Neo-nazi network behind German synagogue attack


This 10 October 2019 video says about itself:

Residents of the east German city of Halle lit candles and laid flowers at the market square as they held a vigil on Thursday to commemorate the victims of a shooting that took place near a synagogue and kebab shop the day before.

By Ulrich Rippert in Germany:

Right-wing extremist network behind fascist synagogue attack in Germany

12 October 2019

The day after the right-wing terrorist attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany this week was dominated by hypocritical statements of shock and sympathy from government circles.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democrats, CDU) told the IG Metall trade union congress in Nürnberg that she was “shocked” and “affected” by the attack. Merkel added that she is mourning with the families and friends of those murdered. In confronting hate and anti-Semitism, the state must make full use of all its resourcesm the Chancellor stated. “There is no tolerance for it.”

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Social Democrats, SPD), declared it a “day of shame and disgrace” as he laid a wreath at the site of the attack that killed two people. Anyone displaying even a slight degree of acceptance of right-wing extremism bears a share of the guilt with the perpetrator, he said.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, of all people,

because of his anti-refugee policies

even repeated the words of a party colleague, describing some Alternative for Germany (AfD) officials as “ideological inciters” of the terrorist attack.

Similar statements were mouthed in June after Kassel District President Walter Lübcke (CDU) was murdered in cold blood by a fascist gunman. At the time, decisive action against the far-right was also announced, but what followed was the exact opposite. While the wide-ranging network of right-wing extremist terrorists in the police, army and intelligence agencies was left untouched, it was those who oppose them who were targeted for persecution.

The reality is that the “ideological inciters” of the right-wing terrorist attack hold top positions within the state and security apparatus, the intelligence agencies, the military and the federal government. They have not only embraced the AfD’s slogan of “foreigners out!” on refugee policy; Seehofer himself dismissed the rampage of fascist thugs targeting foreigners and Jewish institutions in Chemnitz in the summer of 2018, declaring that if he were not a government minister, he would have joined the right-wing demonstrations.

According to initial investigations, the fascist gunman in the Halle attack had close ties to a right-wing extremist network with intimate connections to the state apparatus. The initial claim that the attack was the work of a single gunman has been contradicted by a growing number of facts.

It is now clear that Stephane Balliet, a 27-year-old German citizen from Saxony-Anhalt, opened fire on the synagogue Wednesday, where over 50 people had gathered to celebrate Yom Kippur, intending to carry out a bloodbath.

He repeatedly sought to use explosives to secure entry to the building, and apparently planned to murder as many participants as possible. After failing to break through the door, he shot a passer-by and another man in a nearby kebab shop. Shortly afterwards, he injured two further people as he fled from the police. He was then arrested and handed over to the federal prosecutor’s office on Thursday.

Balliet wore military fatigues and was in possession of several high-powered firearms. Four kilograms of explosives were found in his car. He communicated with his supporters through a camera on his helmet. He livestreamed footage of the attack on the synagogue and kebab shop, and his killing of the passer-by, on the video platform Twitch.

A die-hard anti-Semite and neo-Nazi, Balliet began his video with a denial of the Holocaust, and continued, “The origin of all problems is the Jews.” Balliet referred to himself as part of an online SS group, declaring, “Nobody expects the internet SS.”

During the attack, Balliet played the music of right-wing extremist Alec Minassian, who carried out an attack in Toronto, Canada in April 2018 by driving his vehicle into pedestrians. He killed 10 people and injured an additional 16. Prior to the attack, Minassian served for two months in the Canadian Armed Forces, and completed his recruitment training a few months prior to the attack. His ideological mentor, in turn, was the mass murderer Elliot Rodger, who shot and killed six people in California in 2014 and injured 14 more.

Balliet published a number of documents online prior to his attack. He described an 11-page document as his “manifesto.” In it, he describes his weapons, including how he constructed them from building materials, and where he obtained the explosives. He also formulated goals, which he described as “achievements”. Among his potential achievements were using multiple weapons to kill several Jews, burning down a synagogue and a mosque, killing a communist, and beheading people with a sword or killing them with a nail bomb.

Although the gunman was visibly expounding his fascist views on right-wing extremist forums, and these forums are populated by covert state intelligence agents, investigators have claimed that Balliet was not known to the authorities.

The same arguments were employed following the terrorist attack on the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin. In December 2017, an attacker drove a lorry into the market, killing 12 people and injuring another 55. At the time, the authorities declared that Anis Amri had not been considered an “acute threat”. It later emerged that several intelligence agency offices were aware of his plans for an attack, and that Amri was even driven to Berlin by an informant.

A similar picture emerged with regard to the murder of Lübcke earlier this year. Initially, it was claimed that the right-wing terrorist Stephan Ernst acted independently and alone. It later became clear that he is part of a wide-ranging right-wing extremist terrorist network that also includes a number of intelligence agents.

Further troubling questions have also been raised by the synagogue attack in Halle, including why there was no on-site police protection at the time of the attack and why the police were so slow to act in response to the shooter. The chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, declared this to be “grave negligence”. The head of the Jewish community in Halle, Max Privorozki, accused the police of responding too slowly. “They arrived too late”. he said in a video. The police took at least 10 minutes to arrive after they were called and informed that an armed attack on the synagogue was in progress.

The claim by the police that there was no need for special protection for the Yom Kippur celebration because there were no warnings of possible disturbances is not credible. Just a day prior to the attack, police raids were launched against right-wing extremists in Bavaria, Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and even Saxony-Anhalt. They were targeted against the authors of 23 threatening letters warning of attacks on refugee centres, mosques, left-wing party offices, and media outlets.

The question must be posed, were the preparations for an attack on the synagogue in Halle known to the security agencies? Was the attack considered a price worth paying? The influence of far-right groups among police officers and intelligence agents is well known.

This has been on display on several occasions in Saxony-Anhalt, and in Halle in particular. There is much to suggest that the synagogue attack did not coincidentally take place in the city, and that it was aimed at encouraging the development of a fascist movement.

Halle was the location earlier this year of a trial against several members of the neo-Nazi group “Aryans”. This fascist gang of thugs launched an attack on the sidelines of the May Day demonstration in the city in 2017 with their cars, throwing stones at participants and attacking them violently. The attack also caused severe injuries among a group of hikers who were not part of the demonstration.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported at the time, “This trial shows how often and how extensively the judiciary trivialises and ignores right-wing violence, especially in the states in eastern Germany. The state prosecutor responsible for the case in Halle considers it to be ‘ordinary daily business’. She explained this in a statement: ‘The level of aggressiveness by the defendant does not go beyond what is unfortunately now common behaviour in connection with political events.’”

During the trial, investigators discovered a chat on the phone of one of the defendants in which she twice asked a police officer to obtain data from an internal police database. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the police officer then sent information to the convicted right-wing extremist.

“Right-wing extremism in Halle has its own home,” reported Deutsche Welle, referring to a communal living project run by the Identitarian movement in the heart of the city. This is where right-wing ideologues, members of student leagues and neo-Nazis meet with young hipsters, wrote the magazine, adding, “Their goal: racism and Islamophobia should be brought into the heart of society.”

Heike Kleffner, Matthias Meisner (editors), Extreme Sicherheit: Rechtsextreme in Polizei, Verfassungsschutz, Bundeswehr und Justiz, (Extreme Security: Right-wing extremists in the police, secret service, Armed Forces and justice system), published by Herder, Freiburg, 2019: here.

Advertisements

Nazi ex-soldier murderer Stephan Balliet confesses racism


This 10 October 2019 video says about itself:

Germany: Football fans hold vigil for Halle shooting victim at kebab shop

Fans of the Hallescher football club (HFC) held a vigil on Thursday, outside the kebab shop where a [Turkish German] fellow football fan was killed in the Wednesday shooting in the German city of Halle.

The fans are seen standing outside the kebab shop, holding HFC scarves as flowers and candles lay on the sidewalk.

A 27-year-old male named Stephan B. has been arrested, according to a spokesman for the German Federal Prosecutor, after two were killed near the synagogue on Yom Kippur in what the Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht called an anti-Semitic far-right terror attack.

According to the Times of Israel, 10 October 2019, about Stephan Balliet, the German nazi murderer who killed two people in Halle:

He also served in the Bundeswehr (German army), and several people who saw him during the attack said he looked “professional” or trained in weapons use.

That Stephan Balliet used to be a professional soldier in the professional Bundeswehr is also relevant, as inside the Bundeswehr there are neo-nazi networks, including senior officers. Did Balliet get his nazi ideas there?

According to German weekly Der Spiegel, Balliet had his camera with which he live streamed his crimes, on his Bundeswehr helmet. He also wore a Bundeswehr uniform.

So, apparently he still had an official helmet and an official uniform. Was he a reserve soldier after his full-time service?

Translated from tagessschau.de in Germany today:

The 27-year-old Stephan B. has confessed, according to ARD TV information, his terror attack in Halle and has also confirmed a right-wing extremist, anti-Semitic motive. He did not give any information on possible accomplices. …

Were there any accomplices?

According to the investigators, the alleged assassin wanted to cause a massacre and instigate imitators to similar right-wing extremist and anti-Semitic acts. The investigation now focuses on “whether persons were involved in the preparation or execution of the attack or had prior knowledge thereof”, as the Federal Prosecutor’s Office declared on Thursday evening. …

Stephan B. was arrested on Wednesday. He is accused of killing a 40-year-old woman from Halle in front of the synagogue and a 20-year-old [Turkish German] man from Merseburg in a nearby döner kebab shop. Previously, the alleged perpetrator had tried in vain to storm the synagogue with gun violence. At the time, 51 people were inside the synagogue, celebrating the most important Jewish festival, Yom Kippur.

On the run, the offender also injured a 40-year-old woman and her 41-year-old husband with gunfire. The couple is treated in the hospital. …

In the attack, the perpetrator, according to data of Attorney General Peter Frank, had four firearms with him. They included at least one fully automatic firearm, besides, he had several explosives in his car on the way to the synagogue.

German Halle synagogue attack nazi murders two


This 9 October 2019 video says about itself:

Halle: Eyewitness describes shooting in Germany

Two people died and two more were severely injured in the eastern German city of Halle on Wednesday after a gunman opened fire in the city’s Paulus quarter. Speaking to German broadcaster RTL, an eyewitness said he had been in a kebab shop when a man with a helmet and military jacket approached, caused a small, loud explosion and then started shooting, sending people to flee to the back of the shop.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

German Nazi murders two in Yom Kippur Synagogue attack

10 October 2019

The attack by a Nazi killer on the synagogue in Halle has left two people dead and several injured. Carried out on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the murderous rampage was intended to demonstrate that anti-Semitism remains a significant political force in Germany. The attack demonstrates, in a horrific manner, the dark political reality in Germany: Almost 75 years after the fall of the Third Reich, the country has, once again, a serious Nazi and anti-Semitic problem, which has led to death and serious injury.

It is clear that the assassinations in Halle were right-wing extremist terror attacks. The suspect is 27-year-old Stephan Balliet from Saxony-Anhalt, who has since been arrested. His rampage recalls that of the right-wing Australian-born terrorist Brentan Tarrant, who attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last March, killing 51 people. Like Tarrant, Balliet was heavily armed and wore a helmet and army clothing. He filmed his bloody rampage and transmitted it via livestream to the Internet.

The more than 30-minute video shows Balliet shooting a passer-by near Halle’s Jewish cemetery, and a guest in a kebab shop near the synagogue. Previously, the right-wing terrorist had tried to enter the Jewish religious building in order to kill the 70 to 80 worshippers there. On the run, Balliet injured two other people in Landsberg, Saxony.

Max Privorozki, chairman of the Jewish community in Halle, told the news magazine Spiegel Online how his community barely escaped a massacre: “The perpetrator shot several times at the door and threw several Molotov cocktails, firecrackers or grenades to penetrate it. But the door stayed shut; God protected us. The whole thing lasted maybe five to ten minutes.”

The video shows that the assassin acted out of hatred for foreigners and Jews. According to media reports, he repeatedly scolded “Kanaken”,

term of abuse for, eg, people of Turkish ancestry

denied the Holocaust and made extremely anti-Semitic statements in his poor English.

Despite the holiday, the synagogue was not protected by police. Balliet was able to shoot for minutes, murder two people and drive away undisturbed, before alarmed police arrived.

Josef Schuster, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, noted, “It’s a shocking experience, but it’s a development we’ve warned against in recent years.” Parts of society have drifted to the extreme right; words have been followed by deeds. He saw what has happened “not as an isolated case, but as a clear development.”

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In May, Seehofer’s [German] department [of the Interior] published figures on so-called politically motivated crime. The report (.pdf) showed that nearly 1,800 anti-Semitic offences were counted in Germany last year: nearly 20 percent more than a year earlier.

This included violence, but also the use of anti-Semitic symbols such as the swastika. In nearly 90 percent of the registered cases, the offender had an extreme right-wing background. The number of xenophobic incidents

like the killing of the person of Turkish ancestry in the Halle attack yesterday

also increased by 20 percent from 2017 to 2018, to 7,700. …

Earlier this year a study was also published about the experiences of Jews from all over Europe with anti-Semitism. …

Of all respondents, young Jews from Germany said they had suffered the most (41 percent) from anti-Semitism.

The Johannes Stern article continues:

Responsibility for this bloody deed lies with the ruling class. The hypocritical expressions of condolence by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) last evening cannot conceal this fact. In recent years, the entire ruling class, along with the media, have systematically created the ideological climate and political conditions for right-wing terror.

In tandem with the AfD it has built up a right-wing extremist party, whose chairman Alexander Gauland glorifies the Wehrmacht [of Adolf Hitler] and describes Hitler and the Nazis as “bird shit in over 1000 years of successful German history.” The grand coalition has made the AfD the official leader of the parliamentary opposition since the 2017 federal elections, integrated it into the parliamentary framework and adopted its refugee policy one-to-one.

At the same time, it allows the radical right-wing terrorist networks, which reach deep into the army, police and secret services, maintaining death lists, with the names of several thousand targeted persons, to operate almost unharmed. As in the case of the series of murders committed by the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU), the recent case of Kassel District President Walter Lübcke (CDU), who was murdered in May, revealed how close the links are between the state—and, in particular the Office for the Protection of the Constitution—and the right-wing terrorists.

According to the official statistics of the Federal Criminal Police Office, a total of 497 right-wing extremists remain at large, although arrest warrants have been issued against them.

As in the Weimar Republic, the ruling class primarily uses the rearmament of the state apparatus, which is shot through with right-wing extremist elements, to intensify action against the left.

In the current report of the Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution), the Interior Ministry’s secret service, the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party—SGP) has, for the second time in a row, been listed as an “object of observation”, because it fights against right-wing extremism and advocates a socialist program that, according to the accusation of the secret service, is directed “against alleged nationalism, imperialism and militarism.” Mass protests against the AfD, such as the “Rock gegen Rechts” concert in Chemnitz last September, have also been defamed as “left-wing extremist” by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The right-wing offensive is supported by influential university academics who, as in the Third Reich under the Nazis, play a key role in the ideological preparation for dictatorship and war.

At the end of August, Bernhard Kempen, chairman of the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (Deutscher Hochschulverband), gave a television interview backing the right-wing radical historian Jörg Baberowski. Kempen denounced any criticism of Baberowski’s anti-refugee viewpoint and apologetics for the Nazis (“Hitler was not vicious”) as “terrorism of opinion and conviction” [“Meinungs- und Gessinungsterrorismus”]. Most recently, Baberowski failed to establish a centre for dictatorship research at the Humboldt University in Berlin, due to the immense opposition of the student body.

Five years ago, the SGP warned of the consequences of the return of German militarism at a Special Conference Against War in Berlin. Only a few months after Steinmeier, then Foreign Minister, had declared at the Munich Security Conference in 2014, that Germany was “too big to merely comment on world politics from the sidelines,” we analysed the objective driving forces behind the return of German militarism, and explained:

The propaganda of the post-war era—that Germany had learnt from the terrible crimes of the Nazis, had ‘arrived at the West’, had embraced a peaceful foreign policy, and had developed into a stable democracy—is exposed as lies. German imperialism is once again showing its real colours as it emerged historically, with all of its aggressiveness at home and abroad.

Five years later, this assessment is being dramatically confirmed. The far-right terror in Halle aims to establish anti-Semitism and Nazism, once again, as an influential political force in Germany. It is being used by the ruling class, as in the 1930s, to arm the oppressive state apparatus, advance militarism and suppress growing social and political resistance.

The only social force that can stop the fascist danger and a relapse into barbarism is the international working class.

Who Were The Two Bystanders Killed By Thwarted Synagogue Shooter In Halle? Here.

Following the right-wing terrorist attack on a Jewish synagogue in Halle in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, Holger Stahlknecht, Saxony-Anhalt’s Interior Minister, has rejected all of the criticisms of the police and state authorities made by the Jewish community: here.

German nazi murders at synagogue, kebab shop


This 9 October 2019 German video, by right-wing daily Bild, says about itself (translated):

Right-wing terror in Halle +++ Neo-Nazi Stephan Balliet streamed his attack live

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The perpetrator of the attack in Halle, Germany, has recorded the murder of two people on video. The images were uploaded on video site Twitch. The clip lasts nearly 36 minutes and is similar to the footage Brenton Tarrant made of the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand in March of this year.

The shooter in Halle seems to act alone. Because his weapon repeatedly jams, kiling of more victims was prevented.

German media report that the perpetrator is 27-year-old Stephan B. … He films himself at the start of the video and calls himself ‘anon’. That’s a term for anonymous users on forums like 8chan. He calls Jews “the cause of all problems” and denies the Holocaust. He also complains about feminism and mass immigration.

Bucket full of explosives

You can see how he drives to a synagogue. He can not come in, after which he fires a few shots at the door. He then applies a home-made explosive device to a side door. A bucket full of explosives can be seen in his car. The man tries to find another entrance but does not succeed. He walks around the synagogue in a swearing and ranting tone.

A woman passer-by who talks to him is cold-bloodedly murdered. The man drives away and stops again at a street corner where he walks into a [Turkish owned] döner-kebab shop. Two men can escape because the shooter’s gun repeatedly jams.

Back on the street, he shoots at a passer-by again, but he doesn’t seem to hit. He then goes after two workmen and shoots at them, but they also escape.

“Weapons worthless”

The shooter then returns to the kebab shop and shoots a man dead who is hiding in a corner. When he leaves the shop again, the gunman complains about his weapons: “I have proven that improvised weapons are worthless.”

He is then blocked by police, whom he shoots at repeatedly. He is injured in the neck himself. “I don’t know if I’m going to die,” he says. When the man manages to escape, he listens to music and apparently by chance to a radio program about the arms trade.

After barely half an hour he apparently throws the camera or telephone out of the car window. The images continue to run for a few minutes while cars drive over the camera.

Lethal German nazi attack on synagogue, Turks


This 9 October 2019 German video says about itself, translated:

Killers came with bulletproof vests and guns: attack on synagogue in Halle

Attack on the synagogue in the Paulus district in Halle! At least two people were killed!

With several weapons, shots were fired on Wednesday afternoon. Several armed culprits were on the run, a police spokeswoman said. There was now one person arrested.

Also, at least two people were injured.

Dutch NOS TV reports that the violent neo-nazis also threw hand grenades. They not only fired shots at the synagogue, but also at a döner kebab business. These businesses are mostly owned by people of Turkish ancestry.

Nevertheless, Dutch right-wing site GeenStijl initially claimed the murderers were Muslims; while it looks a lot more like Islamophobes.

In German media, it is suspected they are so-called mittelfränkische Neonazis, originally from the NPD party in Bavaria.

Halle Police said the two victims of the attack are a woman, who was killed at the synagogue, and a man, who was killed at the kebab shop. … The car used by the suspect seen in video obtained by CNN shooting behind a grey car is registered to the town of Euskirchen, North Rhine–Westfalia, which is 263 miles from Halle. … António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, strongly condemned the Halle, Germany, attack, according to a statement given through his deputy spokesman. He regards this as “yet another tragic demonstration of anti-Semitism — perpetrated on the holy day of Yom Kippur — which needs to be fought with the utmost determination”: here.

Donald Trump’s anti-Semitism


This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump’s Anti-Immigration Policies Are a Deepening of Previous Administration Policies

Although Trump’s rhetoric on immigration is shocking, suggesting border patrol should shoot border crossing immigrants in the legs, his policies are an intensification of policies that began under Obama,

I’d say, a lot earlier than Obama.

not a dramatic departure, says Aviva Chomsky.

By Peter Beinart in the USA:

With Anti-Semitic Attack On ‘Shifty’ Foe, Trump Shows Off The Mechanism Of His Racism

October 3, 2019

On Wednesday, Donald Trump again referred to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as “shifty Schiff”. If you think that sounds vaguely anti-Semitic, you’re right. And it’s likely only the beginning. As the impeachment inquiry escalates, Trump’s anti-Semitic rhetoric probably will too.

It won’t escalate because Trump is any more hostile to Jews than he is to other religious or racial minorities. It will escalate because Trump thinks in terms of stereotypes. Thus, when challenged by an adversary, he often invokes bigoted tropes about their race, religion or gender. And for the next few months, as Trump’s presidency hangs in the balance, one of his biggest adversaries will be Adam Schiff, a Jew.

It’s no surprise that Trump called Schiff “shifty” — which means tricky or deceitful, or that in the past he’s called him “little pencil-neck”. When discussing Jews, Trump often plays on well-worn caricatures about cleverness, deviousness and physical weakness. He was quoted in 1991 as saying “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes.” In 2015, he told the Republican Jewish Coalition that, “This room negotiates deals. Perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to” but “you’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”

Trump does something analogous when challenged by African Americans. He responds with racist stereotypes about their supposed lack of intelligence. When LeBron James criticized him in an interview with Don Lemon, Trump called the CNN host “the dumbest man on television… He made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.” Trump even called Barack Obama “a terrible student” who didn’t deserve admission to Columbia and Harvard Law School.

Another favored Trump stereotype about blacks is that they’re poor and unsanitary. When Representative John Lewis announced he wouldn’t attend Trump’s inauguration, Trump declared that Lewis’s district was “in horrible shape and falling apart.” When Representative Elijah Cummings challenged Trump’s policies at the border, Trump called his district “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

When women challenge Trump, he often calls them ugly. “Look at that face!” he exclaimed about Carly Fiorina in September 2015, when she was rising in the polls. “Would anyone vote for that?” When Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski criticized him in 2017, Trump mocked her for “bleeding badly from a face-lift.” When Stormy Daniels sued him, he called her “horseface”.

And when Trump’s critics are women of color, he mixes and matches his stereotypes. Thus, when African American Representative Maxine Waters said Trump should be impeached, Trump called her not only a “seriously low IQ person” but also a “real beauty”. After Khizr Khan’s speech at the 2016 Democratic national convention, Trump suggested that his wife, Ghazala Khan, a Muslim woman, had remained silent on stage because “she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”

Trump has done something similar with the disabled. When New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski disputed his claim that “thousands” of Arabs in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks, Trump mimicked the way Kovaleski — who suffers from arthrogryposis — moves his arms and hands.

Like many of Trump’s responses, the attack was a non-sequitur. The way Kovaleski moves his limbs, or the condition of Elijah Cummings’ district, or the size of Adam Schiff’s neck, have no bearing on their criticisms of Trump. They are simply a way of undermining his perceived adversaries by conjuring negative stereotypes about the group of which they are a part.

To some, these taunts may seem too juvenile to be truly dangerous. Trump’s is the bigotry of the playground; when threatened, he simply picks up whatever negative material is most readily at hand. When attacked by a newspaper, he says it’s losing money; when attacked by a comedian, he says the comedian is not funny; when attacked by a Jew, he says the Jew is skinny and devious.

But they are dangerous. When Trump speaks, millions of Americans nod in fervent agreement.

Will one of them show up at a local synagogue looking to exact revenge on Trump’s shifty, pencil-necked tormentors, just as Robert Bowers last year went seeking revenge against the Jews who were supposedly facilitating what Trump often called an immigrant “invasion”? Probably not. But, all things being equal, I’d feel safer living in a country in which the president didn’t invoke anti-Semitic stereotypes at all.

Peter Beinart is a Senior Columnist at [US Jewish daily] The Forward and Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a Contributor to The Atlantic and a CNN Political Commentator.

German president in Poland silent on Holocaust


This British Channel 4 TV video says about itself:

Holocaust survivor interview, 2017

Holocaust survivor interviews won’t be possible forever, with many Auschwitz survivors now in their late 80s. This is the Lydia’s incredible story.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

German president silent on the Holocaust at WWII memorial

4 September 2019

On December 7, 1970, German Chancellor Willy Brandt fell to his knees before the memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto, in penance for the extermination of the Jews by the German Nazi regime. Although this “Warsaw genuflection” was not without self-interest—Brandt’s so-called “Ostpolitik” secured German big business access to the markets and raw materials of Eastern Europe—it signified a political turning point. After years in which the German state had systematically covered up and trivialized its historic crimes, Germany was finally confronting its responsibility.

Almost fifty years later, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (like Brandt, a Social Democrat) spoke in Warsaw at a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. He failed to utter a single word about the Jews or the Holocaust. This silence is no less symbolic than Brandt’s genuflection. It is an unmistakable signal that the Nazis’ crimes are being downplayed for very definite political purposes.

First, Steinmeier’s silence on the Holocaust was a concession to the ultra-nationalist Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS) government and party leader Jaroslav Kaczynski, who are deeply rooted in the anti-Semitic traditions of the Catholic church and glorify Polish dictator Josef Pilsudski. The PiS has systematically sought to rewrite history over recent years and passed laws which threaten to criminalize any scholar or publicist who researches or writes on anti-Semitism in Poland.

But above all, Steinmeier’s silence about the Holocaust was a concession to the right-wing extremist Alternative for Germany (AfD) in his own country. Within the framework of Germany’s return to an aggressive imperialist foreign policy, the ruling class is systematically building up and promoting this fascistic party. On the same day Steinmeier delivered his speech in Warsaw, the AfD emerged from two state elections—in Saxony and Brandenburg—as the second-largest party. Steinmeier’s address was not a mistake. He is an experienced politician who knows what he is doing. The Federal Presidential Office has a staff of some 180 people, who carefully prepare every one of his speeches and discuss them within the government apparatus.

On the morning of September 1, Steinmeier visited the small town of Vieluń with Polish President Andrzej Duda. The residents of this town were the first to be bombarded from the air when Germany invaded Poland eighty years ago. Here, too, he merely mentioned the Jews and the Holocaust in passing, in a single clause, and he only explicitly apologized “to the Polish victims of the German reign of terror.” And this despite the fact that around a third of Vielun’s population of 16,000 was Jewish, and that tens of thousands of Jews would later be deported from the city’s ghetto to the Kulmhof concentration camp.

Then, when Steinmeier spoke to over 250 state guests from 40 countries in the afternoon, he failed to mention the Holocaust at all. Yet the Nazis murdered some 1.6 million ethnic Poles and around 3 million Jews, which equated to 90 percent of Poland’s Jewish population. The only victims of German war crimes mentioned by Steinmeier were “Polish men and women”, as well as “Poland, its culture, its cities and its people.”

Monika Krawczyk, the head of the League of the Jewish Community in Poland, was outraged, saying, “How could he not bring himself to utter the word Jew? What was stopping him from talking about the Holocaust and the Jewish resistance? A professional, who ought to know the history of the occupation of Poland, only apologizes to one victim and forgets the others. I’m speechless.”

The Tageszeitung, which was the only German newspaper to report on Steinmeier’s silence, expressed disbelief. The paper described it as “totally incomprehensible” as to why he had not asked the Polish Jews for forgiveness.

In reality, it is not incomprehensible. With his Warsaw speech, Steinmeier was demonstrating to the AfD that he is in fundamental agreement with it when its leaders describe the Holocaust as “bird poop” and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin as a “monument of shame”. While he never tires of hypocritically expressing his horror over the Nazis, Steinmeier’s silence on the Holocaust, and his attempt to curry favor with the far-right PiS, shows where he really stands politically.

The rise of the far right is an international phenomenon. These forces are needed by the ruling elite, under conditions of mounting great-power conflict and social tensions, to strengthen the apparatus of state repression, press ahead with militarist policies and suppress all forms of social opposition.

Steinmeier has played a leading role in the promotion of the extreme right in Germany. As head of the Chancellor’s Office under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD), Steinmeier was responsible for the German intelligence agencies for seven years, which systematically built up and covered for right-wing extremist networks.

As Foreign Minister, Steinmeier supported the 2014 fascist-led coup in Ukraine, collaborating in the process with right-wing extremist forces, such as the Svoboda Party of Oleh Tyahnybok, with whom he personally met. During the same year, he appealed at the Munich Security Conference for Germany to rearm as a military power. Germany is “too big just to comment on world politics from the sidelines,” he stated.

Following the 2017 federal election, Steinmeier played a key role in the SPD’s decision to continue the grand coalition government. This made the AfD the official opposition party in parliament. In November 2017, he even invited AfD leaders Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel to a personal consultation in Bellevue Castle, the President’s official residence.

Steinmeier’s speech in Poland fits perfectly into this political tradition. While shedding crocodile tears over Germany’s crimes in World War II, he called for German hegemony in Europe and a major program of military rearmament. “I’m well aware that my country has a special responsibility for this Europe,” he said. “The fact that Germany, despite its history, was allowed to grow to new strength in Europe means that we Germans must do more for Europe. We must contribute more to European security.”

Poland is strategically important for Berlin, both economically and militarily. With annual total trade of €120 billion (2018), Poland has surpassed Britain as Germany’s sixth-largest trading partner. And it is an important region for massing troops and a military ally against Russia.

While US Vice President Mike Pence, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Ukrainian President Vlodomyr Zelensky took part in the ceremony, the Polish government made a point of not inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin. And this in spite of the fact that the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the war against Nazi Germany.

Steinmeier also shamefully falsified this history in the interests of building an alliance with Polish nationalists. He only indirectly referred to the Red Army and denied its decisive role in the victory over the Nazis. “On this anniversary, all of us look gratefully to the United States,” he said to flatter US Vice President Mike Pence, who was representing Trump. “The strength of its armies, combined with its western and eastern allies, defeated National Socialism.”

Steinmeier’s speech in Warsaw underscores that the SPD and all the other established parties agree with the fascistic AfD on all essential questions. Only an independent movement of the international working class, uniting the struggle against militarism, the strengthening of the repressive state apparatus and social inequality, with the fight against their source, the capitalist profit system, can confront the danger posed by the far right.