A German conservative MP provoked a storm of protest yesterday by claiming that the Jews were a "race of perpetrators" during the Russian Revolution whose actions were similar to those of the Nazis in the Second World War.
Martin Hohmann, 55, an opposition Christian Democrat MP, made his remarks in a speech to his constituency in which he claimed that many Jewish Communists were active in the Soviet leadership and secret police execution squads during the October revolution of 1917. "With some justification, one could describe the Jews as a race of perpetrators," he said. "That may sound horrible but it follows the same logic with which one describes the Germans as a race of perpetrators."
Mr Hohmann made his speech earlier last month but his remarks only reached a wider audience when broadcast yesterday.
Paul Spiegel, the head of Germany's Central Council of Jews, said: "Mr Hohmann has reached into the lowest drawer of disgusting anti-Semitism with his remarks." Dieter Wiefelsputz, a Social Democrat MP, said that Mr Hohmann should resign. "There is no place for anti-Semtisim in the German parliament," he said.
Mr Hohmann retracted his comments yesterday. "I describe neither the Jews nor the Germans as a nation of perpetrators," he said. But despite insisting in an interview later with ZDF television that he did not want to offend any one, he denied this was an apology. "It's not an apology. It's a statement," he said.
Mr Hohmann, a right-wing conservative, has frequently been accused of holding extremist views. Two years ago he joined German neo-Nazis in opposing a landmark exhibition which exposed the crimes of the German army during the Second World War. He is also renowned as an opponent of tolerance towards homosexuals.Reuse content