Neo-Nazism column was anti-GermanI would like to comment...


March 03, 1998

Neo-Nazism column was anti-German

I would like to comment on the Feb. 15 Perspective section column by Martin A. Lee, "Neo-Nazism on rise."

I was born and raised in Germany and am Jewish, and agree that neo-Nazism within the German army is worrying. So do most Germans. You can't pick up a German newspaper or magazine without reading about how to solve this problem.

But I take exception to the discussion of the organizations representing the "Vertriebenen" -- Germans illegally expelled from lands they had called home for more than 700 years.

Mr. Lee would have us believe these organizations are hotbeds of neo-Nazism whose sole purpose is to "agitate for expanding Germany's boundaries to include portions of neighboring countries that belonged to Hitler's Reich."

This simply is not true. The purpose of these organizations is to agitate on behalf of the Vertriebenen for compensation from the countries that expelled them.

Most of these Germans were driven from their homes on less than 24 hours' notice. They were allowed to carry no more than a suitcase or two. Many people died as a result of these expulsions.

Further, as the son of a Sudeten German whose family is very involved in those organizations, I have read hundreds of their publications. In not one was there expressed pro-Nazi sentiments or anything to the effect that the Shoah is "merely anti-German propaganda."

What is anti-German propaganda is unsupported assertions like those made in this column.

Harvey K. Morell


Disabled are treated unfairly in sports world

Scott Mills' column in the Feb. 22 Perspective section, "Casey Martin case sets bad precedent," insists the ruling to allow Martin to use a golf cart perverts the law to help the disabled. He insists that a key part of professional golf is walking.

If walking is so important to the game, then why does the Professional Golfers' Association allow carts during the first two rounds of pro-am tournaments, when the weather is very hot, for players on the Senior Tour or for thousands of amateur golfers?

The Americans with Disabilities Act calls for reasonable accommodations to be made for those with a disability. This is especially true in the world of sports, where athletes with disabilities have not received the same access to facilities, participation and media coverage as their nondisabled counterparts.

Compare the coverage of the Olympic Games for able-bodied athletes and the Paralympic Games. In 1996, NBC aired 400 hours of the Olympic Games, while CBS provided only four hours of the Paralympic Games -- hardly fair and equal access.

Mr. Mills' comments reflect the desire to keep those with disabilities hidden from the rest of the world, or to at least keep them "separate."

It is a shame The Sun set aside room for his point of view without providing fair and equal access from the disabled community.

Steven B. Fulkrod

Bel Air

Now we know why education system fails

The Sun has frequently featured U.S. education failings, and you included hints about the cause of those failings.

Sun television critic David Zurawik, in a Feb. 23 analysis of the television show "Ally McBeal," quotes two academic "experts" to back up his hand-wringing about the "really problematic" sociological impact of the show.

The first is Shirley Peroutka, director of media studies at Goucher College who teaches courses on gender and television.

The second is the Johns Hopkins University's Pier Massimo Forni, who founded JHU's Civility Project.

Maybe all the public piety about culturally and functionally illiterate university graduates has helped us ignore one of its true sources: pop-academia lite itself.

What about a hard-hitting investigative article on how institutions of higher learning spirit tuition dollars out of the pockets of hard-working parents for nonfat, lightweight claptrap such as "gender and television"?

J. Christoph Amberger


Winner in tax law becomes very evident

The Feb. 20 letter "Congress needlessly made tax time harder" is correct in criticizing lawmakers for the unnecessary complication of the new capital-gains tax laws, but it fails to point out the true irony of the situation.

A typical middle-income family buying a home and with a lot of kids could easily end up in the 15 percent tax bracket -- that is, taxable income up to $41,200.

Typically, they may own shares in a high-flying mutual fund that reports a substantial year-end capital gain, of which $1,000 is eligible for the new lower tax of 10 percent, rather than the standard 15 percent, saving the taxpayers 5 percent, or $50.

The catch is that they must fill out the 35 new lines of the very complex Schedule D, for which their tax preparer will probably charge $60, thus wiping out the savings.

Rather than "taxpayers' relief," the new act should be called "tax-preparers' bonanza."

Charles J. Levin


Use historic rail line for greenway in Md.

I recommend Maryland's segment of the East Coast greenway be aligned along the former Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad for several reasons.

One, this historic railroad from Baltimore to York, Pa., abandoned several decades ago, is worth preserving as an important vestige of Maryland history.

Second, remnants of the historic railroad could provide a distinctive theme to the trail.

Third, the railroad followed a scenic route through Maryland farmland and towns, and the scenery would add to the trail experience.

Fourth, the curvilinear design is ideal for bicycling and walking, in which visual interest is more important than speed.

Fifth, the railroad alignment correlates with the layout of the East Coast greenway, especially from Baltimore to Bel Air.

Lastly, a national greenway trail system across the country would allow bikes to become feasible as commuting devices.

Roland Oehme


Pub Date: 3/03/98

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