A top German economist has triggered controversy by comparing criticism of business leaders with the Nazi persecution of the Jews during the Third Reich.
27 Oct 2008
Hans-Werner Sinn, head of the economic research institute Ifo, urged Germans not to search for "scapegoats" amid the current financial crisis, which he said was the result of "an anonymous system error."
Referring to the dire financial crisis of the 1930`s, which Hitler blamed on the Jews, he added;"At the time the search for scapegoats focused on the Jews; today it is the managers.
His comments immediately sparked an uproar. The secretary general of the central Jewish council of Germany, Stephan Kramer, called on Mr Sinn to apologise "unconditionally."
A caller on a popular radio talk show expressed the general incredulity at the comments: "Criticism of a few suits has, to the best of my knowledge, not led to them being rounded up and gassed."
The country's top banker, Josef Ackerman of Deutsche Bank, had announced that he would forgo his multi-million pound Christmas bonus as the depth of the financial crisis emerged.
Each month the Ifo publishes one of the most widely-read surveys of German business confidence and is one of the leading economic research units in Europe.