Historians dispute key facts in Köhler's Leipzig speech

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 10 Oct, 2009 Updated Sat 10 Oct 2009 12:36 CEST
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German President Horst Köhler may have made embarrassing factual errors in his speech on Friday celebrating the October 9, 1989 demonstration in Leipzig, his office has admitted.


A spokesman for Köhler said Saturday that every effort was now being made to check the veracity of several remarks in the the speech that have been contradicted by historians and witnesses.

In his speech, Köhler said: “Tanks stood before the city. The local police had orders to shoot without consideration. The heart surgeons at the Karl Marx University were instructed in the treatment of gunshot wounds and, in the Leipzig City Hall, blood plasma and body bags had been prepared.”

The speech celebrated the 20th anniversary of the "peaceful revolution" that brought down the communist East German regime in 1989.

According to inquiries by public broadcaster MDR, these claims are incorrect. MDR reported that Köhler took the remarks from a well-known book that contains factual errors.

The original text of the speech was still available to readers on the Internet Saturday morning.

The spokesman said there “no reason” to remove or correct it until it had been shown the speech contained errors.

It would “take a couple of days” to check the disputed facts, he said.



DPA/The Local 2009/10/10 12:36

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