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July 26, 2010
German city fathers refuse to meet visiting Iranian delegation
An official Iranian delegation from the city of Shiraz recently visited the city of Weimar, Germany. The Iranian delegation had come to Weimar, its sister city, to visit the cultural spots of this town. They were also scheduled to visit the concentration camp of Buchenwald, located some four miles from Weimar where 750,000 people annually visit. Fifty-thousand Jews and others were murdered in this camp during the Nazi horrors. Yet, the Iranian delegation refused to go to Buchenwald. After all Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly denies the Holocaust.
It would not surprise most people that the Iranian delegation chose to avoid the historical truth of the Holocaust or Shoah. But what is heartening is what their German hosts did. The Weimar City Council refused to meet the guests from Shiraz, Iran. Their message was clear. The Germans decided, as Warren L. Miller has written, that if the Iranians "choose historical revisionism over historic truth and prejudice over tolerance, then they were not welcome in respectable company, no matter what other values or interests they might share."
So the German city that boasts Goethe and Schiller, Bach and Liszt as well as the Bauhaus art movement did not prevent its current leaders from owning up to the shameful era in its own history. The people and leaders of Weimar are to be commended for taking a stand. When the Holocaust is denied and truth is subverted, then we are headed in the wrong direction, again.
Eileen can be reached at email@example.com