WASHINGTON (May. 31)
German President Richard von Weizsacker, after visiting the new U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, told a group of Germans and Jews last week that the Holocaust was “the single most horrid crime of the century.”
Von Weizsacker, who also discussed present-day xenophobia in his country, said that today’s Germans would stand up to violence and racism. (He spoke before a weekend arson incident in Germany, attributed to neo-Nazis, that left five Turkish immigrants dead.)
Speaking May 23 at a B’nai B’rith-sponsored lecture, the German president called the Holocaust “mechanized murder, aimed at the annihilation of a whole people, and committed in the name of a civilized nation: Germany.”
He said that these thoughts were brought back to him “an hour ago when I visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial.”
In his remarks to the gathering of approximately 200 people, von Weizsacker said that the current situation in his country is quite different from that of the 1930s.
“We are not living in the ’30s,” von Weizsacker said. “At that time, the democrats’ weakness allowed the Nazis to gain power. Today our society stands up against violence and racism. They will not gain ground.”