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January 01, 1993 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-01-01

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

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New York (JTA) — The
leaders of the German and
French Jewish communities
flew into New York to brief
the heads of a broad spec-
trum of Jewish organiza-
tions on the current state of
racist violence in Germany.
Ignatz Bubis, president of
Germany's Jewish commun-
ity, and Jean Kahn, who
serves the same role in
France, spoke to the repre-
sentatives of about two
dozen Jewish groups who
gathered here at the invita-
tion of the World Jewish
Congress.
"The government has
woken up" to the danger of
the violence "and is now go-
ing strong," said Mr. Bubis.
"If it continues, the violence
will go down."
When asked what North
American Jews can do to
help, he said, "I can only ask
world Jewry to wait, and
watch what's going on."
Mr. Bubis seemed relieved
that his government has ap-

The number of
incidents in
Saxony dropped by
two-thirds in the
space of just two
weeks.

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parently reconsidered its
failed strategy against the
wave of xenophobic violence
and is now cracking down
harder on the perpetrators.
In recent weeks, govern-
ment ministers and spokes-
men have admitted that
combatting the violence and
racist and anti-Semitic pro-
paganda requires more
wholehearted use of existing
punitive laws.
To date, most of the
government's efforts have
been geared toward chang-
ing Germany's asylum law,
which is one of the most lib-
eral in the world and is
embedded in post-war Ger-
many's constitution and
consciousness.
Mr. Bubis urged
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
and other politicians to max-
imize their efforts against
the neo-Nazis and
skinheads.
"I don't need new laws
(against such crimes) if the
old laws are not fully used,"
Mr. Bubis said.
As evidence of the impact
of the government's new ap-

proach, he cited the fact that
there were 50 percent fewer
racial incidents in
November than in October
nationwide.
Mr. Bubis also pointed to
recent changes in the east-
ern German state of Saxony,
where the interior minister
has taken swift legal action
against those committing
racist acts by utilizing the
laws already in place.
As a result, the number of
incidents in Saxony dropped
by two-thirds in the space of
just two weeks, Mr. Bubis
said.
Nationwide, there were
2,184 neo-Nazi attacks
perpetrated against for-
eigners and refugees bet-
ween Jan. 1 and Dec. 13,
1992, according to new in-
formation provided by Ger-
many's version of the Fed-
eral Bureau of Investigation,
called the Office for the Pro-
tection of the Constitution.
The nearly 2,200 attacks
resulted in 17 deaths and
542 injuries. More than one-
third of the attacks — 886 —
involved arson and bomb-
ings.
77 Jewish sites were
desecrated during 1992, as
well.
The previous year, 1991,
the agency registered 1,489
acts of violence by neo-Nazis,
1,255 of them directed
against foreigners.
In 1990, there were just
270 attacks.
Mr. Bubis also spoke of be-
ing relieved that the people
of Germany have in recent
weeks begun to demonstrate
their opposition to racism by
holding demonstrations and

N

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vigils around the country.
Michael Lerner, editor of

Tikkun magazine, asked Mr.
Bubis if he was interested in
having Jews from around
the world rally in Germany
against the violence.
"I want Germans to dem-
onstrate, not Jews," re-
sponded Mr. Bubis.
In his own presentation,
Jean Kahn, who also heads
the European Jewish Con-
gress, said that EJC repre-
sentatives met with mem-
bers of the European
Parliament in Strasbourg,
France last week and pro-
posed a four-point plan.
The first point is a
"harmonization of all anti-
racist laws in Europe," br-
inging each European coun-
try's laws in line with the
others, said Mr. Kahn.

N

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