Iranian delegation rejects German invitation to visit Nazi camp

An Iranian delegation upset its German hosts by refusing to tour a concentration-camp memorial, the city council of Weimar in eastern Germany said Thursday.

The Buchenwald concentration camp, where Nazis killed tens of thousands of political prisoners and people from minorities through disease, exhausting work and executions, is located near the city.

Visitors usually pay their respects to the dead at the memorial and visit the museum. But the group from Shiraz, Iran - a twin city to Germany's Weimar - refused to make the scheduled trip on Wednesday, civic officials said.

Mayor Stefan Wolf condemned the decision, saying it was inconceivable that a friend would try to ignore the pain caused by the Nazi camp. Local newspapers said the city council refused to meet the Shiraz delegation because of the canceled visit.

Berlin has regularly protested against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust and his calls to wipe the state of Israel off the map. Denying that the Nazis committed genocide against the Jews is a criminal offence in Germany.

Germany established the Shiraz-Weimar connection to keep people- to-people links alive while the governments were at odds.



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