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German Official’s Comments on Foreigners Sparks Outrage

July 14, 1998
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The leader of Germany’s Jewish community has accused a leading political official of employing a Nazi-like selection process to determine which foreigners should be eligible to remain in the country.

In an interview with the Hamburg-based news magazine Stern, Ignatz Bubis lashed out at a recent declaration by Joachim Herrmann, the vice secretary-general of the Christian Social Union, who said that immigration officers should have more courage to differentiate between "very welcomed guests" as opposed to "rather undesirable aliens."

The Christian Social Union is a close ally of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s ruling Christian Democrats Party. The treatment of foreigners living in Germany is a controversial issue in the runup to the Sept. 27 national elections, which according to most opinion polls, will lead to Kohl’s defeat.

Bubis told Stern that when Herrmann "points out that the authorities should make a distinction between foreigners whom he would welcome and those whom he would reject, this is a terrible selection, similar to the one we knew in the past."

Bubis recalled that top Nazi official Hermann Goering once said, "It’s up to me to decide who is a Jew."

"This Mr. Herrmann reminds me of that," Bubis added. "In effect he is saying: `I am the one who decides who is a good foreigner.’"

Hermann did not respond to the criticism.

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