BERLIN (JTA) — A German town infamous for the Nazi concentration camp on its outskirts is set to twin with an Israeli city.
Peter Burgel, the mayor of Dachau, announced the plan to twin with Rosh Ha’ayin at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Rosh Ha’ayin Mayor Moshe Sinai defended the project against some Israeli critics as a way to "prevent future Holocausts" and "prevent future anti-Semitism."
The towns are planning to partner in educational, cultural and economic areas, according to reports in the online edition of the Merkur, a German daily. The idea was born during Sinai’s visit to Dachau in July.
Bürgel said Tuesday that he had long wanted to create such a partnership with an Israeli city. Similar partnerships exist between many towns and cities in the two countries, but reportedly none with the site of a former concentration camp.
While the idea has caused consternation among some in Rosh Ha’ayin, which is located in central Israel on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, Sinai told the Daily Mail online edition in Britain that today’s Germans should not be blamed for the deeds of their parents and grandparents.
‘Either we cooperate with Germany and honestly try to open a new page, and try to learn from the Holocaust to try and prevent more Holocausts, or we have to take Germany and divide it into permitted and non-permitted areas," he said in an interview.
This summer, the two mayors discussed the possibility of pupil exchanges, joint cultural projects and visits by local politicians, "so that we can work together on a future of learning and remembrance," Burgel said.
Burgel reportedly plans to visit Rosh Ha’ayin later this month.