German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged on Wednesday to keep alive the memory of Nazi crimes committed during World War II.
In an online speech to an audience in The Hague on the occasion of Dutch Liberation Day, Merkel called this remembrance “Germany’s eternal responsibility.”
Citing the great suffering of the Dutch under Nazi occupation from 1940 to 1945, she said, “The (Nazi) crimes do not expire over time,” adding that one “cannot put an end” to their legacy.
Over 200,000 Dutch people lost their lives during the war, and more than 100,000 Jews were murdered in German concentration camps in The Netherlands.
For decades, the suffering under World War II occupation put a strain on German-Dutch ties.
The occupation of the Netherlands ended 76 years ago, on May 5, 1945.
Merkel is only the second top representative of Germany ever to deliver the traditional Dutch freedom speech.
The chancellor was supposed to give the speech on the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in 2020, but had to postpone it due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under continuing coronavirus measures, Merkel was only able to make her speech via live video link.