Extracts from the Jan 2010 Journal
The world’s media went into overdrive on 9 November 2009 with its coverage of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the celebrations in Germany. The commemoration of another key German event on this day seemed all but forgotten.
Yet only six days previously Chancellor Angela Merkel had given a major speech before both Houses of Congress in Washington with the Wall as its principal theme. She had referred early in her speech to ‘the catastrophe that was the Second World War, to the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust, to the hate, destruction and annihilation that Germany brought upon Europe and the world. November 9 is just a few days away. It was on November 9, 1989 that the Berlin Wall fell and it was also on November 9 in 1938 that an indelible mark was branded into Germany’s memory and Europe’s history. On that day the National Socialists destroyed synagogues, setting them on fire, and murdered countless people. It was the beginning of what led to the break with civilisation, the Shoah. I cannot stand before you today without remembering the victims of this day and of the Shoah.’
Later in her speech, Merkel stated: ‘A nuclear bomb in the hands of an Iranian president who denies the Holocaust, threatens Israel and denies Israel the right to exist is not acceptable.’ And, in an interview with Bildzeitung a few days later, she was asked ‘9 November is the anniversary not only of the fall of the Wall, but also of the burning of the synagogues in 1938 – how can you explain that Germans as a people were capable of both?’ She simply replied: ‘For burning synagogues and the Holocaust which followed I have no explanation. It was and remains incomprehensible.’ [more...]