Is Merkel the next Hitler?

Hitler and Merkel at the Christmas party

BERLIN. Christmas parties have their own peculiarities, especially if they also have a business background. The secretary dances on the table, the colleague's new affair with another colleague is whispered, and last but not least, the boss also pulls macabre comedy from the leather.

And all that, where there is always a bit of a crisis in the company, the last salary increase did not come, two departments are fighting each other and the whole house is currently being turned inside out - including personnel savings and reducing bureaucracy.

Something like that is likely to happen to some of the KBV these days, because the Christmas party there was a very special kind of gift giving.

The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians had gathered a few hundred employees and guests at the end of the year when their boss, Dr. Andreas Köhler said: "Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Adolf Hitler, Angela Merkel - the list of statesmen who tried to unite Europe is very long. And the efforts always failed because of the following: Nobody can imagine to live together in one and the same house in Europe. "

"Welt" reported this under the pompous title: "Medical chief puts Merkel in a row with Hitler". So far, nobody has denied the quote, neither Köhler nor his spokesman.

Why, so the question, does the head of a corporation under public law put the incumbent head of government in line with a German dictator? Or, wicked tongues ask, was he seriously trying to make a comparison between this and that?

Was it the mulled wine, as the left-wing politician Harald Weinberg suspected in the "Welt"? Was it a "tasteless, idiotic comparison" as SPD man Karl Lauterbach said in the paper, or was it more the "blatant mistake" described by Green politicians Biggi Bender? Maybe it was a bit of everything - at least the latter two.

For Köhler himself it was probably nothing more than a rhetorical figure, simply irony. "The speech at an employee Christmas party dealt in an ironic way with a comparison of the departments of the KBV with European countries," he said on request.

He wanted to compare the KBV with Europe. Some might think that this is presumptuous. But in the matter Koehler's question was this: How can you create a whole when everyone is just dwell in their egoisms?

What the national states are in Europe is called in the KBV department. There are at least eight of them, plus a legal department, various departments and staff units. And as it is good political tone in Europe, everyone is in favor of the big project, but only as long as their power is not further curtailed.

The KBV is also apparently facing the European dilemma. She wants to streamline her structures, reorganize herself, merge departments - a project that is being planed. And then chips fall.

Similar attempts at reform have fizzled out in the past. In the coming year, the board wants to make a new attempt. And so Köhler must have thought, since he is giving his employees a little foretaste of the "Europe" project.

But the landlord did the bill without the guests. After all, it must have been the contributor of the Köhler quote. Die "Welt" quotes an employee who was not named as saying: "This comparison shocked many of us."

And: "When the name Adolf Hitler was mentioned in the same breath as Angela Merkel, a murmur went through the hall." Then it was probably gone, the Christmas spirit.

KBV boss Köhler now also doubts his historical outline: "Apparently - and to my great regret - the irony has not been understood by everyone." There was no other way he could explain the fact that an "out of context, incomplete quotation was launched to the media".

And so only a little mea culpa helps him: "I expressly emphasize that I expressly welcome Mrs Merkel's political work for a peaceful Europe." (no)