Court Papers Alleging Libel, Slander Served to Polish Cardinal
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A rabbi is suing Poland’s Roman Catholic Cardinal Jozef Glemp for libel, accusing him of anti-Semitism in the aftermath of a Jewish protest at a convent outside a Nazi death camp, an attorney said Wednesday.
Rabbi Avraham Weiss accuses Glemp for libel, slander and defamation of character, said Alan Dershowitz, Weiss’ attorney. Under New York law, the cardinal has 20 days to respond, he said.
″I hope he will hire an attorney and let’s resolve this in an American court,″ said Dershowitz. The lawsuit will be filed Thursday in New York City, he said.
Glemp, in Albany as part of a tour of more than a dozen U.S. cities, could not be reached for comment; a woman who answered calls at the Albany diocese said there was no way to contact him.
A summons notifying Glemp of the lawsuit was handed to the cardinal by a process server outside Albany’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Glemp allowed the papers to slip to the ground and one of his assistants picked them up as the cardinal went into the church for a ceremony attended by leaders of Albany’s Catholic and Jewish communities.
Weiss led a protest in July 1989 at a Catholic Carmelite convent built near the site of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in southern Poland where an estimated 1.3 million Jews were killed during World War II.
The Bronx rabbi said he and many other Jews object to the convent being near the camp, where most of the victims were Jews. The Vatican has instructed the nuns to move out by October 1992.
In a sermon after the protest, Glemp said Jews control the mass media and suggested the demonstrators had tried to destroy the convent and murder its nuns.
Jewish leaders demanded an apology.
″He said I had come with my students to murder the nuns and destroy the convent. ... That’s stereotypical, anti-Semitic and just outrageous,″ Weiss said.
″Cardinal Glemp knew it was a lie,″ said Dershowitz, speaking from his office in Boston. ″Clearly, he was fanning the flames of anti-Semitism.″
Dershowitz said the lawsuit, in addition to asking the cardinal to retract his statements, seeks a judgment of $50,000, which he said would be donated to charity.
″As a rabbi, when you serve papers on a cardinal you do so reluctantly,″ Weiss said. ″I’m not a vindictive person. I have no interest in anything but a real apology. Let him do the nobler thing: true Christian contrition.″