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Cardinal Glemp Eases Stand on Auschwitz Convent

September 17, 1989|From United Press International

WARSAW — Cardinal Jozef Glemp, in remarks published Saturday, toned down his position on a disputed Carmelite convent at the Auschwitz death camp site and indicated it might be better for the nuns to move to another location.

The interview was published a day after Poland's official PAP news agency said that Glemp, the Roman Catholic primate of Poland, had met with Zygmunt Nissenbaum, a Jewish businessman from West Germany, and worked out a "satisfactory plan to solve the Auschwitz conflict."

The PAP report Friday indicated that Nissenbaum may have offered funds for construction of a new convent at another location.

Church officials, following a 1987 meeting with Jewish leaders in Geneva, had agreed to construct a new facility for the 14 nuns in a mutually acceptable location by February. The convent was never built--church leaders cited a lack of funds as the reason--and the controversy has become a sore point in Catholic-Jewish relations.

In an interview with the Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny released Saturday, Glemp reiterated that the nuns have the right to stay at the site but that, in the interests of Catholic-Jewish dialogue, the nuns should be relocated.

"From the legal point of view their location is perfectly right, and in those terms, no one can question that," Glemp said.

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