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German Jews angry over plan to honor bishop with Nazi ties

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Plans by the German Protestant Church to honor a former bishop known for his close ties to the Nazis have angered the country's Jewish community.

The Church wants to hold a memorial service on June 8 for Hans Meiser, who historians have said made repeated anti-Semitic and racist remarks before and during the Nazi era. Meiser was leader of the Bavarian Protestant Church from 1933 until 1955.

The Jewish community has voiced concern over the event, scheduled for the 50th anniversary of Meiser's death and due to be held in the southern city of Nuremburg.

"I don't understand why they have opened the old wounds and revived this issue," Arno Hamburger, head of the Jewish community in Nuremberg, told Reuters on Thursday.

In a letter to the head of the Bavarian Protestants, Johannes Friedrich, Hamburger accused Meiser of anti-Semitism.

"He... bears a share of moral responsibility that my 29-year-old aunt was put on a train from Nuremberg to the
death camp of Izbica and murdered there," he wrote in the letter published in German newspapers this week.

Jewish leaders have criticised the fact that a number of German cities, including Nuremberg and Munich, still have streets named after Meiser.

A spokeswoman for the church said it would review the service for Meiser, saying it would also reflect the bishop's role in the Nazi era and not only his achievements.

The row comes one day after another Bavarian town postponed plans to honour aviation engineers Willy Messerschmitt and Claude Dornier, known for their warplanes made for the Luftwaffe, after protests by Jewish groups and local leaders.

The town of Garching, also in Bavaria, said it would review the plans to honour the men.

Read entire article at Haaretz

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