Jewish council accepts premier's retraction

19th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

19 April 2007, Frankfurt (dpa) - Germany's national Jewish organization accepted Thursday a retraction by a state premier, Guenther Oettinger, of his remarks in defence of a former Nazi party member. Oettinger spoke a week ago at the funeral of Hans Filbinger, a fellow Christian Democrat and one of his predecessors as chief of Baden-Wuerttemberg state. His claim that Filbinger mentally opposed the Nazis during the Second World War caused outrage. Filbinger joined the Nazi Party in 1937. As a military judge

19 April 2007

Frankfurt (dpa) - Germany's national Jewish organization accepted Thursday a retraction by a state premier, Guenther Oettinger, of his remarks in defence of a former Nazi party member.

Oettinger spoke a week ago at the funeral of Hans Filbinger, a fellow Christian Democrat and one of his predecessors as chief of Baden-Wuerttemberg state.

His claim that Filbinger mentally opposed the Nazis during the Second World War caused outrage. Filbinger joined the Nazi Party in 1937. As a military judge in 1945 he sentenced sailors to death for deserting.

After a stern rebuke from Chancellor Angela Merkel, Oettinger this week withdrew those assertions and met in Frankfurt Thursday with the Council of German Jews.

Council president Charlotte Knobloch said the council had accepted the retraction and Jewish groups were no longer demanding Oettinger's resignation.

Both had agreed that politicians must continue to condemn the Nazi past. Oettinger said his withdrawal was permanent and assured the council he would not be making similar claims a few years later.

However the premier rejected demands by the council to close down a think-tank that was founded by conservative Catholic politician Filbinger after his 1978 resignation.

The premier said the Weikersheim Centre of Studies was a private organization and there was no evidence it had neo-Nazi views, as has been alleged by Jewish critics.

None of Filbinger's policies as premier were Nazi, but his political career abruptly ended when he refused to apologize for the harshness of his 1945 court-martial verdicts. He said the sailors all escaped anyway.

The German national archives made Filbinger's Nazi membership file public on Tuesday.

DPA

Subject: German news

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