German leader Merkel to make 1st visit to Auschwitz


German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures as she speaks in Zagreb, Croatia, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. Merkel attends the European Peoples Party (EPP) congress in the Croatian capital.(AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

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BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to visit the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz for the first time in her 14 years in office.

The Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Thursday that Merkel has accepted an invitation to attend the 10th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation on Dec. 6.

Merkel’s office confirmed that a visit is planned but declined to specify the date as her appointments are generally announced only a week in advance.

Last month, the World Jewish Congress gave Merkel its Theodor Herzl Award for her efforts to foster Jewish life in Germany and her support for the state of Israel.

Nazi Germany killed more than 1 million people at Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland during World War II, most of them Jews transported there from across Europe.

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