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Merkel: Holocaust guilt is 'everlasting'
Photo: DPA

Merkel: Holocaust guilt is 'everlasting'

Published: 27 Jan 2013 10:31 GMT+01:00

"Naturally, we have an everlasting responsibility for the crimes of national-socialism, for the victims of World War II, and above all, for the Holocaust," Merkel said in a podcast on her website.

Her remarks came as the world prepared to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday, the date in 1945 when the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp in then occupied Poland.

In another significant date, Wednesday will mark eight decades since Hitler was appointed chancellor on January 30, 1933 by then president Paul von Hindenburg.

"We must clearly say, generation after generation, and say it again: with courage, civil courage, each individual can help ensure that racism and anti-Semitism have no chance," Merkel added.

"We're facing our history, we're not hiding anything, we're not repressing anything. We must confront this to make sure we are a good and trustworthy partner in the future, as we already are today, thankfully," she said.

AFP/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:43 January 27, 2013 by arbeitsbiene3
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:48 January 27, 2013 by Al uk
Present day Germany. Remember, yes. Responsible, no!
15:45 January 27, 2013 by Kennneth Ingle
Al uk says it short sweet and to the point.

The holocaust was caused by a German government which did not represent the majority of the German people. It was a crime of enormous brutality and deserves to be remembered as such, but a responsibility of the people who did not take part, definitely not!

I certainly do not wish to take responsibility for many things the British government did or does. I can complain about what they do, but I cannot stop them, any more than most Germans are able to stop Frau Merkel making speeches which bear no reality to the facts, be they of the past or present.

It is correct for us all to learn from the wrongs done to human-beings by other human-beings, therefore remembrance days can be useful, but it cannot make us responsible for them. We are responsible for what we have done, do, or will one day be doing, not because we belong to a certain ethnic group.

Or is there someone online who chose their own place of birth?
16:19 January 27, 2013 by Englishted
Totally agree with Al and Kennneth.
16:35 January 27, 2013 by raandy
Politically she is saying the right thing but I agree Present Germans are no more responsible for the Holocaust that I am for Slavery or Wounded Knee .
17:43 January 27, 2013 by mitanni
"The holocaust was caused by a German government which did not represent the majority of the German people."

That just isn't true. Hitler didn't come to power in a coup, his party was democratically elected, and he became dictator through a majority vote in parliament. And the parliamentarians who voted for him knew how dangerous and anti-semitic he was; you can read the parliamentary record, it's online. Most major institutions in Germany collaborated with the Hitler government, including both the Catholic and protestant churches.

Many of the debates that led to Hitler's rise to power sound chillingly like modern political debates, and a slide into fascism is a danger that still lurks in many modern democracies.
18:42 January 27, 2013 by aletheia93
Just to let you know. 16 drunk German citizens were arrested on train in Poland near Wroclaw. They were shouting one of Nazi slogan 'polnische schweine' and they assaulted fellow passengers. Their motives are clearly racist. The most scary fact that they are young people 25 -32 years old. It seems that the German government does not sufficiently address an issue of racism among German youth and young people. Each European country should direct stronger efforts to combat racism and explain to the general public value of embracing multi-culturalism. I hope that this incident will not pass unnoticed in Germany. Cheers and all the best to all people of good will !!!
18:45 January 27, 2013 by Kennneth Ingle
Sorry mitanni, but it is true! I do not like to argue with well meant opinions, but in this case I must. Hitler did not come to power with a majority vote of the electorate. The National Socialist party never had more than one third of the votes and when some of the people began to realise what was happening, the number his supporters dropped by 2 millions between 1932 and 1933.

In the last free elections, the National Socialists were less in number than the other two workers parties. The Social Democrats and Communists together had over a million more supporters. Once in power of course, he was able to destroy the opposition in the German government. Without opposition any government can say it has a majority, but this is not then representative of the population.
19:20 January 27, 2013 by noas
not only that - West Germany did nothing to arrest and put to trial Nazi criminals - see der spiegel article about how they have let them escape from punishment and colaborated with their Nazi freinds!!! long after the WWII ended. Germans silently supported Nazis after WWIII. and it was both the goverment and the justice system! don;t be full the Nazi are alive and kicking
20:23 January 27, 2013 by jarkis
The Holocaust has become a industry ..all this politics are a bunch of hypocrites. I would like to know when they Going to do something about the Ukrainian Holocaust??? ..Seven million people in the "breadbasket of Europe" were deliberately starved to death at Stalin's command...what about the German Holocaust in which between 9 to 15 millions lost their lives??1 million plus missing German POW¦#39;s. How many were attributed to Dwight Eisenhower (Eisenhauer, German for "iron hewer") after he ordered that these Germans did not fall under the Geneva Rules, and were NOT TO BE FED, NOR GIVEN ANY WATER or medical attention. The Swiss Red Cross was NOT to inspect the camps, for under the "Disarmed Enemy Forces" classification, they had no such authority or jurisdiction.

LOOK IN THE MIRROR BEFORE CRITICISING OTHERS, FOR FEAR THAT WHAT YOUR ACTUALLY CRITICISING IS YOURSELF.
20:28 January 27, 2013 by Tonne
Well said @Kennneth Ingle.The effect on the Communist vote after the Reichstag fire and the violent intervention of the SA should also be taken into account when considering the election results.

@noas, the article in Der Spiegel places the blame on the French and South American authorities and Interpol, as well as individuals within the German bureaucracy. It also goes on to say that later German governments were pro-active in seeking out and arresting suspected Nazi war criminals.

Also let¦#39;s remember that the Americans were also implicated in this escape of Nazis from justice when it suited them, e.g Wernher von Braun and other scientists involved in rocketry or nuclear research. Tom Lehrer has a word or two to say (or rather sing) in this regard!
21:18 January 27, 2013 by arbeitsbiene3
Taxpayer moment of silence and pray: Not another everlasting anniversary of payments and sycophantism.
21:49 January 27, 2013 by trevzns
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.

Why only the victims can express lost and of family?
22:18 January 27, 2013 by mitanni
@KennnethIngle "Sorry mitanni, but it is true! I do not like to argue with well meant opinions, but in this case I must. Hitler did not come to power with a majority vote of the electorate."

I did not say that he did. I said he came to power with a majority vote of parliament. But parliament represents the will of the people, and the Christian and liberal party parliamentarians represented their voters when they voted for him. That's the way representative democracy works. Nor should the vote of the Christian party have surprised people.

"Once in power of course, he was able to destroy the opposition in the German government. Without opposition any government can say it has a majority, but this is not then representative of the population."

That is not what happened. What actually happened is that German parliament voluntarily relinquished its power to Hitler with the Enabling Act. The deciding votes were cast by the Christian party. And although it is hard to quantify after 1933, indications are that Hitler enjoyed strong popular support until the war started turning against Germany.

The idea that Hitler did not represent the will of the German people just isn't tenable. Hitler should be a chilling reminder and warning that democracy can go off the rails when economic times are tough.
23:59 January 27, 2013 by arbeitsbiene3
Taxpayer moment of silence and pray: Not another everlasting anniversary of payments and sycophantism.
01:31 January 28, 2013 by Bigfoot76
mitanni said: "parliament represents the will of the people". Do you think Stuttgart 21 and the Solidaritätszuschlag are the will of the people?

What was the will of the people when Bush Jr was elected and then reelected? Or Putin for that matter? Politics the way it should be is a beautiful concept but the problem is, politics is not how it should be. It is dirty, it is deceptive and it is corrupt.
05:37 January 28, 2013 by BCSLAVE
Attention: German children and those of German ancestry have and still suffer around the world from reprisals and retribution caused by governments (Canada is one culprit).

I know this first hand. I was one forced to into open heart surgery in 1974, given a lethal injection, treated to threats and racism and forced to pave the road in medical progress for the sole benefit of true Canadian children. All to pay the collective price for Adolf Hitler's crimes so said Canadian authorities. They even called me a slave and a gift to their Jewish leader for revenge. He gets medals now for this. As for the experiments, they were conducted in secret in order to hide the truth about how they obtained their break through. The ends justify the means. Today the Canadian authorities hide the crimes of this governments. That was the positive side.

The negative side was they actually tried to sabotage (through murder) their own medical experiments in order to halt medical progress and maintain the status quo - no cure. It was in their opinion better for business if there was no cure. Back then the authorities in Canada tried unsuccessfully to murder me during their experiments. They hoped to endanger the patient force them to take greater risks because they were seen as non citizens. Today the police and authorities in Canada still hide the crimes of the state ironically just like Adolf Hitler's authorities tried.

Time to protect your own people. Force the other countries that two wrongs do not make a right. Canada hates Germans and see's no problem in exploiting them even 25 to 68 years later. I know I witnessed it and died on a table. I survived because doctors and nurses allowed me to escape the clutches of these evil men.
07:56 January 28, 2013 by arbeitsbiene3
Breach of Local terms?

I have 99 problems. Dissent, religious and political propaganda censorship aint one!
09:57 January 28, 2013 by Englishted
@arbeitsbiene3

But is one of those 99 that you can't stop repeating the same comment?

#12 and #15 .even when it is wrong.
10:34 January 28, 2013 by arbeitsbiene3
@ Englishted #19 Come, come my good person. Propaganda is two way street...or dead end? Even if you pass the doochie to the left hand side. Some of us know how it works, the bigger the distortion or lie the........

@ aletheia93 #7

Not condoning racist behavior and violence. Much of Poland was Germany.....now, can we discuss how that happened?
13:02 January 28, 2013 by wood artist
There are two great truths amongst these comments.

The first is that the current members of German society are not responsible for the crimes of the Nazi regime. They are responsible to remember, and to do everything possible to ensure such things can never happen again, just as we all are, but they are not to blame for those actions.

The second is that there are other, similar crimes that have occurred, perpetrated by many nations. In all likelihood, every country has such behaviors in their history, and that neither justifies nor exonerates those actions. A case can easily be made that the US did so regarding the native Americans, or Stalin did within the Soviet Union. There are many other, similar abusive regimes that owe the world similar responsibilities...to remember, to honor the victims, and to do what's necessary to prevent a future repeat.

This is our collective responsibility, and Germany has been a leader in doing what's possible to remember, and I think we all need to thank them for that.

wa
16:24 January 28, 2013 by Englishted
@arbeitsbiene3

Is another one of the 99 referring to me as "my good person" when my good chap would have been far nicer and less politically correct.
17:04 January 28, 2013 by arbeitsbiene3
The individuals and participants responsible for the tragedies and crimes of WWII and the death of over 60 million human beings, are all dead or near death. Can we remember not to forget all of humanities Holocausts victims and move on?
21:46 January 28, 2013 by ghostwind
@BCSLAVE: Are you seriously off your rocker? While I no doubt believe that there was discrimination against Germans during and shortly after the war in Canada, this is simply no longer the case there.

Times change, stop living in the past.
15:36 January 29, 2013 by KillaWabbit
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:58 January 29, 2013 by MaKo
By and large I do approve of the way Angie has marked the day. But, not hiding anything? Not repressing anything? Come on! What about all of those disappeared papers pertaining to heinous crimes that were touted "Kebab Killings"? I'd like to think that facing the past also holds meaning beyond showing up and behaving respectfully on a day of remembrance.
08:24 January 30, 2013 by BCSLAVE
Comment: @ghostwind. No I am not off my rocker. Are you Canadian? Something to hide Canadian? Also this didn't happen shortly after the war but decades after when it shouldn't have. It is still there today because all the top goons are still free and living off of their victim's taxes. Anyways, are you saying people should accept a goverment that says one thing in public and the opposite behind the closed doors? Should we accept a government that hides its crimes through subdifuge, threats and intimidation? Are you saying that people should accept a country that secretly espouses murder as a political objective and which cliams power of life and death over an innocent person. How about if they are disabled and German; not worthy of concern? Is it okay to call a person willing to risk their life for others a slave and a fool for believing in that just cause? Should people accept attituides that children with heart defects should be drowned in the river? Should I accept the police attituide of looking the other way because it was their own government committing the crime? Should we ignore those who imploy terror to get their way? Your either one of them or have been fooled by their charm game. So you say quit living in the past. Why remember any past then? Because we should? Yes? Or should we just ignore the weak and the smallest voices and only listen to those who have the loudest?
14:01 January 30, 2013 by dojunmarn
Such a stupid cow and shill. Germans, stand up for yourselves.
17:40 January 30, 2013 by Michael Rivero
Merkel, you are full of bovine feces! The responsibility ends with the deaths of those who committed whatever it is that really happened during WW2. Germany has an entirely new government, and is overwhelmingly populated with people born after the events of WW2. Given that the present day Germans and present day German government were not around to influence the events of the 1930s and 1940s, it is ridiculous to claim present day Germans have any responsibility or obligations regarding events totally outside their lives.

Let me give you an example.

My ancestors ran a station on the underground railroad helping escaped slaves to freedom in Canada prior to the American civil war. I take a certain pride in that fact and had I been alive in those times I would have helped them. But I was not alive then and thus can take no credit. So, what would happen if I went up to Canada and located the descendants of those escaped slaves my ancestors aided, and demanded compensation for their escape to freedom? I would be laughed off of the front porch for suggesting it and rightly so.

This claim that present-day Germans who were not alive during WW2 bear responsibility for events they had nothing to do with is equally ridiculous, and you should be laughed off of the front porch for suggesting it.
02:50 January 31, 2013 by BCSLAVE
@Michael Rivero "This claim that present-day Germans who were not alive during WW2 bear responsibility for events they had nothing to do with is equally ridiculous, and you should be laughed off of the front porch for suggesting it. "

Absolutely agree with you. What about Napoleon? Should the French be burdened with guilt for trying to take over the world with a war of aggression that resulted in millions murdered and killed?

The answer is no one should be responsible for the crimes of their father. However that is not how people in power work, even today. It is a sad fact that so called good men have imposed punishment on the innocent to pay for the crimes of others from the past. Today innocent Germans are collectively punished. Even children of mixed races with German names in far off Allied countries have been made to pay the price of retribution for Adolf's crimes decades after the war. I know my family was one and I was exploited, enslaved and denied my liberty, dignity, and justice. I was sentenced to die in forced human experiments because I was disabled and German. My family even fought for the Allies in WW2 and my uncle murdered by the SS in Caen for having a German name and fighting on the wrong side. However that is irrelevant to the evil powerful men bent on revenge and exploitation. Even the police and authorities when alerted just looked the other way. Its actually quite easy in some countries as the German community is not always strong or vocal and its therefore easy for powerful individuals or governments to criminally exploit and persecute the innocent just because they are seen as German. Just don't write down the true order. Do what Adolf did for the extermination of the Jews - give the command orally so you can deny, deny, deny and just write down that your "relocating them". All of these types of crimes must be brought into the light of day and those responsible punished. Germany actually has a duty to investigate ongoing crimes and illegal punishment carried out in their name in other countries. God knows the offending countries will never lift a finger and the abuse will continue if not challenged. Time to stand up Germans and be reasonable and a voice of justice for all not just the select groups. Again, no child should pay the price for the crimes of their fathers or ancestry.
14:00 January 31, 2013 by Sastry.M
By simple human logic only people of contemporary generation, whether perpetrators of a crime or victims, are amenable to direct judicial allegations and remunerative compensations. With those mostly near extinction after 67 years, there is no extension of judicial justification by the grand children of those who were victimized to accuse those of present whose forefathers had committed the the supposed crimes.

"Supposed" because neither were present then, and no authority is vested with the grand children of the suffered to accuse with a common guilt and shame those of the committed , which in itself constitutes a deliberate crime of accusing the innocent and recalls the justification the wolf at upstream to prey on a lamb downwards in Aesop's fable.
00:13 February 1, 2013 by BCSLAVE
Update RCMP follow and harass those who express opinions on this site about Canada's crimes against disabled children of German ancestry. Did you know that disabled German children in Canada can be required by the government in secret to assume greater risk in human experiments in order to pave the road for able bodied citizens of Canada; even if it kills them. They can do this because the government decides if a disabled person's life is worth living just like Adolf Hitler's government did. If your disabled and they force you to under dangerous medical experimentation for political reasons, not medical, the government can reduce your survival rate from 90% to as low as 50%. This of course violates International law and the standards of care that came out of the Nuremberg trials but Canada in my case said it won the war and therefore above International law. The politicians the police protect also said it was because I was of German ancestry and have to pay for my races crimes. Now the RCMP try to terrorize my family daily for years to silence us.
19:16 March 8, 2013 by Berliner1978
No German who did not personally perpetrate any of those misdeeds is responsible. Get rid of this Communist raised cow Merkel who hates her own people and country so much.
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