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German president warns of new nationalism

BERLIN. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned against a new nationalism during his speech on May 8, on the end of the Second World War in Europe. In Europe, he recognized the "old evil spirits in a new guise," said Steinmeier at the commemoration in the Neue Wache in Berlin. “We were liberated back then. Today we have to free ourselves,” said the Federal President. "The temptation of a new nationalism. The fascination of the authoritarian. Of distrust, isolation and hostility between nations."

That also applies to hatred and agitation, xenophobia and contempt for democracy. "On May 8th we also think of the victims of Hanau, Halle and Kassel," warned Steinmeier. They were not forgotten by the coronavirus. "We have to think, feel and act as Europeans." If Europe fails, then "Never again!"

"May 8, 1945 was a day of liberation," said Steinmeier. "But it was far from being in people's minds." The "liberation" was never complete and nothing that you can only experience passively, but actively challenged the citizens every day anew. There will be “no redemption from history,” said the 64-year-old. "There is no German patriotism without breaks", no remembering without "light and shadow". Remembering is not a burden, but not remembering.

Original commemoration canceled
At the commemoration ceremony in the Neue Wache in Berlin, only the Federal President and the highest representatives of the remaining constitutional organs were present, i.e. President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), the current Federal Council Chair Dietmar Woidke (SPD) and the outgoing President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Andreas Voßkuhle. They laid a wreath in the Neue Wache.

An event with 1,600 guests was originally planned in front of the Reichstag building. However, this had to be canceled because it was not compatible with the distance and hygiene rules that apply due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945 with the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht. In the federal state of Berlin, May 8 this year is a unique public holiday. The Greens and the SPD come up with the proposal to introduce it nationwide. AfD party leader Alexander Gauland thinks nothing of it.

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