BONN (Jun. 18)
Heinz Galinski, chairman of the Jewish community in West Berlin, is engaged in an angry public controversy with Friedrich Zimmermann, Interior Minister of the Bonn government, over the annual reunion meetings of veterans of Nazi SS divisions which are allowed in the Federal Republic although Nazi activities are banned by law.
The reunions, held in remote resort villages, attract worldwide attention to the detriment of West Germany’s image and are often the scene of protest demonstrations by anti-Nazi groups. Galinsky recently wrote to Zimmermann asking for legal action to ban the SS meetings.
The Interior Minister rejected the idea out of hand. He contended, in reply to Galinski that the SS veterans behave properly and in no way pose a danger to the democratic system. The Berlin Jewish leader has now published an open letter to Zimmermann charging that his attitude encourages old-time Nazis and neo-Nazis as well.
Galinski also expressed concern about West Germany’s credibility as a democratic state committed to combat Nazi ideas. He noted however that Richard Von Weizsaecker, President of the Federal Republic, has strongly and publicly criticized the indifference of Germans toward the Nazi persecution of Jews.