German leader calls for renewed fight against anti-Semitism
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Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day

German leader calls for renewed fight against anti-Semitism

Angela Merkel says new types of memorials needed to address younger generations that may not be familiar with Nazi atrocities

German chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, on January 23, 2019 in Davos, eastern Switzerland. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
German chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, on January 23, 2019 in Davos, eastern Switzerland. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

BERLIN, Germany — German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on German citizens to help fight anti-Semitism ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The comments by the German leader came as countries around the world were set to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day Sunday — 75 years after the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland.

“Today we are seeing a very different kind of anti-Semitism: there’s the hatred of Jews by our local people, but also by Muslim migrants,” Merkel said Saturday in a video address.

“People who are growing up today must know what people were capable of in the past. And we must work actively to make sure that it is never repeated,” she said.

Mandy Eisemann from Dickerson, Maryland. with her son Levi (4), relatives of the Cohn family, places flowers at four “Stolpersteine” (stumbling blocks) for Karolina Cohn and her family in Frankfurt, Germany, November 13, 2017. (Arne Dedert/dpa via AP)

Merkel also called for new types of memorials to be created to cater to younger generations who may not be as familiar with the Nazi’s atrocities, such as “stumbling block” pavers to commemorate the former homes of Jews and other initiatives.

“They are very important and will become more important in the future,” she said.

In recent years, Germany has seen a rising number of often violent attacks against Jews which led the government to appoint a commissioner against anti-Semitism. It’s also funding the creation of a national registration office for anti-Semitic hate crimes.

A survey released by CNN last year found anti-Semitic attitudes in over one-fifth of Europeans polled, while over a third admitted that they knew nothing at all or “just a little” about the Holocaust.

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