German parliament commemorates the Holocaust

"We remember an unthinkable crime against humanity and a systematic mass murder."

Germany's parliament on Friday acknowledged the country's special responsibility in the battle against anti-Semitism and racism. "We remember an unthinkable crime against humanity and a systematic mass murder," lower house president Norbert Lammert said during a commemorative parliamentary session. "After the bitter experiences of the last century, we do not tolerate any kind of extremism, racism and anti-Semitism - nowhere in the world and especially not in Germany." "We Germans want to do justice to our special responsibility," he said. Six million Jews were killed in the Nazi Holocaust of World War II. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Horst Koehler attended the session, held in advance of Sunday's international day of remembrance of the Holocaust. Later Friday, Merkel said it was a "miracle" that Jewish life had returned to Germany 63 years after the Nazi genocide. Still, during a speech at a conference in Berlin, she voiced concern that anti-Semitism and anti-foreigner sentiment survive today, and that even educated people were susceptible to "crude thoughts and disguised anti-Semitism." The United Nations has established Jan. 27 as an annual Holocaust remembrance day, marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. This year's anniversary - the 63rd - falls on Sunday and will be marked with ceremonies around the world.