New York activist Rabbi Avi Weiss has asked a national rabbinic court to resolve a dispute with the American Jewish Committee over construction of a $4 million memorial project at the Belzec death camp in southeastern Poland, where a half million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in 1942.
This comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by Rabbi Weiss last week against AJCommittee in New York Supreme Court to block the project, which is cosponsored by the Polish government.
How best to honor the memory of half a million Jews buried in the horrific and long-neglected Belzec death camp in southeastern Poland?
That's the heart of a running dispute pitting several rabbis and Jewish organizations that support the approved design plan against New York activist Rabbi Avi Weiss, who insists the plan desecrates the victims and violates Jewish law.
The dispute echoes the debate in New York City over the memorial for the Sept. 11 World Trade Center victims.
Oswiecim, Poland: Under sunny skies tinged with a hint of autumn, dozens of Jewish men and women from Long Island gathered in a courtyard near the site of Judaism's greatest tragedy to fulfill the tradition's last commandment.
It was from this same small courtyard 57 years ago that Jews from this Polish town, which the Germans called Auschwitz, were forcibly massed and deported to nearby concentration camps, to be used as slave laborers or sent to their deaths.
U.S. Jewish organizations have joined Polish government and Jewish community leaders in denouncing the volatile language in a property lawsuit that accuses Poland of a pattern of ethnic cleansing of Jews after World War II. One Polish newspaper editor attacked the lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court as "a priceless gift for anti-Semites in Poland." The round of criticism comes as Polish legislators began summer vacation after drafting landmark legislation to return private property seized from Polish citizens by the Nazis or the Communists more than 55 years ago.
Poland should pay $40 million in monthly “rent” to Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors for property they once owned that is now managed by the Polish government.
So says a new initiative put forth by a coalition of Holocaust survivor groups who fear Poland’s continued delay in passing a private property restitution law will mean that sick and elderly survivors with property claims may wind up with nothing.
More than 1,000 abandoned or neglected Jewish cemeteries in Poland would be protected from development under a proposal being considered by the Polish government, The Jewish Week has learned.
The plan calls for the creation of an international Jewish committee headed by Israel’s two chief rabbis that would identify and fence off forgotten Polish Jewish cemeteries. It would ensure that the land is not rezoned by local officials for commercial or any other purpose.
U.S. officials are condemning as “discriminatory” a draft bill by Poland’s parliament that would block Holocaust survivors from reclaiming billions of dollars in private property confiscated by the Nazis and Communists 50 years ago.
The proposed legislation by Poland’s Sejm, or lower house of parliament, would restrict property claims to Polish citizens who have lived in the country for the last five years — effectively barring claims from Jewish and non-Jewish Polish survivors, or their heirs, now living in America or elsewhere.
A local Polish Jewish organization and an international Jewish group will share jurisdiction over the control of perhaps billions of dollars of Jewish communal properties being returned by the Polish government, according to a tentative deal reached between the two parties.
The proposed agreement over some 6,000 properties seized by the Nazis and communists comes after three years of acrimonious negotiations between the World Jewish Restitution Organization and the Union of Polish Jewish Congregations.
Polish lawmakers this week began wrestling with a long-delayed World War II property restitution plan, only weeks after 11 Jews filed an unprecedented federal lawsuit in Brooklyn against the Republic of Poland seeking the return of property seized from their families during the Holocaust.
Polish and American Jewish leaders say last week’s “Mr. Pope” incident between Poland’s chief rabbi and Pope John Paul II has damaged Jewish-Catholic relations in Poland, and could undermine negotiations involving the controversial Auschwitz cross.
And adding to the Auschwitz cross controversy is Riverdale Rabbi Avi Weiss, who on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington for violating his First Amendment rights by barring him from speaking at this week’s biannual board meeting.