Category Archives: Germany

Anchor Opinion (FT) Liberalism’s most brilliant enemy is back in vogue – Gideon Rachman

Anchor Opinion

Disgusting but not to be ignored in order to be prepared to fight it.

This revival of interest in the ideas of Carl Schmitt, “the crown jurist of the Third Reich”is certainly not a good omen in the strange World with no values we live in. 

As the Medieval Catholic formula for exorcism says,(recorded in a 1415 manuscript found in the Benedictine Metten Abbey in Bavaria), VADE RETRO SATANA!

(Go back, Satan or Step back, Satan)!

Nazis ?

Over my dead body!

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(FT) Liberalism’s most brilliant enemy is back in vogue

Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt appeals to opponents of democracy and the rule of law
Gideon Rachman

(DW) German hacker behind massive political data leak identified

(DW) German authorities say a 20-year-old, acting alone, was behind a huge leak of personal data concerning leading politicians and celebrities. The man has confessed, but questions remain about German cybersecurity.

Tastatur und Bildschirm mit Programmiercode und Binärcode (picture-alliance/K. Ohlenschläger)

Germany’s investigative police force, the BKA, has arrested the hacker responsible for what some have called one of the largest data leaks in Germany’s history. The 20-year-old from the western German state of Hesse could now face charges of stealing and illegally publishing private data.

“The suspect was questioned on January 7 by the responsible prosecutor and BKA officials,” the BKA announced in a statement. “He extensively confessed to the accusations against him and provided helpful information beyond his own crimes.”

According to the BKA, the suspect said he was acting alone, and there are no indications of anyone else or any foreign state being involved. The BKA said the suspect had indicated he was motivated by “anger at the public statements of the politicians, journalists and public figures concerned.”

The published material included personal data from Chancellor Angela Merkel and other political leaders, celebrities and journalists. Hundreds of politicians from all political parties except the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) were affected.

But BKA President Holger Münch said authorities were not treating the hack as a political crime and that the suspect had no known ties to right-wing extremism in Germany.

The BKA said the suspect’s apartment had been searched on Sunday, after which he was taken into custody. The home of a 19-year-old man in Heilbronn, a town north of Stuttgart, who had contact with the hacker was also searched. He is cooperating with authorities as a witness.

Read more: The top 10 mistakes that make life easy for hackers

Berlin: Seehofer at press conference

The hacks have increased the pressure on Interior Minister Seehofer (right)

The authorities’ performance

At a press conference with Münch and the head of the government’s IT security agency, Arne Schönbohm, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the identity of the suspect had been known since Sunday.

“In important matters like this, we do our job,” Seehofer insisted, most likely in response to detractors in the political opposition, who had accused him of not taking the hack seriously enough.

Seehofer said attempts had been made to delete the stolen data immediately after the leak became known late on January 3, and that the Interior Ministry had advised members of the German parliament on what to do about the hack. He said authorities had worked “very well, very quickly and very efficiently.”

Münch added that a task force had initially been set up under the assumption that the hack was more extensive than it was. The sole suspect, he said, had been located within 48 hours of the leak becoming known, and authorities had succeeded in preventing the data from being further disseminated.

Schönbohm characterized the hack as “remarkable” in terms of the prominence of the victims, but played down the significance of the data.

Whether these explanations will be enough to take the heat off Seehofer personally remains to be seen. The spectacle of Germany’s highest security organs breathlessly pursuing a 20-year-old, who by all accounts is no elite IT professional, for the better part of a week can hardly assuage public fears that the government’s digital infrastructure isn’t up to scratch. 

Smartphone (imago/photothek/T. Trutschel)

Authorities said stronger passwords could help keep hackers at bay

‘Absolute security’

The German government has repeatedly been targeted by hacks in recent years, and calls for Seehofer to resign over his handling of this and other issues are growing louder. The minister stressed that most victims had very little sensitive data stolen.

“The incident was certainly personally painful for those affected, but it doesn’t reflect a new security situation,” Seehofer said, adding that an “early warning system” and better public education would be important steps toward solving the problem.

Seehofer, Münch and Schönbohm all underscored the need for people, including politicians, to handle their data carefully and responsibly.

“We can promise to do everything we can, but we cannot promise absolute cybersecurity,” Seehofer said, adding that he was “amazed” at the sort of inadequate passwords people used.

Robert Habeck (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Rehder)

Greens co-leader Robert Habeck had private family chats leaked

Holiday leaks

The data leaked in December included personal phone numbers and addresses, internal party documents and credit card details. It was published online via Twitter accounts. 

On Tuesday, Deputy Interior Minister Stephan Mayer said government networks had not been breached in the attack.

“One bit of positive news is that government networks are apparently not affected by this or these hacker attacks,” Mayer said. “But it’s clear that we as the federal government … must do more to improve cybersecurity.”

Read more: Six hack attacks that shook the world

The documents were published online in December in the form of an advent calendar with one post per day from the @_0rbit account, which appears to have gone unnoticed until the first week of January, when it was closed down. The account attracted 18,000 followers.

(WP) Art stolen by the Nazis is still missing. Here’s how we can recover it.


“Monuments Man” James Rorimer, with notepad, supervises U.S. soldiers as they carry paintings down the steps of the castle in Neuschwanstein, Germany, in May 1945. (AP)By Stuart E. EizenstatJanuary 2 at 6:06 PM

Stuart E. Eizenstat was under secretary of state and special representative of the president and secretary of state on Holocaust-era issues in the Clinton administration and is expert adviser to the State Department on Holocaust-era issues in the Trump administration.

During World War II, the Nazis looted some 600,000 paintings from Jews, at least 100,000 of which are still missing. The looting was not only designed to enrich the Third Reich but also integral to the Holocaust’s goal of eliminating all vestiges of Jewish identity and culture. The Allies warned neutral nations in the 1943 London Declaration against trafficking in Nazi-looted art. Art experts, the storied “ Monuments Men ,” were embedded in the liberating U.S. Army. The looted wealth they preserved was returned to the countries where it had been stolen in the expectation that the original owners or their heirs would receive it. That hope was misplaced: Most items were sold or incorporated into public and private collections, lost to their rightful owners.

Decades later, in December 1998, we started to change that. Forty-four countries committed to the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Artthat I negotiated for identifying, publishing and ultimately restoring the looted art through negotiation. To achieve a consensus, we had to permit nations to act within their own laws, and appealed to their moral conscience to adopt a “just and fair solution.” Many felt these nonbinding principles would be ineffectual. They were wrong, but the lack of legal requirement has created barriers we have yet to fully overcome.

The principles were an overdue but vital first step. Philippe de Montebello, then-head of New York’s Metropolitan Museum, correctly forecast that after the Washington Principles “the art world would never be the same.” During the past 20 years, galleries, dealers and museums began researching paintings that had passed through European hands between 1933 and 1945 to spot suspicious gaps in their provenance or chain of ownership. With the Internet, suspected Nazi-looted art is increasingly being posted on websites. Almost 30,000 works from their collections have been posted by 179 members of the American Alliance of Museums on a portal, a single point of contact for potential claimants to find their Nazi-looted art.

Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain have created advisory commissions to resolve disputed claims. Austria has returned more than 30,000 artworks, books and cultural objects, and Germany has restituted more than 16,000 from its public museums and libraries. Christie’s and Sotheby’s maintain full-time staffs to implement the Washington Principles, and both auction houses decline to deal in art with suspicious Holocaust-era histories. Christie’s has successfully resolved more than 200 claims over the past 20 years. In 2009, the principles were strengthened by the Terezin Declaration, when 46 countries, led by the United States, agreed to extend the Washington Principles to include “public and private institutions” and broaden the meaning of confiscated art to include “forced sales and sales under duress” for Jewish families desperately needing money to escape Nazi Germany.

There have been painful disappointments. Russia and a handful of other European nations that supported the Washington Principles have largely ignored or barely implemented them. Provenance research is a low priority in Europe’s public museums and nonxistent in its private collections; looted art still trades in the European market with little hindrance. Deaccession laws prevent public museums from returning art under any circumstances.

Fortunately, the Washington Principles continue to exert a moral force. With bipartisan support, Congress in 2016 created a unique federal statute of limitations preempting other defenses related to the passage of time and providing six years to file a claim only after a claimant has discovered the identity and location of the artwork. In 2018, Congress passed another law instructing the State Department to report on the restitution record of all 46 countries that endorsed the Terezin Declaration. And in late November, more than 1,000 representatives and stakeholders from more than 10 countries gathered in Berlin for three days to measure our progress after 20 years and chart a road map for next steps. The Trump administration sent Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Thomas Yazdgerdi and me to recommit to the international effort to return these personal and cultural treasures to the families to which they belong. We know this is the work of more than any single administration, indeed more than any single generation.

France has just given the prime minister’s office new authority to resolve claims and facilitate restitution. Cooperation has begun between major German and American museums. Germany has significantly increased funding for provenance research and set a goal to complete a comprehensive database of its federal museums by 2020. Germany will no longer permit its federal museums to block claims for restitution simply by refusing to participate in mediation. Germany and France announced initiatives to review art taken from their former colonies, and the European Parliament is considering legislation to endorse the Washington Principles and develop rules for cultural objects stolen in future conflicts.

No self-respecting government, art dealer, private collector, museum or auction house should trade in or possess art stolen by the Nazis. We must all recommit to faithfully implementing the Washington Principles before Holocaust survivors breathe their last breath. We owe it not only to those who lost so much in the Holocaust but also to our own sense of moral justice.

(ZH) Angela Merkel: Nation States Must “Give Up Sovereignty” To New World Order

(ZH) SNation states must today be prepared to give up their sovereignty”, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told an audience in Berlin that sovereign nation states must not listen to the will of their citizens when it comes to questions of immigration, borders, or even sovereignty.

No this wasn’t something Adolf Hitler said many decades ago, this is what German Chancellor Angela Merkel told attendants at an event by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin. Merkel has announced she won’t seek re-election in 2021 and it is clear she is attempting to push the globalist agenda to its disturbing conclusion before she stands down.

In an orderly fashion of course,” Merkel joked, attempting to lighten the mood. But Merkel has always had a tin ear for comedy and she soon launched into a dark speech condemning those in her own party who think Germany should have listened to the will of its citizens and refused to sign the controversial UN migration pact:

There were [politicians] who believed that they could decide when these agreements are no longer valid because they are representing The People”.

[But] the people are individuals who are living in a country, they are not a group who define themselves as the [German] people,” she stressed.

Merkel has previously accused critics of the UN Global Compact for Safe and Orderly Migration of not being patriotic, saying “That is not patriotism, because patriotism is when you include others in German interests and accept win-win situations”.

Her words echo recent comments by the deeply unpopular French President Emmanuel Macron who stated in a Remembrance Day speech that “patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism [because] nationalism is treason.”

The French president’s words were deeply unpopular with the French population and his approval rating nosedived even further after the comments.

Macron, whose lack of leadership is proving unable to deal with growing protests in France, told the Bundestag that France and Germany should be at the center of the emerging New World Order.

The Franco-German couple [has]the obligation not to let the world slip into chaos and to guide it on the road to peace”.

Europe must be stronger… and win more sovereignty,” he went on to demand, just like Merkel, that EU member states surrender national sovereignty to Brussels over “foreign affairs, migration, and development” as well as giving “an increasing part of our budgets and even fiscal resources”.

(Reuters) Merkel’s party votes for new leader, and new era in Germany

(Reuters) Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats vote on Friday to decide who replaces her as party leader and moves into pole position to succeed her as German chancellor.

HAMBURG: Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats vote on Friday to decide who replaces her as party leader and moves into pole position to succeed her as German chancellor.

The frontrunners are Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a Merkel protege seen as the continuity candidate, and Friedrich Merz, a Merkel rival who has questioned the constitutional guarantee of asylum to all “politically persecuted” and believes Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, should contribute more to the European Union.

Merkel said in October she would step down as party chief but remain chancellor, an effort to manage her exit after a series of setbacks since her divisive decision in 2015 to keep German borders open to refugees fleeing war in the Middle East.

The new CDU leader will be chosen by 1,001 delegates who vote at a party congress in Hamburg. The winner will likely lead the CDU in the next federal election due by October 2021.

A survey by pollster Infratest dimap for broadcaster ARD on Thursday showed 47 percent of CDU members favoured Kramp-Karrenbauer compared with 37 percent for Merz and 12 percent for Health Minister Jens Spahn.

Merz, 63, who lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002 and is returning to politics after a decade in business, is backed by CDU members tired of Merkel’s consensual politics. He won support this week from party veteran Wolfgang Schaeuble.


Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, a Merkel ally, said: “I am convinced that with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer we have the best chance of the CDU winning an election,” adding she would be the most dangerous candidate to face the centre-left Social Democrats and the ecologist Greens.

Kramp-Karrenbauer’s trump card is her record as former state premier in Saarland, where she led a broad coalition with the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats, alliance-building skills useful in Germany’s fractured political landscape.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, 56, has differentiated herself from Merkel on social and foreign policy by voting in favour of quotas for women on corporate boards, opposed by Merkel, and by taking a tougher line on Russia.

She told Reuters last week Europe and the United States should consider blockading Russian ships over the Ukraine crisis.

But on what lies ahead for the CDU, Kramp-Karrenbauer says: “I have no particular recipe.”

By contrast, Merz takes clear positions that appeal to rank-and-file party members hungry for a more clearly defined party after 13 years under Merkel as chancellor. He wants tax cuts, a stronger EU and a more robust approach to challenging the far-right.

Merz will benefit from the fact that 296 of the delegates at the congress – almost a third – will be from his home state, the western region of North Rhine-Westphalia.

One senior CDU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said many delegates were undecided before the congress and could be swayed by how the candidates present themselves on Friday. “It could come down to the speeches on the day,” he said.

(BBC) Deutsche Bank headquarters raided over money laundering


Police cars outside Deutsche Bank officesImage copyrightREUTERS

The Frankfurt headquarters of Deutsche Bank have been raided by prosecutors in a money laundering investigation.

Germany’s public prosecutor alleged that two staff members have helped clients launder money from criminal activities.

Police cars were seen outside the tower blocks that house the headquarters of Germany’s biggest bank.

Other Deutsche offices in the city were searched in an operation involving about 170 police and officials.

Prosecutors are looking into whether Deutsche Bank staff helped clients set up off-shore accounts to “transfer money from criminal activities”.

The investigation was sparked by revelations in the 2016 “Panama Papers” – an enormous amount of information leaked from one of the world’s most secretive companies, a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca.

Other banks, including Sweden’s Nordea and Germany’s Handelsbanken have been fined as a result of information contained in the Panama Papers.

Deutsche Bank shares fell 3% after news of the raid emerged. The company confirmed that police had raided several locations in Germany and that it was co-operating fully with the probe.

Paperwork and electronic documents were seized by officials during the raids on the bank’s properties.


(EurActiv) Germany proposes tough conditions for ‘European IMF’


(L-R) President of the Eurogroup, Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, Italian Minister of Economy and Finance Giovanni Tria and European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici at the start of the Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg, 1 October 2018. [Julien Warnand/EPA/EFE]

Germany’s plans for a “European Monetary Fund” to help eurozone states in difficulty would set strict eligibility criteria that shut out those who are failing to tackle high national debt.

Many euro zone governments want the existing European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to be built up into a more robust bailout fund to help tackle future crises on the scale of the post-2008 Greek debt crisis, but ideas differ greatly.

Germany’s Constitution Court today (12 September) rejected efforts to block the European Stability Mechanism – the eurozone’s €500-billion  bailout fund – paving the way for the country’s ratification of the fiscal compact.

According to German Finance Ministry proposals seen by Reuters, the fund would be accessible without strings only to countries that had experienced an “asymmetric economic shock outside their political control”.

The proposals, first reported by the newspaper Die Zeit on Wednesday (21 November), do envisage a role for the fund in helping heavily indebted states out of crisis, a task currently carried out by the European Commission. But this would take the form of a more stringent “macro-economic adjustment programme with ex-post conditionality”.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has traditionally been among the European Union’s most fiscally hawkish members, and the new proposals sit squarely in that tradition.

The euro ‘hawks’ want bigger say for crisis fund in cuts and reforms

The so-called Hanseatic League of EU countries called for a “strict conditionality” and more powers for the European Stability Mechanism over those countries requesting assistance to avert a full-blown crisis.

Making the fund available to countries with unsound finances would risk creating “moral hazard”, the document says, “where low-interest ESM loans are misused to postpone necessary budgetary adjustments and structural reforms”.

To qualify for no-strings assistance, the country would need to have a budget deficit below 3% of GDP and a public debt below 60% of economic output – or else show that it had cut its public debt by 0.5 percentage point of GDP in each of the three previous years.

Eurozone finance ministers are expected to agree by the end of the year on how they want to develop the zone’s financial stabilisation funds.

Italy, which had a debt-to-GDP ratio of 131% in 2017, is often described as a country whose $2 trillion economy is large enough to endanger the entire region’s economic stability if it ever entered a serious debt crisis.

The European Commission took the first step on Wednesday toward disciplining Italy over its 2019 budget, which Brussels said would not reduce the debt mountain.

The European Commission hedged its bets and called for the opening of an excessive deficit procedure against Italy on Wednesday (21 November) as Rome refused once again to revise its draft budget plan.

The row, triggered by the expansionary policies of Rome’s new eurosceptic government, has hammered the value of Italian bonds, and also the share price of Italian banks that hold large quantities of those bonds, unnerving Italy’s eurozone partners.

(BBG) France and Germany Said to Warn EU Not to Let U.K. Claim Victory

(BBG) Germany and France have privately warned the European Union to do more to prevent the U.K. from being able to claim victory in Brexit talks, according to EU diplomats.

In meetings over recent days, the EU’s most powerful governments expressed fears the bloc is giving too much away in the charge to get a deal. Confronting populist anti-EU forces across Europe, leaders want one last opportunity to show that leaving the bloc can’t be as advantageous as staying in, and some have called for stringent conditions to restrict the British economy, according to diplomats present in the talks.

As U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May prepares a flying visit to Brussels to meet EU chiefs this week, negotiators are finalizing a document that will form the basis of the two sides’ future relationship. The text, which falls a long way short of a full trade deal that some pro-Brexit ministers in the government once promised would be ready by now, is due to approved at a summit on Sunday.

EU officials said they are braced for a week of intense diplomacy between London, Brussels, Paris and Berlin. One of the concerns raised by diplomats from Germany was that May shouldn’t be able to get her so-called Chequers plan accepted “through the backdoor.” Earlier this year, the EU rejected the economic proposals of the plan because they didn’t do enough to stop the U.K. having a competitive advantage.

Brexit Consequences

France is leading a group of countries pushing the EU to include a string of conditions as part of agreements on future ties. France’s ambassador told the European Commission in a meeting on Sunday that the EU needs to reiterate that “Brexit should have consequences.”

“We do not want to reopen the agreement but we will be very vigilant about its implementation,” French European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau told reporters in Brussels. “We will be very attentive to the political declaration on the future relationship, on the issues of fair competition.”

One of France’s key demands is that the U.K. commit itself to sticking to the EU’s tough environment standards, even if the EU makes them stricter after Brexit. It also wants Britain to sign up to so-called level playing field restrictions in areas of labor law, state aid and taxation as well as a pledge to allow European fishing vessels access to British waters.

Conditions Attached

Other countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, are making their own demands. While they’ll back plans to offer the U.K. an “ambitious” free-trade deal, they’ve warned that the deeper it is, the more conditions could be attached. They’ve suggested that conditions to ensure that Britain can’t undercut the European economy could also cover services, according to one diplomat.

In the meetings with governments, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, cautioned against piling more conditions onto the U.K. for fear that it would open the way for Britain to push to reopen the divorce treaty that both sides declared done last week, according to the diplomats.

(EUobserver) Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem

(EUobserver) German chancellor Angela Merkel personally intervened and called Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis in April urging him to stop plans by Romania’s social-democrat lead government to move Romania’s embassy to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post reports that Merkel also called other European politicians as part of a campaign to block the relocation of European embassies to Jerusalem. The US relocated its embassy to Jerusalem in May.

(ZH) Under Pressure From Trump, Germany Boosts Military Spending 

(ZHGermany has given its military a 5.7 billion Euro ($6.5 billion USD) boost after Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen refused to sign off on the previous draft, reports Reuters.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Monday proposed adding 5.7 billion euros (£5 billion) to the planned military budget from 2020, to buy more ships, fighter jets and other weaponry over several years, on top of a more modest 323 million euro boost in 2019. –Reuters

Eurofighter Typhoon​​​​​

The boost in spending comes amid pressure from US President Donald Trump, who has encouraged Germany to increase its military budget to 2% of its 3.67 trillion (USD) GDP from its current 1.2% – a proposal which has sparked great debate within the country’s ruling coalition. The United States spends approximately 3.1% of its much larger 19.39 trillion GDP on the military.

Experts say the military budget – now slated to reach around 43 billion euros in 2019 – would have to increase by 2 billion euros a year through 2021 and 3 billion euros a year after that even to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel’s promise to hit 1.5 percent of GDP by 2024.

It was not immediately clear how the extra funding, set out in a 290-page list of proposed budget revisions seen by Reuters, would affect the military budget’s share of GDP. –Reuters

Coalition split

Von der Leyen of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party would like to satisfy long-standing shortfalls in the German military’s personnel and equipment.

Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats, however, have been hesitant to increase military spending out of fear of alienating German voters as their polling numbers “are collapsing,” according to Reuters.

The new revisions first reported in part by the Handelsblatt newspaper will be a topic of debate during this week’s parliament meeting, and is subject to changes by the budget committee.

The document called for 5.6 billion euros to be spent on a new heavy-lift helicopter whose funding had been called into question, a sign that a formal competition will likely proceed next year between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. –Reuters

The budget also envisions additional spending on the new MKS180 multi-role warship, along with brand new Eurofighter Typhoon jets and the TLVS missile defense program which will be built by European munitions maker MBDA in conjunction with Lockheed.

MKS-180 warship illustration


(PUB) O pogrom da chamada “Noite de Cristal”, 9 e 10 de Novembro de 1938 – Irene Flunser Pimentel

(PUB) Há 80 anos, o pogrom de Novembro de 1938 acelerou a chegada de uma nova etapa na política anti-semita nazi.

Há 80 anos, na noite de 9 para 10 de Novembro de 1938, teve lugar em diversas cidades da Alemanha e da Áustria um enorme pogrom contra os judeus, incentivado por uma parte dos dirigentes nazis. Esse terrível acontecimento representou um ponto de viragem na política anti-semita nazi, que passou das discriminações e da definição dos judeus à “emigração”/expulsão dos territórios do Reich, bem como o sequestro e “arianização” da sua propriedade. Já existente na Europa, a vaga de refugiados judeus saídos dos territórios da Alemanha nazi aumentou de forma avassaladora.

É hoje em geral aceite entre os historiadores o facto de o caminho para o Holocausto – ou a Shoah – ter procedido por etapas cada vez mais radicalizadas, sem caminho de recuo. A política anti-semita teve, assim, um carácter cumulativo, progredindo desde a discriminação profissional até ao extermínio dos judeus europeus. Nos anos 60 do século XX, o historiador Raul Hilberg enumerou essas diversas etapas, referindo que, após as primeiras discriminações, a definição dos judeus e a sua expropriação, ocorreriam a deportação, a concentração em guetos e o extermínio.

Ao colocar o anti-semitismo no centro da sua ideologia e prática, o regime hitleriano apelou ao boicote ao comércio judaico, em 1 de Abril de 1933, prosseguindo com a exclusão dos judeus das profissões liberais e da função pública. Em 1935, as Leis de Nuremberga atribuíram um estatuto de cidadania e de “sangue” diferente aos judeus. A partir de 1938, a política anti-semita nazi consistiu na expulsão da função pública, na espoliação/arianização dos bens e na emigração forçada dos judeus dos territórios alemães. Esse ano de 1938 foi particularmente doloroso para os judeus alemães, austríacos, polacos, checos e italianos.

Com o chamado Anschluss (“integração” ou “reunificação”, para os nazis, “anexação”, para outros) da Áustria no Terceiro Reich, em 12 de Março de 1938, 190.000 judeus austríacos passaram a estar sob o domínio alemão e, até Setembro de 1938, cerca de 50.000 “emigraram”. Em 16 de Abril, Göring emitiu um decreto obrigando os judeus a registarem os seus bens e anunciou o objectivo de expulsar todos os judeus da vida económica. A procura de países de refúgio na Europa e noutros continentes levou o Presidente norte-americano Roosevelt a convocar a conferência de Évian, cidade termal francesa, realizada entre 6 e 15 de Julho, para “gerir” a “inundação” de judeus.

Com a presença de países europeus e da América Latina, a conferência foi reveladora de que aqueles iriam enveredar por uma política restritiva de entrada de refugiados judeus, e ter-se-á tornado então claro também para Hitler que ninguém iria “mexer uma palha” para recebê-los. Portugal, no seu isolacionismo, não participou em Évian, mas Salazar, não por acaso também ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros, informou-se sobre a introdução dessa legislação restritiva, junto das suas representações diplomáticas. De Oslo veio a informação da introdução de vistos para a entrada na Noruega, excepto para os escandinavos. Também na Suécia, os alemães e austríacos “de religião judaica” ou que não pudessem regressar aos “seus países por motivos políticos ou em virtude das leis de raça” só poderiam entrar com visto.

Inspirando-se nessas leis, o Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros (MNE) português estipulou, através da circular n.º 10, de 28 de Outubro de 1938, que os “emigrantes judeus” passavam a necessitar de vistos “de turismo” com a validade de 30 dias, para entrar em Portugal. Essa ordem abrangia pela primeira vez um vasto grupo específico de candidatos à entrada no país que se tornara visível a partir do momento em que a Alemanha começara a carimbar com a letra “J” os passaportes dos judeus, passando assim a especificar quais eram os “emigrantes”, impossibilitados de regressar ao país de origem.

Mas o ano de 1938 continuou a ser trágico em termos de acontecimentos que dificultaram a vida aos refugiados. Na conferência de Munique, realizada em 29 de Setembro de 1938, na qual a França e a Grã-Bretanha, através dos appeasers Daladier e Chamberlain, cederam a Hitler e a Mussolini, foi dada luz verde aos projectos expansionistas do governo nazi na zona dos Sudetas, na Checoslováquia. Por seu lado, o governo polaco estipulou que os compatriotas judeus a viverem no estrangeiro havia mais de cinco anos tinham de renovar o seu passaporte para entrarem no país; caso contrário perdiam a nacionalidade.

Encarando este diploma polaco como uma tentativa para retirar ao Terceiro Reich e à Áustria possibilidade de reenviar para a Polónia os cerca de 50.000 judeus polacos residentes em território alemão, a Gestapo ordenou a prisão de 17.000 daqueles. Conduzidos à fronteira germano-polaca, foram expulsos, mas a Polónia aceitou apenas cerca de 10.000. Foi então que um jovem judeu polaco, de uma família judia-polaca expulsa da Alemanha nessas condições, Herzel Grynzspan, feriu mortalmente a tiro um diplomata alemão, da Embaixada em Paris, Ernst von Rath, que acabou por morrer.

Na sequência deste atentado, uma onda anti-semita varreu a Alemanha. Numa procura de ganhar influência junto de Hitler, que permaneceu numa sombra de concordância, o ministro da Propaganda Joseph Goebbels aproveitou para incitar a SS e os membros do partido nazi a atacarem os judeus no espaço público. De 9 para 10 de Novembro de 1938, na “Noite de Cristal”, nomenclatura dada pelos próprios nazis devido aos vidros partidos das 7500 lojas judaicas, destruídas em todo o Reich, foram ainda destruídas 267 sinagogas e incendiadas outras 1919, queimados 11 centros comunitários, bem como atacadas 171 casas e 20 grandes armazéns de judeus.

Os actos de violência prolongaram-se por vários dias, percorrendo todo o país, perante o silêncio da maioria da população e até das próprias Igrejas que se abstiveram de criticar publicamente os ataques. Cerca de 91 judeus foram assassinados, centenas suicidaram-se e 800 morreram em campos de concentração, onde foram encarcerados enquanto reféns mais de 26.000, na Alemanha, e 6500, na Áustria. Dado que estas detenções eram destinadas a forçar os judeus a “emigrar” dos territórios alemães, aqueles que asseguraram a partida acabaram por ser libertados.

Para forçar a “emigração” dos judeus, foram também postas em prática diversas outras medidas que se juntaram às já existentes discriminações. A 12 de Novembro, um decreto de Göring excluiu os judeus da vida económica alemã, proibindo-os de administrarem lojas e de colocarem bens e serviços nos mercados. Os judeus deixaram de poder possuir terrenos, edifícios, meios de transporte, bens preciosos e artísticos ou acções, além de deixarem de ter acesso à assistência social e à habitação, bem como ficarem impedidos de frequentar teatros, cinemas ou universidades.

Os nazis ordenaram, entre outras medidas iníquas, que as indemnizações pagas pelas seguradoras alemãs aos proprietários do património destruído na “Noite de Cristal” revertessem para o governo alemão, decidindo que seriam as próprias vítimas a pagar os danos sofridos. Um decreto de Göring sobre as reparações dos judeus de nacionalidade alemã determinou que estes deveriam pagar uma contribuição de um bilião de RM ao Reich. Em Fevereiro de 1939, todos os judeus residentes na Alemanha e na Áustria que “quisessem” partir teriam de contribuir com 0,5% a 10% do valor das suas posses e com um “imposto de fuga”. O pogrom de Novembro de 1938 acelerou assim a chegada de uma nova etapa na política anti-semita nazi: a da “emigração”/expulsão dos judeus dos territórios alemães e, no final desse ano, 30% dos judeus alemães, austríacos, checos, polacos e dos Sudetas já haviam “escolhido” o caminho da “emigração”.

O processo de radicalização anti-semita acelerar-se-ia depois, com a invasão da Polónia. Em 21 de Setembro de 1939, o dirigente SS Reinhard Heydrich, da Gestapo/SD, estabeleceu, relativamente aos judeus polacos, uma distinção entre “medidas de conjunto” e “medidas preliminares” de reagrupamento provisório nas grandes cidades, para “transferência ulterior”. Por seu turno, o chefe SS e de todas as polícias nazis, Heinrich Himmler, ordenou, em 30 de Outubro, a deportação dos judeus da Polónia para o Governo-Geral, sob a autoridade de Hans Frank. Essa política levou à criação de guetos, sendo o de Lodz o primeiro, em Dezembro de 1939.

É também em geral aceite a ideia de que o Holocausto está relacionado com a operação Barbarossa, de guerra total na URSS, iniciada em 22 de Junho de 1941, sobretudo devido à ordem de execução dos comissários soviéticos (Komissarbefehl) e à criação dos Einsatzgruppen, que seguiam os exércitos alemães no leste, responsáveis pelo assassinato de dois milhões de pessoas, na sua maioria judeus. Em 14 de Outubro, foi ordenada pelos nazis a deportação dos judeus do território do Reich para os guetos de leste e, no dia 23, Himmler proibiu a emigração dos judeus dos territórios ocupados pela Alemanha, impedindo assim a fuga dos judeus dos territórios ocupados pela Alemanha. No final de 1941, a “solução final do problema judaico” já não passava pela “emigração”, fecho em guetos e deportações, mas pelo extermínio dos judeus europeus, levado a cabo a céu aberto ou em camiões ou nos centros e campos de extermínio de Chelmno, Belzec, Treblinka, Sobibor, Maidanek e Auschwitz-Birkenau.

(DW) German police raid BlackRock offices

(DW) BlackRock controls trillions of dollars of assets and has now been caught up in the monumental cum-ex tax scandal. The investment funds involvement has particular significance for the German government.

Blackrock logo

German investigators raided the offices of finance giant BlackRock on Tuesday, several media outlets reported.

The raid is part of the country’s biggest post-war fraud investigation, known as the cum-ex scandal.

BlackRock said it was cooperating fully with investigators. Its chairman for Germany, Friedrich Merz, told he had ordered management to “investigate all instances and make documents available to authorities.”

What is the cum-ex scandal? The scandal came to light in 2016 when it emerged that several German banks had exploited a legal loophole which allowed two parties simultaneously to claim ownership of the same shares. This contrived “dual ownership” allowed both parties to then claim tax rebates even though both were not entitled to it. The scandal cost taxpayers billions of euros.

The Day – Tax Scam

What is BlackRock? It is a vast investment management organization that oversees more than $6.4 trillion (€5.6 trillion) in assets — putting it on par with the world’s third biggest GDP. BlackRock is also the biggest stockholder on the German DAX blue chip market index. On top of asset management, it also advises central banks, financial ministries, big investors like state funds, pension funds, insurance companies and foundations.

What is the significance for German politics? The raids could make things tricky for chairman Merz. The Christian Democrat politician is a leading candidate to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel as party leader when she steps down. The scandal predates Merz’s time at the company, however, the Greens have seized upon the raids to question the government’s commitment to prosecuting those involved.

(WSJ) How Angela Merkel Foiled a Backroom Coup in One Late Display of Clout

(WSJBy taking herself out of the running to lead the ruling party, the German chancellor dragged its succession process into the light for the first time in decades

BERLIN—The era of Angela Merkel was clearly coming to an end a week ago, and Wolfgang Schäuble was prepared to jump in. An elder statesman and veteran of German political battles, he had been secretly developing a succession plan, typical of changes-of-guard in the ruling party.

Then last Monday, Ms. Merkel dragged the party’s succession process into the light for the first time in decades.

By taking herself out of the running for her post as party chairwoman, she pulled the rug out from under the small group of men engineering the post-Merkel era, and cued up a rare public race for her crown—an open contest that looks set to redraw the political contours of the country and Europe in ways few anticipated.

Ms. Merkel had managed to pull off one late coup even in her moment of weakness, with a maneuver that leaves her with more control of the outcome—and of the terms of her departure—than if she had left the succession to her party.

Mr. Schäuble, speaker of the Bundestag, parliament’s lower house, had spent weeks working on a transition plan, anticipating a trouncing for his and Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union at a regional electionon Sunday, Oct. 28. He had coached an old rival of Ms. Merkel’s and rallied supporters in a bid to replace her atop the conservative party she had chaired for almost two decades.

Wolfgang Schäuble glancing at Ms. Merkel last month during a service in the Berlin Cathedral on German Day of Unity. PHOTO: FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

Critics of Ms. Merkel in CDU leadership were planning to confront her by Sunday, Nov. 4, with their plan for her to surrender the reins, and they were expecting resistance, according to several people familiar with the plan.

Ms. Merkel was quicker. On Monday, hours after the last Hesse ballots were counted, leaving the CDU with its worst-ever score in the state, she told the party’s assembled leaders in Berlin she would remain chancellor but not run for the party’s chair in December.

In Germany, the chancellor leads the government. Most, including Ms. Merkel, have also headed their parties, taking authority over both state matters and their political troops. In rare cases where the roles have been split, power battles have almost always ensued, undermining the chancellor.

For decades, CDU-chairman successions have been the stuff of backroom deals. Only once in postwar history have two credible contenders publicly jostled for the chair, in 1971.

Ms. Merkel’s announcement surprised even many of her close lieutenants. Several European Union leaders, anxious about the prospect of political turmoil, flooded Ms. Merkel and her staff with inquiries about her plans, said a person familiar with the communications. Among them was French President Emmanuel Macron.

Almost immediately after Ms. Merkel’s announcement, three candidates had thrown their hats into the ring. Barring any upset—if one pulls out, say, to support another—they will square off during a ballot of 1,001 party delegates during the CDU’s annual convention in Hamburg on Dec. 7 and 8. They have four weeks to persuade CDU electors they can stop the group from hemorrhaging voters and reclaim its position as Germany’s party of power.

The candidates must lay out plans to tackle the issue that has fractured the country, how to deal with nearly two million immigrants who arrived after Ms. Merkel’s 2015 decision to open borders. They must answer pressing questions such as how to fix the flawed architecture of the euro currency, handle President Trump and contain a resurgent Russia.

This isn’t what the CDU veterans, most nearing or past retirement age, had in mind when they came together weeks ago to plan the party’s future. Mr. Schäuble, once Ms. Merkel’s boss as CDU chairman and, more recently, her finance minister, had begun pressing allies to consider his close friend Friedrich Merz as her successor, said people familiar with his thinking.

With the CDU’s poll ratings dropping, Ms. Merkel was unlikely to survive the December convention, Mr. Schäuble told a small group of acquaintances on Oct. 9. Mr. Merz, a former CDU grandee turned business lawyer, could turn the party’s fortunes around, Mr. Schäuble told them.

The next day, Mr. Merz was in Brussels quietly touting his bid to senior conservatives in EU institutions, according to one he spoke with. In the following weeks, Mr. Merz and his supporters went on a vote-gathering spree, sounding out regional CDU leaders in states with large numbers of convention delegates.

A spokesman for Mr. Schäuble said he rejects any impression he was part of a network aiming to bring about change in CDU leadership. Mr. Merz declined to comment.

Internal clash

Mr. Schäuble in 2000 was CDU chairman and parliamentary-group leader when his peripheral role in a party-funding scandal forced him to resign as Ms. Merkel took over the reins as chairwoman. He later was minister in three Merkel cabinets. But the conservative south German and the centrist chancellor never developed a warm rapport, according to people who know both. They address each other using the formal German “Sie” form and last names.

Mr. Schäuble’s choice of successor was intended to signal a rupture in several ways, people familiar with Mr. Merz’s bid said. A former rising star who had taken over from Mr. Schäuble as CDU parliamentary leader, Mr. Merz had repeatedly clashed with Ms. Merkel.

She pushed her party to the left, expanding its share of the political market and winning elections by embracing such policies as the abolition of military conscription, phasing out nuclear power, and the introduction of a minimum wage. Mr. Merz stood for solid, if often unpopular, pro-market policies and socially conservative values.

In 2002, two years after she became chairwoman, she ousted him from the powerful job of parliamentary-group leader and took his place. He left politics a few years later, focusing on his legal career. She became chancellor in 2005.

After Ms. Merkel scored her party’s worst post-World War II election result in September 2017 and talks collapsed to form a three-way coalition of conservatives, pro-marketers and environmentalists, Mr. Schäuble told the chancellor she should build a minority government, according to a person familiar with the episode. She instead revived her unpopular left-right coalition with the Social Democratic Party.

By early October 2018, the CDU’s poll ratings had fallen into the mid-20s, well off its already disastrous 32.9% score at the September 2017 general election. Sensing Ms. Merkel’s star was fading, Mr. Schäuble and other like-minded CDU officials became convinced her successor would have to represent a break with the past, a person familiar with his thinking said.

Mr. Schäuble told Mr. Merz the Hesse state election’s aftermath would be the time to launch his political comeback, this person said. As Mr. Merz rehearsed his political message—conservatism couched in moderate tones designed to appeal broadly—he discreetly began canvassing old CDU friends for support in mid-October, said a person familiar with his bid.

His network’s core was the Andes Pact, a group of male politicians, active and retired, wielding substantial influence in the party. Among them was Günther Oettinger, Germany’s representative at the European Commission. Mr. Oettinger discussed Mr. Merz’s candidacy early last month when Mr. Merz traveled to Brussels, said a person familiar with the exchange.

When the CDU executive board gathered in Berlin on Oct. 29 for a Hesse-election postmortem, Mr. Schäuble’s predictions about the importance of the ballot appeared vindicated. The party had dropped 11 points in the vote from the prior election, and calls for Ms. Merkel to pay the consequences were all over German media. Mr. Merz’s backers expected a denouement at a closed-door meeting of party top brass scheduled for week’s end.

They thought the chancellor, after some resistance, would be persuaded to give up the party chair. Mr. Merz—his bid until now out of public eye—would emerge as the leading candidate, just as backroom deals had worked over the decades. That would give him an advantage over another party member expected to put her hand up, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the CDU’s secretary-general.

Ms. Merkel’s ‘bomb’

Then, “as Merkel stood up and dropped the bomb, we looked at each other with Schäuble,” said one participant in the meeting, “and his look was speaking volumes”—a look, the person said, indicating Mr. Schäuble expected Mr. Merz to quickly make a public bid for the party leadership.

Mr. Merz almost immediately leaked the news of his comeback to the conservative Bild tabloid, in an effort to establish himself as successor, people familiar with the events said. But in the closed-door meeting, two other contenders—Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer and Jens Spahn, health minister—then also declared their candidacies. This, too, quickly leaked.

Speaking to journalists, a smiling Ms. Merkel said her succession was “now an open process.” Her decision not to seek re-election as chairwoman had matured during the summer, she said, after her fragile government had almost collapsed over proposed changes to immigration law.

A person close to her said Ms. Merkel had got wind of the Merz intrigue and didn’t want to fall victim to a palace coup.

Ms. Merkel is now a diminished figure who few experts believe can stay in the chancellery for another three years. “I would consider it a sheer miracle,” said Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a former defense minister who has remained friendly with her. “And I think it unlikely that the coalition will hold.”

Germany-watchers are scrutinizing the three candidates for hints of where they would take the country. Mr. Merz outlined a platform at a Wednesday press conference, declaring himself a “convinced European and trans-Atlanticist.” Mr. Merz, a senior counsel with U.S. law firm Mayer Brown and nonexecutive chairman of the German branch of BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest asset manager, reiterated his pro-business positions.

Asked about animosity toward Ms. Merkel—which some analysts think could make it difficult for her to remain chancellor should he become chairman—Mr. Merz said there was none.

Allies of Mr. Merz said his biggest challenge will come from Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer. The chancellor’s protégée, nicknamed “mini-Merkel” by the German press, has yet to outline her priorities. In private conversations, she has said voters’ anxieties about immigration should be taken seriously, signaling a possible shift from Ms. Merkel’s stance.

She is the former premier of tiny Saar state, a Catholic who presents herself as more socially conservative than Ms. Merkel. She has campaigned against legalizing same-sex marriage and enforced in her state compulsory age tests for asylum seekers claiming to be children.

“She is a successful premier and determined European,” said Elmar Brok, a member of the CDU’s top executive body. “Her chances are great.”

Her closeness to Ms. Merkel could be her weakness, said political scientist Oskar Niedermayer. Mr. Oettinger, who supports Mr. Merz, echoed the argument, saying “her political profile is perhaps not yet so clearly defined in the eyes of voters.”

Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer and Mr. Spahn declined to comment.

Mr. Spahn is the youngest candidate at 38. He was the first senior CDU official to criticize Ms. Merkel’s refugee policy and a rare government member to actively seek contact with people close to Mr. Trump. He held talks with Steve Bannon, then White House chief strategist, and with national security adviser John Bolton.

He has sought to appeal to traditional CDU voters. In an essay in the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine daily last week, he called immigration “the white elephant in the room.” By contrast, a video on his Facebook page appears tailored to a younger, YouTube-watching audience with fast cuts, upbeat soundtrack of rapid percussion and an optimistic message.

Whoever wins will likely determine not just the CDU’s political direction but also how long Ms. Merkel will stay in the chancellery. “With Kramp-Karrenbauer there can be a viable arrangement” between the chancellor and the CDU chairwoman,” said one Merkel aide. “With Merz, it would be very difficult. And Spahn is somewhere between the two.”

A poll published Oct. 31 found Mr. Merz the most popular, with 21.9% of respondents saying he was their choice. Mrs. Kramp-Karrenbauer followed with 16.2% and Mr. Spahn, with 8.2%. Nearly 23% of the surveyed believed none of them was a suitable replacement.

(Local) Polish president demands war reparations from Germany


Polish president demands war reparations from Germany
Polish President Andrzej Duda has called for reparations for the destruction of Poland during World War II. Photo: Bernd of Jutrczenka / dpa

The president of Poland repeated on Sunday his country’s demand for Germany to pay reparations over World War II, days before ministers from Berlin and Warsaw will sit down for bilateral talks.

“In my view, reparations payments are not a topic that’s been dealt with,” Andrzej Duda told the Sunday edition of Germany’s biggest-selling newspaper Bild.
Citing two reports, one from former president Lech Kaczynski and another from the Polish parliament, Duda said that “the damage caused during the war was never compensated for”.
He pointed especially to the capital Warsaw, which was “razed to the ground” by German troops. “It’s a question of truth and responsibility,” Duda said.
Berlin has often rejected claims for war reparations in the past, saying Poland officially renounced such demands in August 1953.
But the conservative party that holds power in Warsaw argues that their country was forced to sign the document by the Soviet Union. On Friday, the two governments will hold a joint meeting in the Polish capital.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and several of her ministers will meet Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki and his cabinet.
In private, German diplomats suggest that Poland understands there is little chance of securing cash reparations. Instead, Warsaw hopes to strong-arm Berlin into backing it in debates over the European Union budget or Brussels’ threats to punish Poland for failing to uphold the rule of law.

(EurActiv) Merkel’s move poses risk of paralysis for the EU, analysts say


German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose for photographs during the German-French Ministers Meeting in front of the German government’s guest house Meseberg Palace, in Meseberg, near Berlin, Germany, 19 June 2018. [Christian Bruna/EPA/EFE]

As Europe’s most powerful leader, Angela Merkel’s decision to quit as German chancellor in 2021 spells uncertainty and possibly paralysis for the EU as populists rally, diplomats and analysts warn.

After her announcement on Monday (29 October), the European Union is even less likely to bridge divisions on key topics like migration or eurozone reform in the coming months, they say.

The end of the Chancellor after the Hesse election

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday (29 October) she no longer wants to run for CDU chairmanship in December and, after the current legislative term, does not want to stand as a candidate for the chancellorship. EURACTIV Germany reports on ‘the end of an era’ in the country.

“Nobody is going to listen to her anymore in Europe. She has taken herself immediately out of the game,” said Sebastian Maillard, director of the Jacques Delors Institute think tank.

Maillard was referring not only to Merkel’s decision to quit as chair of her party before stepping down later as chancellor, but also to not run for an EU position afterward.

“It’s a tough blow for Europe,” Maillard told AFP.

Julian Rappolt, an analyst for the European Policy Centre, predicted few, if any major decisions would be taken before the May elections for a new European Parliament.

“Nothing will happen before the end of the year and probably nothing will take place until the European elections,” Rappolt said.

“There is the risk of paralysis at the European level,” he said.

Even though arrivals of asylum seekers peaked in 2015, the EU’s political crisis is as grave as ever over how to share responsibility for migrants who enter the bloc.

Many critics said Merkel’s initial open-door policy toward Syrian refugees exacerbated the political divisions.

Merkel and the refugees: How she emerged from a political abyss

Near the end of a recent campaign speech in northern Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel turned to Europe’s refugee crisis of 2015 and offered her audience a comforting dual message.

But the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, disagreed that Merkel’s announcement would lead to paralysis, a commission official said.

“Angela Merkel’s decision was expected. She had foreseen it and it changes nothing. The chancellor will not leave right away,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Sudha David-Wilp, deputy director of the German Marshall Fund’s Berlin office, also noted that Merkel’s departure was not a surprise and appeared to be orderly.

“I don’t see chaos or instability for Europe because this is going to be a very slow departure,” David-Wilp told AFP from the United States.

“Right now it is not in anybody’s interest for the grand coalition to split apart in Berlin,” she added in reference to Merkel’s ruling coalition with the centre-left SPD party.

‘Serious internal crisis’

Other analysts underscored uncertainty over who — from loyal allies to fierce critics — will replace Merkel as head of the centre-right CDU party in December and secure a chance to succeed her as chancellor.

“If it’s Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, it will be rather a good thing to revive the EU,” Schuman Foundation Director Jean-Dominique Giuliani told AFP.

“She is close to France and is very European. She will be more active than Merkel, who always played in the background,” he added.

“If Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer assumes the party chairmanship, there’s still a chance the chancellor can stay on the job until 2021,” Rappolt said.

Merkel proposes close ally for crucial party job

German Chancellor Angela Merkel put forward close ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer yesterday (19 February) to take over as secretary general of her Christian Democrats (CDU), heeding calls from within the party to inject new blood and groom a successor.

If not, “it will be the end,” he warned.

Such uncertainty comes at a bad time.

“Europe is experiencing a serious internal crisis,” an official from an EU member country noted.

“There is a lack of leadership in Europe. Most of the leaders are in trouble,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

French President “Emmanuel Macron has tried to give new impetus, but his initiatives have not found much support,” Rappolt remarked.

Not all Macron’s EU reforms possible, German finance minister says

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said EU reforms proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron should be addressed before European elections next year, but added that some of the proposals were not feasible.

Merkel herself has done little to revive Europe, Maillard said.

“The French-German engine did not start because France never had a guarantor in the chancellor. Angela Merkel always temporised, was always on the defensive,” he said.

Schuman Foundation president Guillani suggested “now that her authority is dented, tongues will loosen. I think her balance sheet will be pretty negative.”

(ZH) Merkel To Step Down As CDU Leader In Dramatic Move

(ZH) Angela Merkel will not seek re-election as chair of Germany’s ruling CDU party, effectively standing down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, a post she has held for 18 years, after a disastrous performance by her party in regional elections in the German state of Hesse on Sunday badly dented her authority, and followed an ultimatum by her junior coalition partner, the SPD which also suffered a devastating loss in latest elections.

According to Spiegel and Bild, Merkel, who has chaired the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000, was expected to compete again at the party congress in Hamburg in early December. however in what many are calling “the end of an era” during which her command of Germany put its stamp on Europe and beyond for more than a decade, on Monday morning she told senior party executives that she would not stand again.

Merkel is scheduled to speak to the media at 1 p.m. local time on Berlin.

The Chancellor will reportedly retire after the end of her current term in 2021, which will give the CDU time to groom a successor. Though she remains one of Germany’s most popular politicians, her fellow Christian Democrats have long been demanding that she clear a path for her successor. After leaving German politics, Merkel has reportedly said she won’t consider any EU-wide posts.

As we reported on Sunday, the CDU won the election in Hesse, but its share of the vote fell by more than 11 points, while the junior partner in her governing grand coalition, the Social Democrats, also slumped. The party’s poor showing reignited calls for the SPD to quit the government.

While Merkel can assume she’ll have the support to remain chancellor, “she’s broken the game for her succession wide open” according to Bloomberg, although doing it in a dramatic fashion, a surprise, as she has here, may help throw her competitors off balance. That would help her hand-picked successor, CDU General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. But others are waiting in the wings. Bild reports that Friedrich Merz, her main antagonist in the first years after she took over the CDU in 2000, has thrown his hat in the ring.

Other possible contenders include Health Minister Jens Spahn, who has publicly criticized her open-doors refugee policy and is championed by the CDU’s social conservatives and Ralph Brinkhaus, a fiscal hawk who unexpectedly ousted Merkel’s longtime parliamentary caucus leader. Others include two state premiers Armin Laschet and Daniel Guenther, who carry weight after recently leading the CDU to victory in regional elections.

However, as Bloomberg notes, the potential for change in Germany is hemmed in by the country’s constitution and relatively strong political center.

“Even if Merkel were to be replaced and/or if a new government were to take power in Berlin, with or without new elections, it would not make a major difference once the dust has settled,” Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg, said in a note. “Any conceivable coalition in Berlin would still be dominated by the mainstream parties CDU/CSU, SPD, Greens and the smaller Liberals.”

The repercussions of her decision will resonate far and wide, not least in the U.K., where Brexit is the all-consuming topic. As Bloomberg notes, there might be dismay at the prospect of someone so influential disappearing from the scene.

She has the ability to tip the scales and she has taken a more conciliatory approach than say, France’s Macron. But if Merkel does stay on as chancellor, could this free her up to throw some caution to the wind and steer the ship safely without having to worry about burning political capital?

The news sent the Euro sliding to session lows, down as much as 0.3% to 1.1360 before staging a modest rebound. Meanwhile, Germany’s DAX30 has extended gains to more than 1% since the first media reports of Merkel not seeking to continue as CDU leader, largely on the back of the weaker euro.

(Economist) The real story of what happened to Italy’s Jews

(Economist) Simon Levis Sullam unpicks the accepted version of events.

The Italian Executioners: The Genocide of the Jews of Italy. By Simon Levis Sullam. Translated by Oona Smyth with Claudia Patane.Princeton University Press; 208 pages; $26.95 and £21.

The police report said that “the terrified child, Emma Calò, aged 6, clung, weeping, to the clothes of the concierge…Mr and Mrs Berna begged the official to desist from his intentions, but he was adamant.”

Told that this heart-wrenching scene took place in Rome in 1944, most Italians could confidently guess the background: the official would have been a Nazi engaged in the round-up of Jews that followed Italy’s withdrawal from the second world war, when the Italians’ German allies became their occupiers. As for the Bernas, their compassionate behaviour typified the Italian nation, which had been seduced by fascism but was never anti-Semitic.

The official, however, was not German, but Italian. And, as Simon Levis Sullam’s vigorously revisionist history makes clear, while many Italians stood up for the Jews, many did not. Some looked away, and some took an active, even enthusiastic, part in the persecution and removal of the 6,746 Jews sent from mainland Italy to German extermination camps. This was particularly true in the Italian Social Republic (rsi), the fascist-run state in the north.

To ingratiate themselves with the victors after the war, Italian bigwigs exalted the role of the Jews’ defenders while minimising that of their persecutors. Hampered though it is by the disappearance of much of the documentary evidence, Mr Levis Sullam’s short book sets out to give the latter group their sinister due.

It is hard to overstate the pervasiveness and potency of what became the accepted version of events. Even the leaders of the surviving Jewish community adopted it. “Everyone”, declared the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities in 1956, was “careful to warn the doomed innocent victims; all the friends, the acquaintances, the neighbours were ready to take them in, to hide them, to help them.” That story has entered history textbooks and has even been embraced by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem: one of its publications states that Italians rejected anti-Semitism as “contrary to Italian traditions”.

But, as a German diplomat explained in a note to Berlin as the deportations began in December 1943, “with the forces at our disposal in Italy, it is impossible to comb through all the towns”. Italians took part in 2,210 arrests; 1,898 were made by Italians alone. Then there were informers who betrayed Jewish acquaintances and people who worked willingly for such bodies as the General Inspectorate of Race and in Italy’s seldom-mentioned concentration camp at Fossoli near Modena. (Fossoli was no Buchenwald, but nor was it a holiday camp: in February 1944, prisoners appealed to Catholic prelates for help in alleviating their “miserable conditions” and for “aid that the elderly, women, children and the ill implore from human solidarity”.)

Though his focus is on the cruelty Jews endured, Mr Levis Sullam acknowledges that the story was many-sided. After a Jewish man and his mother were caught trying to flee to Switzerland, the local fascist chief released them and returned their seized property. The Bernas’ efforts to save Emma Calò met with the “tacit agreement” of a policeman accompanying the official.

Not that they succeeded in saving the little girl. She died in Auschwitz two months later. The official was acquitted of all charges after the war, “thanks to the activities that he claimed to have carried out on behalf of the Resistance”.

(OBS) O Cardeal Cerejeira e o nazismo – P. Gonçalo Portocarrero de Almada

(OBS) Faça-se a justiça de dizer a verdade: a Igreja Católica sempre declarou a absoluta incompatibilidade entre a fé cristã e a ideologia nacional-socialista.

É sabido que o Cardeal D. Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, Patriarca de Lisboa, foi amigo pessoal do Dr. António de Oliveira Salazar, quando ambos eram professores da Universidade de Coimbra. Embora leccionando em faculdades diferentes – Cerejeira em Letras e Salazar em Direito – entre ambos estabeleceu-se, cimentada não só pela inegável valia intelectual de ambos, mas também pela sua comum fé católica, uma certa amizade que, com o passar dos anos, esmoreceu. Partilhavam também um vivo interesse pela realidade política nacional, ainda no rescaldo de uma primeira república que, não obstante o discurso libertário, de facto restringiu a liberdade de voto, a liberdade de pensamento e de expressão e, mediante uma impiedosa perseguição à Igreja católica, praticamente aboliu a liberdade religiosa.

Sidónio Pais tinha proporcionado ao país alguma moderação, nomeadamente pelo restabelecimento das relações diplomáticas com a Santa Sé, mas o governo do presidente-rei foi sol de pouca dura: um ano depois de ter tomado posse, foi assassinado na estação do Rossio, há precisamente cem anos, supõe-se que por alguém descontente com a sua aproximação à Igreja católica. Recorde-se que a primeira república foi essencialmente anticristã.

Entretanto, na Europa começavam a surgir os regimes totalitários, como o fascismo italiano e o nazismo alemão. A matriz profundamente anticlerical das forças de esquerda, nomeadamente os comunistas, socialistas e anarquistas, levou alguns católicos menos esclarecidos a depositar as suas esperanças nestes movimentos, não obstante a sua ideologia anticristã. O fascismo de Benito Mussolini, embora anticatólico, logrou pôr termo ao contencioso que opunha a Igreja ao Estado italiano, desde que este, nos finais do século XIX, ocupou os chamados Estados pontifícios, privando o Santo Padre das suas imemoriais possessões territoriais na península itálica. Graças aos pactos de Latrão, foi reconhecida formalmente a soberania do romano pontífice sobre o Estado Cidade do Vaticano, e a Igreja recebeu uma razoável indemnização, pelos bens patrimoniais de que tinha sido espoliada.

A emergência do nacional-socialismo alemão também foi saudada com algum entusiasmo pela direita conservadora, não obstante o seu evidente paganismo. Alguns cristãos, sobretudo protestantes, pensaram que Adolf Hitler poderia ser o instrumento da providência para vencer o comunismo, que ameaçava a cristandade. Assim se explica o fervor inicial de uns quantos fiéis alemães pelo nacional-socialismo, bem como a atitude colaborante de alguns bispos católicos, como o arcebispo de Viena que, contrariando a Santa Sé, saudou em público a anexação da sua pátria pelo terceiro Reich alemão.

Neste contexto, teria sido compreensível que o Cardeal Cerejeira, também pela sua amizade com Salazar – o qual tinha, então, no seu gabinete de presidente do conselho de ministros, uma grande fotografia de ‘il Duce’ – nutrisse alguma simpatia pelo fascismo e, até, pelo nacional-socialismo alemão, tido por muitos como a única força política capaz de vencer o bolchevismo ateu soviético. Contudo, o então Cardeal-Patriarca de Lisboa não se deixou seduzir pelo canto da sereia fascista, nem nazi, em perfeita sintonia com o magistério do Papa Pio XI – autor da encíclica Mit brennender Sorge, que condena o nacional-socialismo germânico – e de seu sucessor, Pio XII, que por ter sido núncio em Berlim, não tinha quaisquer dúvidas quanto à perversidade intrínseca da ideologia nacional-socialista.

O barão Oswald von Hoyningen-Huene (1884-1963), foi o representante diplomático da Alemanha nazi em Portugal, de 1934 a 1944, e “fazia parte da aristocracia alemã que não se identificava com Adolf Hitler, mas que o tolerava em nome da pátria”, como escreveu Margarida Magalhães Ramalho, num interessante artigo sobre “O barão do Reich”, publicado n’ A Revista do Expresso, a 5 de Agosto de 2017.

Em 1937, quando ainda não tinha começado a II Guerra Mundial, nem se conheciam as atrocidades cometidas nos campos de concentração nazis, o Cardeal-Patriarca, D. Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, aproveitou a tradicional alocução radiofónica natalícia para denunciar, de forma contundente, a ideologia nacional-socialista. Fê-lo de tal forma “que mereceu, do barão, uma extensa carta de protesto de sete páginas. Tanto quanto se percebe, o prelado ter-se-ia referido diversas vezes (…) ao ateísmo germânico, condenando a política de eugenia promovida pela nova ordem e referindo-se a Hitler como um ‘César pagão’”.

O embaixador germânico, sem esconder o seu desagrado e indignação, perguntava ao Patriarca: “O objectivo do seu discurso de Natal era atacar a Alemanha? O meu país foi aí mencionado 5 vezes e há mais 4 alusões indirectas. Várias vezes V.ª Eminência o colocou no mesmo pé de igualdade que o Comunismo, ou com o ateísmo marxista. (…) Com a leitura do seu discurso, dir-se-ia que a Alemanha é o país mais pagão do mundo, um país que só conhece o culto da raça e da força, que se entrega a um Moloch (deus dos amonitas e considerado um demónio para os cristãos) novo e desconhecido, que destrói a liberdade do homem e que diviniza um César humano (…)”.

Note-se que o diplomata alemão não era nazi, nem partidário de Hitler, o que motivará a sua destituição, “por falta de confiança política”, em 1944. Depois de demitido das suas funções diplomáticas, o embaixador regressa ao Estoril, onde ficara a sua mulher, e aí fixa a sua residência. Contudo o Cardeal Cerejeira, mesmo sabendo que o barão von Hoyningen-Huene não era nazi e amigo de Portugal, foi implacável na sua condenação pública, sem eufemismos, do nacional-socialismo.

O protesto formal do embaixador alemão, em Lisboa, “só mereceu de Cerejeira uma resposta lacónica, quase um ano depois. Nesta, o cardeal reafirmava que existiam princípios que para ele eram condenáveis à luz da fé católica, pelo que não podia prometer não voltar a falar neles …”. Ou seja, o Cardeal-Patriarca não só não apresentou quaisquer desculpas, como não retirou o que dissera e até ameaçou voltar a denunciar o carácter violentamente anticristão do nacional-socialismo de Adolf Hitler.

Quando, algum dia, se escrever a história do século XX em Portugal, será necessário que, em vez de repetir o falso tópico marxista que cola a Igreja ao Estado Novo, por virtude da antiga amizade entre Salazar e Cerejeira, se faça a justiça de dizer a verdade. Ou seja, que a Igreja Católica sempre manteve a sua independência em relação ao regime autoritário que então vigorava em Portugal e que o seu principal prelado, o Cardeal-Patriarca de Lisboa, já então denunciava, publicamente, em total sintonia com o magistério pontifício, nomeadamente os ensinamentos dos Papas Pio XI e Pio XII, a absoluta incompatibilidade entre a fé cristã e a ideologia nacional-socialista.

Já agora, diga-se também que isto aconteceu muito antes de a Rússia comunista assinar, a 23 de Agosto de 1939, um infame tratado com a Alemanha nazi, o pacto Molotov – von Ribbentrop, em ordem à comum invasão, aniquilação e partilha da Polónia católica.

(GR) Greece ‘to Claim €280 Billion’ in War Reparations from Germany


Greece is about to launch a campaign to claim €280 billion ($323 billion) in war reparations from Germany, reports Der Spiegel.

The German magazine notes that as long as Greece was dependent on EU support, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had avoided raising the issue. But now, after the end of the third bailout program, Athens is ready to take initiatives to claim the money, it says.

The issue is resurfacing a few days before the official visit of Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Athens where he will meet the President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Tsipras.

Der Spiegel says it is no coincidence that the two highest ranking Greek politicians have both raised the issue in the last few days.

It marks the beginning of a long campaign, which, according to the German magazine, will start in November.

The Greek Parliament will endorse an audit report ready since August 2016, according to which Greece is entitled to €269.5 billion of repairs from the Second World War.

In addition, Greece demands the repayment of a €10.3 billion occupation loan.

The report remained under wraps throughout the last two years, but Tsipras seems ready to bring it back to the surface and start a campaign for war reparations, says Der Spiegel.

In the second phase, Greece intends to present its arguments at world organizations such as the European Parliament, the European Council, and the UN.

In the third phase, Greece plans to call on Germany to negotiate war reparations. For its part, the German government is expected to reject the request. Already in the past, it has made it clear that Greece has no legal right to claim damages for the Second World War.

In the opinion of some Greek lawyers, this German denial may open the way for the case to be brought before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, says the German magazine.