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Accused Nazi Propagandist Quits TV Show

December 23, 1987|From Reuters

BONN — Werner Hoefer, one of West Germany's best-known television hosts, resigned on Tuesday, his office announced, after allegations that he once wrote propaganda for the Nazis.

The newsmagazine Der Spiegel accused Hoefer, 74, of writing an article in a pro-Nazi newspaper praising the execution in 1943 of Jewish concert pianist Karlrobert Kreiten.

Hoefer, who has never denied that he was a member of the Nazi party, said that editors often rewrote his stories and inserted the most offensive parts into the article in question.

"I certainly was no hero and no resistance fighter (in World War II)," Hoefer conceded on Monday to the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper as pressure mounted on him to resign.

Hoefer's Nazi connections are not new, but Spiegel went further in this week's latest edition by publishing extracts from previously unknown articles which suggest that he strongly sympathized with Hitler's policies.

Charges Called 'Grotesque'

Hoefer called the charges "grotesque" and began legal proceedings against the influential magazine.

He devised his Sunday morning current affairs show "Internationale Fruehschoppen," or "International Pre-Lunch Drink," in 1952.

The show, in which four foreign and one West German journalist discuss the week's events, has run ever since with Hoefer at the helm every week--1,800 programs in all. It is estimated to have an audience of 2.3 million.

If forced to go, Hoefer told the Hamburger Morgenpost, the program would go too. "The copyright belongs to me," he said.

But his days seemed numbered when top officials at West Deutsche Rundfunk, the Cologne broadcasting station which airs the program, voted unanimously on Monday to urge him to resign.

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