Peter Maurer: The Social Consequences of Covid-19 – Politics

Wars and conflicts never pause in the pandemic, warns Peter Maurer, head of the International Red Cross. About the devastating social consequences of Corona and the concern that rich countries will buy the vaccine away from poor countries.

Interview by

Daniel Brössler

The corona pandemic is not only pushing states to their borders, but also international aid organizations. The Swiss Peter Maurer, President of the International Red Cross (ICRC), urges more support. His expectations of Germany, which is helping to organize a donor conference for the Sahel zone on Tuesday, are also high.


Hertie and the Hitler dictatorship – Was there something? – Politics

One of the largest non-profit foundations in Germany, the Hertie Foundation, refuses to publicly deal with its historical legacy – at least this is the accusation made by almost 150 current and former students of the Hertie School in Berlin who have come together in the “Her.Tietz” initiative .

It is “bizarre”, says Alexander Busold of the initiative, that the foundation, which runs projects to promote democracy, “does not deal with its own Nazi history. How can they be credible? That makes us angry.” When asked, the Hertie Foundation said it was “very surprised that this is being said”.

At the Hertie School in Berlin, which is financed by the Hertie Foundation, people from all over the world are trained to become managers in administration, business and civil society. The foundation has assets of one billion euros.

Alexander Busold and Torben Klausa from the “Her.Tietz” initiative criticize the fact that the students have been trying for almost two years to convince the board of the Hertie Foundation to “deal openly and scientifically deal with their history, but we are delayed and dismissed “.

Of the Süddeutsche Zeitung there are e-mails from the Hertie Foundation that support this claim. The chairman of the foundation, Frank-Jürgen Weise, formerly head of the Federal Employment Agency, had informed more than 1000 current and former students of the Hertie School in 2019 that the board had dealt with the allegations of the “Her-Tietz” initiative and was coming “to a different rating than you”.

The chain of department stores owned by the Jewish entrepreneurial family Tietz was “Aryanized” shortly after the National Socialists came to power. The family was pushed out of the company when the National Socialists called for a boycott of the department store and put pressure on lenders like Deutsche Bank.

The manager appointed after the “Aryanization” continued to run the business after the war

The name of the company was deleted in favor of the abbreviation “Hertie”. “Hertie” means the combination of Hermann and Tietz. Hermann Tietz had given his nephew Oscar Tietz money in 1882 to set up a textile business, the origin of the group.

After the “Aryanization”, a new managing director was appointed, Georg Karg, who also expanded Hertie after the war. In the 1970s, Karg transferred the company to the non-profit Hertie Foundation.

On the website of the Hertie School there are no references to this dark story, the students accuse the foundation. The German-language website of the Hertie Foundation only contains a text that is difficult to access and can only be found if you scroll down to the bottom. The text is completely missing on the English version of the page.

When asked by SZ, the Hertie Foundation admitted that the English website was “very reduced” and that a translation of the text would be placed on the English-language site. The foundation does not name a point in time.

In any case, the text was only put on the website under pressure from the “Her.Tietz” initiative. But the students have a problem with the content. “There the impression arises that the Tietz family were unsuccessful business people, which in our eyes makes the anti-Semitic repression small,” says Torben Klausa.

Alexander Busold also criticizes the fact that the text does not mention the sources for the allegations. Some details also contradict the state of scientific research. Simone Ladwig-Winters wrote in her dissertation “Wertheim – a department store company and its owners” in 1996 that the Tietz family had been thrown out of the group by anti-Semitic repression.

The man who benefited from the fact that their company had been stolen from the Jewish founding family: Georg Karg, here in a photo from 1938.

(Photo: Schütte-Münchow private collection)

The majority of the mostly English-speaking students, says Alexander Busold, do not know about the Hertie Group’s brown past. He reports on a Jewish alumna from North America who had studied at the Hertie School and “was very surprised that the school did not consider it necessary in 2020 to deal openly with its own past”.

To this day, the origin of the name “Hertie School” and the “Aryanization” are not mentioned in the curriculum. Only after several years of urging the “Her.Tietz” initiative did a historical information board recently hang in the cafeteria of the Hertie School in Berlin.

Alexander Busold, who completed his master’s degree at the Hertie School and started working as a program manager at a foundation in July, describes it as “extremely strange” that the Hertie Foundation is keeping two scientific studies from 2000 and 2008 under lock and key.

“Why are these two studies not made publicly available, and why have we been delayed with our proposals for years?”, He and Torben Klausa ask on behalf of 150 students, alumni and members of three other institutions sponsored by the Hertie Foundation will.

Confronted with this accusation, the Hertie Foundation explains: “Since both studies do not fully reflect the story and do not meet a scientific claim, they have refrained from publication.”

The two preliminary studies on the history of the department store group shortly before and during the National Socialist rule would have shown that a scholarly review of the history of the Hertie group would not provide any further clarification due to the incomplete sources – this was written by the foundation boss Weise to the students a few months ago .

Charitable Hertie Foundation

“When asked why he was selected, Georg Karg himself is said to have replied: ‘I was the only one far and wide who was safe from attacks for racial motives.'”

That the preliminary studies are kept under lock and key arouses mistrust among the students. Shouldn’t unwanted interim results be made public? After all, Sabine Countess von Norman, the granddaughter of Georg Karg, the former head of the Hertie department store chain, sits on the board.

Weise also wrote to the students that an attempt to further process the foundation’s history would “make no sense”. After all, all claims of the Tietz family after the war were settled “to the satisfaction of both sides”.

Now the foundation says that a work-up is “about to be commissioned”

The Hertie Foundation renovated the Tietz family’s tomb in the Jewish cemetery in Berlin, which shows that the Foundation is well aware of the injustice that has happened to the family. The SZ now told the foundation that a scientific review of the history of the foundation’s assets had been decided by the board and was “about to be commissioned”.

Nils Busch-Petersen, Managing Director of the Berlin-Brandenburg Trade Association, is also amazed at how the Hertie Foundation has dealt with its past so far. He is in contact with Oscar Tietz’s granddaughter, who lives in New York. It is “long overdue that the foundation declares in a prominent place that there is an Aryanization behind its name”.

The director Nico Hofmann, who sits on the board of trustees of the Hertie Foundation, says he supports the students’ initiative. It is “essential and wise” to “transparently communicate and research the history of Hertie. These processes are an enrichment, I also learned that from dealing with the Ufa story.” With the Nazi issue “you have to deal aggressively”. Hofmann is the head of the film production company Ufa.

Former Berlin State Secretary for Culture André Schmitz, who is also on the board of trustees of the Hertie Foundation, said that the Hertie Foundation must “be proud of the young people that they launched this honorable and supportive initiative”. It has “long been standard” to openly deal with one’s own Nazi history and make it transparent, as practiced by the Foreign Ministry, for example.


Malu Dreyer: “This is not a mess” – politics

The Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer on the new Corona resolutions, the difficulty of a common line between the countries and the question of whether controls should also be carried out on people at home.

Interview by

Detlef Esslinger

SZ: Ms. Dreyer, Chancellery Minister Braun says the measures decided on Wednesday would probably not be enough. Do you think so too?


Italy and France back in a state of emergency – politics

New infections are increasing in France and Italy. Governments decide new restrictions while the aftermath of the first wave is still being worked through. Is a second lockdown looming?


Oliver Meiler, Rome, and Nadia Pantel, Paris

Political speculation in France is always ended only by the president. And so, since Emmanuel Macron’s television interview on Wednesday evening, the country has now been certain of the government’s strategy to contain the corona pandemic: There will be a curfew. You have “not lost control”, said Macron, but you are “in the second wave”. From Saturday onwards, residents of the greater Paris area and the major cities of Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Saint-Étienne, Rouen and Toulouse will no longer be allowed outside the door between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Macron said this measure would slow the pandemic while allowing people to keep going to work. “The children have to go to school, the universities should not close. People should live their lives, including the social one, but in a reduced way,” said Macron.


Copyright: And the upload filters are coming – digitally

During a pandemic and just before the US election, other issues are easily forgotten. Especially when they are as bulky as the “law to adapt copyright law to the requirements of the digital single market”. But the Federal Ministry of Justice’s draft bill deserves a second look. Because the EU copyright directive, which Germany wants to implement, is one of the most controversial legislative processes in recent years.

A year and a half ago, the reform brought hundreds of thousands of people to the streets. Their protests centered on the term upload filter. If Facebook and Youtube had to have every piece of content that users upload checked by error-prone software, freedom of expression would be at risk, they criticized.

Those who warned back then will feel confirmed today: The draft bill leaves most platforms little choice but to use an upload filter. Wikipedia, young start-ups and companies that turn over less than one million euros per year would be excluded. But Wikimedia board member Abraham Taherivand also rejects the draft. “If filter algorithms are used as suggested in the current draft, the entire free knowledge creation process suffers massively,” he says. “The interests of the users are far too little taken into account.”

It won’t work without an upload filter

All other platforms would have to make “their best efforts” to acquire licenses. But nobody can buy usage rights for all content, there are simply too many different rights holders, cultural workers and collecting societies for that. So the platforms have to use filters if they don’t want to be held liable for copyright infringements.

“Then even more data will run through the hands of the large American Internet companies, who will then learn more about all users,” said Federal Data Protection Officer Ulrich Kelber in an interview with SZ last year. “We therefore consider upload filters to be wrong and dangerous.” He does not want to comment on the current proposal because the draft has not yet been finalized. In fact, the Ministry of Justice and the Economy have been haggling over wording for months. The current version is unlikely to be final either.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice emphasizes that the draft follows the requirements of the federal government to avoid upload filters if possible. The CDU had announced that it would forego the implementation entirely. “Humbug” called it the green politician Tabea Roessner. Now she feels confirmed: With the new draft, the government is breaking its promise. This is especially a shame for small and medium-sized companies, which often cannot afford expensive locking software. “This is not only at the expense of the diversity of service providers, but also at the expense of freedom of expression on the Internet.”

Julia Reda sees it similarly, who in 2019 was one of the most prominent opponents of the reform as a MEP. “If companies are forced to use real-time upload filters, it strengthens the largest Internet companies such as Google or Facebook that can afford to develop this surveillance technology,” says Reda, who now works for the Society for Freedom Rights. “What the Justice Department presents as an improvement is actually going to lead to massive bans on legal content.”

Successful lobbying from Google?

Reda and Rößner both ask why the current ministerial draft differs from the discussion drafts drawn up in January and June in key areas. Originally, users should be able to mark content as legal during the upload in order to prevent erroneous blocking. This option has now been severely restricted. The Ministry of Justice announced that the fear that the new regulation could have negative effects was noted and that the concerns will be examined. The new wording corresponds to a proposal that Google made in the summer. “There is a certain suspicion that there has been a successful lobbying on this issue,” says Roessner. Google also lobbied vigorously on another passage in the draft, which revolves around what is known as ancillary copyright.

The lobby of the press publishers seems to have a better connection with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Chancellery. The new law aims to give publishers a share of the income generated by search engine operators when they make press publications accessible. In the previous drafts, there was an exception for up to eight words. “Single words or very short excerpts” are now allowed. This vague formulation is likely to occupy the courts.

Criticism also comes from the rights holders. An alliance of ten associations criticized the fact that the draft bill weakens the position of creatives and collecting societies. At present, 20 seconds of a film, 1000 characters of text and photos with a size of up to 250 kilobytes can be used. Some criticize that these exceptions are far too generous.

Some see freedom of expression as threatened. Others fear that lax regulations will harm rights holders. At least here the reform opponents were right: the Ministry of Justice cannot implement the directive in such a way that everyone is happy.


Coronavirus – CDU holds on to party conference – politics

The “The CDU needs a boss” law

The CDU’s plans for their party congress could be in vain because of Corona – the party still does not know who its new boss will be. It is now being discussed whether board members can also be elected by postal vote in the future if necessary.From Robert Roßmann


Gorleben will “not repeat itself” – politics

The President of the German Waste Management Authority, Wolfram König, on the way to a nuclear waste repository and the reservations of the Bavarian government.

Interview by

Michael Bauchmüller, Berlin

In theory, 54 percent of the area of ​​the Federal Republic of Germany could be used as a nuclear waste repository – but not Gorleben. This was the result of the preliminary work by the Federal Agency for Final Storage (BGE). But this result could burden the further process, says Wolfram König, President of the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management. His authority organizes the participation of citizens – for the first time in a virtual conference this weekend.


Pandemic – Stricter rules for corona hotspots – Politics

Chancellor Merkel and the prime ministers agree on an expansion of the mask requirement, stricter contact restrictions and a curfew in regions with high numbers of infections. They do not agree on accommodation bans.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers agreed on extensive measures to contain the pandemic on Wednesday. Due to numerous controversies, the talks did not end until 10 p.m. Merkel then said that Germany was “in the exponential phase” again with the spread of the corona virus, so action had to be taken quickly.

The joint decision states that the federal states will consequently take “local restrictive measures” at the latest when the limit of 50 new weekly infections per 100,000 inhabitants is exceeded. Among other things, there should then be a tightening of the mask requirement. In addition, a curfew at 11 p.m. is to be introduced for restaurants including a general ban on selling alcohol. There should be contact restrictions in public spaces. A maximum of ten people should then be allowed to meet. For celebrations in public spaces, the number of participants should be limited to ten. Only ten people should be allowed to participate in celebrations in private rooms, these may only come from a maximum of two households. The first milder measures are to be taken when there are 35 new weekly infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

In the case of the particularly controversial bans on accommodation, there was no agreement on a uniform line at the meeting. Merkel said that after the end of all autumn holidays on November 8th there would be another discussion about “how we should do it”. This part of the decision is “not yet completely satisfied”.

The Chancellor and the heads of government of the federal states met at 2 p.m. In between, Merkel is said to have been angry about the conversations that were slowly going on. According to participants, she said at the meeting: “The announcements from us are not harsh enough to turn the disaster away from us.” If nothing changes, you will be back in the Chancellery in two weeks. When presenting the results after the meeting, however, Merkel said that she “expressly found the decisions made” very good. However, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder warned: “We are actually much closer to the second lockdown than we want to admit.”

The resolution now adopted states that the aim of all government action must remain “to keep the infection dynamics in Germany under control”. Because higher infection numbers would “first make contact tracking impossible, which would lead to the acceleration of the infection process”. And such an acceleration “would then lead to a shortage of test capacities with further negative effects on infection control”.

According to the Robert Koch Institute on Wednesday, the number of new corona infections reported within one day has risen to 5,132 – it has not been that high since April. There were 4122 cases on Tuesday.


Maas visits Cyprus and Greece – politics

Now good face. The man with the dark blue mask, who is now smiling next to Heiko Maas, was his opponent a few weeks ago. “The picture we gave is one that I found terrible,” the German Foreign Minister admitted after the fight had been decided for the time being. “We” – that was the European Union, which wanted to impose sanctions against those responsible for the violence against demonstrators in Belarus, but could not for months. Because Nikos Christodoulides said no. Again and again.

If need be, global politics are also made on the four floors of the Cypriot Foreign Ministry. Maas called here more than once to change his colleague’s mind. The Cypriot Foreign Minister only wanted to agree to the sanctions if the EU also imposed sanctions on Turkey over the dispute over gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

Maas held against it. It does not go that “we can only decide on sanctions if someone else gets the sanctions that he would like to have. Then we will finally become politically incapable.” Cyprus only gave in at the EU summit in early October and was satisfied with the threat of sanctions if there was no progress by December.

In this way, the EU avoided embarrassing Belarus and kept the way open for further relaxation in the eastern Mediterranean. Above all: Germany’s mediation seemed to be bearing fruit and the danger of a military confrontation between the NATO states Turkey and Greece was decreasing. In telephone calls, Chancellor Angela Merkel talked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. In August Maas tried his hand at a shuttle diplomat, traveling to Athens and Ankara. Indeed, Turkey eventually reclaimed scouting ships from their missions in disputed waters. Greece and Turkey agreed to hold direct talks. Maas would have liked to build on that on Tuesday. He wanted to fly to Nicosia first, then to Athens and finally to Ankara on Wednesday. The main topic should have been how the soundings are actually organized. Then came the news that Turkey was their research vessel Oruç Reis sent off again. Cyprus and Greece reacted indignantly; Maas “deliberately” canceled his visit to Ankara. Now he wants to at least keep the Cypriots and Greeks in line. All sides should “work on a reasonable neighborhood relationship,” he warns. After all, the geography in the eastern Mediterranean will not change: “Turkey will remain a neighbor of Greece and Cyprus.”

In public, Maas does not go one step further in his admonitions to the Greeks and Cypriots – which also has to do with the inextricable contradiction of the German efforts. On the one hand, the German government sees itself in a mediating role, unlike France, for example, which clearly takes sides with the Greeks. On the other hand, Maas has no choice but to assure his colleagues in Nicosia and Athens, as Europeans, of the “full solidarity” of Germany, “also in our current role as the EU Council Presidency”.

With this in mind, Maas says he appeals to Turkey, “that the dialogue window that has just opened with Greece will not be reopened by unilateral measures.” Ankara must “end the interplay between relaxation and provocation if the government is interested in talks – as it has repeatedly asserted”. Exploratory talks could only lead to the goal in a constructive atmosphere. It quickly becomes clear in Nicosia, but there is no question of it. Christodoulides complains bitterly about recent “illegal acts” and provocations by Turkey. It is also about a small stretch of beach on the demarcation line between the part of Cyprus inhabited by Turks and that of Greeks. It belongs to the ghost town of Varosha, which has been uninhabited since the 1974 war, and has actually been inaccessible until now. To the anger of the Greeks, the Turkish President Erdoğan has now opened it unilaterally.

Maas calls it “completely unnecessary and provocative”. He understands the “deep frustration” at Turkey’s one-sided steps. Anger is a bad advisor, “especially in foreign policy”. Everyone should be “honestly” ready to negotiate. But there is one requirement: “The half-life of commitments must be longer than two days”.

That evening in Athens, when Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias entertained him in front of the backdrop of the Acropolis, Maas once again expressed himself “extremely horrified” by the Turkish behavior. Prime Minister Mitsotakis made this clear to him that direct talks will not come to anything for the time being. And the sanctions are back on the agenda. No later than December.


Study: schools are not a pandemic driver – education

School openings after the lockdown were heavily criticized. Now researchers have examined how the return to classroom teaching has affected the number of infections. The result surprised herself.


Paul Munzinger

What happened in Gladbeck at the beginning of October was what many teachers, parents and professionals feared since the beginning of the new school year across Germany: the schools have become Corona hotspots. Corona infections were found at nine of the city’s 21 schools in the Ruhr area, 60 people were affected. And young people at three of these schools had demonstrably infected one another. The city announced that the outbreak was “specifically focused on schools and verifiable through the pursuit of chains of infection.” And imposed a mask requirement in class. It is valid until the end of October – beyond the current autumn holidays.