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An American Jewish - German Information & Opinion Newsletter

An American Jewish - German Information & Opinion Newsletter

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    Du Bow Digest american edition june 13, 2013 Du Bow Digest american edition june 13, 2013 Document Transcript

    • 1AN AMERICAN JEWISH – GERMAN INFORMATION OPINIONNEWSLETTERdubowdigest@optonline.netAMERICAN EDITIONJune 13, 2013Dear friends:As I sit here looking out across the beautiful and calm Hudson River my thoughts arewith the people in eastern Germany who are undergoing terrible floods. DW reports"Floods in Saxony have begun to subside, but only to show the extent of the damagedone by the swollen rivers. Costs are estimated to be in the billions of euros and manypeople have lost their livelihoods." Very sad!In spite of such a natural disaster, Germans are enjoying the eight weeks of having anabundance of their favorite gastronomic treat - a special variety of asparagus they call"Spargel". Read about by clicking here.http://www.dw.de/germany-celebrates-its-annual-edible-ivory/a-16874063The Neo-Nazi trial is underway with the person who supplied the murder weapontestifying. I wont report on it further in this newsletter as the trial will probably last quitea few weeks and there is no outcome as yet. Ill keep you advised of importantdevelopments as we go along.Last but not least, President Obama is going to be visiting Berlin next week and will bemaking a major speech at the Brandenburg Gate. Keep an eye out for TV and generalmedia coverage.Lets get on with the news...IN THIS EDITIONTHE CHANCELLOR: ANOTHER VIEW – Not everyone can love everyone – especiallyin an election year.A 5thSUBMARINE: MORE IMPORTANT THAN TALK – Especially when it comes to
    • 2Israel’s national security.THE SOCIAL DEMS: 150thBIRTHDAY – This venerable party celebrates but has atough election in front of it.MORE HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR AID – Still paying. Now at even at greater levels.BERLIN JEWISH COMMUNITY: FISTICUFFS – It’s gone from “Oy!” to “Oy Vey!”HEZBOLLAH & GERMANY & THE EU – Terrorism is terrorism. Germany gets on boardin calling out Hezbollah.THE KONRAD ADENAUER FOUNDATION & EGYPT – Egyptian justice takes anosedive victimizing an organization dedicated to encouraging democracy.HIDING NAZIS: THE AMERICAN ROLE – After World War II, when it came toprosecuting Nazis, the American government did not cover itself with a lot of glory.THE CHANCELLOR: ANOTHER VIEWIf you have been reading DuBow Digest over the years, you know that I (and a lot ofothers) think Angela Merkel is a master politicianwho has led Germany very effectively.In the last edition I said, ―It seemed to me that the Federal Republic was in a ―businessas usual‖ mode with people going about their lives in a normal manner. If this is the―European Socialism‖ that some of our politicians were (and still are) denouncing, all Ican say – it ain’t bad!What I didn’t say is that this peaceful somnambulistic state of affairs had much to dowith the leadership of Chancellor Merkel. It does! For sure Germany has problems butthere is not the kind of open political warfare we seem to be having in the U.S.However, even in Germany not everyone can love everyone.There are those have a different view of Ms. Merkel. Take, for instance, Dirk Kurbjuweitwho has written for Die Zeit and currently runs Der Spiegels Berlin Bureau. In a SpiegelOn-Line article entitled, “Mommy Merkel: How the Chancellor Paralyzed GermanPolitics‖ he opines, “During her eight years as chancellor, Angela Merkel has skillfullylulled Germans to sleep and used feel-good policies to switch their focus from politics topersonal comfort. By starving Germanys democracy of vibrancy, "Mommy Merkel" hascaused it to wither.Merkel avoids open confrontation whenever she can. She shies away from making clearstatements, polarization and big social ideas that could spark disagreement. Shesdrifting through the current election campaign, hoping it will benefit her party if voterturnout is low because hardly anyone can find reason to get particularly worked upabout how she leads Germany. Instead of making any demands, she doles out benefitsto retirees and families. Indeed, shes sapping the life out of Germany and sprinkling
    • 3powdered sugar on top.And shes getting away with it. In 2009, she reduced voter turnout to a historic low.Since she doesnt offend anyone, she enjoys outstanding approval ratings. Whilecombating the financial crisis, she has pursued policies that she declares to be "the onlyoption." And, believing her, the SPD amiably toes the line in the best interest of thecountry. Merkels main rival candidates from the SPD -- Frank-Walter Steinmeier in2009 and Peer Steinbrück in 2013 -- previously served as part of a grand coalition withher, the former as a foreign minister, the latter as finance minister. Ever since, theyhave seemed incapable of showing anything but complete respect and chivalry towardthe chancellor. In fact, there have been no serious attacks on Merkel because there areno politicians willing to make themselves unpopular by taking a popular chancellor totask.The general public, too, has remained calm -- just as Merkel likes it -- and no oneseems to be able to come up with much reason to protest against her. There is noparticular enthusiasm for Merkel, but rather paralyzed consentMerkels policies could even be described as expansionary. She would like for othercountries to adopt Germanys standards of stability and efficiency, allowing Europe as awhole to become more competitive. That way, Merkel figures, Germany as a majorpower in Europe would be able to preserve its influence in the world. Its been a longtime since a German politician dared to have so much national ambition. And thisattitude is well received by the general public. For many Germans, Merkel is thedefender of their homeland against the world.I would not want to accuse Mr.Kurbjuweit of being a malcontent. Perhaps one can makethe case that making things too good, slowly but surely, drowns democracy. Frankly, I’dlike to give German politics a try here in the U.S. We could use a period of rest. Perhapsthe case he is making has some validity. The German people will make up their mindsin September when their election takes place.In any case you should read the entire article which you can do by clicking here.http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/how-chancellor-angela-merkel-has-paralyzed-german-politics-a-900330.htmlA 5thSUBMARINE: MORE IMPORTANT THAN TALKTalk is cheap and sometimes we intensely study statements politicians make on Israeland Jewish matters to determine whether they are friends or not. When makingsweeping statements about anti-Semitism in Germany (certainly there is a good deal ofit) I would suggest that the “facts on the ground” be examined as well to determinewhere Germany stands in relation to Israel.Perhaps the most important “fact on the ground” in recent times is the providing ofworld-class submarines to Israel by the Federal Republic of Germany. The Jerusalem
    • 4Post recently reported, ―Israel and Germany unveiled the fifth Dolphin-class submarineconstructed for the Israel Navy at a ceremony at the German port of Kiel on Monday.The submarine – called the INS Rahav – is the most expensive defense platform everpurchased by Israel. The vessel is set to undertake several long-range classifiedmissions that are critical for Israel’s security.The submarine is viewed by the navy as an important ―force multiplier‖ that will enableIsrael to cope with threats in the increasingly unstable Middle East region.According to foreign reports, the navy’s Dolphins also provide Israel with nuclearsecond-strike capabilities, as they can travel far from Israel’s territorial waters and arereportedly able to carry long-range cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.Some defense analysts consider the submarines to be a crucial aspect of Israeli nucleardeterrence vis-à-vis Iran.Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the announcement, calling thesubmarines ―a strong, strategic tool for the IDF.‖―The State of Israel,‖ said the prime minister, ―is ready to act anytime, anywhere – onland, sea and air – in order to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens.‖Among their many capabilities, submarines can launch conventional missile attacks onnear and distant targets, fire torpedoes at various naval vessels and engage inintelligence-gathering.The latest Dolphin-class subs can remain submerged longer than their predecessors.The INS Rahav, together with the INS Tanin – the fourth Dolphin sub, delivered to Israelin 2012 – and the sixth sub, which is still being built, will cost a total of some 1.4 billionEuros ($1.8 billion). The German government is reportedly covering a third of the cost.All I can add is - action speaks louder than words.THE SOCIAL DEMS: 150thBIRTHDAYLast month Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) celebrated its 150thbirthday. At ameeting of its leaders, according to Jackson Janes of the American Institute forContemporary Studies, ―Germany’s oldest political party reflected on its roots as amovement that began with a commitment reflected in the name of the SPD’s firstformation in 1863: the Allgemeinen Deutschen Arbeiterverein (General GermanWorker’s Association).The figures who led the SPD over those many years were each a product, as well as ashaper, of their time in history. August Bebel, Rosa Luxemburg, Otto Wels, KurtSchumacher, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Gerhard Schroeder each defined andthen redefined the challenges and responses the party faced under their influence—all
    • 5of which became part of Germany’s long struggle for the political and economicbenchmarks which outline the Federal Republic’s democracy today. That commitmentwas demonstrated uniquely and historically by the courage of Otto Wels refusing, in thename of the SPD, to accept Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship in 1933, a decision which was tocost many Social Democrats their lives during the years of Nazi terror.This year’s elections will once again test the ability of the Social Democrats to persuadeGerman voters to give them another chance at the helm in Berlin. As of today, thosechances don’t look terribly promising, but the volatility of voters gives pause to thosewho believe that Chancellor Merkel has a lock on a third term.There are some who might question what the unique selling principle of the SPD can beone hundred and fifty years after its inception. Modern Germany has absorbed much ofthe mission of the Social Democratic platform of social and economic justice. Labor isfirmly integrated into political decision making, and the social market economy is an all-encompassing product of a wider consensus on the equation of social values. Somecritics of Chancellor Merkel even accuse her of turning her party into an ―SPD light‖ bymoving left of the traditional conservative agenda. On the other hand, critics of the SPDcomplain that Gerhard Schroeder gutted the accomplishments of his party by giving toomany of them away in his effort to modernize the social security system through hisAgenda 2010.Interestingly, while the Christian Democrats (CDU) have dominated the national scene,the SPD has been very successful in the states and locally. (Janes)The SPD currentlyruns governing coalitions in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony,Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hamburg,Bremen, Brandenburg, and Berlin. They are also part of coalitions in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Saarland, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia. Additionally, the SPD hasfound success at the city level, where they have elected mayors in several major cities,including Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Berlin, among others.The big question going forward revolves around a way for the SPD to deal with thepopularity of Chancellor Merkel. So far it hasn’t been able to (See the first articleabove). Because of their local (state) strength they do have somewhat of a veto powerin the upper house of the parliament, the Bundesrat, whichrepresents the federal states.So, Happy Birthday to the SPD! Let’s see if the celebratory birthday spirit can light a fireunder the voters to do better by the party in the September election than the polls nowshow them doing.MORE HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR AIDOne would have thought that by this time, 68 years after the end of World War II, thatGerman payments to Holocaust survivors would be scaling down. Surprise! – they’reincreasing!JTA recently reported, ―The German government agreed to significantly expand its
    • 6funding of home care for infirm Holocaust survivors and relax eligibility criteria forrestitution programs to include Jews who spent time in so-called open ghettos.The agreement, reached after negotiations in Israel with the Claims Conference, willresult in approximately $800 million in new funding for home care for Holocaustsurvivors from 2014 to 2017. This is in addition to $182 million for 2014 that already hasbeen committed.This unprecedented amount of funding means that we can give Nazi victims around theworld the aid that they desperately need as they grow more frail,‖[former U.S.ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, who leads negotiations with Germany for the ClaimsConference] said. ―That the agreement encompasses funding through 2017underscores the German government’s ongoing commitment to Holocaust survivors. Itis all the more impressive because it comes at a time of budget austerity in Germany.‖In last week’s negotiations, which took place in Israel, Germany also agreed to relaxeligibility criteria for the Central and Eastern European Fund and Article 2 Fund, throughwhich the German government gives pension payments of approximately $411 permonth to needy Nazi victims who spent significant time in a concentration camp, in aJewish ghetto in hiding or living under a false identity to avoid the Nazis.Until now, only those who were interned in closed-off ghettos were eligible for pensions.As of Jan. 1, 2014, pensions will be available also to those forced to live in any of 300specific open ghettos, such as those in Czernowitz, Romania, where Jews lived undercurfew, lost their jobs and were subject to persecution.Germany in negotiations to take place this fall also agreed to discuss possible specialaid for child survivors.The session that just concluded was the first time since restitution negotiations withGermany began in Luxembourg in 1951 that talks were held in Israel. For decades, thenegotiations were held only in the German capital. In recent years, sessions also wereheld in New York and Washington.Before they began negotiating last week, German representatives met with survivors inTel Aviv, Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, visiting private homes where survivors are receivinghome care, a senior day center and a soup kitchen. They also took a guided tour of theYad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem. The negotiations wereheld in a classroom at Yad Vashem‖There is not much more to say. There is a need and Germany has responded in a mostfavorable way.BERLIN JEWISH COMMUNITY: FISTICUFFSIn my April newsletter I wrote about the dysfunction in the Berlin Jewish community. Inoted at that time, ―Spiegel On-Line recently reported,―Amid accusations of waste,nepotism and smear campaigns, long-established members of Berlins Jewish
    • 7Community are in open conflict with relative newcomers from abroad. Severe financialdifficulties are at the core of their problems with one another.‖Things have not gotten better. In fact they’ve gotten worse. In late May The JerusalemPost reported, ―A meeting of the elected leadership of the conflict- ridden Berlin Jewishcommunity –Germany’s largest with 10,500 members – spilled over into physicalattacks on Thursday due to disputes over the 2013 budget.The session turned ―brutal,‖ said one observer at the community’s representativemeeting to The Jerusalem Post.The daily Berlin Der Tagesspiegel reported on Friday that ―some members werechoked‖ when community members, including supporters of the head of the community,Dr. Gideon Joffe, attacked opposition members during a break in the meeting.Criminal complaints were filed and the police appeared at the representative meeting.‖Tagesspiegel reported profanity- laced language at the altercation with one membersaying, ―F*** you, you a**hole.‖[Ed note: I’m not sure how to un-translate that)The representative meeting consisted of 21 officials and members and is responsible forthe budget of the Berlin Jewish community.The conflict had centered around finances for the second financial quarter of 2013 andgrowing tensions between Joffe’s group and opponents of his leadership.The Berlin Senate had recently pulled the plug on its payments to the community in thesecond quarter of 2013 to clarify financial questions it had with the group. As a result,the salaries of over 300 workers in the Jewish community could not be secured.At the Thursday meeting, Joffe said the Berlin Senate had imposed a 5.7m. Euro cap onthe community’s budget and that the sealing limit violated the contract between theBerlin state government and the community.However, Carola Melchert- Arlt, a former member of Joffe’s group, contradicted theleader.She had participated in the negotiations with the Berlin Senate and said the disputerevolved around the budget for 2013 and that Joffe did not provide a correct table oforganization.Joffe then called on the members at the meeting to vote to lend community property inexchange for credit to pay for budget deficits, including the salaries of workers rangingfrom day care to social services, but he declined to name the piece of property and thefinancial amount involved in the transaction. The situation escalated when Joffe’s grouppushed for a ―stop the debate‖ motion and his majority members eventually approvedthe use of the property to raise funds, Tagesspiegel wrote.
    • 8Tensions among members in opposition to Joffe’s leadership led to the start of acampaign to collect signatures calling for a new election.The main German Jewish newspaper, Jüdische Allgemeine, reported last week thatthree key opposition leaders – Micha Guttmann, Michael Joachim and TuviaSchlesinger – said the community’s relationship to the Berlin Senate is shattered andthe workers of the community face an ―uncertain immediate future.‖The opponents of Joffe – and their Initiative New Elections 2013 – have collected 1,500signatures for a new vote. It is unclear when the group plans to formally file for a newvote.If all this trouble occurred in some small Jewish community the matter would merit acouple of paragraphs in the newspapers but – this is Berlin with the largest Jewishpopulation in Germany. From what I can gather, a “recall’ election would probably fail asthe Joffe forces won the last elect by an overwhelming vote. However, if the BerlinSenate (an administrative body) is not satisfied with the state of the Communityfinances they could install a government manager to clear it all up.Jewish matters in Berlin (really, all of Germany) are very sensitive. I’m sure the Senateofficials would not at all like to be involved. However, it is now up to Joffe and theelected board to straighten it all out and get the story off the front pages.Stay tuned to see if it happens.HEZBOLLAH & GERMANY & THE EUIt wasn’t easy – but Benjamin Weinthal writing in The Jerusalem Post) reported, ―TheMerkel administration has long vehemently rejected Israel’s request to ban Hezbollahfrom the EU. Last week, German diplomats issued a statement reversing the country’slongstanding policy toward the Lebanese Shi’ite militia: ―In the light of discussions wehave had with our partners following the terrorist attack in Burgas [in Bulgaria], ForeignMinister Guido Westerwelle supports listing at least the military wing of Hezbollah as aterrorist organization in the EU.‖The statement continued, ―The German position is based on an increasingly clearerpicture of the facts and on the progress achieved by Cypriot authorities in analyzingterrorist activities. Minister Westerwelle hopes that the necessary consultations withinthe EU can be concluded rapidly.‖Hezbollah has used German territory to raise funds for the families of suicide bombersinvolved in killing Israelis. A 2009 report from the European Foundation for Democracy,titled Hizbullah’s Fund-raising Organization in Germany, revealed that the OrphansProject Lebanon (Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon e.V.), situated in Göttingen, LowerSaxony, is ―the German branch of a Hezbollah suborganization‖ that ―promotes suicidebombings‖ and aims to destroy Israel.
    • 9The Federal Republic still allows the Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon e.V. to operate buteliminated its tax subsidy several years ago.Germany has a large Hezbollah organization on its soil. According to a Germandomestic-intelligence agency, there are an estimated 950 members as of 2011. It isunclear if Germany’s interior ministry will evict Hezbollah members from Germany andshut down the Hezbollah-controlled Orphans Project Lebanon.The Post has learned that Hans-Peter Friedrich, Germany’s interior minister, favors arobust crackdown on Hezbollah, in contrast to the Foreign Ministry.Friedrich’s predecessor Wolfgang Schäuble banned reception of Hezbollah Al-ManarTV in hotels in 2008. The partial ban, however, did not apply to residences.Many organizations, especially the Jewish ones (AJC in Germany) have been workingon this matter for some time. However, according to Weinthal it was ―The meticulousdocumentation collected by Israeli officials [that] played a critical role in changingattitudes among German foreign ministry officials who were reluctant to includeHezbollah in the EU’s terror list.‖THE KONRAD ADENAUER FOUNDATION & EGYPTYou have read a couple of weeks ago in the general press that (DW)‖A court in Cairocourt has sentenced 43 non-profit workers, among them Egyptians and at least 15foreign employees of several non-governmental organisations to jail sentences. It hasalso ordered the permanent closure of branches of several NGOs, including theGerman Konrad Adenauer Foundation.The Arab Spring in Egypt did more than dissolve Hosni Mubaraks regime. Many otherpeople and institutions got drawn into the revolutions wake, including 44 internationalNGOs who were accused by Egyptian leaders of intruding in the countrys internalaffairs. Among them is the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS).In the final days of 2011, around eight months after Mubaraks regime fell, armed policeforces searched the KAS offices in Cairo. They confiscated documents and computersand proceeded to arrest the office director, Andreas Jacobs, who was then interrogatedfor hours. Jacobs and a second KAS employee were eventually released on 500,000euros ($654,000) bail and able to leave the country.The charges faced by the two were absurd, says Hans-Gert Pöttering, head of theKonrad Adenauer Foundation, which has close ties to Germanys conservative ChristianDemocratic Union (CDU). In an interview last week with German public broadcasterARD, he said the KAS has worked in Egypt "just as has been customary for the last 30years," and that there have never been complaints about its actions.Pöttering says his organization simply conducts seminars and conferences on topicslike "the social economy, developing democracy and the rule of law as well as gender
    • 10equality."The motives for the legal proceedings remain unclear. It seems probable that the KASmerely got caught in the wide net cast by Cairos prosecutors, whose complaints wereoriginally directed against NGOs associated with the United States. Prosecutors saidtheir work had destabilized Egypt during the Arab Spring.Critics accuse Egypts justice system of acting unpredictably and fabricating charges. Atthe center of these accusations stands Egypts Minister of Planning and InternationalCooperation, Faiza Abu Naga. She is suspected of having embezzled money frombenefit payments that came from abroad. In 2004, American foundations began sendingtheir aid money not by way of her ministry, instead sending the funds directly toEgyptian NGOs. Some suggest that the trials represent a personal act of revenge froma corrupt politician.Whatever the real reasons for the court ruling, to think that the KAS is some sort ofenemy of the Egyptian government or its citizens is absolutely absurd. Anyone who hashad any connection to the organization knows that its prime reason for having officesoverseas in developing countries is to foster the growth of democracy. To believe that itis a spy or undercover intelligence entity is total foolishness.To make things worse, the court has sentenced two of the KAS professionals to prisonterms. Luckily, both returned to Germany before they were arrested. You can readabout this by clicking here.http://www.dw.de/absurd-sentences-in-cairo-for-germans/a-16858963Obviously, the actions taken by the court have little do with the KAS but, rather, with thedisastrous political situation in Egypt itself. The battle between the Morsi governmentand the courts and the increasing pressures to destroy any democracy that mightdevelop in Egypt is being fought out in many arenas. The KAS, which is trying toimprove the situation of the people, is obviously “collateral damage”. In this case, theway it has been handled is very damaging to Egyptian democracy.(For the sake of transparency, if you did not already know, I have a more than 30 yearconnection to the KAS through the Exchange Program KAS has with AJC. My opinionsabove are grounded in a great deal of knowledge about the organization.).HIDING NAZIS: THE AMERICAN ROLEA German journalist, Malte Herwig, has written a book explaining why members ofHitlers Nazi Party were able to hide their membership long after the end of World WarII. For instance, in 2006 it revealed that Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass had been an SSmember.It took 61 years for that to become public knowledge!How come? Herwig found out and American officials do not come out with clean hands.According to a Haaretz story by Ofer Aderet, "Herwig, who was 34 at the time, wasastounded by the intolerable ease with which Grass - a public figure famous the world
    • 11over - managed to hide the dark secret of his past for so long. Wasting no time, hehurried to the Bundesarchiv ?(the German Federal Archives?), where Nazi-era files arekept, to look for names of other famous Germans hiding Nazi pasts. What he foundastounded him. On the list were left-wing activists, Communists, academics anddemocrats - not types one would have expected to see among Nazi Party members.The book’s name, ―Die Flakhelfer‖ (―The Antiaircraft Warfare Helpers‖?), was thenickname given to German youth who helped the German army in the last days of thewar by manning antiaircraft batteries.The book reveals that, for close to half a century, Germans in very senior governmentpositions intentionally obstructed access to the 11 million Nazi member files.It is now clear that the files were kept in a German archive in the American sector ofBerlin. ―For decades, the German government prevented the return of these files toGermany, even though the United States was ready to return them as early as 1967,‖Herwig revealed. ―The German government didn’t want them back because the filescontained too many secrets about the Nazi past of politicians at the highest levels -presidents, chancellors, ministers ... Germany knew that the Nazi Party files were aPandora’s box that would be opened the minute they came back to Germany. As longas they remained in American hands, the secrets were safe,‖ he added.How did the files end up in the American sector? After the war, in 1945, the U.S. armyseized the Nazi files and moved them to Berlin, the German capital, where theAmericans established the Berlin Document Center in a building that, during the war,had served as the Gestapo’s audio surveillance center. As soon as the war ended, theAmericans started using these files against the Nazi war criminals in the dock during theNuremberg trials.In his investigation, Herwig discovered how the Germans played the two sides offagainst each other: Officially, the German government publicly appeared to demand theAmericans return the files, because the Bundestag (Germany’s Federal Parliament)demanded it. But, behind the scenes, the Germans asked the United States to say thatan immediate return of the documents was impossible, thereby allowing them to blamethe Americans.―No wonder,‖ Herwig said. ―The German foreign ministry, headed by Hans-DietrichGenscher, was responsible for these negotiations. But, of course, Genscher’s namewas itself in these files as a member of the Nazi Party. No wonder he had no interest inthat becoming public. It was only after he resigned in 1992 that the files were finallyhanded over to Germany, in 1994.‖However, as Herwig explains, the American government was worried that too muchscrutiny of the files would annoy West Germany - the newly formed country andAmerica’s ally in the Cold War against the U.S.S.R. and the Eastern Bloc. TheAmericans, therefore, were in no rush to reveal the material, which could haveembarrassed their West German allies.
    • 12After [Herwig] received permission to look at classified American Cold War diplomaticdocuments, he also found documentation - a single paragraph - that explained to himhow the whole system worked. In a 1987 memo, Daniel Simon, the head of the BerlinDocument Center, wrote the following to his colleagues: ―I have no doubt that if we wereto offer them [the German government] the Berlin Document Center [with itsincriminating files], they would refuse the offer.‖ Similar sentiments were also expressedover the next several years.Only in 1994, five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, were the files finally returned tothe German archive in the city.While I don’t think we can feel happy that the American government involvement in thismatter, both the German and American actions, in order to at least be understood, mustbe seen in a historic perspective. During the period between 1945 and the collapse ofthe Soviet Union in 1990, it was the Soviet Union that was seen as the arch enemy ofthe U.S. Germany was already defeated and in order to get it back on its feet (so theU.S. thought) the whole Nazi thing had to be put on the back burner. West Germanybecame the first bulwark against the Soviets and its rebirth as a West orienteddemocracy became the primary goal of American policy in the region. Germany becamea client state of the U.S. and was not an independent player. So, if there is major blamein this sordid matter, I fear we should look to our own government but we should notforget the situation in Europe between 1945 and 1990 when the USSR collapsed.Maybe the U.S. government was right to do what they did. Maybe not!***************************************************************************************************See you again in July.DuBow Digest is written and published by Eugene DuBow who can be contacted byclicking here.Both the American and Germany editions are posted at www.dubowdigest.typepad.com