Dozens of new crosses were being erected on Tuesday near the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, despite protests from Jewish groups and government efforts to stop the man behind the action.
    Kazimierz Switon, who last year called on Poland's Roman Catholics to erect the crosses, said by telephone that 50 new crosses were being put up Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the total number to 293.
    ``Hundreds of thousands of people died here and they do not even have graves,'' Switon said in explaining why he felt more crosses were needed.
    The crosses began going up last year to protest demands by Jewish groups for removal of a 26-foot-tall cross outside Auschwitz, which is visible from inside the camp. The Jewish groups argue the Christian symbol offends the memory of more than 1 million Jews who perished there from 1940-45.
    The cross was part of the altar during the 1979 mass celebrated by Polish-born Pope John Paul II in nearby Birkenau, a part of the Auschwitz camp. It was moved to its current spot to commemorate 152 Poles executed there by the Nazis.

10:40am 5/5/99 / AP


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