REHOVOT, Israel (May. 3)
Dr. Konrad Adenauer, the former West German chancellor, said today that the “noblest task” of his political career has been his efforts to effect a reconciliation between the Jewish and the German peoples. He made that statement during a ceremony at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot at which he received an honorary fellowship. The 90-year-old German leader arrived in Israel last night for an eight-day visit at the invitation of the Government and the Weizmann Institute.
Deeply moved, the Chancellor said: “I have striven to contribute to reconciliation between our two peoples since my first days as chancellor. This has been my most important and noblest task, particularly since mankind owes so much to Judaism in all spheres of human endeavor.” He disclosed that he had met Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first President, and that he had himself taken part in Zionist efforts “but never would I have imagined that such a result could be achieved — this State of Israel which has made arid soil fruitful through a people’s faith in the future.”
On the official dais were Foreign Minister Abba Eban, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, the world Zionist leader, Meyer Weisgall, chairman of the executive council of the Weizmann Institute, and members of the Institute’s scientific council. Hundreds of guests and newsmen were present to witness the first public appearance of the former West German chancellor in the Jewish State.
“I wish to express the desire that people from every nation of the world should come to see Israel as an example of faith in humanity,” Dr. Adenauer stated. “Israel, through its strength and power must be and deserves to be an example to all nations in the world. I wish her a peaceful and blessed future.”
IS GREETED BY DR. GOLDMANN IN NAME OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
The former Chancellor was introduced by Dr. Goldmann, who greeted him in the name of the Jewish people. “We know your attitude during the Nazi period and what you have done then and since, ” Dr. Goldmann said. “There has been no one in the leadership of postwar Germany who has shown such understanding for the difficulty and the significance of the attempt to normalize relations between the new Germany and the Jewish people.”
Mr. Eban, who spoke in his dual capacity as Foreign Minister and Weizmann Institute president, paid tribute to Dr. Adenauer as a man who accepted and understood his responsibility for the past. “We asked ourselves: Would all responsibility for the catas-trophe be avoided as in previous historic tragedies, or would something be done to express the continuing subjection of men and nations to the dictates of their history?” Mr. Eban stated: “Dr. Adenauer accepted this responsibility, though the facts themselves are irreparable.”
Two young laboratory assistants stood behind the former Chancellor to help him into his new academic gown, bearing blue and white stripes. Prof. Alon Talmi read the text of the award to Dr. Adenauer: “In recognition of his courageous devotion to the furtherance of democratic ideals in Germany and his support of the growth of the Weizmann Institute and for his initiative in establishing of an exchange between the scientists of his country and the Institute.”
Dr. Adenauer seemed deeply affected as the citation was read, first in Hebrew and then in English. The audience burst into loud applause. Earlier, Dr. Adenauer visited the Institute and called on Dr. Vera Weizmann, with whom he recalled “the early days” when she and the late President were married in Germany. In the afternoon, Dr. Adenauer traveled to Jerusalem to confer with Premier Levi Eshkol and to be the guest at a private party at the Premier’s home.