Jewish leader Spiegel says anti-Semitism on rise

21st March 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 March 2005, HAMBURG - A leading Jewish official in Germany says he has seen a marked rise in anti-Semitism in the past five years, according to a report published in Der Spiegel.

21 March 2005

HAMBURG - A leading Jewish official in Germany says he has seen a marked rise in anti-Semitism in the past five years, according to a report published in Der Spiegel.

Paul Spiegel, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Der Spiegel news magazine, "The threshold for spreading anti-Semitic prejudice has changed significantly since 2000."

In an exclusive interview on the fifth anniversary of his becoming head of Germany's Jewish community, Spiegel said he entered office full of optimism five years ago.

"Now I have come to believe that you can do anything you want and you still achieve nothing," he told the magazine.

He said he has become particularly alarmed at the spread of anti- Semitic tendencies to "circles in which I would never have thought it possible".

"That applies to church officials who bring the Holocaust and abortion into an irresponsible and dangerous association," he told the magazine.

Spiegel also criticised efforts in some conservative states in Germany to limit immigration from the former Soviet Union - affecting large numbers of Jews.

"I cannot accept the idea that a new sort of 'selection' process is going on to allow into Germany only those people who need no social welfare, who are young enough for the labour market."

While saying that it would be unfair to compare that sort of selection with the selection process for the gas chambers at Auschwitz, he added, "It raises memories nonetheless."

DPA

Subject: German news

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