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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 November, 2003, 19:20 GMT
German MP sorry for Jewish slur
Jews at Auschwitz
The Nazis killed nearly six million Jews across Europe
A German parliamentarian has apologised for remarks that appeared to compare Jews during the Bolshevik Revolution to Nazis in World War II.

Conservative Martin Hohmann had said many Jews were active in execution squads during the Russian Revolution.

Bowing to intense pressure, he has now said he did not intend to "deny the uniqueness of the Holocaust".

The Christian Democrats have faced allegations in the past about members having links to the extreme right.

'Perpetrators'

Mr Hohmann had earlier refused to withdraw his remarks made in a 3 October speech but only released this week.

He had compared the killings in Russia's violent 1917 revolution, which he said were orchestrated by Jews, with the murder of Europe's Jews during the Holocaust of World War II.

German MP Martin Hohmann
It was not my intention to characterise the Jews as a nation of perpetrators. If a different impression has arisen, I emphatically apologise and am sorry if I have hurt feelings
Martin Hohmann 's apology

According to a transcript of his speech on the website of his local CDU branch in Neuhof, Mr Hohmann said: "Jews were active in great numbers in the leadership as well as in the Cheka [Soviet secret police] firing squads.

"Thus one could describe Jews with some justification as a Taetervolk [a race of perpetrators].

"That may sound horrible. But it would follow the same logic with which one describes the Germans as a race of perpetrators."

However, he went on to say: "Neither the Germans nor the Jews are a race of perpetrators".

The speech has since been taken off the site.

Jewish leaders threatened to take legal action against the MP who continued to defend his remarks.

However, in a statement on Saturday, Mr Hohmann said: "It was not my intention to characterise the Jews as a nation of perpetrators."

"If a different impression has arisen, I emphatically apologise and am sorry if I have hurt feelings."

The head of Germany's Jewish community, Paul Spiegel, had described Mr Hohmann's speech as "reaching into the lowest drawer of disgusting anti-Semitism".

The BBC's Ray Furlong in Berlin says any criticism of Jewish people is still a taboo in Germany, which makes this incident extremely embarrassing for Mr Hohmann's party.

CDU leader Angela Merkel had made it clear Mr Hohmann's words were "completely unacceptable and intolerable, and we distance ourselves from them absolutely".




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Juliet Dunlop
"The party has been quick to distance itself from his comments"



SEE ALSO:
Russia's revolution 85 years on
06 Nov 02  |  Europe
Timeline: Russia
22 Oct 03  |  Country profiles


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