BONN (Jan. 21)
Chancellor Helmut Kohl, on the 45th anniversary of the “Final Solution,” called on Germans Tuesday never to forget the crimes of the Nazi era.
“We Germans must never forget, repress or trivialize the crimes of Nazism because only by remembering them will we be capable of reconciliation,” Kohl said. “The memory of those who were deported in Germany’s name, enslaved, humiliated and murdered in the extermination camps of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Birkenau, Maidanek and Sobibor obliges us never again to stir feelings of hatred.”
On January 20, 1942, leaders of the Third Reich, meeting in the Wannsee suburb of Berlin, drafted the “Final Solution” to the Jewish problem — the mass extermination of Europe’s Jewish population. On Tuesday, a memorial service was held at the villa where the meeting took place. One of the speakers, Heinz Galinski, chairman of West Germany’s Jewish community, warned that many German politicians and historians were attempting to bury the past.
Kohl’s statement was seen in part as a response to similar charges by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) which faces the Chancellor’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in a general election this Sunday. The CDU is expected to win a solid victory, according to opinion polls.