Yushchenko inaugurates memorial to Nazi victims

23rd July 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 July 2007, Flossenbuerg, Germany (dpa) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko helped Sunday in Germany to inaugurate a memorial to victims of the Nazis, completing Germany's drive to build museums at all former concentration camps.

23 July 2007

Flossenbuerg, Germany (dpa) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko helped Sunday in Germany to inaugurate a memorial to victims of the Nazis, completing Germany's drive to build museums at all former concentration camps.

Yushchenko's father, Andrei, spent six months interned as a Soviet soldier at the site in Flossenbuerg, in Bavaria state close to the Czech border.

The Nazis treated Soviet prisoners especially badly, transferring them from stalags - or prisoner-of-war camps - to the atrocious conditions of the concentration camps.

"There is no way to explain away the deaths of thousands of people here. Our minds and our hearts refuse to understand such a mass of deaths," said the president.

"History must never be allowed to repeat itself."

Polish-born Jack Terry, 77, was the youngest surviving inmate, aged just 15 when the camp was liberated.

"We were thrown in here for only one purpose: to humiliate us, take away our humanity and murder us," said Terry, who now lives in New York. His parents and siblings died at the hands of the Nazis.

Down the years, some 100,000 inmates were held at Flossenbuerg and about 30,000 died there of disease or starvation, by execution or by being driven beyond exhaustion.

Though a memorial was erected at the camp cemetery in 1946, the site was largely ignored down the years and an industrial estate was built on most of the land. It was only in the 1990s that it was properly signposted.

It is the last of the main concentration camps on present-day German soil to gain its own site museum.

"We need a space to make the past present," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the opening. "This is a place of German disgrace."

DPA

Subject: German news

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