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Steinmeier to Germans: “Not to be ashamed”

Written by The Frontier Post

BERLIN (RIA Novosti): German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, speaking in the Bundestag on the National Day of Mourning, which is celebrated in Ger-many as a day of remembr-ance for the victims of wars and state violence, recalled the attack of the German Wehrmacht on the USSR in 1941, called on the Germa-ns to “not be ashamed” of recollections on this topic.
“This day is a day of mourning. We mourn the victims of violence and war all over the world, women, men and children who gave their lives or whose lives were darkened by the war… When we recalled the 80th anniversary of the German Wehrmacht attack on the Soviet Union in This year, many of us had to admit that the places where the German Wehrmacht moved through Poland, the Baltic states and Belarus, through Ukraine and Russia and in the depths of the Caucasus – these places mean nothing to them. Yugoslavia and Greece, which were also attacked 80 years ago. Most of us don’t know these places either. We do not associate any events with them, and even more so we do not associate them with our own, German history… Our memoirs are embarrassed to provide information about the war and crimes in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. They are unable to cope with the crimes committed against civilians, forcibly displaced persons and Soviet prisoners of war, hundreds of thousands of whom died in the first months after the attack: they died of hunger, were killed, were shot, “the head of state said.
According to Steinmeier, the Germans “have forgotten countless other places of German crimes, such as the Belarusian village of Khatyn, which was razed to the ground in the spring of 1943, or the small town of Mizoch in western Ukraine, at the gates of which the entire Jewish population w-as shot in one day in Oc-tober 1942. of the year”. T-he memory of these crimes, of these geographical locations “is important for our understanding of ourselves as a nation, as well as for the general understanding of ourselves as Europeans on this continent,” the German president added.
“But if we want to remember, we also need to know what connects these places with the present. Because I am convinced that if we understand this and how the past shapes our present, then we will also be more interested in the repressed (in memory) heads of history, “the head of state said, adding that” the experience of two world wars, guilt and shame still shape the relationship between German society and the German army, “many Germans are” worried about military rituals, “however,” our Bundeswehr is a parliamentary army which stands firmly on the basis of a democratic constitution. “
“Taking responsibility for our history should not mean avoiding confrontation with the conflicts of the present and with those who bear the heaviest and most difficult responsibilities here. This is another reason why this day, the Day of Sorrow, is an important day. We must overcome silence, including the silence of many layers of society in relation to our army. This is today’s mission, “Steinmeier emphasized.

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