As one of the survivors of the Nazi barbarism--90% of my blood relatives, including my kid sister, Ruth, and her husband, were killed--I am shocked that the President of the United States has decided to visit the Bitburg military cemetery, where next to regular German soldiers lie units of the notorious Waffen SS.
If friendship and reconciliation was the motivation for the President's decision, a more meaningful gesture would have been to put a wreath on the graves of the late German President Theodor Heuss and the late Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. These two men--themselves victims of Nazi persecution--with great courage and determination led the German Federal Republic out of the morass of Hitlerism back into the community of civilized nations.
Reconciliation between all members of the human race is a noble goal, but it must be undertaken with utmost tact and great sensitivity for the formerly warring factions of humankind. It can not possibly be accomplished by posthumously honoring the brown-shirt thugs and murderers of Hitler's and Himmler's private army who formed the dreaded Einsatzgruppen (annihilation squads)--wrongfully buried next to the regular soldiers of the Germany army.
To inadvertently hold up these non-humans as role models for the young German generation is a slap in the face of all victims of Nazism and the brave men and women who risked their lives to defeat the most inhuman tyranny the world has ever known.