Letter: Stop snubbing Germany's goodwill

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Sir: As a child of refugees from Hitler whose grandmother died in the Holocaust, I am the last to romanticise the Germans. But to compare Kohl in any respect to Hitler, and by implication his predecessors Schmidt, Brandt and Adenauer, is monstrous (letter and picture caption, 4 January).

Why have they, and the vast majority of their electors, been so eager to surrender German sovereignty? So that, in a politically united Europe, Germany will never again be a threat to its neighbours. Even that golden calf, the German mark, will be reluctantly sacrificed to that cause.

There is no nation in Europe with the vast majority of its young generation as anti-nationalist as today's Germans. If a nation that is so large and economically strong remains as an independent state, then it could indeed one day become the cause of conflict. That is one, but not the only good reason, for a European confederation.

I live in a city and work in a cathedral destroyed by German bombs. Hardly was the war over, when civic links were forged with Kiel - similarly destroyed - and later with Dresden, a place of terrible devastation. Young Germans came here to help rebuild. They and their children take it for granted that we, like them, are Europeans. Unlike many of us, they are willing to be outvoted in Europe's institutions. Most of them are instinctively pro-British. But for how much longer?

They are offended and baffled by our jingoism, nourished by many of our politicians and stoked up by much of the press.

Canon PAUL OESTREICHER

Coventry Cathedral

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