• Germany's news in English

Ex-banker: German euro rescue is Holocaust guilt

The Local · 21 May 2012, 12:09

Published: 21 May 2012 12:09 GMT+02:00

Sarrazin appeared on a state TV talk show on Sunday evening to defend his thesis against former Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück, who overcame his usual reserve and described Sarrazin's ideas as "bullshit."

In his new book "Europe Doesn't Need the Euro" Sarrazin says Germany's efforts to rescue the euro were "driven by the very German reflex that the Holocaust and World War II will only be finally atoned for when all our other interests, including our money, is in Europe's hands."

Both Steinbrück and Sarrazin are members of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) and both have experience of administering state finances – Steinbrück was German finance minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel from 2005 to 2009, while Sarrazin was finance minister for the state of Berlin from 2002 to 2009, before joining the board of Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank.

He was forced to leave this last post in 2010, after publishing the provocative book "Germany Does Away With Itself", in which he blamed Germany's immigrant community for the country's economic and social problems.

Sarrazin describes his new book as an answer to Merkel's statement, "If the euro fails, then Europe fails," and said Germany's export-driven economy did not need the euro.

Steinbrück accused Sarrazin of overlooking the many advantages the euro has brought Germany, and said the single currency had been a "pillar of European integration." He also dismissed Sarrazin's Holocaust remark as "historical amnesia" and his new book as a "banal economic analysis" that forgets the fact that the Europe's financial woes are down to a banking crisis as much as a debt crisis.

Much of the TV debate was taken up with Sarrazin rattling off statistics, a tactic that exasperated Steinbrück, who exclaimed, "Sarrazin can make up all the bullshit he likes," he said, before rounding on moderator Günther Jauch, "You should assert yourself a bit more here!"

The recording was accompanied by a handful of protesters outside the studio, who held up slogans saying, "No room for racism!"

Incumbent Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was unfazed by Sarrazin's critique of his European policy. "Either Sarrazin says and writes his appalling nonsense out of actual conviction, or he does it out of obnoxious calculation," he told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.

"We can be happy that we have been given a second chance despite the Holocaust ... and that there is a growing Jewish life in Germany," he said.

Story continues below…

Schäuble also attacked Sarrazin's methods in general as simplistic and populist. "That was the case with the way he handled the not-so simple problem of integration in our country," he added. "He obviously wants to repeat that commercial success with the euro issue. As long as he pays his taxes properly, that's fine by me."

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:35 May 21, 2012 by Jerr-Berlin
...frankly, the man is being honest...since 1948 (Nakba) when about 800,000 Palestinians were "removed" from the land (they used to call this ethnic cleansing)...

....the US( government, not the average citizen) since the 1968, has decided that the

Jews in America (via AIPAC) and the Israelis, operate, live and function on a "different international stage)

international and US law, simply don't to the "chosen"...

14:45 May 21, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
The man is being disingenious at best...the purpose of the Euro was to allow Germany to dominate Europe economically and turn places like Greece and Eastern Europe into satellite states without the benefit of lower currencies to improve their chances of competing. It's worked to the extent that Germany's economy is doing well while the rest are being shredded. If Greece simply reverted to the Drachma, that alone would be a big hit to Germany. I can't believe Herr Sarrazin could be that ...misinformed.
15:27 May 21, 2012 by starsh3ro
well hes talking a lot of trash, but should it be a witchhunt like this if hes just stating his opinion?

isnt that a free country?

also personally, in case of greece hes right, we will never get our money back and probably pay for several more years until people realize that this is a bottomless pit.
15:29 May 21, 2012 by Mr. Wonderful
There's more than a little truth in what Sarrazin has to say. No wonder it gets the status quo in germany so excited. I love the comment about Sarrazin's statistics as "bullshit". What else could he say? He had the option to refute them of course. :-)
16:18 May 21, 2012 by Navigator_B
The German policy has nothing to do with guilt because it has nothing to do with helping out other countries.. It's about bailing out the banks who are run by Herr Sarrazin's former neighbours in the Frankfurt skyscrapers. They gambled German savers' money by lending it to Greece and other countries. 

Since then the German government has been doing everything to squeeze as much as possible out of the Greeks to keep the banks solvent. 

Now Sarrazin is helping the banks too by distracting attention from the damage they've caused. They've left a trail of destruction behind them in the past few years but in that time Sarrazin has focussed nearly all of his criticism on people from an immigrant background who do far more productive work than the bankers.  
16:21 May 21, 2012 by Beachrider
This guy is embarrassing. Spin-meisters like this have been taking control of certain media-outlets in the USA (and THEY are embarrassing, too).

This isn't good for any serious discourse on serious issues.
19:16 May 21, 2012 by catjones
DavidtheNorseman..I believe you confuse germany's master plan for world domination with any or all of the evil characters in the James Bond films. Apparently, germany has not only duped the other 26 countries in the eu into joining the club, but they also knew decades ago the economy that unfolds today and what the eventual outcome will be.
08:54 May 22, 2012 by Harry Grouse
I am 53 obviously was not in the war and have been hearing thisgarbage talk from the war all my life rhere is hardly anyone alive that was there. I talked to a German soldier years ago hia answear to a remark I made was you could not know you were not there, Thats the truth. What happens when you dig up garbage? You get sick. In the head in this case
04:23 May 23, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
@catjones - you might enjoy:


After which Mr. Sarrazin can join the 21st Century......

Navigator_B is most likely correct about the immediate concerns for attention deflection...as in poker, as in banking, I guess...
09:51 May 23, 2012 by datt
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Train evacuated as passenger flips out during ticket check
Police at the scene in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

A regional train was evacuated in Leipzig on Wednesday after a passenger became aggressive during a ticket inspection.

Man arrested in Wuppertal as part of Spanish Isis raids
Police detain the suspect in Wuppertal. Photo: DPA

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Isis cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online, the Spanish interior ministry said Wednesday.

Germans cut home energy usage by six percent in a year
Hamburg at night. Photo: DPA

The Energiewende is the German government's ambitious policy of drastically reducing carbon emissions. New figures show one remarkable success.

Merkel party MP under fire for using Nazi propaganda term
Bettina Kudla. Photo: Büro Bettina Kudla MdB/DPA.

A member of Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party is in hot water after tweeting over the weekend a Nazi propaganda term in her criticism of the country’s refugee policies.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd