Banker: Germany supports euro out of Holocaust guilt

The former central banker of Germany has claimed that the country has allowed itself to be held hostage to the rest of Europe out of guilt for the Holocaust.

Thilo Sarrazin stepped down from the Deutsche Bundesbanke in 2010 in the wake of controversy over a book he wrote, in which he referred to Jews having genes that "differentiate them from others" and other comments critical of immigration and minorities.

His new book "'Europe Doesn't Need the Euro", about the Eurozone crisis, looks set to be as polarising. His argument, as detailed in extracts published in the German media, is that Germany feels it has to bail out the rest of the continent because it can only "finally atone for the Holocaust and World War II, when we have put all our interests and money into European hands".

His claim is based on Angela Merkel's opposition to Euro-bonds, which has put the German leader at odds with much of the rest of Europe.

Jürgen Trittin, parliamentary leader of the German Green Party, labelled it "pitiful" to "invoke the Holocaust to secure the maximum possible attention for his theories on euro bonds".

"Either he is speaking and writing this appalling nonsense out of conviction," added Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, "or he is doing it with despicable calculation".

Last updated: 2:24pm, May 23 2012