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Should Germany Help Chess Champ Fischer?

Former chess world champion Bobby Fischer faces extradition to the United States for violating an embargo against Yugoslavia in 1992. DW-WORLD asked readers whether Germany should come to his aid.

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Fischer, an American, is wanted by the US government

Bobby Fischer may apply for German citizenship to avoid extradition from Japan to the United States. The former chess star had violated a US embargo against warring Yugoslavia in 1992 by playing a game in the republic of Montenegro. But he could face prosecution in Germany for anti-Semitic remarks and denying the Holocaust on his Web site. DW-WORLD asked readers whether Germany should help Fischer.

Sure. It could help diplomatically to persuade decision-makers in the US to be lenient with Fischer and offer a way out that would look good for all. Will the German government actively interfere with the US efforts to arrest Fischer, without consultation? Unlikely. -- Jaime E. Fernandez

The situation is tense and the US government cannot come up with any sensible solution because the unfortunate law is in effect. On the other hand, the Japanese are absolutely out of it and probably will not take any initiatives whatsoever to rescue Bobby. The decision Bobby has made to play in Montenegro was probably provoked and conceived in the US by circumstances beyond Bobby’s control. One good reason for Germany to extend a helping hand for Bobby Fischer is that the country automatically can claim him as one of great German chess masters, even if he leaves Germany afterwards. Taking people aboard was always Germany’s way of growth and cultural enrichment. -- B J Grenda

As for Germany granting Bobby Fisher citizenship to avoid prosecution in America, I feel that it would add impetus to the minor strife already in existence between the countries. But Germany should follow its conscience. I think that America prosecuting Mr Fischer is a waste of time and shows mean vengefulness. If he had entered Montenegro to aid and abet the enemy, yes! But he went to play chess and we did not have a declared war. Bobby Fischer is a spoiled and insane fool, but all in all a great chess player. Personally, I would cut him loose in Japan and leave him to his own devices. -- Don Ocean

Fischer should, like any good global citizen, be held responsible for his actions and statements. Champion or not, the laws were put in place for all, not just a select few or the average masses. -- Troy Dye

Why would the German government aid Fisher? He denies the Holocaust happened, which is a crime in Germany. Is this not a contradiction? Germany will do this for one reason only: to spit in the face of America. -- Mike Boscaccy, United States

I think the German government should help Bobby Fischer due to his partial German origin as well as his exceptional personality whose legacy in chess, and consequently sports, is unique. -- GM Goran Dizdar, Croatia

I've always admired his unparalleled chess skills and believed he was being unnecessarily pursued by our justice department for violating the embargo and participating in that tournament. If (Germany) wants to offer him asylum, I see no problem with that. However, he should be informed of (German) laws against inciting anti-Semitism and denial of the Holocaust and that he would face charges on those issues. -- Jerry Bender, United States

As a chess fan and a fan of Bobby Fischer, I think the German authorities should grant citizenship to Bobby. -- Neeltje Dieudonné









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