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  • 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…

  • Jewish heritage sites in Europe focal point of growing attention

    PARIS, Feb. 10 (JTA) — In the Alsace region of eastern France, local tourist authorities cooperate with B’nai B’rith to sponsor Jewish culture festivals and help organize tourist trips to Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, ancient mikvahs and museums. In Britain, a full-scale survey of Jewish heritage sites is being carried out with funding from the national…

  • Czech Jews outraged by book calling for transfer of Judaica

    PARIS, Feb. 8 (JTA) — Czech Jewish leaders are outraged by a book endorsed by Jewish organizations that calls for Nazi-looted Judaica currently housed in the Prague Jewish Museum to be moved to Israel. The book, “The Last Chapter of the Holocaust?” by Itamar Levin, also slanders the museum and insults the reputation of Czech…

  • Poland celebrates dialogue during annual ‘Day of Judaism

    ROME, Jan 19 (JTA) — Poland has marked its second annual “Day of Judaism.” As part of the event, designed to foster interfaith dialogue and education, a number of Polish churches included the day’s theme in their services, and 1 million postcards bearing a photograph of Pope John Paul II together with Rome’s Chief Rabbi…

  • Priest in Poland under fire for selling anti-Semitic books

    NEW YORK, Jan. 12 (JTA) — A Polish priest who has been suspended in the past for repeated anti-Semitic statements is in hot water once again. Father Henryk Jankowski was criticized by several bishops for selling anti-Semitic publications at his parish church. Jankowski reportedly moved the bookstand from the church to his residence next door…