Touchy, touchy!

German economist apologizes for Jewish comparison

BERLIN, Germany (AP) — A leading German economist apologized Monday for drawing a much-criticized parallel between corporate managers today and the Nazi-era persecution of Jews that followed the 1929 financial crisis.

Hans-Werner Sinn, the head of the Munich-based Ifo institute, was quoted as telling the daily Tagesspiegel in an interview about the global economic meltdown that “in every crisis, people look for culprits, for someone to blame.”

“No one wanted to believe in an anonymous systemic error in the world economic crisis of 1929 either,” he added, according to the report. “Back then it hit the Jews in Germany; today, it’s the managers.”

Recent weeks have seen widespread condemnation of perceived failings by financial experts prior to today’s financial crisis.

In contrast, the 1929 crisis was followed by the rise to power in 1933 of the Nazis, who set in motion a systematic persecution of Jews that culminated with the death of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.

Sinn drew strong criticism from the government and the opposition, from Germany’s Central Council of Jews and from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He issued an apology a few hours after the interview hit newsstands.


“We should note the contemporary hatemongers who, once more, libel ‘Jewish finance’ for the contemporary financial crisis,” Samuels wrote.

By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press Writer
Monday, October 27, 2008