BERGEN-BELSEN, West Germany (Feb. 2)
Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Dr. Nahum Goldmann placed wreaths at noon today on two monuments at the site of the one-time Nazi death camp here. The monuments commemorate the 23,000 persons murdered by the Nazis in the Bergen-Belsen camp.
Others who attended the event included Ernest Lemmer, Federal Minister of All German Affairs; Franz Joseph Strauss, Minister of Defense; and Paul Lucke, Minister of Housing, as well as officials of the Lower Saxony State Government and representatives of the Jewish communities in West Germany.
“I am deeply moved and shaken at the reminder of all the sufferings and misery which was dominant here,” Dr. Adenauer said. “I too was imprisoned in a concentration camp and this is why I am now reliving that period.” The Chancellor said that he and his Government regretted the anti-Semitic incidents which occurred in recent weeks in West Germany and abroad.
The Chancellor again gave his assurance to the Jews of Germany that “they will have the benefit of security and respect which are the right of every free human being. All those who violate this will be severely punished.” The Chancellor said that “The new Germany respects all nations and races. Freedom and the rights of every man are our highest principles.”
He asked the German people and the world public to accept his assurance that his Government would do all in its power “especially in the educational field,” to make sure that what happened at Bergen-Belsen would “never happen again. We commemorate today not only the Jewish dead but also the Polish, French and Czech victims.”
JEWS NOT WORRIED AS LONG AS ADENAUER IS IN POWER, GOLDMANN SAYS
Dr. Goldmann stressed the “symbolic” meaning of the ceremony, declaring that Bergen-Belsen was not only “the symbol of Nazi martyrdom but today it also symbolizes the determination of the German people to become a full-fledged member of the family of democratic free nations.”
Leaders of the “New Germany” have met with Jewish representatives “not only to express their horror over the past but also to vow that what happened at Bergen-Belsen shall never recur,” Dr. Goldmann said.
Recalling that he had met Chancellor Adenauer for the first time at a secret conference in 1952, he said he had told Dr. Adenauer then that it was his duty to tell him that the Jewish people could never forget the Nazi era. The attitude of the West German Government and the “personal stature” of Chancellor Adenauer had made the reestablishment of relations easier, he stated. “We hope this development will culminate in the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel,” he added.
“We do not worry about the Jews of Germany as long as Dr. Adenauer is in power,” Dr. Goldmann said. He emphasized that the process of normalization of relations between the German people and the Jewish people would depend on Germany’s overcoming her past and her success in educating the youth of Germany in the spirit of humanity and tolerance.