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Merkel to visit concentration camp at Dachau

By Xinhua in Berlin | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-21 07:37

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was to visit the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau on Tuesday to call for vigilance against far-right extremism, becoming the first German government head to go to the memorial.

She was due to lay a wreath and make a short speech to some 3,800 guests at the memorial before attending a campaign rally in the town for the state and general elections, which fall on Sept 22.

The Dachau camp, about 16 km from Munich, was opened in 1933 as the first Nazi concentration camp in Germany.

It served as a model for other camps operated by the Nazis, imprisoning more than 200,000 Jews and political prisoners among others from 1933 to 1945, when it was liberated by US troops. More than 41,000 prisoners died in the camp.

On Saturday, Merkel called for vigilance against far-right extremism in Europe during her weekly podcast, urging more courage in the fight against neo-Nazi extremism.

"We must never accept that such ideas have a place in our democratic Europe," she said.

Merkel's visit to the memorial comes shortly after she launched the last phase of her campaign after returning from a summer break.

She is taking no chances even as she claims a 68 percent approval rating among voters and maintains her position as the most popular politician in Germany.

Polls indicate that her ruling coalition still holds a narrow lead five weeks before the vote, giving it enough support to win a parliamentary majority in the election, when Merkel will seek a third term as chancellor.

(China Daily 08/21/2013 page10)

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