Queen says Britons, Germans 'mustnever forget war suffering'

4th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

4 November 2004 , BERLIN - Concluding a three-day tour of Germany, British Queen Elizabeth II side-stepped the thorny issue of apologising for RAF carpet-bombing raids by saying the people of both countries had endured untold suffering. Addressing lawmakers in the state legislature of North Rhein- Westphalia, the British monarch said both countries had learned from the trauma of the past to forge close economic and social ties of lasting friendship. "The suffering that both of our peoples endured in the Se

4 November 2004

BERLIN - Concluding a three-day tour of Germany, British Queen Elizabeth II side-stepped the thorny issue of apologising for RAF carpet-bombing raids by saying the people of both countries had endured untold suffering.

Addressing lawmakers in the state legislature of North Rhein- Westphalia, the British monarch said both countries had learned from the trauma of the past to forge close economic and social ties of lasting friendship.

"The suffering that both of our peoples endured in the Second World War must never be forgotten," she told the lawmakers in Dusseldorf.

"But both of our countries have gone far in forging a deep friendship based on mutual trust," added the queen to generous applause.

Wearing a fawn outfit with matching hat, was greeted by crowds of cheering onlookers waving Union Jack flags as she arrived at the state legislature building on the final day of her high-profile visit. 

The queen's itinerary received broad coverage in the German news media. Regular television programming was interrupted to cover her speeches and public appearances at military cemeteries and public monuments to war dead.

Reconciliation was the over-riding theme of the queen's visit, and the highlight of the trip came when Elizabeth presided over a gala concert Wednesday evening by the Berlin Philharmonic, with proceeds going to finishing rebuilding of the Dresden Cathedral, destroyed during RAF bombing raids.

Prior to the visit, British and German newspapers battled over the question of a royal apology for Dresden.

The two-day British-American bombing raid on Dresden in February 1945 killed between 25,000 and 40,000 people, many of whom were civilian refugees. More than 80 percent of the city was destroyed.

Following the 1989 opening of the Berlin Wall and the 1990 German reunification, private donors raised money for rebuilding the church.

Among worldwide sponsors is the Dresden Trust led by the Duke of Kent, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, which financed the replica cross and orb crowning the rebuilt cupola as a symbol of British-German reconciliation.

Reconstruction of the church started in 1994. The exterior shell was finished in June 2004.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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