"Liechtenstein's reigning prince has angered German Jews by invoking the Holocaust to defend his country's banking secrecy.
The latest flare-up of fractious relations between the tiny Alpine principality and its much larger neighbor to the north follows outspoken comments this weekend from Prince Hans-Adam II on Liechtenstein's national holiday.
The prince took aim at Germany, which has been pressuring Liechtenstein to clamp down on confidential banking practices that allow German depositors to evade taxes.
"We and Switzerland saved many people, especially Jews, with banking secrecy," Hans-Adam told the Liechtensteiner Volksblatt. "Germany should clean up its own act, and think about its past."
Germany's Jewish community — which last year condemned Hans-Adam II's description of modern Germany as a "Fourth Reich" — slammed his latest comments Monday as another insensitive twisting of history.
"He is portraying a picture of the banks which is absolutely not true," said Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the German Central Council of Jews.
Kramer told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the prince was falsely describing the role of Swiss and Liechtensteinian banks as pursuing "a rescue mission" of Jews in World War II."
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The Associated Press: Liechtenstein prince: Bank secrecy saved WWII Jews
Liechtenstein prince: Bank secrecy saved WWII Jews
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