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Last Updated: Monday, 3 November, 2003, 14:42 GMT
Jewish slur MP faces probe
German MP Martin Hohmann
Hohmann has apologised for his comments
German prosecutors have opened an inquiry into alleged anti-Semitic remarks by a member of parliament.

Christian Democrat Martin Hohmann compared the actions of Jews in the Russian revolution to those of the Nazis in the Holocaust.

In a storm of angry reaction he was forced on Saturday to apologise for the remarks, made during a speech in October.

But prosecutors on Monday announced their inquiry had been opened after a criminal complaint had been filed, alleging incitement, slander and disparaging the dead.

Prosecutors in the central city of Fulda, near the town where the speech was delivered, said the identify of the person who filed the complaint was not being made public, although reports said it was an individual from Bonn.

Jews at Auschwitz
Jewish groups were furious at the Holocaust comparison
The Central Council of Jews had earlier said it was planning to lodge a complaint.

The full text of Mr Hohmann's speech will now be examined by the prosecutors, before they decide whether to mount a full-scale inquiry, says prosecutors' spokesman Harry Wilke.

Mr Hohmann's comments drew angry reaction from Jewish leaders and widespread criticism.

'Innocent lambs'

He argued that while Germans still felt burdened by their Nazi past, others cast themselves as "innocent lambs" despite their own records - for example, the role of Jewish Bolsheviks in the 1917 Russian revolution.

"With a certain justification, one could ask in view of the millions killed in the first phase of the revolution about the 'guilt' of the Jews," Mr Hohmann said.

Blame should not be placed on the Germans for Nazi crimes or Jews for those of the Bolsheviks, but rather "the godless with their godless ideologies", he argued.

On Sunday Mr Hohmann was thrown off a parliamentary commission looking at compensation for Nazi-era forced labourers.

Leadership talks

Christian Democrat leaders were due to discuss the case on Monday. Critics have called for him to be suspended from the parliamentary group.

A German Government spokesman called the remarks "an unacceptable and intolerable gaffe".

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.




SEE ALSO:
German MP sorry for Jewish slur
01 Nov 03  |  Europe
Russia's revolution 85 years on
06 Nov 02  |  Europe
Timeline: Russia
22 Oct 03  |  Country profiles


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