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April 27, 2014 AT 6:09 AM
German politicians on Sunday condemned comments by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi that Germans denied the existence of Nazi concentration camps as "unacceptable" and "absurd". Social Democrat General Secretary Yasmin Fahimi described the comments as "repugnant, shocking and completely unacceptable", and told Reuters, "These lapses ... not only damage the image of Italy but also endanger the political culture and values of Europe." She demanded that conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel respond. Merkel's Christian Democrats are allies of Berlusconi's Forza Italia in the European parliament's European Peoples Party conservative grouping. CDU General-Secretary Peter Tauber said the comments were "so absurd that they don't deserve commenting on". Berlusconi said on Saturday: "According to the Germans, there never were concentration camps."