German Press Review: Obscene Demands? | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 03.08.2004
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German Press Review: Obscene Demands?

German papers on Tuesday discussed the heightened terror warning on financial institutions in the US and the German chancellor's at the 60th anniversary commemorations of the Warsaw Uprising in Poland.

On the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising the Lausitzer Rundschau from Cottbus wrote that the horrific crimes that occured between 1939 and 1945 in Poland have no parallel in contemporary history. Thirty-four years ago, Chancellor Willy Brandt fell to his knees in deference to the victims of the Nazi atrocities. It is proper that Gerhard Schröder made clear that Germany will not regress from Brandt's display of humility and shame, wrote the paper.

The Braunschweiger Zeitung said if the main issue is not about the compensation of lost land then it's hypocritical for the German displaced persons association to accuse the chancellor of choosing a solution at their cost.

With all due respect, wrote the Nürnberg Nachrichten, the demand for compensation is obscene because it's simply about money. If the displaced Germans sue then Polish citizens will inevitably counter sue with billion euro claims. "Yet the opposition CDU doesn't seem to understand that," commented the paper. "Chancellor Schröder was acting in the interests of German taxpayers by countering their demands."

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung disagreed, saying Chancellor Schröder shabbily shirked his responsibility on the issue of displaced persons by playing the moral card. "As if a chancellor can distance himself from the legal position of his country," argued the paper. The compensation of displaced persons is a legal ticking time bomb that cannot be circumvented with sympathetic and humble gestures, the paper warned.

Commenting on the latest terror warnings in the US, the Handelsblatt of Düsseldorf noted that New Yorkers have been living under a heightened security alert since Sept. 11, 2001, which has not brought the city to a standstill. The new motto is to be cautious but not panic, yet the paper believed this can only work if the strong will of the population is accompanied by political resolve. So far, the Bush administration has resisted implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission warning that whoever appeals to the will of the population should not be hesitant themselves, the paper concluded.

Halle's Mitteldeutsche Zeitung said that in the middle of an election campaign it's difficult to believe that the Bush administration is really moved by concerns of new terror attacks or trying to create a climate of fear to facilitate the re-election of President George W. Bush. "Actually, it's sad that this suspicion is even made against Bush," the paper wrote. But because his government lost so much trust in Iraq it's no wonder that this question is raised, the daily concluded.

The Badisches Tagblatt from Baden Baden maintained that those pulling the strings in the background have highlighted several weaknesses. Firstly, al Qaeda could be purposely distributing false information to detract from other targets, the paper noted. And secondly, the strong reactions by the stock markets highlight how sensitive the global economy is to the terror wanting and "that's exactly the intention of the terrorists," the daily concluded.