Friday, April 25, 2008

A misunderstanding?

Way back in September 2002, then German Minister of Justice Herta Daeubler-Gmelin generated considerable controversy by comparing George W. to Adolf Hitler (this has since become a commonplace). She was not fired (after all, her boss, then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, was using anti-Americanism himself to win a tight re-election race), but has continued her career in politics. At the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, she is currently chairwoman of the Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

Daeubler-Gmelin's remarks were intended as an insult. However, it turns out that she has been less than forthcoming about her own past; her father, Hans Gmelin, was the principal deputy of the German envoy to Slovakia under Hitler. He was directly involved in the deportation of Slovakian Jews to the Nazi death camps. Some 70,000 of them, or over 75 percent of the pre-war Jewish population of Slovakia, died in the camps. These details and many others are contained in a very interesting article by John Rosenthal in World Politics Review.

So my question is: was she trying to insult Bush or to praise him?

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