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September 07, 2002

Holocaust Museum Burned in Germany
By THE NEW YORK TIMES


BERLIN, Sept. 6 — A firebomb badly damaged a Holocaust museum near the northeast German town of Wittstock, the Brandenburg State police said today.

Police officials posted a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the attack on Thursday on the Belower Forest Museum. Half the museum's exhibition space was destroyed, and swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were painted in pink on a nearby monument's walls.

The museum's spokesman, Horst Seserens, said: "We were quite lucky because the police were very fast and stopped the fire. A few minutes more and the whole building would have burned down."

The vandals also painted an anti-Semitic slogan, "Jews have short legs," a twist on the German saying that "lies have short legs." Mr. Seserens said the intended message was that "the Holocaust is a lie."

The Belower Forest memorial is dedicated to the victims of the Nazi death marches of the spring of 1945, when the Nazis emptied concentration camps that were about to be liberated by the advancing Soviet Army and forced some 45,000 inmates to march farther into Germany. Thousands died, just days before the camps were liberated by Soviet and American troops.