Liechtenstein prince calls Germany 'Fourth Reich'
Published: 11 Sep 2008 10:18 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Sep 2008 10:18 GMT+02:00
The tiny Alpine principality of Liechtenstein has already suffered through “three German Reichs” in the last two centuries, he told Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger on Thursday, adding that the country hoped to survive the fourth.
His comments were included in a letter to the Jewish Museum in Berlin that explained why Liechtenstein no longer wanted to loan artwork to Germany. The prince wrote that his country did not want to expose its art collection to selective use by the German state.
The two countries had a bumpy relationship over the last 200 years, he said, adding that he is hoping for better times to come.
The tiny tax haven has been particularly displeased with Germany since February, when Germany launched a massive probe using documents allegedly stolen from the principality's LGT bank by a former employee. Germany then shared the information with other countries, which began investigating their own citizens attempts to avoid paying taxes.
In March, the royal household suspended all loans of art works from its collection to Germany, marking a new low in ties between the two countries embroiled in the tax evasion scandal.
Salomon Korn of the Central Jewish Council in Germany told the Tages-Anzeiger that the prince's remarks were "totally absurd."
"The prince belittles the crimes of the Nazis by putting the (current) Federal Republic on the same level as the Third Reich," the 1933-45 period when dictator Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party were in power, he said.