Key Words:Germany; Angela Merkel; Nazi-era;Holocaust
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Understanding history is an actual mental activity. Different conception of history can have various influences on countries to take different development paths.
On the day before the Holocaust Memorial day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the German people should take "an everlasting responsibility" to remember Nazi-era crimes and prevent the "dark chapter" from restaging.
The "everlasting responsibility" has shown Germans’ self-reflection and sense of responsibility, and made the world realize more clearly how far the country that invaded other Asian countries and brought dreadful disasters to them is away from true salvation.
Former German chancellor Willy Brandt knelt down in front of the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial; former German president Roman Herzog asked for forgiveness during a visit to Poland, and Merkel recently stressed the "everlasting responsibility." Germans have not forgotten their historical taint, and are still advancing on the journey of retrospection and salvation.
All these have promoted Germany into the international community as a "normal country" instead of damaging Germans’ national dignity. In this long process, Germans’ national self-confidence has been on a steady rise.
Germans have enacted stringent laws in order to prevent the tragedy from happening again. Any person who displays Nazi symbols in public places in Germany or denies the Holocaust will not only be denounced by the public, but will also receive legal punishment. From the tablets bearing the names of Holocaust victims in Berlin and compulsory Holocaust studies to annual memorial activities, their sense of shame has become one part of cultural consciousness. It is this kind of cultural consciousness that has helped Germans get out of historical traps, wash away historical taint, and start a new chapter from scratch in history with sincerity and courage.
Whether a country has a correct outlook on history determines its relationship with the outside world as well as its development space. Only the sense of shame can help a country achieve true salvation and win the forgiveness and trust of related countries.
Certain historical issues concern the battle between good and evil, and should never be overlooked.
Read the Chinese version: 有“永久责任”才有真正救赎, source: People's Daily, author:Zhong Sheng
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