German president ignores Langer award uproar

Nuremberg Jewish community head returns awards in protest over recognition of Israel basher.

Felicia Langer  and german 248.88 (photo credit: Baden-W?rttemberg State Website)
Felicia Langer and german 248.88
(photo credit: Baden-W?rttemberg State Website)
Arno S. Hamburger, the head of the Nuremberg Jewish community since 1972, returned his awards from the Federal government, including the Federal Cross of Merit, on Monday in protest over Germany's decision to issue that award to attorney and anti-Zionist activist Felicia Langer, Hamburger told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday. Hamburger said that he is "very sad" about German president Horst Köhler's decision to ignore his July protest letter, criticizing the Federal Republic's praise of Langer, who relocated here from Israel in 1990 and compares the Jewish state with Nazi Germany. Hamburger said he chose September 1 as the date for his letter to Köhler because the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939 recalls the "suffering of Jews" and Hamburger himself was on a ship on the way to British-controlled Palestine at that time. Hamburger, whose daughter lives in Israel, attached a six-page addendum to his letter outlining the semantic similarities between Langer's references to Israel and Nazi Germany's characterization of the Jews. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York City confirmed to the Post on Wednesday that Köhler also ignored its June letter of protest. The ADL's letter cited Langer¹s comparison of Israeli military detention centers to "concentration camps." She also described a military facility in Israel as "the concentration camp of Sarafand," according to the ADL. The ADL letter said, "Such declarations insult the memory of those murdered by the Nazi regime and deserve condemnations rather than awards." The American Jewish Committee¹s Berlin office, also asked Köhler in a July letter to reconsider his decision to award Langer the Federal Cross. Local AJC director Deidre Berger said her organization had not received a reply from Köhler. Köhler's decision to give the award to Langer prompted a wave of protests in July and August. The president has yet to respond to his critics. But Martin Kothé, a spokesman for Köhler, told the Post by e-mail that Köhler plans to answer Hamburger¹s letter as well as "critical statements from citizens regarding the entire process."