Germany confiscates funds of Jewish people (once again)

Berliner Sparkasse, a state-owned bank in Germany, has frozen the account of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Near East. Berliner Sparkasse Bank also demands that the anti-Zionist organization disclose a list of its members.

According to Jewish Voice’s social media platforms, Berliner Sparkasse froze the account on March 26. The group then received a letter from the bank which inquired about a full list of all members, income statements and other internal documents, which the group was told to provide by April 5.

It remains unclear whether the bank initiated this freeze on its own or whether the German government put pressure on its management. The act sparked popular outrage, given its historical parallel to the Nazi regime’s April 1938 “Decree for the Reporting of Jewish-Owned Property,” which had followed Germany’s annexation of Austria.

That decree had forced German and Austrian Jews to register any property or assets valued at more than 5,000 Reichsmarks — the equivalent of $34,000 in 2024 U.S. dollars. The registry allowed the Nazi government to track nearly 700,000 Jewish people and effectively segregate them from the German economy.

These financial provisions by the Nazi government enabled the swift and industrial “Aryanization” of the Germany-Austria region. The decree allowed the regime to arrest Jewish people and confiscate their assets.

The current events in Germany are of concern to anti-Zionist Jewish activists. The Berliner Sparkasse has immobilized and isolated them from the German economy, much as the Nazi regime isolated all Jewish people. Along with Palestinians and Arab migrants in general, anti-Zionist Jews face hostility from West German imperialism, which has tied its fortunes in the Middle East to the Israeli state.

This decision by Berliner Sparkasse further demonstrates that Zionism and Judaism are far from synonymous — despite what Zionists claim. Jewish people, should they choose to confront ethno-nationalism rather than embrace it, still face antisemitism if they live in the white-supremacist imperial core.

Anti-Zionist observers recognize that Western imperialist regimes and their bourgeois institutions are not motivated by sympathy regarding the historic and contemporary conditions of Jewish people. These regimes only claim to care as a pretext to justify their own exploitation of the lands and people of Western Asia, while manipulating the palpable generational pain of European Jews.

Zoe Johnson

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Zoe Johnson

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