HAMBURG, SEPT. 22 -- Philipp Jenninger, the former president of West Germany's parliament forced out of office in 1988 for describing Adolf Hitler as "chosen by providence" in a speech on the anniversary of Nazi attacks on Jews, will be reunited Germany's first ambassador to Austria.
The Bonn Foreign Ministry confirmed today that in November Jenninger, 58, will move to Vienna, where he will present his credentials to Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, shunned by most countries because he served in a German army unit that committed war crimes.
It will be Jenninger's first public post since he resigned under pressure following harsh criticism of his speech on the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in which he called Hitler's leadership "glorious times."
Several dozen members of Bonn's Bundestag walked out in protest of Jenninger's speech on Nov. 10, 1988, 50 years after Nazi storm troopers, joined by German citizens, smashed windows and burned Jewish homes, temples and shops.
In the debate that followed his speech, Jenninger argued that he intended no antisemitic slight but rather was trying to re-create the attraction that Hitler and the Nazis posed to the German people and what it was like living in that time. Jenninger's defense has persuaded some prominent Jews to give the politician another chance. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, for example, has said that Jenninger is a "great friend of Israel and the Jews."
Jenninger's appointment received only brief notice in today's German news media.