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Germany Forgets Annual Remembrance Day for Nazi Victims

West Germany’s annual memorial day for victims of fascism, an occasion on which, a few years ago, the highest state and communal dignitaries addressed solemn audiences in every city, large or small, this year was almost everywhere ignored.

In a few towns, small groups of survivors quietly placed wreaths upon monuments and in cemeteries. One such ceremony was held at Geitenberg, on the site of the former Dachau concentration camp. From hundreds of German towns and cities, just two memorial gatherings were recorded.

At Munich, Walter von Cube, editor-in-chief of the Bavarian Radio, told a meeting convened by the Bavarian State Council for Freedom and Justice that the history of National Socialism was, from its inception, restricted in the history of its victims. It was gratifying, he said, that the brazen heralds of neo-Nazism had not secured a parliamentary mandate in the Bundestag elections. Vigilance, he added, was still the watchword because the system of terror could quickly recoup its fortunes in the shadow of a forgive and forget attitude.

In West Berlin, Mayor Ernst Reuter and Dr. Otto Suhr, president of the City Council, placed wreaths in the execution chamber where hundreds of Nazi victims had been beheaded. In an address, Mayor Reuter admonished the German people to refrain from arrogance and their old prejudices. The German people, he said, must do everything to prevent a recurrence of the shameful deeds perpetrated by the Nazi regime.

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