Bankers and the Holocaust

Austria News Briefs

Minister of Finance Maria Fekter (ÖVP) caused a stir when she compared the critique of bankers to the persecution of Jews during the Second World War at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Wroclaw, Poland.

Rejoining a comment about the danger of rising nationalism, Fekter said that “in Europe we are now turning bankers and the wealthy into enemies. We’ve had this before. Then, it was directed against the Jews, but in fact similar kinds of groups were meant, and twice it ended in war.”

Fekter’s comments drew near universal condemnation, with the head of the Green Party Eva Glawischnig calling them “a deliberate attempt to instrumentalise Austria’s darkest period to protect the rich from fair taxation.”

After criticism from Michael Spindelegger, the head of the ÖVP, Fekter apologised via a press release stating that “I never sought a comparison with the National Socialist regime or the Holocaust. […] My only concern was to point out the importance of social cohesion, and to warn against incitement.”

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