THESSALONIKI/BERLIN/FLORENCE (Own report) – When the German foreign minister appeared in the synagogue in Thessaloniki (Greece), he was met with strong protest from prominent members of the Jewish community. In his speech at the synagogue on December 4, (published by the German Foreign Ministry) Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) praised “our German hands to be used in the life of your community” – after Jewish life was eradicated under the Nazis. In his historical reflections, the German foreign minister alluded to the more than 50,000 Jewish Greeks, who, in 1943, had been forced to buy “Reichsbahn” tickets to Auschwitz, where they were murdered upon arrival. He did not utter a single word about the German receipts (89 million Euros) from those trips taking them to their death, or about Berlin’s refusal to pay its debts. Neither did Steinmeier mention the reimbursement of the several million Euros in racist “ransoms” as the Jewish community demands. Prominent Jewish Greeks were outraged because Berlin’s foreign policy is obviously undermining the legal claims of Nazi victims with moralist avowals and non-committal monetary hand-outs. Protests were also raised against Steinmeier’s being offered “honorary membership” in Thessaloniki’s synagogue. Steinmeier made similar appearances in relationship to Italian victims of Nazi mass crimes. Continue reading →
BERLIN (Own report) – Several citizens’ initiatives are unambiguously repudiating the semi-official German “commemorative culture.” Particularly the “Train of Commemoration” is raising serious accusations against the German government, on the occasion of the upcoming commemoration of the Nazi November Pogroms. According to the initiative’s voluminous publication, Berlin is crossing the line between revisionist theses and open denial of Nazi mass crimes. Aside from the token public events, the Federal Republic of Germany is expending a great amount of energy and mobilizing all official means in opposition to the survivors of Nazi terror, to avoid having to face the inherited debt left by its predecessor state (“Train of Commemoration, the Deutsche Bahn and the Struggle against Forgetting”). These accusations against Berlin are not new, however they are now accompanied with documentary evidence. The publication of this work comes at an embarrassing moment for Berlin, because demands are becoming louder in other European countries for a complete settlement of debts from Nazi crimes. In October, Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that lawsuits against the Federal Republic of Germany on the question of compensation are subject to review by courts.