Germany

Imprisoned by MI5 for writing a letter home to mum

By Leon Symons, September 10, 2009

Henry Wuga was just 15 when he was interned early in the Second World War for writing a letter to his parents in Germany.

Almost 70 years later, Mr Wuga confirmed his long-held suspicion that it was only a declaration of his innocence by MI5 that got him released from prison.

Mr Wuga, now 85, with two married daughters and four grandsons, told his story as part of the BBC’s The Week We Went to War series, shown this week to commemorate the outbreak of the Second World War.

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Germany, confront your antisemitism

By Benjamin Weinthal, August 27, 2009

The Federal Republic of Germany has named 10 members to its first-ever government commission to combat antisemitism.

The pressing question is whether the commission members will remain stuck in the past and devote their energies to fighting a largely obsolete form of Jew hatred: Nazi-style biological and racial antisemitism? Or will they address the gravest threats to Jews in Germany, which are Muslim antisemitism and that version dressed up as anti-Israel activity?

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Netanyahu to receive Auschwitz plans

By Jessica Elgot, August 26, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be presented with the original architectural plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, to keep at Yad Vashem, during his trip to Germany.

Mr Netanyahu will attend a special ceremony in Berlin where the German newspaper Bild will present the plans to him, along with Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev and the director of the Yad Vashem archives, Haim Gertner.

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Nazi killer gets life in jail — 65 years late

By Toby Axelrod, Berlin, August 13, 2009

A Munich court has sentenced a former German Wehrmacht lieutenant to spend the rest of his life in jail for ordering the killings of Italian villagers in June 1944. Josef Scheungraber, 90, was found guilty of ten of the 14 murders with which he had been charged.

He had been living for decades in a town outside Munich, where he served on the town council.

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Top German honour for Israeli lawyer provokes outrage

By John Rosenthal, August 6, 2009

Germany has just awarded one of its highest honours, the “Federal Merit Cross, First Class”, to Israeli lawyer Felicia Langer. A former member of the Israeli Communist Party, Langer is known in Germany, above all, as a ferocious critic of Israel.

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Call to lift German Mein Kampf ban

By Jessica Elgot, August 6, 2009

Germany’s main Jewish representative organisation has renewed its efforts to overturn the state’s ban on publishing Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Stephan Kramer, secretary-general of the Central Council for Jews in Germany has called for the publication of a scholarly edition of the book, with footnotes challenging Hitler’s assertions, claiming it would prevent black market printing of the book where neo-Nazi groups profit.

Mr Kramer also argued that continuing to ban the book would glamorise it, and that Germans were sophisticated enough to make up their own minds.

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Nazis fined over accounts

April 7, 2009

Germany’s main neo-Nazi party has been ordered to pay a fine of €2.5 million (£2.3 million) for accounting irregularities.

A lawyer for the National Democratic Party warned that the fine could lead to the collapse of the party.

It was imposed by the national government four months after the former NPD treasurer was jailed for stealing €741,000 (£677,000) from the party.

The NPD is a legal political party represented in two of Germany’s 16 state legislatures. NPD officials praised Iran’s President Ahmadinejad when he argued that Israel should be wiped off the map.

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Man battles claims body over Berlin flat

By Simon Rocker, April 7, 2009

The son of a German-Jewish doctor who lived in the UK is fighting the Claims Conference, the Holocaust restitution agency, over a property he says belongs to his family.

Heinrich Ruhemann, 80, from Darmstadt, Germany, says the apartment block in East Berlin was bought by his father, Ernst, in 1935.

But the German government has refused to recognise his claim and he has been ordered to transfer the building, worth around £900,000, to the conference under restitution laws.

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Mother accuses ‘hate cult’ over son’s death

By Toby Axelrod, April 2, 2009

The mother of a British student who died in Wiesbaden, Germany six years ago, is fighting to raise awareness of what she describes as the destructive, antisemitic cult she blames for his death.

Erica Duggan, whose son, Jeremiah, died after attending a meeting of the LaRouche Schiller Institute in Wiesbaden, returned to the scene of his death for a rally and conference focusing on the network of organisations associated with American extremist Lyndon LaRouche and his German wife, Helga Zepp.

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Court outlaws animal rights group’s Nazi ad

By Toby Axelrod and Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

Holocaust groups have welcomed a German supreme court ruling against a poster campaign which compared the slaughter of animals to the Shoah.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) “Holocaust on your Plate” adverts constituted an offence against human dignity, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe said last week.

Paul Spiegel, late president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, filed a lawsuit in 2004 after Peta attempted to launch the campaign in Germany.

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