Thursday, December 15, 2005

Proper Kevurah For Holocaust Victims

J Post:

Despite the pressure of German authorities, who wanted to test the skeletons of 34 recently discovered Holocaust victims, the bodies were laid to rest Thursday without any investigation.
German officials had hoped to determine the identities of the victims, how they died and perhaps find those who killed them.
According to German law, when Holocaust victims are discovered, the authorities have to take all necessary measures to track down the individuals involved in their deaths. Those measures include taking DNA samples and other scientific tests.
But Orthodox Jews argued that the burial should take place where the skeletons were discovered, without DNA tests, so as not to violate the victims' right to rest in peace.
"Because of this extraordinary legal, ethnic, and historic background, I think it is appropriate to move away from the opinion of the prosecution and take more into consideration all the relevant points of religious concern raised by Jewish organizations," said Ulrich Goll, justice minister for the province of Baden-Wurttemberg, where the skeletons were found.
Should there be a case made against someone in the future, however, he said it would be possible to identify the bodies at a later time...
The burial didn't take place until Thursday because of the dispute over whether to test the remains. The ceremony was attended by German officials, Baden-W rttemberg Rabbi Netanel Wurmser, Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and Ambassador to Germany Shimon Stein, as well as by representatives of the Central Consistory of Jews in Germany...
..Their skeletons were discovered in September during construction work on the airport.

In a related article...

J Post:

Austria took a first step Thursday toward starting compensation payments to Holocaust victims following the clearing of legal hurdles that have caused years of delay.
In 2001, Austria created the General Settlement Fund to compensate Holocaust victims who were robbed of businesses, property, bank accounts and insurance policies during the Nazi era, when they country was annexed to Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.
But payments were delayed because of pending legal action in the United States against Austria due to Vienna's insistence that "legal closure" must be achieved before the payment process can begin. That hurdle was cleared last month with the termination of the last such case, when a New York court threw out sections of a class action lawsuit targeting Austria.
On Thursday, the fund mailed letters to 100 of the 19,300 Holocaust survivors who have applied for compensation payments. The letters state the amount the victims will receive along with a waiver they must sign and return, said Hannah Lessing, general secretary of the fund...
Earlier this year, the government and Austrian companies pledged to pay US$210 million (€175 million) to endow the fund once all court cases against Austria relating to the Holocaust are resolved.
posted by Y.W. Editor
at 2:02 PM


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