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Cablegate: Hesse Cdu Expulsion Marks Latest Chapter of Hohmann

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS FRANKFURT 006445

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM GM
SUBJECT: Hesse CDU Expulsion Marks Latest Chapter of Hohmann
Scandal

REF: 03 FRANKFURT 9873

Sensitive but unclassified not for internet distribution

1. (U) SUMMARY: Hesse Christian Democrats (CDU) expelled
Fulda member Martin Hohmann from the party on July 20 for an
October 2003 speech comparing the actions of Soviet
Bolshevist Jews during the Communist Revolution to Nazi
involvement in the Holocaust. The CDU federal parliamentary
caucus expelled Hohmann last November for the remarks.
Hohmann will appeal the decision to the CDU's national party
court. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Hesse CDU members stressed in their decision that
Hohmann's greatest failure was refusing to distance himself
from the speech after negative reaction from the media and
the party. Hesse CDU General Secretary Michael Boddenberg
noted that Hohmann could have prevented his expulsion by
renouncing the anti-Semitic elements of his speech following
the public uproar. Boddenberg added that he expects Hohmann
to wage a long legal battle against the expulsion order.

3. (U) Hohmann indicated that, given the widespread
negative public reaction, he now regretted giving the
speech. He refused, however, to apologize for his remarks
and maintained that the comparison of Soviet Bolshevist Jews
to Nazis was historically accurate. Hohmann, who ironically
received the most support of any Hesse CDU MP in the 2002
Bundestag elections, underscored his wish to stay in the CDU
and called upon local members to remain in the party (NOTE:
After Hohmann's exclusion from the national caucus in
October, 150 Fulda Christian Democrats resigned in protest.
END NOTE.) Hohmann ascribed the controversy to a "media
witchhunt" and said that he would appeal the decision to the
CDU's national party court.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: CDU head Angela Merkel solidified her
hold on party leadership last year by making it clear
through Hohmann's expulsion from the national caucus that
the CDU would not tolerate anti-Semitism. Consequently, the
Hesse CDU's decision to remove the Fulda MP comes as no
surprise. What we do find surprising, however, is not only
that the popular and traditionally-moderate Fulda MP was the
one to make these anti-Semitic remarks, but also that some
within the party so vocally defended Hohmann's assertions
when the scandal broke. Hohmann remains in the Bundestag as
an independent and his popularity within Fulda is largely
undiminished. Although Hohmann has expressed his wish to
remain with the CDU and fight expulsion proceedings, his
support base in Fulda remains strong enough to make re-
election to his seat as an independent in 2006 a real
possibility. END COMMENT.

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