Germany stresses holocaust responsibility after Netanyahu’s claim

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and German Chancellor Merkel hold joint news conference in Berlin. (Reuters)

Germany on Wednesday stressed its inherent responsibility in the Holocaust, after Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu stirred controversy over his claim a Palestinian leader gave Hitler the idea of exterminating Jews.

Asked to comment on Netanyahu’s allegation, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said he would not speak directly on the claim.

But he added: “I can speak for the federal government, that we Germans recognize that the murderous racial fanaticism of the Nazis was the historical origin of ... the Shoah.

“I see no reason to change our view of history in any way. We know of the inherent German responsibility in these crimes against humanity,” he added, just hours before Netanyahu was to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

In a speech on Tuesday, Netanyahu suggested that Hitler was not planning to exterminate the Jews until he met Palestinian nationalist Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in 1941.

“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time. He wanted to expel the Jews,” Netanyahu told the World Zionist Congress.

“And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said: 'If you expel them, they’ll all come here.’ ‘So what should I do with them?’ he asked. He said: ‘Burn them.’”

Netanyahu on Wednesday backtracked on the claim, denying that he was exonerating Hitler of the responsibility for the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were slaughtered.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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