Fischer confirms German duty to Israel's security

16th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 March 2005, JERUSALEM - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on a visit to Israel on Wednesday affirmed Germany's special responsibility towards the Jewish state.

16 March 2005

JERUSALEM - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on a visit to Israel on Wednesday affirmed Germany's special responsibility towards the Jewish state.

Speaking a day after the inauguration of the new Holocaust museum in Jerusalem at a conference on the memorial site, Fischer said Germany's name was inextricably linked with the Shoah.

He said: "We cannot and may never evade our historic and moral responsibility for Auschwitz".

"Yad Vashem ... is a place of deep shame for any German, because the name of my country, Germany, is and will forever be inseparably linked to the Shoah, the ultimate crime against humanity," he said.

Relations with Israel touched on the founding principles and identity of a new, democratic Germany.

"That is why we are fully committed to the state of Israel, its right to exist and the security of the country and citizens," Fischer said.

The new Holocaust History Museum was inaugurated on Tuesday in the presence of presidents, prime ministers and ministers from more than 35 countries. On Wednesday morning, they held a memorial service in the museum's Hall of Names.

The dome-shaped hall contains files with the names of 3,500,000 of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, each filled in on individual "Pages of Testimony" by relatives. Space has been left for the still unknown names of the remaining victims.

The museum was completed in time for the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and took more than 10 years to plan and build at a cost of USD 56 million (EUR 42 million).

It is located on the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial site and is four times bigger than the old museum constructed in the 1950s. It attempts to reach both the hearts and minds of visitors with the help of modern technology.

Video screens show footage filmed by Nazi officials and other eyewitnesses, as well as testimonies of survivors recounting their experiences.

Meanwhile two Arab-Israelis have opened the world's first Holocaust museum aimed specifically at the Arab public, the Israeli Ma'ariv daily said on Wednesday. The museum was opened on Tuesday to coincide with the inaugaration of the new Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

The aim of the Nazareth-based Arab Institute for Holocaust Research, according to its website (, is to provide Arabs with literature in their own language about the Holocaust.

"We believe that the Arabs have no adequate information about the Holocaust, or have ... minimal information about the Holocaust. And because of that the majority of the Arab people denies the Holocaust," the site states.

Khaled Mahmeed, who came up with the idea for the museum, pointed an angry finger at the Israeli Education Ministry, accusing it of not teaching Arab students about Nazi atrocities.

"Half a page is all we learned about the Holocaust," he said. "We don't need USD 40 million museums. It is enough to explain and show how the Germans, with evil and ease, took a Jewish child and shot him in the head".

[Copyright DPA with Expatica]

Subject: German news

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