Merkel defended over ‘tasteless’ Dachau decision

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel

The Conference of European Rabbis has backed German chancellor Angela Merkel who has been criticised for speaking at an election rally in Dachau on the same day that she visited the town’s Second World War concentration camp.

Mrs Merkel laid a wreath at the site of the Dachau concentration camp on Tuesday morning. The chancellor met survivors and commented that Dachau represented "a horrible and unprecedented chapter of our history".

Following her visit to the camp, Mrs Merkel attended an election rally which was held in a beer tent in the town of Dachau.

The chancellor’s political opponents called the visits “a tasteless and outrageous combination.”

Renate Kuenast, leader of the opposition Green party, said: "If you're serious about commemoration at such a place of horrors, then you don't pay such a visit during an election campaign."

Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, expressed his support for Mrs Merkel.

He said: "Mrs Merkel has absolutely nothing to prove regarding her commitment Holocaust memorial and suggestions that her visit to Dachau is disingenuous are quite offensive. Mrs Merkel was awarded the Lord Jakobovits Prize for European Jewry this year for the dedication she has shown throughout her life to learning the lessons of the Shoah."

No other German head of government has visited Dachau concentration camp.

Last updated: 4:09pm, August 21 2013