The withdrawal of charitable status for the anti-fascist organization VVN-BdA earns harsh criticism – even from the red-red-green coalition.
VVN banner at the state party conference of the Berlin Left Photo: imago
The Berlin government coalition is once again in trouble, and once again it is the SPD that is in need of explanation. The decision by Berlin’s financial administration to revoke the charitable status of one of the most important anti-fascist organizations, which became known on Friday, has provoked harsh criticism from the Left and the Greens. The Berlin SPD, on the other hand, is holding back on official reactions. The SPD Senator Matthias Kollatz has the highest technical supervision over the financial administration.
Because the Association of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime – League of Anti-Fascists (VVN-BdA) is listed in the Bavarian constitutional protection report as a left-wing extremist organization, the Berlin tax office decided at the beginning of November to withdraw its non-profit status. The decision was made public by the VVN on Friday. The VVN-BdA is not listed in the Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
At the state party conference of the Left Party, a declaration of solidarity was passed on Saturday. Faction leader Udo Wolf said he was sure that no one in the red-red-green coalition thought the decision was right. "We will try to correct this decision," he announced.
Also at the state party conference, Sigmount Konigsberg, representative of the Jewish community against anti-Semitism, criticized the decision: ""What kind of signal is this?" he asked: "Commitment against Nazis is sanctioned, that can’t be acceptable.""
The state chairman of the Berlin Green Party, Werner Graf, called the decision of the tax office "absurd." It was a "highly worrying development" that associations in Germany were increasingly being stripped of their non-profit status, he said, referring also to the organizations Attac and Campact, which also had their non-profit status revoked this year.
From coalition circles it said on Sunday, it is already worked on a solution. It is unclear how large the political leeway of the senate administration for finances is. This did not want to comment on the case on request.
The VVN was founded by Holocaust survivors
However, the tax office Oberhausen-Sud in North Rhine-Westphalia recently decided differently than the Berlin authority on the same issue: The North Rhine-Westphalian office had followed the argumentation of the VVN-BdA in the hearing procedure and had granted the non-profit status despite the classification of the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
The VVN-BdA, which was founded by Holocaust survivors after World War II, sees its existence endangered by the decision, since it entails considerable tax disadvantages. Additional tax demands in the five-digit range are to be expected before the end of this year, he said. "We are appalled and outraged that the Berlin tax office is adopting the baseless insinuations of the Bavarian authority unchecked," the organization wrote in an initial statement.