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Macron emphasizes reconciliation with Germany at the site of the SS massacre


French President Emmanuel Macron has emphasized French-German reconciliation as the foundation of a common Europe at the site of the worst Nazi massacre by SS troops in France during World War II.

“In this reconciliation lies the friendship between Germany and France and our Europe,” Macron said on Monday at a commemoration in Oradour-sur-Glane in western France, which was also attended by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

On June 10, 1944, members of an SS division killed 643 residents and burned the town in western France.

“The massacres of Oradour belong to the realm of the unthinkable, the unspeakable, the unjustified,” Macron said in the village, whose ruins have been preserved as a memorial to this day. “We will always remember Oradour, because history never begins again.”

“And in this memory, in the ashes of Oradour, we must revive the power of this reconciliation, the root of our European project and our still existing will for freedom, equality and fraternity.”

In his memorial speech on Monday, Steinmeier also mentioned the importance of European cooperation: “Our mission is the European Union.”

The president called for the defense of an open-minded and peaceful Europe, following the electoral success of the far right in the EU elections. “Let us never forget what nationalism and hatred have done to Europe,” Steinmeier said.

“Let us never forget the miracle of reconciliation that the European Union has achieved. Let us protect our united Europe! And let us never forget the value of freedom.”

Far-right parties won the European elections in France and Italy. In Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the second strongest party behind the conservative CDU/CSU bloc.

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