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Former German Chancellor visits House of Sharing Updated: 2017-09-12 12:02:41 KST


On Monday, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder made his way to Gwangju, in the southeast of Seoul, to pay respect to some special ladies.
The grandmothers in the House of Sharing are some of the few so-called 'comfort women' still alive today.
They, along with an estimated 200-thousand South Korean women, had been forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers at makeshift brothels during World War II.

(Stand-up)
"The 'comfort women' issue is about recognizing the crimes of the past and trying to make amends for them. Germany has been trying to rectify the crimes of its past, and now the former German Chancellor is here to call on Japan to do the same."

(GERMAN)
"I feel terrible to be here. I feel bad because I am here with you who have experienced history of a horrendous war. I think the world should know about women who have endured such an ordeal and sacrifice. I want to recommend you for Nobel Prize candidates."

Germany may be one of the most advanced countries in the world,.. but it bears the shameful past of the Holocaust.

Granting the grandmothers in the House of Sharing a portrait of Anne Frank, the 73-year-old leader drew an analogy between Anne, who kept a diary while hiding from the Nazis during World War II, and the lives of the victims of sexual slavery.
Schroeder said the two cases are different, but similar in the sense that the two atrocities should have never happened to women of any time.

Visiting a history museum set up for the women, the veteran politician raised questions about the term "comfort women".
He says the term is focused on the assailant, and the grandmothers should be called the sexual slavery victims instead.

(KOREAN)
"I have seen you kneel down in Poland to apologize on behalf of the Germans. I think those Jewish grandmas are very blessed. I am so lucky to have held your hands. I have nothing to offer you, but I thank you with all my heart for your visit."

There are only 35 surviving victims in Korea.
Offering the grandmothers nearly 9-thousand U.S. dollars of donations, the German leader says he wishes for them to keep healthy until they hear an official apology and obtain compensation from Japan.
Cha Sang-mi, Arirang News.
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