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February 02, 1990 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-02-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

BAC KG ROU N D

Germany

Continued from preceding page

RalAISSANCE

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everything has changed,"
says Gerald Howarth, a
British Conservative
parliamentarian who spent
his formative years in Ger-
many. "Manifestly, national
characteristics don't
change."

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No longer is the agenda of
Germany being drawn up in
the chancelleries of the Four
Allied Powers. It is being
decided on the streets.
'Whether the rest of the
world likes it or not, the two
Germanys are moving
remorselessly toward
reunification. And all roads
now lead to a united Berlin.
The pace is likely to be
dramatically quickened by
national elections in both
Germanys this year — East
Germans will vote in March,
West Germans in December.
But while full political in-
tegration may take up to two
years to accomplish, the two
countries are already being
inextricably bound by a
complex web of economic,
cultural, technical and
scientific ties which will
make reunification a reality
long before the formal in-
struments are signed.
Most of West Germany's
leading companies — in-
cluding such giants as
BMW, Volkswagen, Krupp,
Siemens and Hoechst — had
plants in East Germany
before World War Two, and
the incentive to rebuild is
now proving irresistible.
At the same time, the
majority of East German in-
dustries, albeit state-run,
are welcoming and en-
couraging cooperation with
West Germany.
Robotron, East Germany's
largest electronics company,
has already signed joint-
venture agreements with
two West German firms to
produce compact discs in
Dresden and software in
Berlin.
In addition, the national
airlines of the two countries
— Lufthansa in West Ger-
many and Interflug in East
Germany — have also agreed
to work on 40 joint projects,
including in-flight catering,
the production of flight-
training simulators and the
establishment of a hotel
chain.
New rail and air links
between the two halves of
Germany are being discuss-
ed, while Hamburg is
preparing to become the
main port of entry for East
Germany's technological

imports from the West.
Agreements for West
Germany to modernize and
replace East Germany's rail
network are in place, as is an
agreement to update East
Germany's telecomunica-
tions network.
Joint commissions have
been established on the en-
vironment and nuclear plant
security. Under one agree-
ment, West Germany will
contribute $100 million to
make East Germany's in-
dustries more environmen-
tally friendly.
There are also extensive
plans for education
exchanges and coordination
of university administra-
tion, as well as for coopera-
tion in scientific research
programs. And West Ger-
man newspapers will soon be
on sale throughout East
Germany for the first time
since the war.
Most important of all,
however, economists on both
sides are working feverishly
to make the West German
currency legal tender in
East Germany or to devise a
mechanism that will make
the East German currency
convertible at a realistic
rate.
More than any conference,
agreement or treaty, such a
move will open the
floodgates for trade and
speed the de facto reunifica-
tion of Germany.
—H.D.

East Germany
Secret Talks

As extremist sentiment
gathers support on the
streets of East Germany,
secret talks are underway
between East German and
Israeli officials designed to
establish diplomatic rela-
tions between the two coun-
tries.
According to officials in
Jerusalem, the talks are
taking place in "a European
country" — apparently
Denmark — and Israel is be-
ing represented by Michael
Shiloh, a close aide to For-
eign Minister Moshe Arens.
Deputy Foreign Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu
revealed that the meetings
were being held at the re-
quest of East Germany,
which had sought talks on
the questions of diplomatic
relations and historic
responsibility for the crimes
of the Nazi regime.
Israel is insisting that a
precondition for establishing
relations is an admission by
East Germany of its residual
responsibility for the Holo-
caust and an agreement to

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