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What Has Hitler Taught Germany? (Part 2) By: Myles Kantor
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, June 05, 2006

“Every battle must be fought to the end.” --Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich, July 28, 1922.[1]

Not all neo-Nazis are white skinheads. The world’s most powerful neo-Nazi is a bearded Persian.

“The Zionist regime is an injustice and by its very nature a permanent threat,” Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on April 14.  “Whether you like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation.  The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm.”[2]

These genocidal desires amplified Ahmadinejad’s statement on October 26 to Iranian students at a program titled “The World Without Zionism”:

Our dear Imam [Khomeini] said that the occupying regime [Israel] must be wiped off the map, and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine…This would be a defeat, and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime has, in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world.”[3]

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seeking to go where Hitler went before.

Israel still stands.  This has not deterred Iran from deploying latter-day Einsatzgruppen to perpetrate massacres like the March 17, 1992 bombing of Israel’s embassy in Argentina and the July 18, 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.[4]

Like other neo-Nazis who deny Hitler’s monstrosities as they seek to repeat them, Ahmadinejad has called the Holocaust a lie.  He said on December 14, “They [Jews] have fabricated a legend under the name Massacre of the Jews, and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves.”[5]

Iranian media have likewise glamorized Holocaust deniers.[6] A January 4 headline from Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency read, “Major world historians support Ahmadinejad's holocaust outlook.”[7]

When he isn’t advocating another Endlösung der Judenfrage and denying Hitler’s, Ahmadinejad enjoys soccer—which brings us to Germany and the World Cup.

Germany hosts the World Cup this month, and Ahmadinejad indicated he might visit to watch Iran’s first match on June 11.  Iran will play Mexico in Nuremberg, former site of Reichsparteitage and denationalization of Jews. 

I don't know yet whether I'll be at home in front of the television set or somewhere else,” he said in late May.[8] An Iranian functionary recently said Ahmadinejad would not attend the games,[9] but Ahmadinejad subsequently indicated he will try to attend if Iran makes it to the second round.[10]

More important than Ahmadinejad’s travel plans is how Germany has responded to the possibility of his visit.  Germany under Hitler sought the annihilation of world Jewry and murdered most of European Jewry.  Will it allow entry to Hitler’s descendant? 

In a January statement describing the Holocaust as “an indelible part of German history and our perpetual obligation for the future,” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Germany “must act decisively against anti-Semitism and ostracizing trends, including clearly rejecting any attempt to deny or minimize the Holocaust…Germany will confront shocking and unacceptable statements such as those of Iranian President Ahmadinejad with all resolve.”[11]  Chancellor Angela Merkel said in February, “A president who questions Israel’s right to exist, a president who denies the Holocaust cannot expect to receive any tolerance from Germany.”[12] 

Given these unequivocal commitments, one would not expect Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s statement in April: “Naturally he [Ahmadinejad] can come to the matches. It won't be a simple matter because of the things that he has said in the past that are simply unacceptable. But my advice is we should be good hosts.”[13]

What was that about decisive action against anti-Semitism and no tolerance for Holocaust deniers? 

When I visited Germany with other journalists in May through the Atlantik-Brücke, Ahmadinejad’s possible visit came up during a meeting with parliament member Hans-Ulrich Klose, who is also deputy chairman of the foreign affairs committee.  “Herr Ahmadinejad should kindly stay at home,” Klose had remarked to a German newspaper.[14]

What if he doesn’t kindly stay at home, I asked.  Would he support banning Ahmadinejad from Germany?

Klose said he “would prefer not to discuss” the issue other than to say, “We should make signs that he is not welcome.”[15]

Other Europeans have shown more moral courage and historical consciousness.  European Union parliament member Jana Hybaskova of the Czech Republic and over 70 peers have petitioned to ban Ahmadinejad from EU countries.[16]

The German government’s feeble response to Ahmadinejad needs to be viewed in the ugly context of German-Iranian relations.  German political scientist Matthias Küntzel notes:

Germany is today by far the most important supplier of goods to Iran and its exports are increasing at a steady 20% per year. In 2004, German exports to Iran were worth some €3.6 billion. At the same time, Germany is the most important purchaser of Iranian goods apart from oil and Iran’s most important creditor.[17]


This economic intimacy corresponds to a long record of German support for Iranian tyranny:


For the last 25 years, the German government has offered its good offices to the anti-Semitic Mullahs in Tehran with a shamelessness unrivalled by any other western government. In 1984, Hans-Dietrich Genscher was the first western Foreign Minister to pay his respects to the Mullah regime. Ten years later, Germany’s federal intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), trained Iranian intelligence agents in Munich.[18]


When Gerhard Schröder’s government welcomed former Iranian leader Mohammad Khatami in July 2000 with military honors, it also arrested Iranian exiles who planned protests.  In Weimar near where Buchenwald once stood, Khatami defended the conviction of ten Iranian Jews for spying after a show trial. “Justice is not the responsibility of the government,” he said.[19]


Germany builds Holocaust memorials and speaks of special responsibilities created by its Nazi past.  And Germany would be a “good host” to today’s most notorious anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. 


What has Germany really learned from Hitler?


[To read "What Has Hitler Taught Germany? Part 1," click here.]



[1] See http://www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/speeches/text/220728.html.  The speech contains signature remarks like “the Jews are a people of robbers.”  Hitler became leader of the National Socialists in 1921, and in 1923 he attempted to overthrow the government of Bavaria as the first step in overthrowing the Weimar Republic.  Hitler spent less than a year in comfortable imprisonment for the attempted coup.  Later anti-Semitic tyrants received comparably small punishments after attempted coups.  Fulgencio Batista released Fidel Castro in 1955 after his attempted coup in 1953, and President Rafael Caldera released Hugo Chavez in 1994 after his attempted coup in 1992.  The conclusion of Castro’s trial speech in 1953 echoes Hitler’s at his 1924 trial, and Georgie Anne Geyer writes of Hitler’s influence on the adolescent Castro, “He walked soberly around the campus with a copy of Mein Kampf (La Lucha) under his arm; in his room, he had a map on his wall upon which he charted the movements and successes of the Axis armies across Europe; for hours, he would stand before a mirror holding a primitive, early recorder, and mimicking Mussolini’s speeches over and over again.”  Geyer, Guerrilla Prince: The Untold Story of Fidel Castro (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991), p. 42.  Cuban Jews like Felix Reyler noted Castro’s Hitlerian character, writing in 1965, “When the uniformed and swaggering Castro speaks to the suffering masses of Cuba concentrated in the public square, he repeats exactly the actions of Mussolini in the Plaza of Rome and Hitler in the Plaza of Nuremberg.”  Quoted in Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Cuban-Jewish Journeys: Searching for Identity, Home, and History in Miami (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 2000), p. 10.  One of Chavez’s early advisors was Argentine Holocaust denier Norberto Ceresole.  See Myles Kantor, “Hugo Chavez Gets His Jew Hating On,” January 1, 2006, http://antiprotester.blogspot.com/2006/01/hugo-chavez-gets-his-jew-hating-on.html.   

[2]Iran: Israel Facing ‘Annihilation,’” Associated Press, April 14, 2006, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/14/world/main1499824.shtml.

[3] “Text of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Speech,” The New York Times, October 30, 2005.

[4] See Ze’ev Schiff, “How Iran planned the Buenos Aires blast,” Ha’aretz, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=273898&contrassID=2&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0 and Aaron Mannes, “Iran’s terror goes unchecked,” United Press International, January 19, 2004.

[5]Ahmadinejad: Holocaust a myth,” Al Jazeera, December 14, 2005, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/60AE1720-F333-4869-974D-3B69283105BF.htm.

[6] See Anti-Defamation League, “Iranian News Agency is Megaphone for Notorious Holocaust Deniers,” February 14, 2006, http://www.adl.org/PresRele/HolocaustDenial_83/4868_83.htm.

[7] See http://www.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-17/0601049802170943.htm.

[8] “’We Are Determined’: Spiegel Interview with Iran’s President Ahmadinejad,” Der Spiegel, May 30, 2006, http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,418660,00.html.

[9] Christine Spolar, “Soccer trip booted off agenda, Tehran says,” The Chicago Tribune, May 30, 2006, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0605300215may30,1,3952802.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed.

[10] Michael Theodoulou, “Iran trip alarms Germans,” The Times, June 5, 2006, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2211255,00.html.

[11] See http://www.germany.info/relaunch/info/press/releases/pr_01_27_06_1.htm.

[12] Peter Conradi, “Iran as bad as Nazis: Merkel,” The Sunday Times, February 5, 2006, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2025730,00.html.

[13] “Stay Away From World Cup, German Commentators Tell ‘Madman of Tehran,’” Der Spiegel, April 10, 2006, http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,410756,00.html.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Meeting on May 8, 2006.

[16]EU MPs seek ban on Ahmadinejad,” Associated Press, June 1, 2006.

[17] Matthias Küntzel, “Are 500,000 Keys to Paradise Enough?: Germany ‘Confronts’ Ahmadinejad,” Transatlantic Intelligencer, December 27, 2005, http://www.trans-int.com/news/archives/114-Are-500,000-Keys-to-Paradise-Enough-Germany.html.  See also Küntzel’s discussion of Iranian anti-Semitism at the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair, “The ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ at the Frankfurt Book Fair,” Transatlantic Intelligencer, October 24, 2005, http://www.trans-int.com/news/archives/60-The-Protocols-of-the-Elders-of-Zion-at-the.html. German parliament member Angelika Beer has called Iran “a fascinating country.”  See “EU urges Iran to return to negotiating table,” Islamic Republic News Agency,  November 16, 2005, http://www.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-17/0511169460222149.htm.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Emma Thomasson, “Khatami calls for new East, West dialogue,” Reuters, July 12, 2000.  See also http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/07/10/germany.iran.02/.  On the show trial, see http://www.adl.org/backgrounders/Iranian_Jews.asp.


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Myles Kantor is a columnist for FrontPageMagazine.com and editor-at-large for Pureplay Press, which publishes books about Cuban history and culture. His e-mail address is myles.kantor@gmail.com.

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