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November 25, 2019 10:11 am

Merkel to Make First Visit to Auschwitz as German Leader

avatar by JNS.org

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks at pictures of Jews killed in the Holocaust during a visit to the Hall of Names in the Holocaust History Museum at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem on October 4, 2018. Photo: Debbie Hill/Pool via REUTERS.

JNS.org – German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp next month for the first time in her 14 years in office, the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Thursday.

Merkel has accepted an invitation to attend the 10th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation on Dec. 6. Her office confirmed that a visit is planned but declined to specify the date, most likely because her appointments are generally announced only a week in advance.

Merkel has already visited other Nazi camps, including Dachau and Buchenwald, as well as the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem.

Nazi Germany killed more than 1 million people at Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland during World War II, most of whom were Jews. Auschwitz will mark 75 years since its liberation in January 2020.

The World Jewish Congress honored Merkel in October with its Herzl Award, given to individuals whose actions promote Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl’s “ideas for the creation of a safer and more tolerant world for Jews.” However, the decision by WJC to honor Merkel was met with criticism by members of Germany’s Jewish community.

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