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Compromise reached over plans to build at Warsaw deportation site

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ROME, March 30 (JTA) — Authorities in Warsaw have successfully resolved a controversy over a planned housing complex on the site where 300,000 Jews were deported during the Holocaust. Warsaw’s mayor will turn over another plot of land for the proposed complex, leaving the area around Umschlagplatz free for the possible construction of a memorial, according to Stanislaw Krajewski, a Polish Jewish leader and the American Jewish Committee’s consultant on Poland. The controversy erupted when Polish Jewish groups denounced plans to build houses at Umschlagplatz At a news conference in Warsaw last Friday held by several Jewish organizations, Feliks Tych, the director of the Jewish Historical Institute, said the plans represented “moral vandalism.” A housing cooperative that has other apartments nearby attempted to build new housing on the site. The Warsaw official in charge of monuments had declared the area a historical site, a designation that prevents new building projects. But, following an appeal, the national monuments office reversed this ruling. The Jewish protest was sparked by the fact that one of the shacks on the site was torn down by the housing cooperative earlier this month in an apparent prelude to construction there. Representatives of the cooperative were quoted as calling the Jewish protests “anti-Polish.” A monument has stood at Umschlagplatz since the late 1980s, but the site has not been maintained. A bus depot and some shacks have long stood there.

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