Possible Mass Grave of Nazi Victims Unearthed in Kassel

Construction has been stopped on a site in the city of Kassel, where at least 36 human skeletons have been found over the past week. The bodies may have been forced laborers in a World War II factory.

The public prosecutor’s office ordered a halt to work on the site after ever more skeletons were discovered in the course of construction work to expand the University of Kassel.

“It could well be that more skeletons are found,” police spokeswoman Sabine Knöll told the Associated Press. “We’re prepared for anything.”

The site was the location of a train engine and tank factory that employed thousands of forced laborers during World War II, said city archivist Frank-Roland Klaube.



German railways admits complicity in Holocaust

Kate Connolly in Berlin
Wednesday January 23, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

German railways today admitted the central role its Nazi-era predecessor played in the Holocaust, saying that without the cooperation of the network the systematic murder of millions of people could never have happened.
Launching its first ever touring exhibition about the Holocaust, the state rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB) said the tracks and freight of the Reichsbahn were integral to the Nazis’ extermination plan.

“Without the Reichsbahn the industrial murder of millions of people would not have been possible,” said DB’s in-house historian, Susanne Kill.



Berlin – Germans have drawn clear lessons relevant to today from the events of 75 years ago that brought Adolf Hitler to power, a prominent German historian said Thursday. “What is decisive is that Germans after 1945 have learnt that rejecting Western democracy leads to catastrophe for them,” Heinrich August Winkler told an audience of foreign correspondents in Berlin.

Recalling the events of the so-called “Third Reich” and the moral responsibility carried by Germany as a result helped to buttress democracy today, said the professor, who retired from Berlin’s Humboldt University last year.


German parliament commemorates victims of Holocaust
Berlin (AP): The German parliament commemorated Holocaust victims Friday in a ceremony ahead of an international day of remembrance, acknowledging a special responsibility in the battle against anti-Semitism and racism.

“We remember an unthinkable crime against humanity and a systematic mass murder,” lower house president Norbert Lammert said during the session. “After the bitter experiences of the last century, we do not tolerate any kind of extremism, racism and anti-Semitism _ nowhere in the world and especially not in Germany.”

Six million Jews were killed in the Nazi Holocaust of World War II.

Excerpts from writings by Czech author Lenka Reinerova were also read aloud in the parliamentary session, which was attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Horst Koehler.

The Jewish writer was born in 1916 and is said to be the last author in the Czech Republic to still write in German. She could not attend the ceremony for health reasons.

The United Nations has established Jan. 27 as an annual Holocaust remembrance day, marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.

This year, the anniversary _ the 63rd _ falls on Sunday and will be marked with ceremonies around the world.
Jewish leader criticizes plans for Munich parade on Holocaust Day


BERLIN – Charlotte Knobloch, head of Germany’s national Jewish organization, criticized yesterday a planned carnival parade on Holocaust Remembrance Day. She said she could not understand how people in Munich could treat the culture of commemoration this way.

The parade, with bands, floats and people in fancy dress, is to wend its way through the city this Sunday.

The annual memorial day was established by a German presidential proclamation in 1996, but is not an official public holiday. The date was chosen to mark the liberation by Russian forces of surviving prisoners at the Auschwitz death camp on January 27, 1945.

Knobloch, who also heads the Munich Jewish community, is president of the Central Council of Jews. “I just do not understand how somebody can celebrate with a fun carnival parade on a remembrance day that non-Jews established to commemorate the terrible events of the Holocaust alongside Jews,” she said.



Germans honored for preserving Jewish history
Six recognized through awards created by U.S. philanthropist
BERLIN – A woman who restored a dilapidated synagogue, a man who set up a Jewish museum and another who started a Jewish genealogical database were among six Germans honored Wednesday for their efforts to preserve Jewish history.

The annual Obermayer German Jewish History Awards — funded by Arthur Obermayer, a philanthropist from Boston and now in their eighth year — recognize efforts by ordinary Germans to keep alive their nation’s rich Jewish cultural past.