Former President dies at 94

Weizsaecker, who was in office from 1984 to 1994, died in Berlin on Saturday, January 31.

Former German President, Richard von Weizsaecker has died at the age of 94.

The former President was best known for his May 1985 speech, which marked the 40th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II and won him widespread praise as an effort to bring fellow Germans to terms with the Holocaust.

"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,” Weizsaecker, who was a regular soldier in Adolf Hitler's army, said in his speech before the West German parliament.

“The 8th of May was a day of liberation. It freed us all from the system of National Socialist tyranny,” he had added.


Announcing Weizsaecker's death, current President Joachim Gauck said:

“Richard von Weizsaecker stood worldwide for a Germany that had found its way to centre of the democratic family of peoples. He stood for a federal republic that faces up to its past.”

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said:

“Weizsaecker's comment on the "day of liberation" was a necessary, clear statement that was significant for our German self-image.”

“The death of Richard von Weizsaecker is a great loss for Germany," she added.


Weizsaecker is survived by his wife, Marianne, and three of their four children.


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