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Can euro rescue absolve Holocaust guilt?

The Local · 21 May 2012, 15:36

Published: 21 May 2012 15:36 GMT+02:00

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Sarrazin likes to present himself as Germany's arch provocateur, and his latest book "Europe Doesn't Need the Euro" does not disappoint. He has successfully grabbed attention by saying Germany's euro bailout was "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."

Sarrazin says that the after-effects of World War II turned European integration into a "pure ideology" which has made "Germany a hostage" to "anyone in the eurozone who might need help in the future."

But the main purpose of Sarrazin's 400-page book is to undermine the assumptions that underpin the European single currency. He described his argument as a riposte to Chancellor Angela Merkel's claim that "if the euro fails, Europe fails."

The Social Democratic Party member argues that Germany's economic stability, based on a healthy export industry, does not need the euro to thrive, and that financially weaker countries like Greece should simply be cut off from EU aid and left to fend for themselves.

He blames Greece's political class for the country's troubles, accusing the country's politicians of corruption and egotism.

Sarrazin also rejects the idea of introducing "Eurobonds" to re-finance struggling economies as "the ultimate communalisation of financial policy at the expense of financially strong nations."

He calls for two key changes in European Union policy – indebted countries should be allowed to leave the single currency at any time, and eurozone countries should have the freedom to balance their own budgets without EU intervention.

Two heavyweight German politicians - former Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück and his successor Wolfgang Schäuble have dismissed Sarrazin's arguments - as "bullshit" and "appalling nonsense," respectively.

Do you agree with any of Sarrazin's points, or do you think that he is merely using populist pseudo-nationalistic arguments to market his new book? Have your say below.

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Your comments about this article

17:08 May 21, 2012 by William Thirteen
do you really think it is necessary to feed the trolls?
17:45 May 21, 2012 by smart2012
The only thing i can agree on is that this guy is talking BS... and i am more and more afraid that in Germany radicalism is growing more and more due to people like this and Merkel not making a clear decision on what she wants to do with EU.. again today Berlin said no eurobond, while all economist/partners etc etc says it is needed
17:57 May 21, 2012 by neunElf
I start to wonder, when I see a German reporterin say on BBC Newsnight last week, that this narrative of the lazy, corrupt, Greeks is not accurate and that Germany is the problem that must be fixed for the Euro to go forward!

The Greek reporterin said that the Greek people are trying to decide whether to continue to be beat up or to jump off of the cliff, implying that responsible Europe, are the irresponsible ones!

You can reach some perverse conclusions when you let feelings overrule facts!
18:48 May 21, 2012 by puisoh
Sarrazin's first book made him a multi-millionaire, apparently, he got used to the easy money very quickly and if all it takes is to talk BS, I think that's another nice way of piling up another few millions.

His book is not on the shelf yet but is already on Amazon's sales rank #you guess#??
18:55 May 21, 2012 by IchBinKönig
More likely, those losing their democracy will think of this Euro Disaster as a totally new assault from powers HQ'd in Germany. How that is going to make Germans feel better, only thelocal.de knows.
19:06 May 21, 2012 by catjones
Generally, people will not spend their money on ideas that confront their reality. So, you gotta wonder, 'who's buyin' the book?'
19:46 May 21, 2012 by wpfaeffle
The lead paragraph says Sarrazin "provoked outrage," That's a bit of editorializing, isn't it? Who is outraged? I'm not. Neither are some of the people I know who are familiar with the book. I suspect most people aren't. We may disagree, but outraged we are not. It seems to me that every time the war or the holocaust comes up in public discussion, some journalists feel they must express outrage on somebody's behalf. It would not be politically correct to do otherwise. That I believe is the real outrage. Sarrazin may have a point after all.
21:24 May 21, 2012 by siba
smart2012: You are afraid of radicalism in GERMANY??? This is a really false perception. Do you know what is going on in the rest of Europe where right-wing populist (NL, Austria, France...) and right-wing extremist (Greece) parties have got powerful political forces? Germany is one of the few countries left with no right-wing party in the parliament. And even the conservatives are quite liberal in Germany compared to the conservatives in most other Western countries. Sarrazin is a single and isolated person in Germany, and he is less right-wing than Geert Wilders or Heinz Strache who lead the political discourses in the NL and Austria respectively. I lived in both countries and was shocked how people talk there about "foreigners". Or think about the Republicans in the US who say racist and fascist things about which everyone in Germany shake his/her head.

That is why I appreciate Germany which is reflexive and has not fallen yet into the trap of right-wing populism.

Germany is quite balanced in its political discourses and media are quite fact-based if you compare it to most other countries.

I hope you study German one day and read more sophisticated newspapers than this one which most likely reflects the level of newspapers with huge pictures.
21:34 May 21, 2012 by doc holiday
This guy really gets it. It's nice to see someone say what most people are thinking. I'm tired of constantly hearing the liberal minority point of view. He sells a lot of books because people agree with him. The mass media would have you believe he is a one man band that is only trying to provoke.
21:40 May 21, 2012 by Steve Potts
The Euro experiment will only work if there is closer political union. I believe that the people of Europe don't want this and their thinking is far away from that of the Euro-politicians.

Can you really have a successful currency without closer intergration?

It is probably better to go back the 1970s when there was a 'Common Market' not a European Union. That way we can all work, trade take sort out our grievances fairly, work hard and get the benefits from it, without this Euro juggernaught which is like a train that is crashing in slow-motion.
00:01 May 22, 2012 by Struwel
Perhaps the euro bailout has more to do with -

"The early shortcomings have yet to be corrected."

"Instead of waiting until the economic requirements for a common currency were met, Kohl wanted to demonstrate that Germany, even after its reunification, remained profoundly European in its orientation."

(Source Spiegel online: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/euro-struggles-can-be-traced-to-origins-of-common-currency-a-831842.html)
01:03 May 22, 2012 by gorongoza
This Sarrazin lakes the tact to put across his arguments. Its amazing that a man who once occupied positions of authority could be heard talking like this.

My conclusion is that he is a dangerous man ; and is likely to mess it up for all the Germans.
01:54 May 22, 2012 by Mr. Wonderful
Its great to see Sarrazin tweak the lions tail and make money doing it. Who knew the truth could be so profitable in Germany until Sarrazin came along and started making money telling it.
03:17 May 22, 2012 by Kosmonaughty
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
04:19 May 22, 2012 by reallybigdog
Interesting but it wouldn't surprise me if many Europeans feel Germany owes them something when it doesn't. Idiots make excuses for their failures and blame others long before ever looking at themselves and their own uncontrolled spending or laziness first. Should Germany pay for all of Europeans mistakes....hell no! Does Germany need the USA, England and other economic failures telling them how to run Europe...hell no! It makes more sense for Germany to advise others how to run the show as they still have productive sustainable economy and run neck in neck as one of the largest exporters on the planet with only 80 plus million people ahead of the US at 300 million people and very close to China with a billion people. The issue however is that a strong Germany is advertised as a threat because of its past and they (USA, ENGLAND) etc are throwing the war and anything else they can muster in yet another pathetic propaganda war to pressure Germany into becoming as fiscally irresponsible as they have become!! Nothing more then the usual bulling tactics we warn our kids about at school just a different play ground were the Germans don't appear as welcome because of their intimidating fiscal responsibility over the last 12 years makes the rest of the boys look foolish. Germany should just let the other nations go on playing their little games with their debt which is now at levels they can NO LONGER consider PAYABLE and also let them continue living the DREAM they keep trying to sell all the uneducated citizens they control that you can spend your way to prosperity if you never recognize you have a problem with DEBT in the first place. Kinda comparable to that of the problem alcoholic isn't it.
04:47 May 22, 2012 by delaMerci
Why can't Europeans understand that they had no choice but to unite? After the two world wars Europe was in bad shape and each nation couldn't stand by itself against super powers like Russia and the United States. They weren't what they were in 1914.
06:59 May 22, 2012 by jokerman
From an American point of view, Europe should unit since each nation has tried to dominate the rest at some point of history. Now that the world is smaller it is only practical for all of you to unit. Since the US Constitution is based on European experience in governance, the idea is of a US of Europe is not far fetch. As for the Holocaust, Americans did the same thing with Native Americans, but have had much better economic benefit.
09:22 May 22, 2012 by catjones
doc holiday...Sarrazin may be saying what many or most germans are thinking, but that doesn't mean he 'gets it'.

jokerman...your point of view is as far from American as you are.
10:04 May 22, 2012 by AlexR
A Holocaust guilt for Europe? The only Holocaust guilt the German media, politicians and the people are still feeling is about the Jewish people and Israel. The recent outrage against Günter Grass is a prime example about that.

They don't feel any "Holocaust or World War II" guilt for any European country. Quite the opposite. Take the PIIGS for example. During World War II most of them were part of the Axis Powers (Italy) and/or supporters (Spain, Portugal) or neutral (Ireland). The only country that was with the Allies was Greece. It was occupied by Germany and in numerous German atrocities it suffered more than 400,000 casualties, with its economy and infrastructure lay in ruins. Yet, the Germans don't feel any guilt about that, and refuse even to discuss about the wartime reparations.

And even if we dismiss the discussion about the wartime reparations, the current narrative in Germany against Greece shows absolutely no World War II guilt whatsoever. It's actually the opposite that is happening. Currently all of the PIIGS countries have received directly (Greece, Portugal, Ireland) or indirectly (Spain, Italy) money from EU/ECB/Germany. However, only Greece is attacked in such a large extent in the German media and political/economic cycles. The Greeks (former WWII enemies) are the ones who are constantly vindicated and humiliated with stereotypes, generalizations and lies and not the rest of the PIIGS countries (former WWII allies or neutral), even though they have also received huge money from Germany.

If Sarrazin was right, and the Germans were feeling any "Holocaust or World War II" guilt this would not have been happening. Consider if instead of Greece it was Israel that had those kind of issues.
10:17 May 22, 2012 by smart2012
@ siba:

a. when i say radicalism it does not necessarily means right wings. This guy to me sounds very radical in what he is saying (and u can see the result by looking at the silly comments going on to this article)

b. I leave in Munich, and what I am hearing is that around 10 turkish people were killed by radicalist and police/politician did everthing they could to cover this

and to all the others who are making comments about who needs whom: i would like to remember Marshal plan (money given by USA to Germany), EU money used to unify East Germany to West Germany... History is easily forgotten, and this is the worry of radicalism coming back (which is what it is happening now), with perople having no clue ogf what they are talking about.
11:40 May 22, 2012 by canialhill
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:51 May 22, 2012 by Sastry.M
Herr Sarrazin's views may cause outrage but democratic freedom demands why he should not express them openly. If one considers honestly and impartially, the subject of Holocaust has been sanctified as an evil virtue with many advanced and excellent technicalities the Germans could muster to pursue their ignominious Pogroms against the Jews even under dire emergency conditions of ww2. No one ever considers whether all the victorious allies put together with possession of the same or even superior technological offshoots in certain areas could have done the same evil acts what the Germans did exactly under similar circumstances and conditions,even if imagined fictitiously and fancifully.

Even if the German Economist is accused of trying to manipulate a submerged sentiment of guilt shared by all Germans, what steps were taken boldly and impartially by the Allied Victors of ww2 to prove the extolled evil virtues of the defeated even as humanly possible of committing in action?

If the Germans have learnt to suffer in patience to enjoy guilt and abuse silently over more than six decades after the loss in war for the sake hard earned democracy, let them continue to do so for the sake the Eternal Truth whose fame is always anonymous and whose speech ever remains silent.
11:52 May 22, 2012 by canialhill
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:52 May 22, 2012 by Hurlbrink
The man is right although most will not admit it. Germany went through a Allied created transformation after the war and the reeducation has had its permanent effect on the public thinking even to the present.

This cow has been milked for 67 years and Germans have come to accept that as a fact of life. Many atrocities were commit in WWII and other wars since but only Germany continues to pay, and pay, and pay with the people saying ­ what can we do we have no choice. But they do. The time has come to say genug ist genug. \

Germany must move on, it cannot continue to be the cash cow for the mistakes and live style choices of others. It is nice to be a good neighbor but the neighbors must learn that there are consequences for their actions. We all were taught that as children.

The Euro was an experiment that was created by a few individuals and foisted on the German public with no vote taken. It is time to allow the German people a vote as to whether they wish to continue with the Euro or return to the Deutschmark.

Remember, when it was just the Mark, Germany was one of the top economies in the world, with excellent health care, retirement, low unemployment, etc. Today we are being manipulated by other interests.
22:55 May 22, 2012 by jokerman
Perhaps Germany should use a "pot calling the kettle black" policy. Americans should not say anything about the Holocaust until they admit committing genocide themselves against the Native populations. Britain should hush about world domination since it took advantage using firearms against foreign nations still using melee, France's contradiction of Napolean, freeing Europeans from monarchs with a military dictator, and Russia where Stalin did more harm to the people then the Germans. The list goes on. In America, as a White I like to point out to my Black counterpart that Africans sold Africans and the American slave was freed by the White man in 1864, and reinforced by a Texan in 1964.
16:03 May 23, 2012 by siba
smart2012: you did not dwell on anything I wrote. you put things together in a radical subjective way and you radicalize things which are 1000s times stronger in the rest of the world. so keep it in context. sarrazin is right-wing. and he says the same things like the republicans and many other right-wing parties in the rest of europe. but his opinions are isolated and not part of every day life like in so many countries.

people who comment here are usually NOT germans. so you see that Germans are not the radical ones!

"around 10 turkish people were killed by radicalist and police/politician did everthing they could to cover this" --> police and polticians made mistakes by thinking they murderers - in the course of several years - were not connected, but they did not cover it.

I am totally for supporting Greece, but your infos are out of context: the money for the marshall plan for germany was extremly little compared what germany paid already to greece... and you must admit that there have to be made some changes in greece, if investments, structural changes... otherwise nothing will change. in germany were the prospects good, in greece they are not. AND btw EU-money is given still to many poor areas in ALL european countries, if greece or austria, but especially of course the new member states in the east. The reuinfication was financed mostly by West-Germany not by the EU!

14:53 May 24, 2012 by hanskarl
Sarrazin is making some very definitive points that will rile most of Germany. But to put it into perspective remember the Treaty of Versailles where Germany was expected to repay the equivalent of 100,000 tons of gold, a wretched impossibility that led to the political struggles and the Second World war? Perhaps what Sarrazin is attempting to point out is that nothing has changed in Europe regarding Germany only their methodology. The EU is in shambles and about to disintegrate and it is clear to most Germans that this experiment has failed.

The European (and German) press is so abjectly liberal how could one not agree with them apart form reading other sources for concrete information. One must expect the responses from Herr Steinbrück and Schäuble and their partners. They live and breathe the Union and recognize what a catastrophic situation they are in at present.

I am not for totally behind the man but one must agree that Sarrazin has hit a nerve.
13:48 May 25, 2012 by hardly
Could a knowledgeable reader elaborate upon the current situation for a moment and consider the merits or demerits of economic and political unification? It is not a given that Europe must unite politically, but it does appear as the obvious momentum and direction considering the economic ties.

Economic ties of this scale bring about political unity. Take as a model the burgeoning of the U.S. in the18th and early 19th centuries full of disagreements about the role of federalism and centralization of law. These disagreements were met with short-term compromises and economic stability. It is non-controversial to state that the conflict of the American Civil War resulted from these unresolved disagreements. There are valid arguments against federalization for it's ever increasing imperialist ventures as well as for the economic ruin of the southern states. Others arguments tie the results of political unification with an increasing of the liberties of humans of African descent. Today in the U.S. there remain significant and complex debates about the role of federal government which could result in future catastrophic conflicts.

It seems like a cheap trick to use World War 2 to hit a nerve. Sarrazin understands this, yet with a sleight of hand employs it to alter the discussion toward his interests. Questioning whether the E.U. endeavor should continue is valid, but here he is exploiting emotionally sensitive rhetoric. His focus is on the nation-state of Germany and it's relationship to the E.U., therefore his interest are nationalist. Based on the statements above, there is no discussion whether the E.U. is good for the individual citizen of these different allied societies. Unless there is a discussion about the individual, then it seems that all of this talk about the E.U. is a debate over nation-state vs.empire.
00:12 May 26, 2012 by quiller
hardly - "It seems like a cheap trick to use World War 2 to hit a nerve. Sarrazin understands this, yet with a sleight of hand employs it to alter the discussion toward his interests." It may seem that way but 1953 is not that long ago and it is interesting to read the World War II debt settlement (forgiveness) that was negotiated in that year. Anyhow since then - Europe has indulged itself in the greatest socialist bank bail out in the history of the world. Greek debts pale against the above two issues.
21:22 May 27, 2012 by GERAGHTY USA
GREECE - Should they stay or should they go?

Any club has to has common rules - all the members have to be on the same page. The Western World has to decided whether it is going to follow the USSR unto the unworkable central control that failed there, or trim budgets and spend only what they take in. IF Greece sees Germany as he problem, they really should resign from the club. That way they can "prove to us all" that they can make their own finances work by continued gov't spending. Obama is trying the same thing in the USA,
10:49 May 28, 2012 by wood artist
It is sad that this whole discussion...not this thread of comments...can't be held on a higher plane.

It is clear that there are problems with the Euro. Many said that from the beginning, not that it was inherently a bad idea but that some additional things needed to be considered and included. Much of what's being seen now was included in those predictions and observations. Without greater economic, and hence political, consolidation, the operating of a single currency is going to remain very difficult. Whether further consolidation is a good idea is something else entirely.

Personally, I'm beginning to see Sarrazin in a very negative light. In the US we sometimes see someone play the "race card" simply because the "victim" is Black and the "suspect" isn't. While we are not remotely free of racial bias, and many incidents are racially motivated, that doesn't mean every one of them is. That assumption remains overly simplistic.

Germany has done a reasonable job...in my opinion...of trying to deal with the fallout of the Third Reich. Very few alive today were around then, and of those who were, almost none of them were in any position of authority. Yes, there are surviving military personnel, and they were forced to fight in ways that we might not consider proper. However, that's equally true of almost every military veteran to some degree.

While we should never forget the Holocaust, nor should we accept anything remotely resembling genocide, at some point it's time to move on. Germany has made that effort. Japan still won't admit or apologize to either China or Korea. The US finally apologized to the Japanese-Americans for their treatment, and while formal apologies haven't come in some cases, I think there is a general consensus that the forced-relocation within Europe after the war was improper. The US was clearly wrong in the way it dealt with Native Americans...and the list goes on and on.

In short, Sarrazin will likely continue to play the "abused German" card as long as it makes him money. Sadly whatever truth he might actually share gets lost in the xenophobic trash he serves up with it.

18:56 May 29, 2012 by Whipmanager
As an economic force, the Euro Zone is a very effective force. But, since not all partners are equal, you see that only a few benefit from it. Who cares if italy is poor as a euro member or as a Lira currency poor nation, the end result is the same. But, if you look at heritage, Europe has lost a great deal of luster with the Euro homogenization. Losing the peseta, Lira, franc, DM, took something from each society. They lost identity and a drive to excel based on a national heritage. You castrated the societies. Greece may be lucky to leave the union and start over. If the currency you are working for is your own, and you are invested in its success, you give a people a national goal. Commonalities are all many of us have left. We may never travel, be rich, or have a hosue of our own. Tha tis why we care about that Home Futbol team for success, we need soemthing to look forward to.

Give Europe back it's Identity- not one large group, but severall important countries with a rich heritage.
11:25 May 30, 2012 by delvek
Do you think there is a German who doesnt wish they won the war?
13:42 May 31, 2012 by cynicoren
@delvek: You asked this also somewhere else. Read Michael Bruleigh's book "The 3rd Reich". You'll learn a lot (I did) about WW2. I can tell you, that many Germans suffered in that era. It doesn't justify the death of one man, but yes, some Germans didn't wish to win the war. Not only jews and Germans were hit by the atrocities - the Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and Gypsies, among many others, suffered horrible fates.

What Thilo Sarrazin said isn't far-fetched. I heard the German Finance minister 2 weeks ago on CNN, saying Germany will try to keep the Eurozone united as a reparation to what they did to Europe in the war.
20:43 June 1, 2012 by Sayer
Misleading headline. Irrelevant discussion. Until we can actually scientifically examine "The Holocaust" (TM) Germany will forever be a nation of guilt-ridden infants.
12:05 June 2, 2012 by Gotthelf
If we talk about policies today we should be aware, that any policy did once derive from a common practised theology, which was reckoned true, which was practised in the respective parts of the world.

Untill the secularisation 1806 mainly achieved by Napoleon, in which church property and estate at the end of the first 1000 year german empire, (beginning in 800 with the formula of the frank emperor "Karl der Große: one empire, one people, one faith), was expropriated, as well as formally seperated from the state, policy and theology were more or less one, even though there was much corruption then too.

Yet the formula which makes a nation or many nations solid constructions, culturally and econmically is not only a conscience of the secular knowledge.

In fact you cannot build a secular system without a ground work i.e. an imovable foundation, otherwise it becomes a castle in the air, and will tumble after a few years. So first is the faith then the people, then the state or the empire. What faith do the europeans have. The roman catholic believ is most likely not the strike into the centre of the target. Mayb a 7 or 8.

A 9 maybe for the protestant. A 10 for the true confession. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints and I believe if the man by which this church is named is not followed all secular constructions are determined to fail, even more easily when church and policies are seperated, in such a way, that people do not know the origin of their secular decisions.
02:02 June 4, 2012 by loch
@Siba: Please stop classifying the Republicans in the US as fascist-minded. The GOP is a mainstream party with no platform whatsoever reflective of anything remotely fascist. Also, why do you think only right-wing equals tyranny or extremism? Quick history lesson for you:

-Stalin: far left

-Pol Pot: far left

-Mao Zemin: far left

-Red Army Faction: far left

-North Korean leadership: far left

I'm not here to argue which side is better, rather point out your one-sided belief that all things bad = right-wing.

A little more history for you:

-Abraham Lincoln: Republican

-Passage of most civil rights legislation and policy: Republicans

-President who wanted to grant eventual amnesty to illegal immigrants: Republican (George Bush--God forbid!)

Anyone can pick and choose from history (like I just did), but the key is to present BOTH sides. Please, for the love of peace, stop spreading the "Republicans are evil" meme.
23:55 June 4, 2012 by Beachrider
Sarrazin isn't important, on his own. What matters is how Germany responds to a stimulus like his.

He is attempting to appeal to a nationalistic perspective. He is adding some catch-word structure to simplify his positions. This isn't done to introduce a collegial discussion. It is done to force quick decisions.

You just have to decide whether you deeply agree with his quick decisions.
07:19 June 8, 2012 by insight101

You can also reach some perverse conclusions when you let cold facts overrule feelings...do I need to remind you of Germany's prime example of that being true? A lot of Germans seem to have the idea that either you are a senseless person governed by emotion or a genius governed by logic. But logic can be twisted to any conclusion, anything can be rationalized. Emotions are also often an intelligent reaction to the facts!!
22:48 June 16, 2012 by cliveklg
"He sells a lot of books because people agree with him."

Not even close to the amount to indicate a large majority of Germany agree with him. What a laughable point. And then you have to separate out those who aren't even German buying it, that agree with his extreme views. So that dilutes how predominant his view is also.

Amazing what straws people will grasp at.
12:59 June 18, 2012 by C Robert
IT is fact far too many Rabi in Angela's Cabinet. Ditch he Merkel once and for all.
20:32 June 18, 2012 by ITAMAR

Wake up, the 2WW was over in 1945,

Why do you wish to wake up the Anti Semitic Goast?

Does Germany needs it? do the Germans need that?

The past is a wound which heals slowly by the families of victims and they are millions,it is not clever to make it bleeding again...
11:45 June 20, 2012 by Buddy Dickerson
As an American I am sick to death of hearing about the absolution of world war two. I promise every person in Germany if Hitler knew who and what Jew really is he would not have done them. He might have picked something else.

In The Plot to Overthrow by Mohammad Goldstein he bluntly exposes the real facts about who a Jew really IS. You can get it for nothing on the net. It exposes more than Jews in a fictional story that tells the inside truth about the USG as well.

Scholars around the world cannot dispute the facts that are presented in this book and it will help this silly time Germans spend wondering about how it could have happened. The world needs knowledge and wisdom to change not guns and this will change your politics forever.
18:56 June 20, 2012 by ITAMAR

Hitler knew exactly what he is doing and planing, he managed to carry after him all the German people and big parts of population in otherEuropean countries.
07:53 June 22, 2012 by srjmsbnd
Another crypto right-winger from the GDR (East Germany) who like Angela Merkel posture themselves as phonies, cater to extremism , and are useless.
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