Israel and Czech Diplomats Raise Glasses in Toast

An exhibition titled “Marvels of the Ghetto,” which opened in the northern Italian town of Ferrara Monday, became the background for an unexpected show of cordiality and good will between Israel and Czechoslovakia.

The opening of the exhibit, devoted to Jewish culture and art, including a segment from Czechoslovakia, was attended by the deputy prime minister of Czechoslovakia, Matei Lucan. He and Israel’s ambassador to Italy, Mordechai Drory, joined in a toast, in Hebrew.

Czechoslovakia severed diplomatic ties with Israel following the 1967 Six-Day War and they have not been restored.

Later, the Czech ambassador to Italy, Norbert Zudek, was quoted in the newspaper La Republica as saying the will exists in his country to improve relations with Israel.

The exhibit, which was formally opened by President Francesco Cossiga of Italy, is devoted to Jewish art and culture from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

One section features Jewish treasures from Prague, which were rescued from the Nazis. These include 200 objects from synagogues and museums in Czechoslovakia, textiles, engravings, furnishings, silver and paintings.

Much of it was earmarked by Hitler for “a museum of an extinct race,” to be established after the Jews were exterminated.

The exhibit will be open in Ferrara until Jan. 15, after which it will tour Europe.

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