FRANKFURT (Jul. 21)
The city of Nuremberg’s decision to honor a major arms manufacturer for the Nazis has spurred demonstrations and clashes. At a ceremony last week at the Nuremberg Parliament, the city’s conservative government praised 90-year-old Karl Diehl for his business accomplishments and for his generous sponsorship of projects aimed at rebuilding the city.
Five members of the liberal Green Party walked out of the ceremony to protest naming Diehl an honorary citizen of Nuremberg.
Outside the Parliament, demonstrators clashed with supporters of Diehl.
Diehl’s firm employed slave laborers and concentration camp inmates to maintain arms production for the Nazis, the German left-wing newspaper Die Tageszeitung recently reported.
A center of Nazi activities, Nuremberg was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing raids during the war.
Members of the worker’s council at Diehl’s company, which currently employs about 4,000 people, praised him for his continuing commitment to secure jobs in a region with high unemployment.
The Green Party said it was inappropriate for the city, which has tried to establish itself as a center for peace and human rights, to honor an arms manufacturer for the Third Reich.
At the ceremony in his honor, Diehl made no comment about his company’s wartime practices.
But his company issued a brief statement saying that Nazi officials forced the company to employ slave labor and concentration camp inmates during the war, adding that the firm bore no responsibility for such practices.