BERLIN — Germany’s responsibility for crimes committed by the National Socialists — or Nazis — will never expire, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at an event to mark the 80th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s accession to power.
Germany has an “everlasting responsibility for the crimes of National Socialism, for the victims of World War II and, above all, for the Holocaust,” Merkel said in a video message Saturday.
“And this must be made clear from generation to generation and it must be said with bravery and moral courage, every individual can make a contribution so that racism and antisemitism have no chance,” she said.
In Warsaw, Poland, Holocaust survivors, politicians, religious leaders and others marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day with solemn prayers and the now oft-repeated warnings to never let such horrors happen again, The Associated Press reported.
Events Sunday took place at sites including Auschwitz-Birkenau, the former death camp where Hitler's Germany killed at least 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, in southern Poland.
Sunday is the 68th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by Soviet troops in 1945.
In Warsaw, prayers were also held at a monument to the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, AP reported.
And in Rome, AP reported that Pope Benedict XVI warned that "the memory of this immense tragedy, which above all struck so harshly the Jewish people, must represent for everyone a constant warning so that the horrors of the past are not repeated."
On Jan. 30, Merkel will visit Berlin’s Topography of Terror Documentation Center, built on the foundations of the headquarters of the Secret State Police — the SS — and the Reich Security Main Office, which were destroyed during the war.
Exactly 80 years ago — on Jan. 30, 1933 — Hitler, leader of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was sworn in as chancellor by President Paul von Hindenburg.
Two months later, a so-called Enabling Act allowed Hitler’s government to pass laws without parliamentary control and in violation of the constitution, paving the way for his dictatorship.
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