Richard von Weizsäcker, former President of Germany, dies
Sunday, February 1, 2015
German reunification in 1990, was announced to have died yesterday. He was 94., the President who oversaw
von Weizsäcker served as a Nazi soldier during World War II, earning promotions and an . He would later describe Germany's defeat as a liberation and encouraged his countrymen to acknowledge their collective past, including the . Following a business and law career he turned to politics. He joined the and served as mayor of before his 1984 election as President.
The year after, he made a famed speech before's parliament marking the 40th anniversary of German defeat in the war. "All of us, whether guilty or not, whether young or old, must accept the past. We are all affected by its consequences and liable for it. Anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present." He also said Allied forces "freed us all from the system of National Socialist tyranny."
|Guilt, like innocence, is always a matter for the individual|
—Richard von Weizsäcker
Born in UK parliament.in 1920, von Weizsäcker oversaw reunification of West and in 1990, eleven months after the fell. In 1989 he was reelected unopposed. In 1986 he became the first German to address the
Present Presidentsaid von Weizsäcker "stood worldwide for a Germany that had found its way to centre of the democratic family of peoples."
With his fathera defendant at the , Richard von Weizsäcker appeared before the court as a lawyer for his father's defence. Ernst von Weizsäcker was a member of the , better known simply as the SS, and also worked for the foreign ministry.
"Guilt," according to Richard von Weizsäcker, "like innocence, is always a matter for the individual." He claimed as a military officer he refused to obey "inhumane" orders from more senior Nazis.
- "German ex-President Richard von Weizsaecker dies at 94" — , January 31, 2015
- "German ex-president Weizsaecker dies at 94" — , January 31, 2015