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German Activists Compare European Fiscal Pact To Infamous Nazi Law

The approval of European bailout measures has been widely criticized. But a German branch of the global activist group Attac went the next step, comparing the fiscal response to a 1933 law that paved the way for Hitler's regime.

Hitler's Reichstag speech in 1933 promoting the bill (German Federal Archives)
Hitler's Reichstag speech in 1933 promoting the bill (German Federal Archives)

BERLIN - Condemnation has spread in Germany over a left-wing activist group's campaign that compares the European bailout agreement to the 1933 law that paved the way for Adolf Hitler's dictatorship.

The Aachen regional group of the international global justice movement Attac sent out postcards in which the euro zone's European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and fiscal pact were compared to the 1933 Nazi Enabling Act.

Kerstin Griese, a Social Democratic Party (SPD) member of Germany's federal parliament, told Die Welt that the the Attac campaign attack demonstrated a lack of historical knowledge and "banalizes Nazi terror."

Even opponents of the fiscal pact disapproved of the comparison. "One should always ask oneself if historical comparisons --particularly with German history-- are helpful," Free Democratic Party (FDP) parliamentarian Frank Schäffler, who is known as the "Euro Rebel," told Die Welt: "I believe such comparisons are wrong."

The national Attac group has distanced itself from the campaign in Aachen, in western Germany, which was conducted without consulting them, spokeswoman Frauke Distelrath said. She added that he believed "the comparison to 1933 is incorrect..."

Distelrath said that although the German federal parliament's approval last Friday of the fiscal pact put Germany "on a course to a new order that we do not consider legitimate" and as such is a "frightening precedent," the situation cannot be compared to 1933.

Attac has 27,000 members in Germany. The organization is structured in such a way that regional groups largely act autonomously.

The so-called Enabling Act (officially, the "Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Nation") passed on March 24, 1933 effectively made it possible for Hitler to pass laws without their being approved by parliament.

Read the full story in German by Miriam Hollstein

Photo - German Federal Archives

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Vulnerable Are The Russians In Crimea?

Ukraine has stepped up attacks on the occupied Crimean peninsula, and Russia is doing all within its power to deny how vulnerable it has become.

Photograph of the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters with smoke rising above it after a Ukrainian missile strike.

September 22, 2023, Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia: Smoke rises over the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters after a Ukrainian missile strike.

Kyrylo Danylchenko

This article was updated Sept. 26, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Russian authorities are making a concerted effort to downplay and even deny the recent missile strikes in Russia-occupied Crimea.

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Media coverage in Russia of these events has been intentionally subdued, with top military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov offering no response to an attack on Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, or the alleged downing last week of Russian Su-24 aircraft by Ukrainian Air Defense.

The response from this and other strikes on the Crimean peninsula and surrounding waters of the Black Sea has alternated between complete silence and propagating falsehoods. One notable example of the latter was the claim that the Russian headquarters building of the Black Sea fleet that was hit Friday was empty and that the multiple explosions were mere routine training exercises.

Ukraine claimed on Monday that the attack killed Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. "After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored," the Ukrainian special forces said via Telegram.

But Sokolov was seen on state television on Tuesday, just one day after Ukraine claimed he'd been killed. The Russian Defense Ministry released footage of the admiral partaking in a video conference with top admirals and chiefs, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, though there was no verification of the date of the event.

Moscow has been similarly obtuse following other reports of missiles strikes this month on Crimea. Russian authorities have declared that all missiles have been intercepted by a submarine and a structure called "VDK Minsk", which itself was severely damaged following a Ukrainian airstrike on Sept. 13. The Russians likewise dismissed reports of a fire at the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, attributing it to a mundane explosion caused by swamp gas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refrained from commenting on the military situation in Crimea and elsewhere, continuing to repeat that everything is “proceeding as planned.”

Why is Crimea such a touchy topic? And why is it proving to be so hard to defend?

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