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Adenauer’s Pledge to Jews Draws Varied Comments in German Press

Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s declaration in Parliament pledging restitution to Jewish victims of Nazism and offering peace to Israel was widely featured in the German press and drew varied comments.

The right-wing Dusseldorf daily, Der Mittag, commented that “the Jews have not been too popular a subject of conversation in recent years. Everyone remained silent and ashamed when ‘flocks of sheep and children destroyed tombstones and ravaged cemeteries.”

The Cologne Social Democratic daily, Rheinishe Zeitung, said that the Adenauer statement had not come too soon and it would have been in the German interest in restoration of mutual confidence with other countries if the statement had been made when the government first took office. The paper charged the Adenauer government with protecting former Nazis in Foreign Ministry posts.

The newspaper Neue Presse, which is close to the Christian Democratic Union, raised the question of the right of the State of Israel to speak in the name of all the Jews. “It is true that Israel perhaps would like to claim this position,” the paper asserted, “but the state is the result of the Zionist movement which certainly gained considerable ground among Jews but never embraced them all. A great part of the German Jews refused and will always refuse to be represented by a foreign state in a dispute with their homeland.”

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