Germany | 30.08.2006
German Officials Under Fire Over Holocaust Gaffs
Culture Minister Bernd Neumann made two consecutive apologies
Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Culture Minister Bernd Neumann made two consecutive apologies

A speech on postwar German expellees and a misdirected fax have caused embarrassment for the ministry of culture and roused accusations that Germany doesn’t take the Holocaust legacy seriously.

Red-faced officials at the German culture ministry scrambled to apologize Tuesday after two gaffes at former Nazi concentration camps.

The first occurred when Hermann Schäfer, the deputy minister for culture and media, gave a speech at a memorial concert for victims of the Buchenwald camp near Weimar in central Germany.

He spoke at length about the ordeal faced by Germans expelled from their homes by Red Army forces in the final days of World War II but failed to mention Nazi crimes or Holocaust victims at any point during the speech.

Some 250,000 people from 36 countries were imprisoned at Buchenwald between 1937 and 1945, 56,000 of whom were killed or died as a result of the camp’s grueling conditions.