German parliament marks Nazi victims with call to defend democracy
The Nazi period is a constant reminder of the need to protect democratic values, the head of the German parliament says, in commemorating the victims of the 1933-45 Hitler dictatorship.
25th January 2008
Berlin (dpa) - In reference to the persecution of the Jews in the Holocaust of the period, Bundestag President Norbert Lammert said it was "shaming" that Jewish institutions still had to receive special police protection.
Lammert was marking the national day of commemoration for the victims of the Nazi terror, held on January 27 every year, the date that the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Russian troops.
The day, which falls on a Sunday this year, was marked across Germany on Friday.
A former Israeli ambassador to Germany, Avi Primor, praised the way the country has confronted its Nazi past.
"Where have you ever in the world seen a nation that puts up memorials to commemorate its own shame?" Primor said in the state parliament of Thuringia.
"Only the Germans have had the courage and the humility," he added.
Writing in the national daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung Friday, the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, said the Holocaust had led directly to the founding of the state of Israel.
The existence of Israel as a Jewish state continued to be questioned in Europe, even though Israel was the only country in the region that had maintained a stable democracy for 60 years, Lauder said.
And he warned in particular against ignoring the dangers from Iran and its nuclear programme.
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.