French Jewish Leaders Oppose "Amen" Film Poster

Publish Manifesto Against Mix of Cross and Swastika

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PARIS, FEB. 19, 2002 ( Ten Jewish leaders in France have signed a petition expressing opposition to the poster for the film «Amen,» which depicts an elongated Christian cross that turns into a Nazi swastika.

«Without making a statement on Costa Gavras´ film, which the majority of us have not yet seen, we understand the strong emotion felt by the Catholic world because of Olivieiro Toscani´s poster,» the text states.

The petition will be published Thursday in the weekly newspaper La Vie. Its signers include Henri Hajdenberg, former president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, and René-Samuel Sirat, former Grand Rabbi of France.

«We affirm without ambiguity our commitment to freedom of expression,» the statement states. «However, we consider as unhealthy this amalgam between the Nazi emblem and a religious symbol.»

Other signatories include Gerard Israel, historian of religious ideas; Emmanuel Weintraub, president of the French section of the World Jewish Congress; and Madeleine Cohen, vice president of Judeo-Christian Friendship.

A Catholic group presented a complaint in a Paris court against the film poster, to prohibit its display on streets. A hearing was scheduled for today.

The film repeats the accusations made against Pius XII in the play «The Vicar» and opens in French cinemas Feb. 27.

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