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Kristallnacht anniversary: Controversial Jewish speaker sparks Jewish ire in Germany

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Grosser himself has hinted that Frankfurt city officials wanted a speaker who wouldn’t ritualistically speak on a subject Germany is well-acquainted with. But the German Council of Jews protested angrily that Grosser’s invitation be revoked, arguing his credentials and attitude are inappropriate for the occasion.

Jewish leaders say they will attend Grosser’s talk, but walk out if he raises the subject of Israel.

'Could be an interesting evening'

“Trouble is brewing in Frankfurt,” is how Der Spiegel played it last week. Yet in a sense, analysts say, the matter-of-fact press analysis and lengthy interviews with Grosser is evidence of change and more openness about Germany’s most sensitive subject. “It could be an interesting evening,” as Der Spiegel summed up.

Grosser’s invitation in this view is another example of Germany becoming a “normal nation.” More than 65 years after the war, Germans believe they have faced the Holocaust; they built a vast memorial in the center of Berlin. Unification brought a new era. Last week, the first postwar female rabbi was ordained in Germany. In October, the first public Hitler exhibition opened in Berlin that steadily reminds you “that Hitler was a Bad Thing,” as political author Timothy Garton Ash points out.

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