W. Germany Marks War’s Anniversary with Speeches and Graveside Ceremony

Chancellor Helmut Kohl cited the cordial relations between Bonn and Jerusalem as a model for reconciliation, and pledged to work for understanding and cooperation with former enemies and victims of Germany’s past.

Kohl, leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Union, addressed a packed special session of the Bundestag on Friday that marked the 50th anniversary of the start of World War II, which began with the German invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939.

The ambassadors of Israel, Poland and other countries that suffered from the Nazi regime were present.

As part of the events marking the day, a ceremony was held at the Jewish cemetery in West Berlin that was well attended by prominent politicians, including Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Heinz Galinski, chairman of West Germany’s Central Council of Jews, warned against signs of resurgent anti-Semitism.

He said he was appalled by the electoral successes of the extreme right-wing Republican Party, which “adopted elements of the Nazi ideology.”

Former Chancellor Willy Brandt declared that by launching the war, Germany committed crimes that were a misfortune for Europe and a disgrace for the Germans.

NEXT STORY