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Hungarian Jews mark 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany invasion

Several thousand Hungarian Jews marked the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Hungary on Wednesday with a memorial service outside the Grand Synagogue in Budapest. The service, organised by Mazsihisz, the country's largest Jewish organisation, was the first in a series of events marking the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of some 600,000 Hungarian Jews, most deported to Nazi death camps.

Holocaust haunts French railway's bid for US contracts

Seventy years after the Holocaust, Rosette Goldstein and many fellow Americans are still seeking reparations from French rail firm SNCF for transporting their loved ones to Nazi death camps. Goldstein, now 75, was in Maryland on Monday to testify before state lawmakers, who have threatened to prevent SNCF bidding for a major public contract over its role in the World War II genocide. Clutching a register of those transported by France's state-owned rail company, a still emotional Goldstein showed where her father's name was entered.

Jailed Golden Dawn MP to run for governor

A Golden Dawn lawmaker is standing for governor in Greece's May local elections despite the fact that he is in pre-trial detention on charges of belonging to a criminal organisation, local media reported Sunday. Panayiotis Iliopoulos is one of six lawmakers of the Golden Dawn party to have been jailed as part of a crackdown on the far-right party. He accepted his candidature on Saturday by phone from the high-security prison in Athens where he has been detained since January, Athens News Agency reported.

US, France in talks over Holocaust compensation

France and the US are in talks over compensation to American Holocaust victims that were transported to their deaths by France's state-owned rail company, a lawyer involved in the negotiations said Friday. The sensitive, decades-long issue of SNCF's role in the deportation of Jews to concentration camps -- it recognizes it was a "cog in the Nazi extermination machine" -- is threatening a reported $2.2-billion contract between the state rail company and the US state of Maryland.

Anne Frank's Diary vandalised in Tokyo libraries

Scores of copies of Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" kept in public libraries across Tokyo have been vandalised, officials said Friday, sparking alarm amid a rightward shift in Japan's politics. Pages in at least 250 copies of the diary, or publications containing biographies on Anne Frank, Nazi persecution of Jews and related materials have been torn, the council of public libraries in the capital said. More than a dozen books have also been damaged at libraries in two other nearby areas, media reported.

World Jewish body urges Hungary to reconsider WW2 memorial

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - The World Jewish Congress (WJC) urged Hungary on Friday to reconsider plans to erect a monument commemorating the German occupation in 1944 and to seek greater dialogue with the country's Jewish community. Hungarian Jewish groups say the monument is part of an official drive to obscure the role played by Hungarians in the deportation and murder of the country's Jews during World War Two.

Pro-Kremlin lawmaker sparks furore with 'anti-semitic' rant

A pro-Kremlin lawmaker drew stinging criticism Thursday for an allegedly anti-semitic diatribe in which he attacked his opponents as "Jews" responsible for the 1917 Communist revolution and for demolishing the Soviet Union. Oleg Bolychev, a legislator from the ruling United Russia party at the regional parliament in Kaliningrad, branded opponents "Jews, mired in opposition" during a debate. "At the start of the 1990s foreign spies were infiltrated into our government who oversaw the destruction of our state," Bolychev said.

Films shine new light on darkness of Holocaust

Filmmakers using long-lost or forgotten material are shining new light on the Holocaust, from the Nazi death camps to the private life of a chief architect of the "Final Solution". In a year that marks the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, three new documentaries at the Berlin film festival this week help illuminate the darkest chapter of German history. One of them, with the sober title "German Concentration Camps Factual Survey", takes an unflinching look at the atrocities committed at camps such as Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald and Auschwitz.

Hungarian Jews threaten boycott of official Holocaust events

By Sandor Peto BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary's main Jewish group voted on Sunday to boycott official Holocaust commemorations this year unless they more clearly show the role of local citizens in the Nazi deportation and killing of Hungarian Jews. The Hungarian Jewish Congregations' Association (Mazsihisz) decided to stay away from events marking the 70th anniversary of June 1944, when 437,000 Jews were sent to Nazi death camps within weeks, and set conditions for a change of position.

Spielberg urges world to "confront" history on Holocaust Memorial Day

Hollywood film director Steven Spielberg spoke at the United Nations on Monday about the importance of remembering the horrors of the past such as the Holocaust to prevent large-scale atrocities from taking root. At the annual International Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony, the Oscar award winner praised survivors of Nazi German concentration camps for their "undamaged optimism" and their ability to transform "rage and grief into a wellspring of wisdom, progress and justice."
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