Salman Schocken was a Jewish department store magnate-turned-publisher who fled Germany for pre-state Israel after the Nazis took power. Now, his Israeli heirs have sold 25 percent of their liberal Haaretz newspaper to a German publisher with a Nazi past.
The DuMont Schauberg Group, one of Germany's largest media concerns, recently paid â‚¬25 million for its stake in the Israeli daily.
In Nazi times, the publishing house was headed by Kurt DuMont, a member of the Nazi party who was decorated by the Nazi regime, company executive Peter Pauls told Haaretz in an interview published Wednesday.
The DuMonts, Pauls said, "had to keep operating a company when the Nazis came to power, and they did the minimum required to survive at that time."
Kurt DuMont's 78-year-old son, Alfred, the group's current owner, has no Nazi ties, and shouldn't be tarred by his father's deeds, Amos Schocken, Salman's grandson, told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper on Wednesday.
"There is no reason to foist upon him, or upon the company he now heads, responsibility for an earlier era," Schocken said.
Haaretz, Israel's third-largest newspaper, had been wholly owned by the Schocken family since Salman Schocken founded it 89 years ago.