This is his first visit to Auschwitz. German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in the former Nazi camp at Auschwitz, Poland, on Friday, December 6, to be associated more than anything else with the extermination of Jews, while Germany - and more broadly Europe - alarmed by a resurgence of anti-Semitism.
Accompanied by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and a survivor from Auschwitz, 87-year-old Stanislaw Bartnikowski, as well as representatives of the Jewish community, Angela Merkel for the first time crossed the entrance gate of the camp topped with the sinister motto of the Nazis "Arbeit macht frei" ("work makes free").
The Chancellor is the first leader of a German government to visit the former concentration and extermination camp since 1995. This visit takes place on the eve of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in January 1945. .
On the eve of this trip, Angela Merkel announced the allocation of 60 million euros to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation for the maintenance of the site where some 1.1 million people, including one million Jews, were murdered between 1940 and 1945.
She must observe a minute of silence in front of the Mur de la mort, where thousands of prisoners were shot.
Thrust of anti-Semitism
His visit continues to Birkenau, 3 kilometers from the main camp, including on the ramp where were "selected" deportees on their descent of cattle cars. The youngest, the oldest and the most fragile were then immediately sent to death.
The German Chancellor, for whom the Holocaust is "a break in civilization", must speak at midday.
In Germany, which has made the memory of the Holocaust the heart of its post-war identity, the authorities are worried about a sharp rise in anti-Semitic acts.
Before her visit, Angela Merkel also reaffirmed that "the fight against anti-Semitism and against all forms of hatred" was one of the priorities of her government. She also insisted on the "determination" of the authorities to see a burgeoning Jewish community flourish in Germany.
In October, an ultimately unsuccessful attack on a synagogue in Halle caused a shock in the country. Its author, who killed two people at random, is a young follower of Holocaust deniers.
The far-right party AfD, which has been in the Bundestag for two years, is also calling for an end to the culture of repentance.
The name of Auschwitz has become the synonym of Absolute Evil. Jews from all over Europe, from Hungary to Greece, were exterminated there.