Germany's top Jewish leader said he was insulted Thursday by a Church of Scientology ad in the New York Times that compared Germany's treatment of Scientologists today to Nazi persecution of the Jews.
Ignatz Bubis, chairman of Germany's Central Council of Jews and a prominent member of the Free Democratic Party, denounced the comparison.
The ad, placed Thursday, features an imperial eagle and a swastika. Bubis said it was "an insult to German politicians and especially disparages remembrance of the suffering" of the Nazis' victims.
A spokesman at the church's Los Angeles headquarters, the Rev. Heber Jentsch, defended the ad.
Referring to the treatment of Scientology members in Germany, Mr. Jentsch said: "We're not saying it's a Holocaust. But the elements are there."
Some members of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government have accused Scientology of being a danger to German society. Some officials have called for members to be banned from government jobs and be put under surveillance.