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  • U.S. rabbi hosts interfaith effort to end ethnic fighting in Kosovo

    ROME, March 21 (JTA) — Meeting under the auspices of an interfaith group headed by an American rabbi, Islamic, Serbian Orthodox and Roman Catholic religious leaders from Kosovo have signed a declaration calling for dialogue and negotiation to bring peace to Yugoslavia’s strife-torn region. Last week’s meeting in Vienna, convened by the Appeal of Conscience…

  • Poland names envoy to Diaspora

    ROME, March 10 (JTA) — The Polish government has named a former theater critic and Polish consul in Montreal as its new roving ambassador to the Diaspora. Malgorzata Dzieduszycka will replace Krzystof Sliwinski, who was the first person to be appointed to the unprecedented Foreign Ministry post, created in 1995 in an attempt to improve…

  • HOLIDAY FEATURE Public seders, once nostalgic, propel Eastern European Jewry

    ROME, March 7 (JTA) — Amir Shaviv grew up in Israel as an only child in a small family and often celebrated Passover with a brief — and uncomfortable — evening he describes as “dinner-cum-Haggadah.” It was only when he began working for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and began traveling to needy, far-flung…

  • Italian film on Holocaust draws crowds, controversy

    ROME, Feb. 4 (JTA) — The current film hit by one of Italy’s favorite comic actors is a moving — and, at times, hilarious — fable about love, suffering and survival that is largely set in a Nazi death camp. Since opening a week before Christmas, “La Vita e’ Bella” (Life is Beautiful) has packed…

  • Anne Frank as a martyr doesn’t sit well with Jews

    ROME, June 9 (JTA) — Anne Frank as a martyr in the Catholic Church? Reports that an Italian Catholic Church official wants the Vatican to recognize Anne Frank as part of an “ecumenical commemoration of new martyrs” for the year 2000 have raised Jewish concerns that the church might attempt to appropriate the Dutch Jewish…

  • Court: Harsher sentences for convicted war criminals

    ROME, March 8 (JTA) — In a stunning revision of earlier verdicts, a military appeals court in Rome has sentenced two former Nazi SS officers to life for their part in Italy’s worst World War II massacre. Relatives of victims killed during the 1944 Ardeatine Caves massacre burst into applause Saturday as former SS Capt….

  • Convicted Nazi war criminal to meet with relative of victim

    ROME, Jan. 25 (JTA) — Convicted Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke says he will meet with a relative of one of his victims. Priebke, a former Nazi SS captain, was convicted last year of participating in the execution of 335 Italian men and boys, 75 of them Jews, in March 1944 at the Ardeatine Caves…

  • Adviser sounds out idea of papal trip to Israel, Iraq

    ROME, June 9 (JTA) — Pope John Paul II may soon be walking in the footsteps of Abraham. An aide to the pope is in Iraq to discuss the possibility of the pope’s visiting that country as part of a long anticipated papal tour of Middle East states to mark the start of the new…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Italy’s Jews split over twist in Priebke war crimes case

    ROME, March 9 (JTA) — The case involving former Nazi SS Capt. Erich Priebke has taken more than a few dramatic twists and turns since he was discovered in South America more than a decade ago. The latest act in the lengthy legal drama was played out over the weekend, when an appeals court in…

  • Suspect in 1944 massacre near Rome found in Austria

    ROME, Jan 26 (JTA) — A former Nazi who may have taken part in Italy’s worst wartime massacre has been discovered in Austria, according to an Italian newspaper report. The Rome daily La Repubblica reported Sunday that 83-year-old Wilheim Schubernig, who reportedly took part in the 1944 Ardeatine Caves massacre of 335 residents of Rome,…