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City Official Draws Protest For Remark on Jews

May 27, 1989

FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ A city legislator from an ultrarightist party stirred up a storm of protest Friday when a newspaper quoted him as saying that ″Jews are plundering us again″ and ″something must be done about this.″

West German ARD television said the city prosecutor’s office had started an investigation against 78-year-old Erich Gutjahr for possibly violating German laws with his reported statements.

Several members of the city council demanded the resignation of Gutjahr, a 78-year-old member of the rightist National Party of Germany, known by its German initials, NPD.

The NPD, whose views are often likened to those of German neo-Nazi groups, won seven city council seats in local elections in March, giving the ultrarightist party a minority voice in the law-making body.

Gutjahr, in an interview printed Friday by the Frankfurt Allgemeine newspaper, was quoted as saying, ″Jews have bought up half of the city.″

According to the newspaper, Gutjahr also said: ″The Jews are plundering us again. Something must be done about this.″

He could not be reached Friday to comment on the newspaper report.

Gutjahr, a strident anti-communist, also said he would rather see city property put under government control before more of it is sold to Jewish buyers, the newspaper reported.

The elderly councilman denied being anti-Semitic but said he only wants to protect ″German interests,″ it said.

The newspaper further quoted him as insulting West German President Richard von Weizsaecker by calling the liberal-leaning president a ″lump,″ a degrading German word meaning ″limp worthless rag.″

Legislator Jo Meergans, a member of the city’s governing Social Democratic Party, said Gutjahr’s remarks constituted a violation of West Germany’s laws against inciting the public. He demanded the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office launch an investigation, which the television said had already begun.

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