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Statement on the Death of Ignaz Bubis

August 17, 1999

Hillary and I were saddened to learn of the death of Ignaz Bubis, the President of Germany's Central Council of Jews. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, the Jewish community in Germany, and the many non-Jews in Germany for whom he was a beacon.

Imprisoned in Nazi labor camps while still a boy, Ignaz Bubis lost virtually his entire family in the Holocaust. After the war, he settled in Frankfurt and became a successful businessman and a key figure in the small community that sought to reestablish Jewish life in Germany. He was elected early in this decade to lead Germany's Jewish community, and he used his position to engage his fellow citizens on issues regarding their nation's past and the need for vigilance to uphold the values at the heart of contemporary Germany. Because of the clarity of his vision and the persuasiveness of his message, he became one of his nation's foremost champions of tolerance and openness. He was a friend and valued counselor to many of Germany's leaders. I was greatly impressed by his wisdom and determination to build a more tolerant world.

Ignaz Bubis never ceased to bear witness to history and the consuming evil that was perpetrated earlier in this century. But he also demonstrated that the demands of conscience and the goal of reconciliation are not at odds but instead must be pursued together. At a time when conflicts in the Balkans have confronted Europe and the world with seemingly intractable hatred, the example of Ignaz Bubis is one we must all heed.

William J. Clinton, Statement on the Death of Ignaz Bubis Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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