis, an admitted former SS-Rottenfuehrer (Corporal) at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp complex, becomes the first Nazi war criminal in the U.S. to be deported in more than 30 years for concealing his war crimes. He arrives in West Germany.

MAY — The rightwing Social Credit Party of Canada ousts James Keegstra, a high school teacher and Mayor of the village of Eckville, Alberta, who teaches his class that Jews are the root of all evil in the world and that the Holocaust never occurred.

The Justice Department asks Israel to accept Valerian Trifa, the head of the Rumanian Orthodox Episcopate in America who was a leader in the fascist Iron Guard in wartime Rumania, after Switzerland, West Germany and Italy refuse to accept him. Trifa was ordered deported last year.

The first war criminal to be deported from Canada, Helmut Rauca, a former gestapo officer, arrives in Frankfurt, West Germany under extradition order where he is expected to be tried on charges of killing more than 11,000 Jews in Nazi occupied Lithuania in 1941.

The Sandinista government of Nicaragua is reported by ADL officials to have forced the country’s 50 member Jewish community into exile, confiscating Jewish owned property and taking over the synagogue in Managua.

JUNE — The heads of government of the 10 European Economic Community countries meet in Stuttgart and welcome the Israel-Lebanon accord and also decide to lift the economic sanctions the EEC imposed on Israel when it invaded Lebanon in June, 1982.

The U.S. sharply denounces as "patently false" the assertions by the newly formed Soviet government sponsored "Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public" that the majority of Jews who desire to emigrate from the Soviet Union have already done so.

Reagan notifies Congress that he will extend for another year most favored nation trade status to Rumania after he receives assurances from President Nicolae Ceausescu that the education tax imposed on would be emigrants will be dropped.

The Nicaraguan Ambassador to the U.S., Antonio Jarquin, tells four representatives of the ADL at a meeting in Washington that the Nicaraguan government will review the case of the confiscation of the Managua’s synagogue and also three cases of confiscation of the personal property of three Jews.

West German authorities and the Jewish community express outrage over a dice and board game being circulated by rightwing and neo-Nazi groups, the objective of which is to get pawns representing Jews into squares marked with the names of Nazzi death camps.

JULY — The 1,200 delegates attending the 50th anniversary convention of the New Democratic Party in Regina, Saskatchewan, reject a resolution calling on the Canadian government to recognize the PLO as the official representative of the Palestinian people.

An anti-Semitic book, "Palestina, Del Judio Errante Al Judio Errado" (Palestine: From the Wandering Jew to the Wronging Jew), described as a "hate-ridden, violence prone piece of literature," is removed from book stores in Mexico as a result of protests to the publisher by the ADL.

Iberia, the Spanish national airline, makes its inaugural flight from Madrid to Ben Gurion Airport in what will be a regular service between the two countries.

The Jewish community of Brazil is reported to have lodged a formal protest against a motion adopted by the Municipal Council of Sao Paulo which condemns "massacres and genocide" perpetrated by "Zionists in the Middle East."

AUGUST — El Salvador announces that its Embassy will return to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv where it was moved in 1980 after the Knesset adopted the Jerusalem Law. Israel announces that it will reopen its Embassy in El Salvador, closed several years ago for budgetary and security reasons.

Liberia announces it has decided to renew its diplomatic relations with Israel. Liberian President Samuel Doe makes an official visit to Israel, the first Black African leader to visit the Jewish State in more than a decade.

A powerful explosion damages Temple Israel synagogue in Johannesburg shortly before leading officials were scheduled to attend ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of Reform Judaism in South Africa.

The United States government apologizes to France because U.S. army intelligence officers prevented Klaus Barbie from being extradited to France 33 years ago by lying about his whereabouts and then helping him to flee from Germany to South America.

Allan Ryan, Jr., a special assistant in the criminal division of the Justice Department, releases a 216-page report and more than 600 pages of supporting documents confirming that U.S. intelligence agencies utilized the services of Klaus Barbie and concealed his whereabouts. (Continued Tomorrow)

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