WORLD IN BRIEF
Tuesday, June 29, 2004; Page A20
Vatican Releases Letter Critical Of Stance Toward Jews in WWII
VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican, in its latest effort to rebut charges it did little to stop the Nazi persecution of Jews in World War II, on Monday released a 1943 letter from a bishop complaining that the church was helping too many Jews.
The letter was among documents from the Vatican Secret Archives concerning the work of a department called Inter Arma Caritas, set up by wartime pontiff Pius XII between 1939 and 1947 as a clearinghouse for those seeking information about prisoners of war and missing people.
The July 21, 1943, letter, from Archbishop Andrea Cassulo, the Vatican's envoy to Romania, said the "overwhelming portion" of paperwork going through the Vatican Embassy in Bucharest related to requests for information about the fate of "people of the Hebrew race."
The letter cited a complaint from the Roman Catholic bishop of Timisoara, who said the great majority of the faithful in his diocese were ethnic Germans who were "indignant."
He said his faithful were "publicly and openly accusing the church of having a good relationship with the Jews, enemies of the German people."
The letter was bound to add fodder to the long-running debate over whether the wartime Vatican had done all it could to help Jews and avert the Holocaust.
• KABUL, Afghanistan -- A U.S. helicopter gunship crash-landed and burst into flames in southeastern Afghanistan, slightly injuring its crew, according to a military statement, which said investigators had ruled out hostile fire as the cause.
• SEOUL -- North Korea praised the "positive progress" made in recent six-nation nuclear talks but dismissed as unrealistic a U.S. proposal to provide energy aid and security guarantees only if the North completely dismantles its nuclear programs. Four-day multilateral talks ended Saturday with no major breakthroughs.
• BEIJING -- A Chinese court sentenced a Japanese aid worker to eight months in jail for trying to help two Japanese-born North Koreans leave China. The worker was the latest foreigner convicted by China of trafficking North Koreans. Takayuki Noguchi, 32, of the Tokyo-based rights group Life Funds for North Korean Refugees, will be deported after serving his sentence, said a judge in Nanning, capital of Guangxi province. Noguchi was arrested in Guangxi, in southern China, last December while trying to help the asylum seekers escape to Cambodia.
• BRUSSELS -- European Union leaders are set to nominate Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso as the next European Commission president and Javier Solana of Spain as Europe's future foreign minister at a brief special summit Tuesday.
• NAPLES -- A standoff that had stranded tens of thousands of travelers ended when residents opposed to the reopening of a local rubbish dump lifted a four-day blockade of the main rail link to southern Italy.
• VENICE -- The Ducal Palace, one of Venice's most famous landmarks, was vandalized Sunday, causing a few small fragments to fall off a 15th-century column on the building's facade, city officials said. The palace overlooks St. Mark's Square, which served as the seat of Venice's rulers for centuries. The vandal severed the arms of the figures of Jesus Christ and Moses, along with a tablet bearing the Ten Commandments.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company