Doubts about where Germany is going

August 21, 1991

By Bryan R. Thomas

BONN — Doubts are beginning to be aroused about the intentions of the German government since reunification just over one year ago.

At that time many critics expressed fears that a united Germany might revert to the nationalistic and expansionist tendencies of the Third Reich era. Some believe that the first moves have already been made with the country's new immigration and asylum policies, the repression of the legal political opposition and suggestion of German interference in another country's affairs.

In addition to restricting the numbers and nationalities of foreigners allowed into the country, the government is discreetly deporting non-Germans. Under the new immigration law, more than 100,000 non-Germans are under the threat of deportation, including around 250 Jews.

Gangs of youths have taken to roaming the streets, harassing and attacking foreigners. The targets for these neo-Nazi gangs, who operate mainly in eastern Germany, are Poles, Turks, Asians, Jews, Africans and homosexuals. Hundreds have been injured and several deaths have been reported.

In Dresden a political refugee from Mozambique, Jorge Gomondai, died after being beaten and thrown from a street car. Angolan citizen Antonio Amadeu was attacked by a gang of 50 racists and died from stab wounds. A Kurdish youth died of wounds received following an attack by a neo-Nazi gang in Hachenburg.

The German Greens in the European Parliament have called for more adequate protection for foreigners, alternative institutions and homosexuals and have warned that the Nazi attacks have reached murderous proportions.

Both the Green Party and the Party of Democratic Socialism are under constant scrutiny by the Verfassungschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution).

Members of the Green executive were recently heavily fined for the publication and distribution of literature urging German troops to refuse military service in the Gulf. Their party headquarters in Bonn have twice been raided by the police.

The Treuhandanstalt — the body overseeing the sale of former state property in eastern Germany — has taken over administration of PDS properties in the east, including its headquarters in Berlin, which were last expropriated by the Nazi party in 1933. It has frozen all the party's financial assets.

On July 22 the party newspaper appeared on the streets with a black stripe on its masthead and the text, "the only newspaper in Germany run by the government".

No such action has been taken against the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, who also previously functioned in the ex-GDR.

In a recent report, BBC television spoke of the "sinister hand" of Germany and Austria in the Yugoslav crisis. A Belgrade official earlier claimed that Germany and Austria were plotting a "Fourth Reich" by destroying Yugoslav unity in order to create German access to the Mediterranean.

Slovenia and Croatia have legitimate grievances against the Serb-dominated Belgrade government, and the populations of both republics have voted overwhelmingly for independence. That doesn't make it impossible for other governments to intervene with their own agendas, however.

Fitzroy Maclean, a British expert on the Balkans, said in a BBC television interview that he agreed with French President Francois Mitterrand "that Germany and Austria had gone too far" with their interference in the Yugoslav conflict.

In June the French Intelligence Newsletter wrote that Hungarian authorities were investigating shipments of weapons supplied to northern Yugoslavia via Germany and Switzerland.

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