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Ill Will

April 04, 1993

I am an American of German extraction and once again am besieged by stories suggesting that Germans are getting ready to set up "the ovens."

I don't like what happened to the family in the article, and I condemn it as I would condemn such wanton violence in the United States, but I firmly disagree with the implied view that they have some right to immigrate to Germany. The father, Fauzi Saado, is not a qualified political refugee, as shown by Germany's ruling to deport him. While awaiting a ruling, they have lived on the public dole. This kind of blatant abuse of the German treasury, when multiplied by thousands, becomes truly staggering.

The skinheads are nothing more than glorified street gangs, but the press has made them more than that. They are not a new political movement. Are Asian, black and Latino gangs considered a new political threat in the United States?

I know Germans do not want a replay of the Third Reich. All they want is the sovereignty to decide who can live in their country without being called Nazi butchers.

DEAN J. LEIBER

Tarzana

Jones replies: I never described everyday Germans as "Nazi butchers," nor did I imply that "the ovens," as Leiber so glibly dismisses the Holocaust, are being fired up again. The article emphasizes that the racist violence is the work of a hard-core minority whose crimes are often silently tolerated or openly supported by otherwise decent citizens who feel deeply frustrated by the costly abuse of German asylum laws. Also, the article clearly states that the Saados did not qualify for asylum, and makes no attempt to judge their particular case.

Comparing the violent right-wingers in Germany to U.S. street gangs is dangerously naive. Californians are not cheering the gangs on, nor are they electing gang members to policy-making positions in government. The far-right in Germany now holds seats in four of the 16 state legislatures and is likely to grow stronger when nationwide elections are held next year.

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