March 6th, 2008

Statement of Secretary General of the Central Council of Jews in Germany on the plans to establish a bravery medal for the German Bundeswehr

“The Central Council welcomes fully and unreservedly the plans by Minister of Defence (Franz-Josef) Jung to create a bravery medal for the Bundeswehr. It is beyond doubt that soldiers of the Bundeswehr, a democratic parliamentary army, deserve that there is such an award and it is time, perhaps even long overdue, to introduce an adequate decoration,” says Secretary General of the Central Council Stephan J. Kramer.

“However, any plans to revive the tradition of the ‘Iron Cross’ must be emphatically rejected. Re-introducing the ‘Iron Cross” as a possible bravery medal, as is being discussed by some people including Inspector General (Wolfgang) Schneiderhan, would be an attempt to continue an unholy tradition that led to humanity’s greatest crime during National Socialism,” criticises Kramer.

“The traditions associated with the ‘Iron Cross’, especially during National Socialism, are not the traditions of the German Bundeswehr, and it would be fatal if a connection were established on the basis of a mistaken understanding of tradition,” emphasises Kramer.

Berlin , 06.03.2008