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March 5, 2014 2:11 pm
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Report: Germany’s Merkel Declines Invite to Accompany Chinese Leader on Holocaust Stops

avatar by Joshua Levitt

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is a stunning and sobering site, consisting of thousands of coffin-like objects that form a maze. Photo: Photo: Remy Sharpe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has declined to accompany Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin’s largest Holocaust memorial, or to the Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism, a smaller monument known as the Neue Wache, according to German daily Der Spiegel on Wednesday.

Der Spiegel, which cited unnamed sources in Berlin, said that the German government did not want to be used by Beijing in a propaganda ploy aimed at antagonizing Tokyo. The Chinese premier is visiting Germany later in March.

“In recent years, China has repeatedly contrasted Germany’s decades-long expressions of contrition for the horrors of World War II with Japan’s alleged inaction,” Der Spiegel wrote. “Tokyo has repeatedly apologized for the suffering visited upon China during the war, but periodic visits by top Japanese officials to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors wartime leaders in addition to the victims of the war, have led China to question Japan’s stance on the issue. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the shrine at the end of December.”

Last month, an unnamed German diplomatic source told Reuters that “the Germans are really uncomfortable with this kind of thing. They don’t like China constantly comparing them with Japan and going on about the war.”

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