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Gerhard Schroeder, the Social Democrat on course to be Germany's next chancellor, said Friday he favored delaying a decision on whether to build a national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

Schroeder said the German public needed more time to debate the project.

The Berlin city government is expected to reach a decision Tuesday on whether to build the giant memorial or postpone a decision until after the election.

Chancellor Helmut Kohl has been an ardent backer of the memorial project and wants a decision before the election.

But Schroeder, whose Social Democrats lead Kohl's conservatives, said he was skeptical about the whole idea of building such a memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

"I have certain doubts about whether the inconceivable horror perpetrated by Germans in that period can be portrayed in this sort of abstract fashion," he said.

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