German leaders highlight need to keep memory of Holocaust alive

27th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

German church and political leaders marked a national day commemorating the victims of the Nazi dictatorship.

Berlin (dpa) - German church and political leaders marked a national day commemorating the victims of the Nazi dictatorship with minutes of silence and the laying of wreaths at events across the country Sunday.

Speaking in Dachau, the site of one of the Nazi concentration camps, Evangelical Bishop Wolfgang Huber said the memory of 1933-45 Hitler dictatorship had to be kept alive.

Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of German Jews, warned against the rise of right-wing extremism in Germany at an event in Magdeburg.

In Berlin, German President Horst Koehler attended a lecture in the Jewish Museum.

The head of the German Sinti and Roma, Romani Rose, said German politicians were at least partly responsible for the rise of right-wing extremism.

There was anger at a carnival event in Munich, where Mayor Christian Ude took part in a procession of fools. The organizers said they were unable to call off the event, which had been scheduled well in advance.

Speaking on Saturday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germans faced "a calling and a duty" never to allow anything like the Nazi period to occur again.

On Friday, the German parliament marked the commemoration with a minute of silence.

In reference to the persecution of the Jews in the Holocaust, Bundestag President Norbert Lammert said it was "shaming" that Jewish institutions still had to receive special police protection.

The national day of commemoration for the victims of the Nazi terror is held on January 27 every year, the date that the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Russian troops.

Germany nominated January 27 as a national day of commemoration in 1996. The United Nations General Assembly named the date International Holocaust Remembrance Day in November 2005.

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