Officials halt Auschwitz trip
German authorities on Friday barred a German far-right leader from traveling to Poland after he said we wanted to visit the notorious former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz. Authorities in Brandenburg, the state which surrounds Berlin, issued Horst Mahler with an order not to travel to neighboring Poland, for fear he planned to dispute that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, the state government said.
Pianist drops piano into lake
A French concert pianist ended his career on Friday by hiring a helicopter to drop a worn-out piano into a lake in the south of the country. Francois-Rene Duchable played Beethoven's Third piano concerto and Saint-Saens' Second to an audience of 2,000 before the instrument was consigned to the depths of the lake of la Colmiane near Nice in southeast France. He said he was retiring at the age of 51 to "change his life," far from tours with a perpetual eye on the time. The gesture, he said, was to show that everything was over, to get rid of the weight of a career.
Holocaust remark rebuked
Israel issued Romania with a stern rebuke on Friday after the Romanian president was quoted by an Israeli newspaper as saying the Holocaust was "not unique to the Jews." The Romanian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry and Israel's ambassador to Bucharest was ordered to submit a strong protest to "this miserable statement," ministry spokesman David Saranga said. This is the second time in two months that Romanian ambassador Valeria Mariana Stoica has been taken to task over her country's statements about the Holocaust. On June 13 the Romanian government denied that any Holocaust took place inside the country's borders.
Bottle message washes up
A message in a bottle apparently thrown into the sea 60 years ago by an Estonian refugee fleeing the Nazis has been discovered on a remote Swedish beach. Thorsten Schwarz said on Friday he found the bottle outside Oxeloesund, a town 90km southwest of the capital, Stockholm. Schwarz, a Swiss tourist, said the message was written in English and dated 1943, when the Nazis occupied Estonia, 320km east of Sweden, across the Baltic Sea. He said the message was signed by Maja Westerman, an Estonian refugee who wrote that she and her sister had arrived a year earlier on the small Swedish Baltic island of Gotska Sandoen, 110km southeast of Stockholm. "We are still dreaming about our home," the yellow letter said. "Is the war over yet? We are looking forward to peace and friendship. I would be very grateful if I could see my family again."