ulterior motives that both Brandt and the East German
leaders who accompanied him had paid to their countrymen whom Hitler had
murdered. For the two Germanys, it was not formal ritual but a true return to
their common origin. |
When Willy Brandt came out, I took the armful of
flowers the East German leaders had given me down into the crypt and laid them
beside Brandt's wreath. My eyes fell on the inscription on one of the walls:
"Our goal is the destruction of Nazism and its roots."
On May 24, I
attended the second summit meeting between West and East Germans in Kassel in
the Federal Republic. The change in German relations had not caught me
unawares. My reasoning was derived from a simple premise: no great people had
long remained divided. The Jewish people had recovered their homeland after two
millenniums in spite of persecution and numerical weakness; the German people
would regain their oneness.
It was not a utopian notion. To believe the
division would last forever is unrealistic. From that point of view I had to
bear witness in the East as well as in the West and not in words alone,
but in action that the Germans in the East as well as in the West are
subject to moral imperatives that must take precedence over any commitment to
their respective ideologies. After what happened under Nazism, should not
Germany as a whole fight against anti-Semitism, labor to get former active
Nazis out of high political positions, and oppose the rehabilitation of Nazi
That is why I would react so strongly when Ernst Achenbach
was about to be appointed to the Executive Committee of the EEC in April 1970.
In compiling an exposé of his activities under Hitler and stirring up
international public opinion against him, I was as powerfully motivated as I
was during my campaign against Kiesinger. It was the same when I went to
Austria to oppose the appointment of Hans Schirmer as the Federal Republic's
ambassador to Vienna.
Hans Schirmer joined the Nazi party as No.
3,143,496 on May 1, 1933. An executive in Goebbel's Propaganda Ministry, he was
Kiesinger's superior from 1939 to 1943 as Chief Deputy in the Foreign
Ministry's Political Broadcasting Department. In addition, Schirmer was a
director of Radio-Mundial, a secret international network that broadcast the
idea of a "new Europe" throughout the world.