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Merkel becomes first German chancellor to visit Dachau

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So she did this on the campaign trail. If she had made a special trip, the opposition would have complained that she should be working at her office.

She is the first Chancellor to visit Dachau ever. Now is as good a time as any.

But she should feel no shame. It was not her doing. She was not even born yet!

She and most of Germany, admit and condemn the history of the Nazis and that is what counts. The situation is so unlike Japan, isn't it?

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

CalvinMontblancAug. 21, 2013 - 08:02AM JST She and most of Germany, admit and condemn the history of the Nazis and that is what counts. The situation is so >unlike Japan, isn't

Yes the holocaust, with it's clearly documented history and casualties is very unlike Chinese allegations that have no documentation, improbable casualty figures and no bodies resulting in continued historical debate.

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

OssanAmerica - and that head in the sand stance is why Japan has never been able to move on from the war like Germany has. There is all kinds of documentation, just not the kind that you want to hear.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

When is a politician not running for re-election? Give her credit for being the first to visit.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I think she's done a good thing, election or not. The Germans are not immune to 'selective memory' either. If you ask locals what the town of Dachau is famous for, many will answer, 'Beautiful Dachau castle!', pictures of which adorn the tourist posters all over railway stations etc. Mind you, to be fair, they wouldn't attract many tourists with pictures of a death camp.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Ossan America, there is plenty of documentation and even former Imperial army soldiers have come out saying they did some heinous acts to Chinese civilians. Merkel paying her respects at Dachau is a great gesture. Doubt you'll see something similar done by any leader here.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Bravo for a German Chancellor to visit such a horrid memorial.

One problem I did notice when visiting Auschwitz some years ago was the young Poles and other nationalities were carrying on and laughing during their visit. Clearly they did not know what they were visiting. I could't understand how ANYONE could laugh and enjoy a visit to any "death camp" anywhere in the world. Especially when they themselves likely had blood relations put to death in Auschwitz.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005. Just a coincidence that she chose to visit the Dachau concentration camp now when there is an election campaign on and her party is apparently in trouble I guess.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Yes the holocaust, with it's clearly documented history and casualties is very unlike Chinese allegations that have no documentation, improbable casualty figures and no bodies resulting in continued historical debate.

Oh I the levels of documentation are the same in both cases.

-17 ( +1 / -18 )

what a contrast to Japanese politicians!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Are there memorials that the Japanese politicians can visit? I'm in the dark.

This Chancellor is the first? And now? Why not in the beginning?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If we start knocking politicians for gestures designed to win votes, we could be here a very long time. The encouraging thing is it seems this will resonate with many German people. A great country which has gone a long way in attempting to earn the respect of the countries and people who suffered though its past brutalities. This is strength, not posturing rich kids or nutcases waving flags.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

“The memory of the prisoners’ fates

"Prisoners"? They were treated worse than slaves, let alone like prisoners.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'm a Monkey: "This Chancellor is the first? And now? Why not in the beginning?"

To Dachau, yes. They usually visit Auschwitz. As for why now, I think it was because, as the article states, she was in the area (for another event) and wanted to pay her respects. Even if the goal was campaigning, she went by invitation to visit the site of a place where her ancestors did a lot of horrible things -- I can't see how it hurts anyone.

To add to the comments that tie this into Japan, maybe Aso should have said, "We should be more like this politician" instead of suggesting the government learn from Nazis.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@OssanAmerica

Chinese allegations ... have no documentation

There is in fact ample documentation and other forms of evidence, much of it nowadays accessible from a simple Google search.

For instance, do a Google search of "youtube former Japanese soldiers confess" (no quotes) and you will find scores of subtitled first-hand accounts of former Japanese soldiers attesting to horrors that they were directly involved in.

Particularly during the 1990s, many of these men were fortunately brave enough to come forward with the truth, despite the threat of repercussions at home.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Germany has admitted their past atrocities by the leaders and has become an active member in the modern world. a great example for Japan

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So what should be made of this?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2396564/German-embassy-calls-Britons-celebrate-First-World-War-victory.html

WWI is considered different from WWII?

If Germany has admitted their past atrocities and made enough apologies and reparations so completely why are the Greeks for example still upset? And some Jewish people?

However much the Germans repent their past atrocities for real or for political reasons, only time can heal the difficulties of the past. So is it better to forget and move on, or linger in the past and keep demanding for apologies and compensation for the victims? Maybe there is only so much that a human being can accomplish as perhaps only God can both forgive and forget.

<http://www.joe.ie/news/world-affairs/angela-merkel-depicted-as-a-nazi-on-cover-of-greek-newspaper/

<http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/can-a-holocaust-survivor-ever-forgive-the-germans-1.296163

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Dachau: I went there in the summer of 1976, one stop among many, with a small group from my high school. The people who lived near the area did not seem to want to let us know where it was located, a hush hush place. I saw the crematoriums. While America was celebrating its bicentennial were were exploring Europe including passing through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin, and also, this other infamous place, Dachau. The polar opposite of a place like Yasukini, where souls are enshrined and the dead are prayed for, yet considered a hyper-sensitive place by some. I saw no overt praying, at that grey sterile location - Dachau - this was the actual scene of those horrific crimes. Somber indeed. Made a big impact on the mind of one 16 year old kid, me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Germany pays for retirement home expenses for the victims of Holocaust, besides many other channels of reparations

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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