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Top German General Sacked for Mentioning Historical Reality

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    Top General Sacked as Anti-Semitism Scandal Spreads Germany | 05.11.2003 Deutsche Welle http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,1022834,00.html Brigade General
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2005
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      Top General Sacked as Anti-Semitism Scandal Spreads
      Germany | 05.11.2003
      Deutsche Welle
      http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,1022834,00.html


      Brigade General Reinhard Günzel was sacked by Defense Minister Peter
      Struck on Tuesday
      German Defense Minister Peter Struck has fired the head of Germany's
      Special Forces after he voiced support for anti-Semitic comments made
      by conservative MP Martin Hohmann.


      The anti-Semitism row that has dominated the German press over the
      past week erupted again in dramatic style on Tuesday when a top
      general in the German army was fired for expressing support for the
      comments made by Martin Hohmann, the conservative backbench member of
      parliament at the center of the storm.

      Brigadier General Reinhard Günzel, the head of Germany's prestigious
      special forces unit, the 1,000-strong elite Kommando Spezialkräfte
      (KSK) which participates in foreign missions such as Afghanistan, was
      dismissed after writing a letter of support to the MP, praising
      Hohmann's speech in which he compared the actions of Jews in the
      Russian revolution with those of the Nazis.

      The revelations came to light after Hohmann appeared on Germany's
      public television station ZDF over the weekend, brandishing the letter
      from the 59-year-old General Günzel and backing away from an apology
      he made under pressure from opposition colleagues. "An apology would,
      I think, be a signal that the facts to which I referred are not
      correct," he said. "But the facts are correct."

      Letter of praise


      Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:
      Soldiers of the German Army's Special Forces KSK.In the letter sent to
      Hohmann by the Special Forces commander, who had recently returned
      with his troops after serving in Afghanistan, Günzel allegedly wrote,
      "An excellent speech... of a courage, truth and clarity that you
      rarely hear or read in our country."

      Complaining about a climate in Germany in which those expressing
      nationalistic views were immediately labeled rightwing extremists,
      Günzel added, "You can be sure that you speak for the majority of
      Germans... Don't let the accusations from the dominant left camp put
      you off."

      After consultations with various officials, German Defense Minister
      Peter Struck decided to relieve Günzel of his post, a move seen by
      many in the ruling red-green coalition government as a brave stand
      against anti-Semitism.

      Damaging to Germany and army


      Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:
      Peter Struck tells the press of his decision on Tuesday.Struck told
      reporters: "This is about a lone, confused general who agreed with an
      even more confused statement made by a conservative member of
      parliament." He added that Günzel's views were not those of the army.
      "His remarks damaged the Federal Republic of Germany as well as the
      German Army," Struck said.

      "I have decided to relieve him of his command and to dismiss him. With
      that, the case is closed for me."

      A spokesman for the defense ministry added, "The removal of a general
      is a very, very rare occurrence. I am not sure whether it has ever
      happened before."

      Pressure on Merkel


      Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:
      The left want Angela Merkel to take action.The defense minister's
      decision has added strength to the calls from the left for action to
      be taken by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) chief Angela Merkel
      to fire Hohmann for his comments. To date, the party has only gone as
      far as to distance itself from the offending MP and remove him from
      his position on a parliamentary committee responsible for dealing with
      reparation claims by Holocaust survivors. He has not been fully dismissed.

      The German press has also focused on this angle and is beginning to
      exert pressure on Merkel in scathing editorials. The daily Süddeutsche
      Zeitung said on Wednesday, "Everything that applies to Mr. Günzel
      applies equally to deputy Hohmann... He should be expelled from the
      party caucus. Unlike Struck, however, CDU chief Merkel has not yet
      summoned up the courage to do this." The Frankfurter Allgemeine
      Zeitung added that "the CDU must part company with Hohmann and his ilk."

      Deidre Berger, head of the American Jewish Committee office in Berlin
      told reporters, "We are certain that the CDU will take the necessary
      measures to deal with these issues," and called Struck's action
      "extremely encouraging."

      Jewish leader makes formal complaint


      Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:
      Paul Spiegel, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
      Legal action could also be taken against Hohmann following complaints
      made by Paul Spiegel (picture), president of the Central Council of
      Jews in Germany, and an unnamed private citizen.

      Proceeding with the complaint, prosecutors in the central German city
      of Fulda opened an investigation on Monday, accusing the MP of
      incitement, slander and disparaging the dead for his comments in the
      October 3rd speech. Anti-Semitic remarks constitute a crime under
      German law.

      In his speech made on the anniversary of German reunification, Hohmann
      argued that Germans still shoulder the burden of Nazi crimes, but
      other nations with bloody pasts continue to play the role of "innocent
      lambs," citing the French revolution and the prominent role of Jews in
      the 1917 communist revolution in Russia.


      Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:
      Martin Hohmann."With a certain justification, one could ask in view of
      the millions killed in the first phase of the revolution about the
      'guilt' of the Jews,'' Hohmann said. "It would follow the same logic
      with which the Germans are described as a race of perpetrators.''

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