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Berlin Holocaust Poster Taken Down

August 10, 2001

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BERLIN (AP) _ A billboard that aimed to raise funds for Germany’s new Holocaust memorial using the heading ``The Holocaust never happened″ was taken down Friday after three weeks in which it attracted mounting criticism from Jewish leaders.

The 100-by-50-foot billboard overlooking the plot allocated for the memorial near Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate had to be cut down because of the high winds that prevented its removal Thursday.

Campaign organizers promised last week to remove the billboard, unveiled July 19, after some Jewish leaders and politicians expressed concern that the slogan would offend Holocaust survivors and could be seized on by right-wing extremists.

It is to be replaced by a poster with the text ``The future needs memory _ participate in the building of the monument to the murdered Jews of Europe,″ although it was unclear when the new billboard would go up.

A convicted neo-Nazi is under investigation for inciting racial hatred after German television showed him holding a banner stating ``Crimes by the Wehrmacht didn’t happen either″ beneath the billboard.

The campaign had the backing of the head of Berlin’s Jewish community, and organizers said they deliberately sought a provocative image to stimulate discussion and drum up individual contributions for the planned memorial.

The billboard _ as well as hundreds of posters, postcards and newspaper ads _ carried smaller text urging people to fight Holocaust denial by helping pay for a documentation center to lie beneath the planned memorial, 2,700 large concrete slabs spread over a plot the size of two football fields.

The government is paying for construction of the monument itself, which is to start later this summer.

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