BERLIN (Jul. 8)
Dr. Erich Ollenhauer, leader of the German Social Democratic Party, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here today, criticized the failure of the West German Federal Government to establish diplomatic relations with Israel and expressed concern that it had “already missed the most favorable opportunity to do so.”
The German political leader declared it “untenable” that the Federal Government had modified its policies because of threats by other states which did not like the idea of German-Israel diplomatic relations–a reference to pressures put on Bonn by the Arab States.
On the question of anti-Semitism, the Social Democratic leader said that not everything that could had been done in Germany to end the remnants of Nazism and anti-Semitism. He felt that had these problems been solved before now, democracy might have stood on a “better and more steady foundation” in West Germany.
Herr Ollenhauer, while he admitted the existence of anti-Semitic instances in German life, felt that occasionally the world press bore down too heavily–for easily understood reasons, he said–in its reporting of isolated occurrences. At the same time, he insisted that all democrats must treat seriously the problem of guaranteeing unconditional equality to all human beings regardless of race, religion or color.
He held that the recent attacks on German restitution to Jews and reparations to Israel by Justice Minister Fritz Schaeffer were “deplorable” and might help spark a new increase in anti-Semitism in this country.