JÖRG O. ZELT,.
(photo credit: The Molinari Foundation)
BERLIN – A delegation of 31 IDF veterans returned to Israel Monday after an eight-day visit to Germany.
The retired IDF personnel took part in the event “Israel and Germany - Burdened History, Common Presence and Joint Future.”
Jörg O. Zelt, who is deputy director of the Educational Institution of the German Armed Forces Association, which organized the visit, told The Jerusalem Post
on Tuesday “there is a very good working relationship and foundation” between the two armies.
cooperation between the Bundeswehr [German armed forces] and the IDF is
good and better than the public knows,” Zelt, an expert in
German-Israeli military relations, said. A German military delegation is
slated to visit Israel next year. “We will see you next year in
Jerusalem,” he said.
According to Zelt, a female lieutenant-colonel from Israel told him it
was important for her to see that contemporary Germany is “a different
Germany.” She had hesitated to visit because of Germany’s Nazi past and
its destruction of European Jewry.
The Molinari Foundation, which provides ongoing educational services for
Bundeswehr soldiers and veterans, said in a statement that “we both,
the Germans and the [Israeli] Jews today have learned from our common
burdened history. The common history of our ancestors as perpetrators
and victims is the background on which our two nations cooperate and
support each other and has let us become friends.”
The visit included trips to memorials, military associations, museums and government institutions.
The delegation visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in
the center of Berlin’s government district and the Bundestag, the
federal parliament. The veterans also traveled to Sachsenhausen
Concentration Camp memorial, which lies just outside of Berlin.