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Remarks by Prime Minister Rabin at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

(September 16, 1992)

In the course of an official visit to Germany as a guest of Chancellor Kohl, Mr. Rabin used the opportunity of a visit to the Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camp to call on Germany to condemn and suppress any attempt of the neo-Nazis in that country to raise their heads. Germany must act resolutely against the rise of this phenomenon. In his talks with the German leaders, Mr. Rabin sought Germany's help in Israel's quest to improve its trading ties with the European Union (formerly European Common Market).

We stand here, at this accursed concentration camp, where millions of the Jewish people and many of other nations, choked in the gas chambers and went up in the smoke of the crematoriums, and departed the land of the living without ever knowing why.

We stand here, millions of citizens of the State of Israel, and millions of the Jewish people, and we do not forget and we do not forgive. We wear the scars of the most monstrous crime in history unto the last generation. We continue to search for our brothers in every speck of dust.

We stand here, today, all the people of freedom and culture from all over the world, and are still unable to comprehend the scope of the horror, the dimensions of the death industry which operated here at the darkest hour of history. We are here, in former East Germany, which for a generation denied its responsibility towards the Jewish people. Here they ignored the Jewish victims completely. But historical truth is stronger than all denials, and on the eve of German reunification, they took the first step in recognizing their responsibility.

We stand here today, the sons and sons of sons of those whose cries and calls for help were heard only by the silent walls, the furnaces, the barbed-wire fences, and they are here, with us, today, admonishing the world: we have been reborn to a new life, we have arisen from the ashes of the sacrifice, and we are continuing on our way, building a nation and a state from the very place, at the very hour, at the very moment, that the hearts of the victims ceased to beat. From the ashes of the furnaces we ignited the pillar of fire which fit our way to a Jewish state in the land of Israel.

As Israelis, as Jews, as human beings, we are filled with hope. Even if present events do not show the world in its best light, we still believe in the human spirit, we still believe that people, and nations, can change, and can become different.

From here, from these silent walls which heard the horrors, from the earth soaked in the blood of the murdered, we Israelis and Jews, call on all people of freedom to reach out their hands to those suffering anywhere, and to condemn and suppress any attempt of the neo-Nazi beast to raise its head.

We, more than others, are allowed to demand that any attempt at a return to those dark days be eradicated. On one of the Holocaust memorials in Poland, it is inscribed: "Let our tragedy be a warning to you." And I say to you, the Germans: do not hesitate, here in Germany, to act against neo-Nazism.

We stand here, I stand here, in the name of all the citizens of Israel, who have not ceased to weep, in order to remember, and to never forget, as it is written in the Jewish New Year penitential prayers: "Earth - do not cover up their blood, and let not their cries be swallowed up."

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs