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Polish Govt. Pledges to Remove Carmelite Convent from Auschwitz

April 21, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Polish government pledged unequivocally on Monday that the Carmelite convent will be soon removed from the grounds of Auschwitz proper.

Minster of Religious Affairs Wladislav Loranc, meeting with World Jewish Congress officials Kalman Sultanik, Israel Singer and Elan Steinberg, reaffirmed the Geneva pact of February 22, 1987, in which Catholic church leaders, meeting with Jewish delegations from many countries, agreed that the convent would be moved beyond the perimeters of the camp within two years.

It was also confirmed that there would be no permanent place of worship within Auschwitz.

The government’s statement came amidst a week-long commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

The minister disclosed that his government had offered the convent a choice of three specific cities outside the area. Church authorities were in the process of considering two of these locations, and would make a final choice within two to three months.

Meanwhile, two former presidents, Yitzhak Navon of Israel, and Henryk Jablonski of Poland, led a contingent of Jewish visitors and Polish citizens, who gathered at noon Tuesday at the Warsaw Ghetto monument to pay homage to the dead on the anniversary of the uprising that began April 19, 1943.

The base of the memorial was flanked by red and white Polish flags and the flag of Israel, while the eternal flames on each side glittered brightly. Many Polish officials were on hand to join with Jews who had come there from 30 countries.

The procession of the wreath bearers, to the solemn beat of drums, was colorful and moving Kaddish was intoned and Hatikvah was sung.

A rousing moment was the arrival of 12 marathon runners, who had departed from the gate of Auschwitz early Monday and had raced the 360 kilometers in relay to reach the memorial 30 hours later. All non-Jews, they were led by Czeslaw Fluder of Zakopane.

Some distance away, Police were blocking an attempt by young Arabs and Palestinians, acting under PLO orders, to demonstrate and interfere with the Jewish ceremonies.

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