Berlin / New York (dpa) – Chancellor Angela Merkel sees the memory of the victims of the Holocaust as an “eternal responsibility of Germany” – for present and future generations.
“I am deeply ashamed of the violation of the Shoah civilization that Germany committed during National Socialism,” the CDU politician said in a video message at an event organized by the International Alliance to commemorate the Holocaust, the United Nations ( UN) and UN culture. – and Unesco educational organization on Holocaust Remembrance Day. “We must resolutely oppose both open and covert anti-Semitism, denial and perspective of the Holocaust,” Merkel demanded. The Chancellor especially thanked the survivors who would gather the strength to tell their life stories.
The United Nations has been commemorating the victims of the Holocaust on January 27 for 16 years. On this day in 1945, the Red Army reached the German concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau and released more than 7,000 surviving prisoners. The National Socialists and their helpers murdered six million Jews during the Second World War. Since 1951, Israel has commemorated the victims on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble warned against new forms of racism and anti-Semitism. “On memorial days, responsibility is always reminded, but do we live it up? In our country too, anti-Semitism and xenophobia are again showing themselves open, uninhibited and ready for violence ”, warned the CDU politician on Wednesday in the Bundestag at a memorial service for the victims of National Socialism. Representatives of the Jewish community and representatives of the constitutional bodies also participated.
The president of the Israelite Kultusgemeinde Munich and Upper Bavaria, Charlotte Knobloch, reported in moving words about her family’s suffering during the Nazi era. She related how tears welled up in her eyes when the janitor’s wife said to her, “Jewish children are not allowed to play here.” How the road to school turned into a gauntlet of hostility. Anyone who compares today’s Corona measures to what the Jews once had to endure in Germany, “is downplaying the anti-Semitic state terror and the Shoah,” she said.
“We can be proud of our Federal Republic, (…) but we must defend it defensively,” demanded Knobloch. Anti-Semitic ideas and conspiracy myths were again more popular – from school to the corona demonstration. In the meantime, several Jews in her circle of acquaintances toyed with the idea of emigration.
The victims of the Holocaust were also commemorated internationally in many places. Polish President Andrzej Duda called it his country’s duty to preserve the memory of the victims. “It is our duty to receive all material evidence, memorabilia and tokens of their existence, their lives and their martyrdom so that humanity never forgets them,” Duda said in a speech to celebrate the Auschwitz memorial, which is online for the corona pandemic. took place. “The truth about the Holocaust and the memory of it will last forever,” said Duda.
The focus of the memorial’s celebration this year was the children imprisoned and murdered in Auschwitz. It is estimated that at least 232,000 children and young people were deported to Auschwitz, most of them of Jewish faith. More than 200,000 people did not survive the camp. In January 1945, more than 700 children were liberated there.
US President Joe Biden pledged to always stand up to prevent further genocides in the face of the horrors of the Holocaust. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called for a global fight against anti-Semitism. European Parliament President David Sassoli called for a courageous commitment to a democratic Europe during a digital commemoration ceremony.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and EU Council President Charles Michel also paid tribute to the survivors with a video message. These stand for “humanity’s victory over hatred”, their inner strength is “an inspiration to all of us”. At the same time, they declared, “We renew our promise that their legacy will endure and that their testimony will be a bulwark against all who deny the past forever.”
In his speech in the Bundestag, Schäuble complained that Jewish institutions should be protected by the police. “Jews hide their kippah, withhold their identity. The Jewish community in Halle only escaped an assassination attempt by accident, ”he said. After decades of immigration, German Jews considered emigration.
“And we are ashamed of that. It is devastating to recognize that our culture of remembrance offers no protection against a brutal reinterpretation or even denial of history, ”Schäuble warned. “Nor does it protect against new forms of racism and anti-Semitism, such as those spreading in schoolyards, on internet forums or in conspiracy theories.”