Monday, September 29, 2003

German President compares suffering of post-war Germans to Holocaust: "Germany's president has accused Britain of giving in to Hitler and compared the suffering of Germans after the war to that of the Jews. Johannes Rau condemned foreign leaders who 'extended their hand' to Hitler at a meeting in Munich in 1938. They included Britain's Neville Chamberlain, and their agreement allowed Hitler to take over part of Czechoslovakia.

"Rau, 72, also criticised the Allies for taking over territory in eastern Europe, forcing 12 million Germans to flee their homes. Speaking to a gathering of former exiles, a prominent lobby called the Vertriebenen, he attacked those 'who in central and eastern Europe, first working together with the Germans, deprived the Jews of their rights' but afterwards deprived the Germans of their rights as well.

"He referred pointedly to the conferences at Yalta and Potsdam in 1945, when the Allies gave German land to countries including Poland. In an apparent comparison between the Holocaust and the suffering of Germans after 1945, Rau added: 'Hitler's criminal policies do not exonerate anyone who answered terrible wrongs with terrible wrongs. The pan-European catastrophe can only really be understood in its entire context.' "

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