PARIS (Jan. 28)
The 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp was marked by the French Jewish community yesterday and by Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, the Archbishop of Paris, who recited mass and a prayer for the Holocaust victims in his private chapel and later visited the Memorial to the Unknown Jewish Martyr.
The Cardinal, whose parents were Polish Jews, appeared deeply moved as he descended into the memorial crypt where the names of the various death camps are inscribed. He stood with bowed head in what seemed deep meditation before the black draped tomb.
Lustiger, who converted to Catholicism in his youth, fold officials at the Memorial that he wanted to pay his personal respects to the Auschwitz victims. Shortly after his elevation to head the Catholic hierarchy in France, he noted in a newspaper interview that he had lost many family members in the Holocaust and that he still had “strong sentimental ties” with Judaism.
The Jewish community here marked the anniversary at a public meeting attended by representatives of the Polish, British and Soviet embassies. A senior Soviet diplomat said later, “The world should not be allowed to forget that it was the Red Army which liberated Auschwitz. ” But he refused to answer questions about the present situation of Jews in the Soviet Union. When pressed, he left the meeting hall.