2 Sep 2010
German President Christian Wulff has increased pressure on the Bundesbank to dismiss its contentious board member Thilo Sarrazin, arguing that the central bank needed to limit damage to Germany’s reputation.
Sarrazin has divided Germany with criticism of the country’s large Muslim community, and outspoken remarks asserting that Jews have a particular genetic makeup, sparking calls from politicians that the central bank should fire him.
Speaking to N24 television, Wulff hinted that this might be the best course of action, as a newspaper reported the bank’s board had decided to sack Sarrazin, but that no official decision had yet been made.
“I think the board of the Bundesbank can do quite a lot so that this debate does not damage Germany – in particular internationally,” said Wulff, who would have to approve Sarrazin’s dismissal if the board voted for it.
The Berliner Zeitung daily said the bank’s board was no longer debating whether to remove Sarrazin, but rather how to do so. The Bundesbank declined to comment on the report.
The central bank can only remove Sarrazin on the grounds of serious misconduct. Both the 65-year-old and the bank have repeatedly stated his comments on race and religion are not linked to his role at the Bundesbank.
Germany’s Jewish community has been strongly critical of Sarrazin and a US Holocaust survivors’ group said it would lobby for Sarrazin to be removed from the Bundesbank.
“Holocaust survivors from Israel, Europe, Australia, and the Americas will approach the German embassies in some two dozen countries to demand the immediate removal of Thilo Sarrazin,” said Elan Steinberg, Vice President of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.
“Sarrazin’s racist comments have not only offended us as victims of Nazi Germany’s brutalities, but are blackening the morally upright position of modern day Germany.”