Auschwitz survivor: Get tough with neo-Nazis

27th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 January 2005, BERLIN - A survivor of Auschwitz and six other Nazi concentration camps, historian Arno Lustiger, urged Germany's parliament on Thursday to get tough with the country's resurgent neo- Nazi movement. Lustiger, in a keynote speech in the German parliament marking the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz's liberation, said that when he helped rebuild Germany's Jewish community 50 years ago "I would never have dreamed that 50 years later they would still need police protection." He said titutional ju

27 January 2005

BERLIN - A survivor of Auschwitz and six other Nazi concentration camps, historian Arno Lustiger, urged Germany's parliament on Thursday to get tough with the country's resurgent neo- Nazi movement.

Lustiger, in a keynote speech in the German parliament marking the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz's liberation, said that when he helped rebuild Germany's Jewish community 50 years ago "I would never have dreamed that 50 years later they would still need police protection."

He said titutional judges to take of their velvet gloves when they deal with enemies of our constitution and our democracy?" said Lustiger to applause from all benches.

Schroeder earlier this week said his government would consider a fresh bid to dissolve the NPD given that the court only overturned the previous ban on a technicality.

Wolfgang Thierse, the German parliamentary president, said it was "bitter" that extremists remained anchored in parts of society.

"The NPD deputies in Dresden have dropped their masks and everybody can finally see: neo-Nazis are again sitting in a German parliament. This is a disgrace," said Thierse.

Lustiger, who is 80, told parliament that despite the Holocaust Germany remained "the most important ally and partner for Israel."

"The existence of Israel within secure borders and support for the Jewish state is one of the constants in the policies of the Federal Republic of Germany," he said.

But Lustiger noted that German leftists, some of whom are closely allied with the Palestinians, had attempted to "shake" this consensus.

Lustiger also appeared to make a veiled criticism of German media reports coming from Israel.

"A big contribution to disinformation over Israel - with consequences for the Jews - is made by some media with their one- sided and exaggerated criticism of Israel," he said without elaborating other than to note that the 800 foreign correspondents in Israel were "constantly stepping on each other's toes."

He also criticised what he termed the "misuse of the Auschwitz metaphor."

Lustiger said he had objected to comments by German Nobel Prize winning writer Guenter Grass who opposed the 1990 German reunfication by citing Auschwitz as stemming from a "strong and united Germany."

He also indirectly criticized German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and others who justified Berlin's rves to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Of the 14,000 Jews who still lived in Germany during the height of the Holocaust in 1944, some 10,000 managed to go into hiding of whom 1,400 survived.

"Unfortunately the Germans who saved Jews did not have many advocates - also not in Jerusalem. Only 400 Germans from the total of 20,000 have been honoured as 'righteous' by Yad Vashem," he said. Yad Vashem in Jerusalem is the Jewish people's memorial to the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.

Lustiger, who has written numerous books about the Holocaust, survived four years at the Nazi concentration camps Sosnowitz, Annaberg, Otmuth, Auschwitz-Blechhammer, Gross-Rosen, Buchenwald and Langenstein. He also survived two death marches under the SS.

"Those who could not march were shot. Only half of us reached the concentration camp Gross-Rosen," he said.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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