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Merkel visits Auschwitz memorial for the first time after 14 years as Germany's Chancellor

Merkel visits Auschwitz memorial for the first time after 14 years as Germany's Chancellor
REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
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Angela Merkel visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial for the first time on Friday after 14 years as German Chancellor.

Merkel, accompanied by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki during the visit, brought a €60 million donation to help conserve the place where the Nazis ran their largest death camp.

The Chancellor said the donation, half of which comes from Germany's federal government and half from regional governments, would ensure the memorial is preserved.

"I am very happy that we could agree that the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial will get additional money," she said after meeting German state premiers.

She is the third German chancellor to visit Auschwitz. The trip takes place ahead of the 75th anniversary of camp's liberation by the Soviets on January 27, 1945, and the 10th anniversary since the opening of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.

Merkel has admitted Germany's responsibility for its atrocities in World War Two.

"Auschwitz is a museum but is also the biggest cemetery in the world ... (memory) is the key to building the present and future," museum director Piotr Cywinski told Reuters ahead of Merkel's visit at the invitation of the Auschwitz Foundation.

More than 3 million of Poland's 3.2 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, accounting for about half of the Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Watch Merkel's speech in the video player below:

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