BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The League of Expellees (Bund der Vertriebenen, BdV) opened its annual national "Homeland Day" commemorations this year with new demands and strong attacks against several east European neighboring countries. BdV President, Erika Steinbach, demands that the German government finally declare a national day of commemoration for the "victims of expulsion" and includes BdV functionaries in delegations on trips to foreign countries. Steinbach, a parliamentarian in the German Bundestag, also claims that the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia had "diligently continued to function, even without Hitler." Steinbach directed invectives also at the annual Moscow anniversary celebrations of the victory over Nazi Germany and announced her league's new memorial activities. Her statements, which set the tone for the local "Homeland Day" commemoration events throughout the next month across Germany were made last Saturday at a BdV ceremony in Berlin. This ceremony was greeted with messages of welcome from German President Christian Wulff and Chancellor Angela Merkel. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - With a new journalistic offensive, organized rightwing extremist forces are seeking to publicly re-orient the Bundeswehr's internal policy debates, using the Bundeswehr's internal discussion of the "combat capability" of female soldiers as a point of entry. The "Institute for State Policy," an extreme rightwing think tank, has published a brochure that declares warfare "a man's job," in an effort to win new supporters from within the ranks of the armed forces. The document is being promoted by "Marine-Forum," a renowned military magazine, as well as by the student newspaper at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, where three soldiers on the editorial staff are partisans of the Institute for State Policy. The institute upholds the tradition of the so-called Conservative Revolution, an anti-democratic movement, which stems from the period of the Weimar Republic. Historians consider it to have been a trailblazer for the Nazis. Whereas, just a few years ago, these positions would have been publicly rejected even at the Bundeswehr Universities, it is today being openly debated if these positions should be discussed. Parallel to the emerging opening for anti-democratic forces domestically, Berlin is imposing anti-democratic measures on other countries within the EU. A columnist in a leading German daily pointed out recently that in Greece, politics - due to the austerity dictate imposed by Berlin - are basically made by the EU and the IMF and not by the Greeks themselves, and continued: Greece, is "for the time being, merely a restricted democracy." more…