Merkel’s Nazi Camp Visit Sparks Criticism

Angela Merkel’s historic Nazi camp visit sparked criticism that marred the occasion. Merkel was the first German chancellor to visit Dachau concentration camp.

The visit took place on Tuesday and was included as a stop on her election campaign — a fact that appeared to anger many people.

Along with taking time to tour the Nazi death camp with a handful of its survivors, Merkel also made an emotional speech and laid a wreath of flowers for those who died, reports Yahoo! News.

Merkel, the first German leader born after World War II ended, commented in her speech:

“The memory of the prisoners’ fates fills me with deep sadness and shame. Each detainee at the camp of Dachau or the other concentration camps of course had a personal story that was disrupted or even destroyed.”

Merkel appeared visibly moved by her visit to the Nazi camp, whose main gate still claims, “Work Will Set You Free.” She also called the camp’s remnants “a constant warning” for those wondering how Germany could reach the point of taking away peoples’ rights because of who they were.

The Telegraph notes that the Nazi camp visit was blasted as “tasteless” by Merkel’s critics. However, several Holocaust survivors called the decision to go to Dachau a long overdue gesture of support for them an an apology from Germany.

Dachau was opened in March 1933 as a concentration camp for political prisoners. It came into being just weeks after Adolf Hitler took power. The site served as a model for all the concentration camps that followed. More than 41,000 people were killed, starved, or lost their lives to disease before it was liberated by American troops in April 1945.

Tuesday’s visit wasn’t Merkel’s first time visiting a Nazi concentration camp. Rather, she went to other concentration camps with US President Barack Obama in April 2010. That visit included a stop at Buchenwald.

Do you think Merkel’s visit to Nazi camp Dachau was in poor taste?

[Image via DanielW /]

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