Nazi era crimes and post-1945 West Germany, film review


This video says about itself:

THE PEOPLE VS FRITZ BAUER Trailer

8 August 2015

Top German actors Burghart Klaussner (The White Ribbon) and Ronald Zehrfeld (Barbara, Phoenix) star in this riveting historical thriller, which chronicles the herculean efforts of German district attorney Fritz Bauer to bring Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann to justice.

Today, I saw the film The People vs. Fritz Bauer.

Here is a review by Joanne Laurier from the USA; with, as usually, links and remarks added by me:

THE PEOPLE vs. FRITZ BAUER

In Germany, fewer than 500 individuals were punished for their participation in the liquidation of millions of Jews and others in the Holocaust. Only one hundred defendants out of a total of 4,500 who stood trial between 1945 and 1949 for Nazi crimes were accused of murder-related offences.

Fritz Bauer (1903-1968), a Social Democratic lawyer and, later, judge, had been forced to flee Nazi Germany because of his politics and Jewish origins. Upon his return from exile in Denmark and once more taking positions in the justice system, his unrelenting attempts to prosecute the crimes of the Third Reich encountered fierce resistance from the officials in the Konrad Adenauer government (1949-63). The first postwar West German administration harbored many former high-ranking Nazis. In a well-known comment, Bauer stated: “When I leave my office I am entering an enemy, foreign country.”

Bauer is the subject of Italian-born, German filmmaker Lars Kraume’s engrossing film, THE PEOPLE vs. FRITZ BAUER. The movie opens in 1957. Famed Attorney General Fritz Bauer (the remarkable Burghart Klaussner) is found lying unconscious in his bathtub. Near him are a glass of wine and sleeping pills. Federal Office of Criminal Investigation officer Paul Gebhardt (Jörg Schüttauf) wants the incident to be classified as an attempted suicide. He intends to claim Bauer, a thorn in the side of the authorities, is unstable and should be dismissed. The attorney general is feared for his dogged efforts to bring to justice former Nazis and their defenders.

Bauer succeeds in quashing rumors about his supposed attempted suicide, all the while receiving death threats. Soon after his release from hospital, he gets a tip that Adolf Eichmann, one of the most pivotal figures in the deportation of European Jews to the concentration camps and known as the “architect of the Holocaust,” is living under an assumed name in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A chain-smoker with a razor-sharp mind and disheveled attire, Bauer wants to try Eichmann in a German court. He has dedicated his life to tracking down major Nazis like Eichmann, Martin Bormann (who, in fact, had died in 1945) and Josef Mengele, hoping to help rehabilitate the post-war German state. However, as he is fully aware, the country’s investigative agencies are peppered with Nazis. In addition, no help is forthcoming from Interpol, a thoroughly reactionary and dubious body, which claims it has no jurisdiction over “political crimes.”

In fact, the film suggests that that not only the BND (German Federal Intelligence) but the CIA as well were involved in shielding high-ranking Nazis,

Eg, in the Eichmann case, they both knew where Eichmann was, but did nothing about that.

and depicts the constant attempts to derail Bauer’s investigation. Eventually, Bauer turns to the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, risking prison for committing treason.

As his colleagues scheme to undermine him, Bauer’s only ally is a young public prosecutor, Karl Angermann (Ronald Zehrfeld), who is prosecuting a man arrested for prostitution. At Bauer’s suggestion and in defiance of a code against homosexuality made more onerous by the Nazis, Angermann demands only a small fine. Angermann is married, but, like Bauer, he is a homosexual. He and Bauer are obliged to keep their sexuality a secret. Eventually, the naïve Angermann gets entrapped by Bauer’s enemies, who force him to choose between going to prison or fingering Bauer as a traitor.

As the noose tightens around Angermann’s neck, Bauer, trying to get his foes off his back, covertly creates the conditions for Eichmann’s capture by Mossad. Bauer’s plan is to put Eichmann on trial in West Germany, but he underestimates the extent to which the Adenauer government, backed by the United States, is hostile to the possibility of a show trial that might name names.

The film ends as Eichmann faces trial in Jerusalem in 1961. Bauer initiated the famous Auschwitz trials in Frankfurt that began in December 1963 and were the largest criminal proceedings in postwar Germany against former members of the Nazi Party.

According to the filmmakers, Bauer’s influence was far-reaching. In the movie’s production notes, the director states that Bauer was “convinced that the German postwar generation [had] the opportunity to build a new society. In reality he opened a completely new perspective for the youth in the Adenauer era, because he dared to lift the veil and break the bleak silence. And so he became an important source of inspiration later on for the student revolts.”

Despite a few rough edges, Kraume’s film is driven by a powerful commitment—and extraordinary lead actors—to dramatize Fritz Bauer’s historic contribution. It is inspired by Bauer’s determination to put “everything that was inhumane here on trial.”

Anti-refugee terrorism in Germany


This September 2015 video is called Germany: Arson attack leaves Wertheim refugee shelter uninhabitable.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Five nabbed in raids on far-right group in Germany

Wednesday 20th April 2016

FOUR men and a woman were arrested in Germany yesterday on suspicion of forming a right-wing terror group with the aim of attacking refugees’ homes and other facilities.

The Freital group, named after a suburb of the eastern city of Dresden subject to a string of anti-refugee protests and other incidents, was formed last July or earlier, federal prosecutors said.

The group had acquired more than 100 banger-type fireworks from the Czech Republic, prosecutors said.

“With today’s operation, the security authorities have dealt a powerful blow to a regional right-wing terrorist group,” Interior Minister Thomas DeMaiziere said in a statement.

The deaths of hundreds of refugees in the Mediterranean on Monday is not only a tragedy, it is a crime. Those responsible are the governments in Washington, Berlin, Athens, Rome and other European capitals, as well as the European Union Commission in Brussels: here.

German government backs draconian refugee “integration” law: here.

German government persecutes comedian for satire on dictator Erdogan


This video says about itself:

German comedian Jan Böhmermann makes fun of Erdogan

12 April 2016

After the German comedian Jan Böhmermann made fun of the Turkish President Erdogan in a poem calling him a “murderer, goat rapist, child molester and killer of the Kurds“, the Turkish government demands from the German government to put him in jail or deport him to Turkey in which he could face up to 20 years in jail for insulting Erdogan; “His head is as empty as his balls”.

By Peter Schwartz in Germany:

German Chancellor Merkel gives green light for prosecution of satirist Jan Böhmermann

16 April 2016

The German government has given the green light to criminal proceedings against the satirist Jan Böhmermann for supposedly “insulting” the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the move in a statement at the chancellery on Friday.

Merkel has given in to pressure from the Turkish government, which has been demanding Böhmermann’s prosecution. Ankara acts mercilessly against oppositionists and journalists inside Turkey; there are currently more than 1,800 such legal proceedings for “insulting” Erdogan, and over a dozen journalists are in prison.

Paragraph 103 of the German Penal Code, under which Böhmermann is being prosecuted, is a relic of authoritarianism. It makes the “insulting of the institutions and officials of foreign states” a punishable offence. The penalty ranges from a fine up to three years imprisonment, and five years in the case of supposed “defamation.”

In the Kaiser’s Empire, Paragraph 103 protected crowned heads. In 1948, the news magazine Der Spiegel was banned for two weeks for revealing that Prince Bernhard, the spouse of the Dutch Queen Juliana, had been an honorary SS officer. In the 1960s, the Persian royal family used it to suppress criticism of its regime of torture. And in 1975, it was used to prosecute demonstrators who correctly characterised Pinochet’s military dictatorship in Chile as a “band of murderers.”

Unlike other sections of the penal code, paragraph 103 requires the direct authorization of the Federal government. In order not to jeopardise the dirty deal with Turkey to stem the influx of refugees to Europe, and to suppress opposition to the persecution of refugees, Berlin has imported Erdogan’s authoritarian methods into Germany.

Merkel is trying to disguise this reality by promising to abolish paragraph 103 by 2018, and declaring that the government’s decision to apply it in the Böhmermann case does not amount to a rush to judgement. She has justified its application, saying it was “not a matter for the government but for the state attorneys and courts to weigh up the personal rights of those affected and other concerns about the freedoms of the press and artistic expression.”

But that is a sham. In reality, Merkel condemned Böhmermann shortly after his controversial broadcast, when she telephoned Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and assured him that she considered it to be “consciously damaging.”

Erdogan himself had not reckoned with the German government agreeing to the use of paragraph 103, and as a precaution had instigated a private libel suit under paragraph 185, which foresees far milder penalties.

The vast majority of the German population oppose the prosecution of Böhmermann. In a poll conducted by Emnid, more than two thirds said they thought Merkel was making too many concessions to Erdogan in this case. Many prominent artists have expressed their solidarity with Böhmermann.

An open letter published in news weekly Die Zeit, signed by many renowned actors, states: “Discussions about and criticism of Jan Böhmermann’s Erdogan poem belong in the country’s literary supplements and not in a Mainz court room… Art cannot take place in a climate in which artists have to have second thoughts about whether their creations may lead to legal proceedings, and begin to censor themselves, or be censored.”

Even the German government is divided. There were “differing views between the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats,” Merkel said. While the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) agree with the application of paragraph 103, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) rejects it. “I think the decision is wrong,” SPD parliamentary group leader Thomas Oppermann commented on Twitter. “Penalising satire for ‘Lèse majesté’ does not sit well in a modern democracy.”

The broadcaster ZDF, which transmitted the controversial episode of Böhmermann’s satire programme “Neo Magazin Royale” on March 31 on its ZDFneo channel, has taken down the episode from its website, saying it did not meet ZDF’s quality standards, but would defend Böhmermann legally.

“The form and content of the satirical contribution were not meant to impugn the honour of the Turkish president, but were part of a critical debate,” according to the legal submission made by ZDF to the State Attorney in Mainz. The “constitutional guarantee of freedom of satire” embraces, “especially in connection with matters of public interest, the use of coarse stylistic devices.” It is part of the essence of satire that “well aimed excesses, which are meant to elicit emotions and reactions in the public, draw attention to a topic and express criticism.”

Standing in front of a Turkish flag, Böhmermann recited a poem against Erdogan that viciously insulted the Turkish president. He employed obscene insults and vulgar racist swear words. He called the poem “abusive criticism,” and stressed several times that he was seeking to make clear what was not permitted in Germany, what traverses the boundaries of the freedom of satire and was punishable.

He was reacting to the attempts of the Turkish government to censor a song, broadcast on March 17 by ARD and entitled “extra 3,” that mocked Erdogan. This satirical song had not personally vilified Erdogan, but criticised—completely legitimately—the limiting of press freedom, the persecution of critical journalists, the suppression of the Kurds and other human rights violations in Turkey.

Nevertheless, the Turkish government summoned the German ambassador and demanded that the satirical song be deleted. The ambassador declined to do so, with reference to the freedom of expression, but the German government did not make the incident public, and did not take a position.

When the parliamentary deputy Sevim Dagdelen (Left Party), who had spoken to the ambassador, reported this, the government came under fierce criticism. It was accused of sacrificing freedom of expression in the interests of the EU deal with Turkey.

Böhmermann’s “abusive criticism” must be seen in this political context. By illustrating what, in contrast to “extra 3,” is not permitted, he provoked a debate. It is not “abusive criticism, but playing with it,” as Der Spiegel put it, and is therefore protected as freedom of expression.

The approval of criminal proceedings against Böhmermann reveals the true character of the German government. Last year, Merkel was celebrated as the refugees’ chancellor, whose “welcoming culture” stood in contrast to those who sought to close off the borders.

At the time, we explained that Merkel was not concerned for the fate of the refugees but for the preservation of the European Union, which Germany needed “in order to again play the role of a world power.”

But after concluding the deal with Erdogan, refugees fleeing war who made the life-threatening sea crossing over the Aegean are being locked up, mistreated and brought back to Turkey, where the Turkish government detains them and deports them.

In response to the growing criticism of the EU’s refugee policy, the German government has acted with the same methods as Erdogan: suppressing and persecuting dissenting voices.

German government persecutes comedian on behalf of Turkish dictator


This video from the USA says about itself:

Germany Might Arrest Satirist For Offending Idiot Turkish President

14 April 2016

AMERICANS WONDERING WHAT life might be like in the near future — after a President Donald Trump acts on his promise to “open up our libels laws,” so that politicians with easily bruised egos can sue reporters or commentators for hurting their feelings — should pay attention to what is happening this week in Germany.

A German TV video which used to be on the Internet used to say about itself:

2 April 2016

Jan Böhmermann: “Schmähkritik” – A poem about Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The German text of the poem is here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Justice department is persecuting German comedian for insulting Erdogan

Today, 18:02

Judith van de Hulsbeek

The German judiciary is investigating a video of comedian and presenter Jan Böhmermann. In the movie Böhmermann reads a libelous poem in which he seeks out the boundaries of what he is allowed and is not allowed to say about the Turkish President Erdogan.

He says among other things that Erdogan beats girls and that the president has a small penis.

The presidential election debates in the Republican party of the USA are hardly about other subjects than insinuations about the sizes of the candidates’ penises. Yet, the United States Justice Department is not prosecuting Donald Trump, Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz, as far as I know.

The Public Prosecution Service is now investigating whether [Jan Böhmermann] is guilty of “insulting representatives of foreign states”. This may be punished with three years in prison.

Böhmermann made the video for the satirical program ZDF NEO Magazine Royal. The film was immediately already controversial. A day after the broadcast ZDF decided to remove it from the website because it would supposedly exceed “the limits of satire and irony.” …

Tension

Böhmermann made the video in response to the fuss over another satirical contribution of the Extra3 program. Erdogan tried to ban the distribution of this video, which caused worldwide criticism of him.

To prevent further diplomatic tension, Chancellor Merkel called on Sunday Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu. The two agreed that the film of Böhmermann is intentionally insulting.

Now a judicial investigation has been initiated.

Angela Merkel and Erdogan, EPA photo

Angela Merkel’s fawning over Erdogan will put the Turkish president, not Jan Böhmermann, in the dock. A German law which prevents citizens insulting a foreign head of state could come into conflict with European human rights legislation, which values freedom of political expression: here.

Will beached porpoise Nena survive?


This 6 March 2016 video says about itself:

On the 5th of March 2016 a live stranded harbour porpoise was found on the German coast. She has been admitted in the rehabilitation centre of SOS Dolfijn [in the Netherlands]. Too weak to swim by herself she is being supported day and night. She was found dehydrated and is being given fluid and fish. By a tube the fluid is given to her every several hours. The fish she eats eagerly on her own. That is a good sign!