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Striking Contrast between German Presidential Candidates

COMMENT: The impending selection of the German president will see two starkly different candidates competing for the office.  (The office of president is important, though largely ceremonial in significance. It should be noted that the chancellor [Angela Merkel] is the head of state of Germany.)

Long time listeners will recognize the name of Beate Klarsfeld, an anti-Nazi activist for decades. Ms. Klarsfeld, along with her husband Serge Klarsfeld, were instrumental in bringing Klaus Barbie to heel and calling attention to Nazis in the West German government.

Ms. Klarsfeld is opposed by Joachim Gauck, whose pronouncements have been seen as favorable by Junge Freiheit, a right-wing political journal. Gauck has equivocated about Germany’s border with Poland as well as the Holocaust. Gauck has used language describing the Third Reich that many Germans consider to be subtly revisionist. (Gauck is described at greater length in the article excerpted below. German-foreign-policy.com feeds along the bottom of the front page of this website.)

“The Concensus President”; german-foreign-policy.com; 2/21/2012.

EXCERPT: An extreme rightwing journal is celebrating the agreement on Joachim Gauck as the next German president. Whereas the outgoing president Christian Wulff made headlines with “platitudes about Germany being ‘a multi-ethnic republic’,” Gauck’s “statements were sober,” for example on the question of “migration,” praised the ultra-rightwing weekly “Junge Freiheit.” Gauck had in fact expressed his approbation of Thilo Sarrazin, the SPD politician, known for his racist statements against “Turks and Arabs.” The next German president also raised eyebrows when he spoke out on the question of the German-Polish border, the resettlement of ethnic Germans and the Shoah. He considers that the “excessive exaltation” of the “German Judeocide to become something unique,” sometimes begins to take on a quasi-religious “dimension of absoluteness,” which he says must be rejected. In about four weeks, with the votes of the parliamentarians of nearly all of the parties in the Bundestag, Joachim Gauck is supposed to be elected the eleventh president of the Federal Republic of Germany – with a cross-party consensus. . . .

“Germany: Nazi Hunter Chosen as Presidential Candidate” by Melissa Eddy; The New York Times; 2/27/2012.

Beate Klarsfeld, who spent decades fighting fascism and rooting out former Nazis with her husband, will run for president against a former East German rights activist. The Left Party nominated Ms. Klarsfeld, 73, on Monday, to run against Joachim Gauck, who emerged last week as a consensus candidate to replace the former head of state, Christian Wulff, who resigned amid allegations of accepting favors from businessmen while in office. Ms. Klarsfeld, whose Nazi-hunting exploits were portrayed by Farrah Fawcett in a 1986 television movie, is considered unlikely to win. Mr. Gauck has the backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right coalition, as well as that of the main opposition parties, the Social Democrats and the Greens.

Discussion

3 comments for “Striking Contrast between German Presidential Candidates”

  1. I’m with the anti-fascist on this one 100%. Hopefully, she can pull off a dark-horse victory somehow, some way.

    Best wishes to Frau Klarsfeld in her endeavors. May Lady Luck smile on her tonight, and beyond……..=)

    Posted by Steven L. | March 12, 2012, 9:42 am
  2. KLAUS BARBIE. On March 13th 2012, German tv station ZDF broadcasted an interview with student-histian Peter Hammerschmidt, who, to his astonishment, obtained access to
    some classified BND files. He was able to confirm that BARBIE was on the BND paylist untill well into the 1970s. And, of course, the BND knew where BARBIE was hiding…and other interesting details.

    Hammerschmidt website:
    studenthttp://www.egoisten.de/files/barbie_2011.html

    ZDF FRONTAL21 Broadcast full video:

    http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/hauptnavigation/sendung-verpasst/#/beitrag/video/1593066/Verfassungsschutz-verschleppt-Aufkl%C3%A4rung

    Posted by Vicar in Aspic | March 17, 2012, 1:59 am
  3. Schauble on Sarrazin’s new book:

    “Either he (Sarrazin) writes screaming nonsense out of conviction or his work is an act of contemptible calculation.”

    Sounds about right.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 22, 2012, 10:54 pm

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