BONN (Sep. 30)
In a Rosh Hashanah message to the Jewish community, Chancellor Helmut Kohl sharply criticized the ongoing neo-Nazi attacks on foreigners seeking asylum in Germany. Referring to the persecution of the Jews in the Third Reich, Kohl said, “Historical comparisons are being made once again, and we must take them seriously.”
His message last Friday came as the leader of the Jewish community here criticized the mild sentences handed down on right-wing extremists convicted of attacking foreigners.
Ignaz Bubis, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said the new federal states of eastern Germany had acted ineffectively to curb neo-Nazi attacks on asylum-seekers and other foreigners.
To reinforce the lessons of the past, the council plans to lobby for the creation in Berlin of a central memorial to the Jewish victims of the Nazis, he told reporters in Berlin.
Meanwhile, in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, authorities have uncovered large quantities of arms in an investigation of neo-Nazi terror organizations, the German magazine Bild said.
A “death list” containing the names of 200 prominent individuals was also found in a search of dozens of houses, said the report.
Right-wing violence is likely to increase dramatically in the near future, the German internal security service BKA warned last week. Neo-Nazis have been recruiting new members at an accelerating pace, the chief of the agency said in an interview.
He said 59 percent of the violent attacks against foreigners occurred in eastern Germany.
In his message to the Jewish community, Kohl said that only “a very small number” of those seeking asylum in Germany are eligible for special protection under its law, and he urged joint European action to help victims of political persecution.
He also praised the Israeli government of Yitzhak Rabin for “improving the climate for negotiations” in the Middle East and offered Bonn’s help in multilateral peace negotiations.