Angela Merkel warns of new wave of anti-Semitism as she visits Auschwitz


Organizers and the Chancellery denied any political motives behind the visit, which began with an invitation from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation founded 10 years ago by the now late, former Polish foreign minister, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, who himself had survived the camp.

The visit will mark the 10th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, established in 2009 to take care of the Memorial Site, that is the area and the remains of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, now under the care of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim.

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Auschwitz is in present-day Poland, which was occupied by Nazi forces in the period when 1.1 million people were killed there.

During her visit, Merkel announced that Germany is giving 60 million euros (about $66 million) to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, which marked its 10th anniversary on Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks toward the main railway entrance to Birkenau, the largest of the camps that made up the Auschwitz complex in Poland.

"Remembering the crimes, naming the perpetrators, and giving the victims a dignified commemoration, that could per chance per chance moreover be a responsibility that does no longer stop", she stated.

"Auschwitz in particular compels and commits each and every one of us to be vigilant on a daily basis, to preserve humanity and to protect the dignity of our neighbors", she said.

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"We are witnessing worrisome racism, growing intolerance, a wave of hate crimes", she said.

The crematorium of the Auschwitz Nazi dying camp in Oswiecim, Poland. In October, a gunman in Halle killed two people while attempting to storm a synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. But none has visited since, and this first visit by a chancellor for 24 years is being viewed as highly symbolic.

Violent assaults went up greater than 60 per cent.

"I feel deep shame given the barbaric crimes that were committed here by Germans", she added.

Leaders of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) - the biggest opposition party in the Bundestag national parliament - have been accused of trying to play down Nazi crimes and suggesting that history must be re-written to focus on German victims. Together with President Barack Obama and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, she toured the Buchenwald concentration camp in 2009, and she has made several visits to Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust remembrance center in Israel.

Merkel has called the Holocaust a "break with civilization" and has voiced concern about the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany.

The timing of the go to can be vital due to questions over Merkel's political future as tensions persist inside the governing coalition.