Anti-Semitic Episode Mars German Open | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 06.05.2005
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Anti-Semitic Episode Mars German Open

A program accompanying the Qatar Total German Open in Berlin, which ends this weekend, has caused an outcry for its anti-Semitic overtones.


Russia's Nadia Petrova played at the tournament on Friday

The German Open has been rocked by a scandal over pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic comments, along with a photo of the Nazi leader Hermann Goering, in a program published by the elite club hosting the women's tennis tournament, German media reported Friday.

The mass-market Bild newspaper reported that the brochure by the century-old LTTC Red White Berlin tennis club said the flight of Jewish tennis players from Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s only led to a brief drop in membership, and that it finally ushered in a "golden age" at the organization.

"The number of members was reduced by half but in this way the former so-called Jews' club opened itself to new members," the anonymous author wrote on page 71 of the magazine. "This change did not lead to a break for the club or German top tennis. Instead, it led to a golden age."

Piece sparks walkout

The page included a photograph of Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering in the club's VIP section at an earlier tournament.

The article sparked a walkout by some spectators. A former leader of the Jewish community in the German capital, Andreas Nachama, told Berlin's B.Z. tabloid he was shocked by the program, particularly given that Germany is currently marking the 60th anniversary of the Nazi surrender in World War II.

"What the authors did was insensitive, thoughtless and reprehensible. It is a good example for the fact that history has still not been understood. This is embarrassing for our city," he said.

Apology coming

Steffi-Graf-Stadion von LTTC Rot-Weiss Berlin

Hans-Jürgen Jobski (left) during happier times: During the renaming ceremony of LTTC Red White's stadium in honor of German tennis legend Steffi Graf (center) last September

The chairman of LTTC Red White Berlin, Hans-Jürgen Jobski, told Bild that the organizers of the Qatar Total tournament were responsible for the publication.

"The article was published without my knowledge," he said, adding that he would issue an official apology to the Berlin Jewish community on Friday, and launch an internal investigation.

Founded in 1897 in Berlin's tony Grunewald district, Red White Berlin has played host to several top world tournaments including the Davis Cup.

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