The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/w/wiesel.elie/press/ap.0595

Wiesel Calls on German Parliament to Apologize to World Jews
 Associated Press Writer
     FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - The German parliament should use the
 50th anniversary of the capitulation of the Third Reich to formally
 apologize to Jews worldwide for Nazi crimes, Auschwitz survivor
 Elie Wiesel says.
     He also said he wants former President Carter, "a man with
 vision," to become U.N. secretary-general.
     In an essay written for the magazine Die Zeit, the 1986 Nobel
 Peace Prize laureate says the United Nations has been ineffectual
 is halting new human tragedies, such as in Bosnia and Rwanda.
     The Hungarian-born Wiesel was deported with his family to
 Auschwitz, in Nazi-occupied Poland, where his mother and sister
 were killed. He and his father were later sent to Buchenwald, where
 his father died.
     In the lengthy essay published Tuesday, exactly a half-century
 after arriving American troop freed a teen-age Wiesel from
 Buchenwald, he wrote:
     "I think this 50th anniversary is a good opportunity for the
 Bundestag to plead in the name of all Germans to all Jews in the
 world for forgiveness."
     The Bundestag is the lower house of the German parliament.
     The Nazis killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.
     In Poland last September, President Roman Herzog asked Poles to
 forgive Germany. Though German officials often express shame at
 what the Nazis did, that apparently was the first time a German
 official had asked for forgiveness.
     "It's a very nuanced question. The principle is that only an
 individual can be guilty of something, while an entire people can
 be shamed," said Hartwig Bierhoff, spokesman for the German
     The Bundestag was shut down for the beginning of the Easter
 holiday, and there was no further comment.
     Wiesel criticized some German historians who have tried to put
 the Holocaust into perspective by comparing it to the terror and
 killings in Stalin's Gulags, the Khmer Rouge massacres in Cambodia
 and other horrors.
     "They would like to show that others also did bad things. And
 they would like, if possible, to diminish their guilt," Wiesel
 wrote. "I think that's wrong, but I can understand it."
     In his essay, Wiesel also mentions the United Nations' failure
 to stop carnage in Bosnia and Rwanda.
     "I think, however, that this is more the fault of the person of
 the general secretary. (Boutros) Boutros-Ghali is part of the
 problem of the United Nations," Wiesel wrote.
     "In this position, the world needs today a man with strong
 vision ...," he wrote. "I think Jimmy Carter should be the next
 general secretary of the United Nations. I will start a campaign
 for that."

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