At Yad Vashem, German FM Hails 'Miracle of Friendship' With Israel

In his first visit to Israel since the new German government was sworn in, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany 'bears the responsibility for the most barbarous crime in the history of humanity'

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (R) and holocaust survivor Charlotte Knobloch (1st-L) leave the Hall of Names in Yad Vashem on March 25, 2018
Menahem Kahana, AFP

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called for society's perseverance in the fight against anti-Semitism and racism during his first visit to Israel since the new German government was sworn in earlier this month.

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"Germany bears the responsibility for the most barbarous crime in the history of humanity. The Shoah remains a warning and duty to us to campaign for human rights and tolerance worldwide," he wrote in the visitors' book of Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial on Sunday after visiting there.

Shoah is the Hebrew term for the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews perpetrated by Nazi Germany during World War II. "We must oppose with determination every form of anti-Semitism and racism - everywhere and every day," he wrote.

In the 70th year since the foundation of the state of Israel, the "miracle of friendship" between the two countries was especially called to mind, he said. Modern Israel was founded after WWII in 1948.

"We stand by the country that remembers everyone here [in Yad Vashem] whose lives and dreams were destroyed," the Foreign Minister concluded.