BONN (May. 13)
Interior Minister Gerald Tondler of Bavaria raised a heated controversy when he stated in Munich this week that the screening of the American television film “Holocaust” in West Germany last year was largely responsible for a dramatic rise in neo-Nazi activity. Tondler presented that view in his annual report to the constitutional body charged with controlling political extremism.
He attributed neo-Nazism to anti-Semitism, denial of Nazi war crimes and glorification of the Hitler era. The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in Bovario in 1979 was 279 compared to 127 in the previous year. One-third of the incidents occurred in Munich and Nuremberg, the Minister said However, he observed that despite the increase of violence and incitement, the influence of the extremist groups on the public remains small.
Joachim Schmolcke, a member of the Social Democratic Party opposition in the Bavarian State Parliament, said Tandler’s claim that the Holocaust film caused an increase in neo-Nazi activities was a “monstrosity.” Whoever tries to explain the phenomenon in such a manner is in fact trying to veil the real reasons, he charged.
“Holocaust” was screened on national television in January 1979 and according to polls had a dramatic influence on the estimated 25 million viewers. But while the film ended West Germans’ silence and indifference toward the Nazi persecution of Jews, later polls showed that the effects quickly were off.