The Polish government, responding to widespread protests by Jewish groups, asked Catholics on Tuesday to remove some 300 crosses they erected near the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz.
    Government spokesman Krzysztof Luft reiterated that the government wants all crosses removed from around Auschwitz except for one 26-foot-tall cross, which was used during a 1979 mass celebrated by the pope at the Nazi's former Birkenau camp near Auschwitz.
    If necessary, the government will remove the crosses itself under a law that took effect Tuesday, he said.
    The law restricts development and public gatherings in a 100 metre zone around the former camps. It also allows the government to terminate the lease, now held by the Association of War Veterans, on the land where the crosses were erected outside Auschwitz.
    ``The government appeals to all who in good faith put up the sacred Christian symbols ... and would like to take them back to their parishes, to do it as soon as possible,'' Luft said in a statement carried by the PAP news agency.
    AP 2:04pm 27/5/99


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