Berlin (AP) – Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble has warned against new forms of racism and anti-Semitism in Germany.
“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 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. In 2005, the United Nations established International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. 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 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.
Speaking to the AfD parliamentary group, Knobloch said: “You will continue to fight for your Germany, and we will continue to fight for our Germany.” And, “I’m telling you, you lost your fight 76 years ago.” After their speech, the MPs rose to applaud. From the ranks of the AfD, a few MPs remained, including Albrecht Glaser, who was the first AfD MP to fail with his candidacy for the post of Deputy to 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.”
Schäuble called for renewal of the forms of memory. Collective responsibility for the human crime committed by the National Socialists remains. “It also includes future generations and Germans whose families did not come to Germany until after National Socialism,” he said. “Let’s realize that our country’s self-image is at stake.”
Ukrainian journalist Marina Weisband said: “When I came here, I had positive experiences with this country.” But she also described the numerous security measures in a life as a Jew in Germany.
Remembrance Day was introduced in 1996 by the then Federal President Roman Herzog. This year’s commemoration is dedicated to the anniversary year “321 – 2021: 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany”.
Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters had warned on Holocaust Remembrance Day against putting Nazi crimes into perspective. The political and historical mediation work of memorials and memorial sites about the Nazi crimes is indispensable. “So this year we will do everything we can to help them reach even more people than before with new digital formats,” she said.