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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