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Shamir and Kohl Exchange Letters over Issue of German Reunification

Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel exchanged angry letters recently on the issue of German reunification, the Munich daily Seuddeutsche Zeitung disclosed this week.

A spokesman for Kohl, Eduard Ackermann, confirmed the report Wednesday but insisted that Bonn’s relations with Israel did not suffer as a result, and that the matter is now considered to be closed.

According to Ackermann, the correspondence was initiated by Kohl, who expressed surprise and indignation over Shamir’s remarks to Jewish audiences in the United States late last year that a reunited Germany could pose a mortal danger to Jews.

Shamir observed that the Germans once tried to annihilate the Jews and might try again if they emerge a large, powerful nation.

Kohl protested strongly against the equation of today’s Germany with Nazi Germany and stressed the democratic nature of the Federal Republic.

He agreed that remembrance of past crimes was a necessity that is taken for granted in West Germany.

At the same time, the chancellor wrote, Germans, like any other people, must not be denied their right to self- determination.

Shamir’s reply, which the newspaper described as sharp, defended his right as prime minister of Israel to “speak out our hesitations and our fears.”

Observers here believe Kohl was extremely irritated by Shamir’s attack on reunification, which the chancellor strongly advocates.

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