The German memorial at the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald on Thursday demanded an end to visitors playing winter sports at the site, after some were even seen sledding on mass graves.
Criticizing the “disrespectful” behavior, the foundation asked guests to refrain from free time in Buchenwald and the former Mittelbau-Dora subcamp in eastern Germany.
“The sporting activity is a violation of visitor regulations and unsettles the dead,” he said in a statement, warning that his security staff would increase patrols and violators would be reported to the police.
The foundation’s director, Jens-Christian Wagner, told the Der Spiegel news site that a “mass” of daytrippers had gathered at the site over the weekend and most seemed to come to have fun in the snow.
“Some of the sled lines end up in mass graves,” he said.
Wagner said he can understand that many families with children want to spend time outside, especially during the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus, but the warning expects appropriate behavior from its visitors.
“Over time, historical sensibilities have faded,” he said.
More than 76,000 men, women and children died in Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora during World War II. They were killed by the Nazis or died from illness, cold or hunger.
Thousands of Jews were among the dead, but also Roma, gypsies and Nazi political opponents, gays and Soviet prisoners of war.
Last January, the head of the Buchenwald foundation, Volkhard Knigge, warned that unwanted visits from neo-Nazis were becoming an escalating problem ahead of the 75th anniversary of camp liberation.
“We are increasingly finding messages in the guestbook claiming that Nazism and concentration camps make sense and are good for Germany,” he told German media.
Israel welcomes Germany’s push to expand the Iran nuclear deal into a broader security agreement after US President-elect Joe Biden moves to the White House next month, its ambassador to Berlin told AFP.
Jeremy Issacharoff, envoy of state in Germany since 2017, said the recent calls by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to reassess the 2015 nuclear deal with the new US government were “a step in the right direction”.
The 2015 nuclear deal – formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA – provided Iran with sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.
Maas told Der Spiegel magazine this month that the existing agreement, under massive pressure after repeated Iranian abuses and US President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018, needed repairs.
The “nuclear plus agreement” planned by Maas will prohibit the development of nuclear weapons as well as limit Tehran’s ballistic rocket program and interference in countries in the region.
Biden has hinted that Washington could rejoin the deal as a starting point for further negotiations if Iran returns to compliance.
At least 150 Democratic members of Congress said in a letter Wednesday to Biden that they would support his bid to rejoin the nuclear deal.
But Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected talks about reopening the agreement reached five years ago after marathon talks involving the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
The ‘triangle’ partnership
Issacharoff said the so-called 5 + 1 partners needed to consider Iran’s “destabilizing involvement” in countries including Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq in any further negotiations with Tehran.
“I think people need to realize that you can’t just turn the clock back to 2015,” he said.
“There is missile production and missile testing and this problem needs to be addressed as well as the massive breach that Iran has committed against the entire JCPOA agreement.”
Issacharoff said he welcomed Germany’s more active involvement in Middle East diplomacy and the now strong “strategic partnership” that has developed in the 70 years since the Holocaust.
Anticipating a major increase in the “tone” between Germany and the United States with Biden at the helm, he said Israel would like to see a more “triangular type of strategic partnership” with the two countries on Middle East security issues “which I think would be very good for all sides” .
The most important partnership
He said it was Germany’s strong commitment to atone for Nazi atrocities that had allowed relations with Israel to flourish since the countries officially established diplomatic ties in 1965.
Issacharoff highlighted a “mobile” visit by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to this year’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and Auschwitz this year and joint military exercises in August between Israeli and German fighter pilots.
“From defense issues to culture, people-to-people engagement, economy, cyberspace, intelligence – I can only see this as a growing partnership and becoming one, I would say perhaps the most important partnership for Israel clearly in Europe but even in global terms. “
Issacharoff said that while relations between Israel and the four Arab countries – Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan – were normal in the deal brokered by the Donald Trump administration, Germany had played a constructive role too.
Noting that Maas hosted the first meeting between his Israeli and Emirati counterparts in October, Issacharoff called it “a very important step for Germany and a very important sign of its commitment to the process.”
He praised Maas and in particular Chancellor Angela Merkel, who plans to retire from politics next year after 16 years in power, fostering a deep and trusting relationship with Israel despite their painful shared history.
“It is important to recognize his extraordinary contribution to the strength of the relationship,” he said, hoping that the commitment would “persist in German foreign policy”.
“I am very encouraged and very inspired by how far two countries can go after such a difficult period of time and become so close.”
The Advisor to the Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Army Vladimir Pogosyan on Thursday compared Israel to Nazi Germany and promised revenge for its support for Azerbaijan in the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“Politicians in Armenia are finally starting to realize what Europe and Israel are, especially Israel. Israel today and Germany in 1933 are the same. The only difference is that I have understood it since the first war,” Podosyan wrote on Facebook.
“We will not forgive anyone, and we will not forget whose hand is covered in Armenian blood. The day will come, and we will take revenge. Israel, Turkey and other countries are building Azerbaijan armies. And what they achieved with it. ? We’ll win! Don’t hesitate about that. “
Germany this week said it would share with Israel any coronavirus vaccines it makes in Europe.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Sunday notified Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff about the decision, which comes after a meeting last week between Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin.
Although the exact number of vaccinations is unclear, Israel is expected to receive thousands or possibly millions of vaccinations if the initiative is truly successful.
“I thank the German foreign and health ministers for their support to Israel in the fight against the coronavirus,” said Ashkenazi.
“This move symbolizes a special and deep friendship and a warm bond between countries.”
According to Ashkenazi, receiving the vaccine from Germany “will allow the economy to return to full activity in Israel.”
He added that Ambassador Issacharoff and embassy staff “have played a large role in this important milestone.”
Germany’s decision to supply Israel with a vaccination developed by Europe is conflicting decision created by the European Union Health Safety Committee to supply first only European countries with European vaccinations.
But as one of the major powers in the EU, Germany is able to bypass committee decisions and justify its arrangement with Israel, among other things, with the “close ties” the two countries have.
Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has recently continued clinical trials for a vaccine in Japan, UK, Brazil, South Africa and India.
Riot police detain a protester during an opposition rally to protest against the presidential inauguration in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, September 23, 2020. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been sworn in for his sixth term at an unannounced inauguration ceremony ahead amid massive protests over weeks of saying that the authoritarian leader’s re-election was rigged. Hundreds of people took to the streets in several cities at night to protest the inauguration. (AP / TUT.by Photo)
France is increasing pressure on long-time Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, with President Emmanuel Macron telling the leading French weekly that “Lukashenko must leave.”
The European Union said Thursday it did not recognize Lukashenko as the president of Belarus because of massive protests by Belarusians who questioned the outcome of last month’s presidential election which Lukashenko claims he won so much. Opposition members and some polling officials in Belarus say the vote was rigged.
Ahead of Monday’s trip to Lithuania and Latvia, Macron was quoted as saying in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper on Sunday as saying it was “clear that Lukashenko had to leave.”
“What is happening in Belarus is a crisis of power, an authoritarian force that cannot accept the logic of democracy and endures violence,” the paper quoted Macron as saying.
In a speech Saturday before the UN General Assembly, Belarus’ foreign minister warned Western countries against meddling or imposing sanctions over the country’s disputed presidential election and government crackdown on protesters.
Thousands of Belarusians have taken part in major rallies since the August 9 elections, which they say were rigged in support of Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years and has just taken secret oaths of office for a new term.