A retired priest consecrated a wooden hut as a chapel near Auschwitz on Sunday to protest against government plans to remove hundreds of crosses from outside the former Nazi death camp. The wooden structure, which construction officials said was illegal and Roman Catholic officials refused to approve, was put up by conservative Catholic Kazimierz Switon.
    Switon has led the campaign by Catholics who began planting crosses outside Auschwitz a year ago in protest against Jewish groups' demands for the removal of a 26-foot-tall cross outside Auschwitz. The cross was used by the pope during a 1979 Mass at the nearby Birkenau extermination camp and was then moved to Auschwitz.
    Jews say it is visible from inside the former camp and violates the memory of more than one million Jews from Poland and other European countries who died there. Government officials earlier this month said the small crosses could be gone within a month, although the larger cross will remain.

11:06am 18/5/99 / AP


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