Merkel to visit Dachau memorial
BERLIN (JTA)—Chancellor Angela Merkel, making the first visit by a German head of state to the Dachau memorial, said it was “a very significant moment for me.”
Merkel laid a wreath, visited the concentration camp memorial’s museum and met with survivors on Tuesday.
“The memory of these fates fills me with deep sadness and shame,” Merkel said, the German news media reported.
Max Mannheimer, 93, a survivor who met with Merkel, praised her visit as a sign “of respect for the former detainees.”
Ahead of the visit, critics had accused Merkel of being “tasteless,” using Germany’s darkest chapter for political purposes: She is fighting for the reelection of her party, the Christian Democratic Union, in national elections in September.
Ahead of the visit, critics accused Merkel of being “tasteless,” using Germany’s darkest chapter for political purposes: She is fighting for the reelection of her party, the Christian Democratic Union, in national elections in September.
At a campaign stop after visiting the concentration camp memorial near Munich, Merkel was to address a local cultural festival Tuesday night in the town of Dachau. But Jewish leaders praised Merkel for making a statement through her visit to the memorial.
Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Spiegel Online magazine that as the first chancellor to visit the Dachau memorial, Merkel was underscoring the point that “the horrors took place not only in the east but among us in Germany.”
The Green Party rapped Merkel for combining the somber visit to a memorial site with a campaign speech in a beer tent on the other side of town, the German news media reported.