Von Weizsacker, Richard Karl Freiherr

Last president of West Germany and 1st president of reunified Germany 1984-94

Price: $15.00

Description:
(1920-2015) German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician from 1954, President of the Federal Republic of Germany (formerly West Germany) 1984-94. In WW II, von Weizsäcker joined the Army, crossing into Poland on the 1st day of the War. In 1947, when his father, a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official in the 30s, was a defendant in the Ministries Trial for his role in deportation of Jews from occupied France, he was assistant defense counsel. Elected to the Bundestag 1969, VP 1979 until elected Mayor of West Berlin in 1981, serving to 1984. In 1984, von Weizsäcker was elected President of West Germany. During his term, the Cold War ended and German reunification occurred. He was President of the German Evangelical Church Assembly 1964-70, member of the Synod and Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany 1967–84. Von Weizsäcker delivered his most famous speech in 1985, marking the 40th anniversary of the end of WW II in Europe. President Reagan visited West Germany surrounding the G-7 Summit in Bonn. That visit sparked controversy when Chancellor Kohl and Reagan were to visit the military cemetery in Bitburg, which had graves of Waffen-SS members. Weizsäcker addressed Parliament 8 May 1985, articulating the historic responsibility of Germany and Germans for the crimes of Nazism, pointing out the link between Nazi takeover of Germany and tragedies caused by the War. He took issue with a cherished defense of older Germans: "When the unspeakable truth of the Holocaust became known at the end of the war, all too many of us claimed they had not known anything about it or even suspected anything. We must not regard the end of the war as the cause of flight, expulsion and deprivation of freedom. The cause goes back to the start of the tyranny that brought about war. We must not separate 8 May 1945 from 30 January 1933." He spoke of the danger of forgetting and distorting the past and was one of the first Germans to remember homosexual, Sinti and Roma victims of Nazism. The speech sold 60,000 copies on vinyl; 2 million printed copies were distributed globally, translated into 13 languages, not including copies fully printed in newspapers. In 1988, he rejected comparing murders of Jews in Nazi Germany to mass killings elsewhere or to seek external explanations for it: "Auschwitz remains unique. It was perpetrated by Germans in the name of Germany. This truth is immutable and will not be forgotten." Elected unopposed to a 2nd term in 1989, he was largely responsible for an asylum policy overhaul after 3 Turkish citizens died in 1993, and favored moving the seat of government from Bonn to Berlin. From 2003 to his death, he was a member of the Advisory Commission on the return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property. 6 x 4 color SP

Condition: Very good, slightly trimmed at left and right edges
Type:Photograph






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