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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 15:18 GMT
German general axed in Jewish row
Reinhard Guenzel
Guenzel is an 'isolated case' the defence ministry says
The head of Germany's special forces has been sacked for allegedly backing an MP who is accused of anti-Semitism.

Defence Minister Peter Struck fired Brigadier General Reinhard Guenzel for apparently praising MP Martin Hohmann.

Mr Hohmann has caused a national row with comments comparing the actions of Jews in the 1917 Russian revolution with those of the Nazis.

General Guenzel is said to have written to Mr Hohmann, praising his "courage".

Mr Struck insisted that General Guenzel's views were not widespread in the armed forces.

"This is about a lone, confused general who agreed with an even more confused statement made by a conservative member of parliament," he said.

Perpetrators

Mr Hohmann first sparked a furore when he suggested it might be possible to consider Jews as a "Taetervolk", or race of perpetrators, as Germans are seen, because of Jewish actions during the Bolshevik revolution.

In an interview for ZDF's Frontal 21 programme this weekend Mr Hohmann, an MP for the opposition right-wing Christian Democrats (CDU), read out the letter of support from General Guenzel.

"It was an excellent speech, of a courage truth and clarity which one seldom hears or reads in our country," Mr Hohmann quoted the letter as saying.

"Even though all those who support this view or who articulate it loud and clear are categorised by public opinion as right-wing extremists, you can be sure that you are doubtless speaking for the majority of our nation," he also quoted the general as writing.

The KSK special forces, which General Guenzel headed, are the elite branch of the German military and have recently seen action in Afghanistan.

Investigation

German prosecutors have launched an investigation into Mr Hohmann's speech after a criminal complaint against him was filed.

He has apologised for his comments, saying that neither Germans nor Jews were "Taetervolk".

The CDU has thrown him off two parliamentary commissions - though critics say that this is not punishment enough.




SEE ALSO:
German MP sorry for Jewish slur
01 Nov 03  |  Europe
Jewish slur MP faces probe
03 Nov 03  |  Europe



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