German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has been criticized for his comments equating Social Democrats victims of Nazism to Jewish victims of the Holocaust.read more
In a op-ed published in daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, the minister wrote that the Social Democrats and the Jews were the first victims of the Holocaust, the first in the name of politics and the second in the name of race.
A spokesman for the German foreign ministry said that Gabriel is a close friend of Israel and has always accepted Germany's responsibility for the Holocaust and for Israel's security. "There can be no doubt about this, and the foreign minister made this statement again during his (recent) visit to Yad Vashem," he said.
The director of the Israeli branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, said that anyone with knowledge of the Final Solution is aware that the fate of European Jews under the Nazis was different than any other victim.
"Gabriel's claim is a negative exploitation of the memory of the Holocaust," he said.
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem condemned Gabriel's statement: "It is very unfortunate that an unnecessary and historically incorrect statement found its way into the the political storm surrounding Gabriel's cancelled meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.’’