German Chancellor Merkel Makes Historic Visit to Auschwitz
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Over 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived at Auschwitz to pay respects in her first visit to the concentration camp. The visit comes amidst rising tensions and a potential resurgence of anti-Semitism. Two months ago, a gunman with anti-Semitic views killed two people while trying to storm a synagogue on Yom Kippur. At Auschwitz, Merkel viewed the camp, gave a speech, and then spent a moment of silence in memory of the thousands of lives cut short on the camp’s grounds. Merkel then visited the Birkenau extermination camp accompanied by the Polish Prime Minister and President, where she spoke with Auschwitz survivor Bogdan Stanislaw, who was brought to the death camp as a 12-year-old boy.
"It was a German extermination camp, operated by Germans, and I place value on stressing this fact, it is important that we clearly identify the perpetrators, we Germans owe this to the victims and we owe it to ourselves," said Merkel.
As demonstrated by Merkel’s visit, the value of reflecting on the evils of the past is not just a recommendation. It is a necessity.
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