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West German Government Accused of Discriminating Against Refugees

A prominent member of the opposition Green Party has accused the government of discriminating against Jews who come to West Germany as refugees from the Soviet Union and other East European countries.

Jutta Oesterle-Schwerin, a co-chairperson of the Green’s parliamentary faction, alleged that only Jews among refugees from the East are singled out to undergo “humiliating procedures” in order to “prove” their German origins.

She charged that this demonstrated a “double standard” and bias on the part of the West German authorities.

According to Oesterle-Schwerin, who was born in Jerusalem and holds an Israeli as well as a German passport, the Jews who apply for admission to West Germany have stronger “German origins” than many of the non-Jewish applicants.

The federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe, responding to an initiative by the Foreign Ministry in Bonn, opened an investigation last month into the cases of Jews who allegedly provided forged documents to prove the German origins of other Jews coming from the Eastern bloc.

Proof would make them eligible for a wide range of benefits, including housing subsidies, financial assistance and German language courses.

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