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Germany Marks 80th Anniversary of Hitler's Rise to Power

Germany is marking the 80th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's rise to power with the inauguration of an exhibition in Berlin.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 1/30/2013, 7:48 PM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Reuters

Germany is marking the 80th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's rise to power with the inauguration of an exhibition in Berlin.

Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at the ceremony Wednesday to open the new exhibit, which houses The Topography of Terror, an open-air documentation center that traces Hitler's first months in power through photos, newspapers and posters, AFP reported.

"Human rights don't assert themselves. Freedom doesn't preserve itself all alone and democracy doesn't succeed by itself," Merkel said.

"That must be a constant warning for us, Germans," she added, referring to Hitler's arrival at the chancellery.

The exhibition, "Berlin 1933. On the Path to Dictatorship", is built on the site of the former headquarters of the Gestapo, the secret police of the Nazi regime.

Just prior to the anniversary and in light of International Holocaust Memorial Day, Merkel said in her weekly podcast that Germany had "an everlasting responsibility for the crimes of National Socialism, for the victims of World War II, and above all, for the Holocaust".

"We're facing our history, we're not hiding anything, we're not repressing anything. We must confront this to make sure we are a good and trustworthy partner in the future, as we already are today, thankfully," Merkel said.

After winning approximately a third of the vote in the 1932 elections, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany on Jan. 30, 1933, by the ailing President Paul von Hindenburg, setting Germany on the path to World War II and the Holocaust.

Israel's Reshet Bet radio station featured a discussion by academic experts on Holocaust history and political science where the conditions that allowed Hitler to rise to power in a democracy were analyzed with an eye to today'[s rising European anti-Semitism.