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Austria: Nazi row lawmaker refuses to quit

 
 
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 01:38 am
Quote:
Nazi row lawmaker refuses to quit

An Austrian legislator has retracted a promise to resign over remarks he made expressing sympathy to the Nazis
.

Siegfried Kampl also said he would take up the rotating post of president of the upper house of parliament in July.

He had said he would relinquish his seat amid pressure from all sides after he deplored the "brutal persecution" of Austrian Nazis after World War II.

Last month, he said his father was a member of Adolf Hitler's Nazi party like "more than 99%" of Austrians.

He also referred to Austrian deserters of Nazi Germany's armed forces as "assassins of battle comrades".

'No change'

On Sunday, the 69-year-old politician said he stood by his remarks.

"I might phrase my views a little differently, but fundamentally there is no change," Mr Kampl told ORF public radio.

"I will not give up my mandate. I will remain in the Bundesrat and I will take over the presidency."

He did, however, agree to resign as a member of Joerg Haider's Alliance for Austria's Future, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, saying he did not want to be a burden on the party.

Mr Kampl, who is also the mayor of the southern town of Gurk, said he had decided not to resign because of the "provocative" manner in which he was implored to do so by current Bundesrat president George Pehm, a Social Democrat.

Mr Pehm had said Mr Kampl's resignation was the "only possible outcome of these unacceptable statements".

Walkout threat

Days after the Kampl controversy broke on 19 April, another right-wing member of the Bundesrat, John Gudenus, contended that the existence of Nazi gas chambers "remains to be proven".

He was widely rebuked but has also refused to give up his seat.

The post of president of the Bundesrat rotates between representatives of Austria's provinces. If Mr Kampl remains in his seat, the job will automatically go to him in July.

The opposition Greens and Social Democrats have urged Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel to intervene.

"We cannot tolerate somebody like this as president of the Bundesrat," the leader of the Greens, Alexander Van Der Bellen said, while the Social Democrats said they would walk out of the legislature every time Mr Kampl took his seat.

Franz Morak, the State Secretary for Culture, said: "These statements do not belong in our time."

He added that both Mr Gudenus and Mr Kampl "should suffer the consequences of their actions".
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 01:41 am
Quote:
Senior role for pro-Nazi parliamentarian

Siegfried Kampl slated to take rotating presidential post in upper house of Bundesrat; has deplored alleged persecution of Austrain Nazis
By News Agencies

Siegfried Kampl, 66, an Austrian parliamentarian who in the past has made pro-Nazi statements promised late last month to resign his seat by the end of May. However, it seems he has given the idea second thought.

Kampl announced that he would be appointed president of the upper house of Austria's Bundesrat.

The seat of president is filled on a rotating basis by representatives of the country's various provinces. If Kampl keeps his parliamentary seat, he will get the presidential post in July.

Kampl said he would give up his seat after he deplored the "brutal persecution" of Austrian Nazis after World War II in a radio interview on April 19.

Last month, he said his father was a member of Adolf Hitler's Nazi party just like "more than 99 percent" of Austrians.

On Sunday, Kampl, who is also running for mayor of Gurk, said that he stood behind what he had said.

"I might phrase my views a little differently, but fundamentally there is no change," he said.

Kampl also said that he would resign from Joerg Haider's Alliance for Austria's Future, a junior partner in the ruling coalition. But then he had a change of mind.

He said he would not resign due to the "provocative" manner in which he was asked by Bundesrat president George Pehm, a Social Democrat.


Austrian radical right

Haider has come to Kampl's defense.

"They are actually asking people to chase him out and treat him as though he has committed a crime," Haider said in an interview with ORF public radio.

In April, days after the Kampl controversy broke out, another right-wing parliamentarian said the existence of the Nazi gas chambers "remains to be proven."

The resurgence of the radical right in Austria has hurt that country's diplomatic ties with Israel. In February 2000, Israel withdrew its ambassador from Vienna after Haider's party joined the government.

Israel only returned its ambassador three years later when Haider was no longer occupying office.

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0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 02:09 am
Walter,

No surprises here.

My German speaking Bro-in-law tells me that covert anti-semitism is still rife in Austria according to overheard remarks in cafe conversations.

As an aside, the BBC recently had a documentary on African genocide committed by the Second Reich, in the first decade of the 20th century. It seems that the first slave labour death camp was instigated in Namibia in 1904, and that its mainstream officials (who rented out the inmates to German companies) were prime movers in founding and funding the Nazis. According to the BBC, the recent realization of this "buried history" is apparantly causing some psychological problems amongst modern Germans who "bracketed" genocide as a minority aberration of Hitler and his gang, as opposed to the possibility of it being a longer term cultural trait.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3565938.stm
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 05:50 am
re the Namibia genocide:

I don't think that this was a surprise to those, who know history.
(And I'm sure that there's a lot unknown for some UK citizens regarding the Commonwealth history, too.)

I suppose that anti-semitism in Austria is as alive as elsehwere in Europe - with the important differene that it's concentrated in the Haider party, which is a political figure in Austrian life.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 06:49 am
Blimey - I read this as an AUSTRALIAN lawmaker - and then the president of the senate stuff! I was thinking how did I miss this??? Lol.

This is a bit scary though, eh???
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 08:26 am
Walter has a good point about people not knowing their own history . . . the term "concentration camp" was in fact invented by the English. Frustrated by their inability to bring the Boers to a decisive battle, they set up concentration camps and rounded up the old men, the women and the children. The Boers were relying upon a long established military system of Kommandos, a quick-response militia, which they had developed to deal with the Zulu and the Matabele. Thousands, at the least, died in the concentration camps. Nevertheless, to this day, the image evoked by the term concentration camp is of the Nazis.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 11:50 am
Setanta,

Yes, it is true that the Brits were possibly the first to use the term "concentration camp" as applied to the Boers, but the BBC pointed out that they weren't intended to be "death camps". British history is of course checkered with its share of atrocities such as the savage quelling of the Indian mutiny, or Churchill's advocation of using gas against the Kurds in Iraq.

Atrocities seem to accompany all conflicts, but I think there is a statistical argument which can be employed at the macro level when speaking of " cultural characteristics" or "acts of nations".
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 11:58 am
You mean, "building concentration camps as death camps" is a "cultural characteristic" for Germans?

(The above qiozed lawmaker is Austrian, btw.)
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 11:58 am
What is up with everyone today?

To your remarks, Fresco, i say . . . SO?

I simply noted Walter's observation about how little people know of the history of their respective nations. I then offered what i considered a pertinent observation about the topic of Nazis. I offered no remarks about a putative "marco" level (heeheeheeheehee . . . ya gotta love jargonism), nor anything about cultural characteristics or acts of nations. You wanta play in that sandbox, help yourself--don't involve me, though.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 11:59 am
Yes, Walter, so was Herr Hitler, n'est-ce pas?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 May, 2005 12:04 pm
Right, he didn't become a German until 1932.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 02:11 am
Walter,

If "nationhood" means anything at all (and that is debateable) then "cultural traits" may logically follow. However even then, the application of "logic" applied between macro and micro-levels is philosophically problematic despite what seems the natural tendency for the human brain to seek "sterotypes" in order to reduce information overload.

I am therefore making no simplistic statements about "German Cultural Tendencies" but stating the evidence that the "nature" of institutionalized racism within British versus German colonial administration was statistically different in nature and this difference might be cited as a basis for later historical developments (such as the participation of German companies in Nazi extermination policy)
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 02:22 am
You're going to have a couple of problems historically, Fresco, at the least. The first is the nature of the statistics which you adduce--what is the provenance, and how have you compared them to the English? Were more people enslaved by the Germans in southwest Africa than the number either enslaved by the English in the West Indies and North America, or kept in slavery? Were more people killed by German colonists than by English colonists? I think you have no business using an alleged statistical basis for such a judgment.

The second problem that i see is in comparing England and Germany in terms of the ruling classes. The ruling class of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries actively exploited the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh and their own working class. In the 19th and early 20th century, they simply viewed such people with a contemptuous indifference. Is no account to be taken of the millions who starved or died of disease in two major famines in Ireland in the late 18th and mid-19th centuries? What about the condition of the working class in the German Empire before the Great War? They were among the most productive people on earth, and they were the poorest in western Europe. Can the English working class or the German working class be faulted for the policies pursued by ruling classes which exploited them as readily as the benighted savage?

Personally, i contend that you just have no case.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 05:16 am
fresco wrote:
I am therefore making no simplistic statements about "German Cultural Tendencies" but stating the evidence that the "nature" of institutionalized racism within British versus German colonial administration was statistically different in nature and this difference might be cited as a basis for later historical developments (such as the participation of German companies in Nazi extermination policy)


Could you please show me (again) that "evidence"?

I might add as well that your last conclusion seem to be a bit adventurous to me.
But since I'm neither specialised in colonial nor past Weimar history, this could be an approach.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 07:27 am
Reply to both.

The "evidence" to which I refer is specifically the BBC citation of participation of German companies in slave labour operations, (including chaining, numbering and the pre-printing of death certificates marked "death by exhaustion"). I think this is a significant shift from exploitation through wages. I agree here that I move from a quantitative comparison (statistical) to a qualitative one in order to avoid problems of defintion, (though "ordinal" measure could in fact be evoked as a valid "statistic")

I will be away from the computer for a day or so.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 07:59 am
When you get back, let's hope you will have compiled the statistics which will be necessary for you to produce your "qualitative" evidence--to support your inferential claim that Germans are somehow more barbaric than other nations. Many of the "smoke stack barons" in World War Two refused to use slave labor. Manchester describes this in detail in The Guns of Krupp. I notice you take no notice of the pointed reference i made to English exploitation of slave labor over centuries.

Once again, your attempt to justify a sweeping generality about the relative moral terpitude of the Germans falls on its face unless and until you provide the statistical evidence you claim exists. Even then, you'll have to take into consideration the behavior of other nations in the same regard, to make your case. I don't believe you have a case to make.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Jun, 2005 11:57 am
Setanta,

I have merely reported the BBC analysis that German colonial genocide in the earlier 1900's appeared to pave the way for some of the later excesses of the Nazi's and that this linkage is apparantly proving traumatic for some Germans.
As far as I know, the British have no (recent) history of genocide per se, though I have of course agreed that other colonial malpractices were committed by them.

These seem to be the facts, and each of us can make of them what we wish.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Jun, 2005 01:05 pm
Yes, and each of us can object when another tars an entire nation with a dubious brush.
0 Replies
 
 

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