German parliament marks Nazis' 1933 destruction of democracy

Germany's parliament on Thursday remembered the Nazis' swift destruction of democracy after Adolf Hitler took power 75 years ago, and paid tribute to those lawmakers who held out against the Nazis' drive to extinguish political opposition. Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Horst Koehler attended a solemn hour-long session in Berlin's restored Reichstag building, whose torching in early 1933 was one of the events that allowed Hitler to consolidate his grip on power. "We bow today before all the victims of the National Socialist dictatorship," Parliament President Norbert Lammert said in a speech to lawmakers. Hitler convinced ailing President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint him chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933. By the time the Nazis staged book burnings on May 10, "the new regime had in a few weeks, after a legal change of government, worked its way through almost everything that would set the tone for the next 12 years: breaking the law, breaking the constitution, breaking with civilization," Lammert said.