] cussions. I had summoned from Bonn some
French-speaking Opposition students who described the difficulty of their
struggle against fascism. A new dialogue began between the young Jews and the
young Germans, but it remained within the framework of joint action. |
motion I made was carried with the help of the Society of Former Deported Jews.
An important item in it was "the need for the Jewish people not to let German
democrats fight alone against the same forces that had destroyed over six
million Jews and that were trying to reconcile Germany with its Nazi past."
One of the directors of the Jewish Students' Movement decided to
accompany me back to Berlin with a flag bearing the Star of David, to protest
the recent acquittal of the Nazi judge, Hans-Joachim Rehse, who had been
sentenced to five years in prison for "aiding criminal acts." The Supreme Court
of Appeals had upset that verdict in April 1968, despite the fact that a judge
assumes full responsibility for his actions.
Judge Oske, who presided
over the trial, adduced that "every state, even a totalitarian state, is
obliged to assert its authority." Therefore it was impossible to "blame a
government for having recourse in a critical period to extraordinary methods of
intimidation." Proof of that was "the recent adoption of emergency laws in the
As might be expected, that opinion caused a
considerable stir in the courtroom. The audience interrupted the reading of the
opinion several times, and a former prisoner of the Gestapo succeeded in
striking Rehse as he was leaving the courtroom a free man.
I had paid
for the militant Jew's trip, for he would have been unable to raise the fare in
forty-eight hours. I thought it essential to show the Germans that Jews would
come even from another country to protest the rehabilitation of Rehse.
December 14. Ten thousand persons gathered before the
Berlin-Schöneberg Town Hall shouting, "Rehse is a murderer" and "Get the
Nazis out of the courts."
I spoke emphatically: "The leaders in Bonn
have acted as if Germany had merely taken a wrong turn during the twelve years
of the Nazi regime. They stand for work, family, prosperity, and above all, no
political conscience. And thanks to apolitical citizens, they have quickly
re-established and reinforced a prosperous capitalist system. Germany is going
along fine, but in what direction?