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Catholics, Jews Agree to Remove Carmelite Convent off Auschwitz

February 24, 1987
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jewish and Catholic leaders meeting here Sunday agreed that a Carmelite convent established on the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland will be removed within two years.

The agreement is expected to resolve the emotionally charged issue first raised by European Jews, who regard the site as a unique symbol of the Holocaust. The agreement provided for the establishment, away from the camp site, of an interreligious center where Catholics and Jews can pray and meditate, hold seminars and greet visitors. The nuns will move off the Auschwitz site to a new building.

Theo Klein, president of the Council of Major French Jewish Organizations (CRIF), presided at the meeting. Other Jewish participants were Tulia Zevi, president of the Italian Jewish community; Chief Rabbi Rene Sirat of France and Ady Steg, head of a committee opposed to the convent.

The Catholic Church was represented by Albert Cardinal Decourtray, Archbishop of Lyon; Jean-Marie Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris; Godfried Cardinal Danneels of Brussels; and Franciszek Cardinal Macharski, Archbishop of Cracow.

The same group meeting here last July issued a statement recognizing the special significance of Auschwitz-Birkenau to the Holocaust. The statement was seen as a first step toward the agreement concluded Sunday.

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