PARIS (Apr. 11)
Polish President Lech Walesa has pledged to do his best to hurry the departure of nuns from the convent at Auschwitz, the death camp in southern Poland.
Walesa made his remarks to French Jewish leaders with whom he met while on an official state visit here.
A new cloistered convent, a research facility and a meditation and conference center are under construction a short distance away from Auschwitz. They will be dedicated in May or June, when the first building is completed.
The entire facility will be finished sometime next year, according to Polish church officials.
It is not known precisely when the convent building will be completed. The nuns are expected to leave their present quarters for the new convent soon after that.
In Walesa’s meeting with French Jews, Jean Kahn, president of CRIF, the umbrella body of secular Jewish organizations in France, expressed concern about cases of anti-Semitism and of historical revisionism in Poland.
Kahn asked Walesa to push for legislation to prevent further occurrences, and to ensure that the history of the Jews is taught from elementary school “in order to fight against ignorance and prejudice.”
Kahn’s request follows an initiative made this week by French trade unions and humanitarian organizations to teach the younger generation about the Holocaust.
On a Jewish radio program here, Walesa said he is determined to “fight always and everywhere against anti-Semitism, which is a shame for modern humanity.
“Anti-Semitism is just out of fashion,” he said.