(GermanPolicy.com) – According to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, any form of anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination must be clearly opposed. Steinmeier said this during a visit to the Sachsenhausen memorial, one day before yesterday’s Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday. Millions of people were abducted, tortured and murdered during the Nazi era. Victims have a right to be remembered, Steinmeier added. He laid a wreath at the memorial.
On the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp this Thursday, survivor of the Shoa, Inge Auerbacher, and the President of the Israeli Parliament, Levy, had their say. In 1942, at the age of seven, the now 87-year-old Auerbacher was deported. After the Theresienstadt camp, in which alone a million people were murdered, had been liberated by Red Army soldiers, Auerbacher emigrated to the USA. Auerbacher spoke out against misanthropy, which is back on the agenda in many countries, and pleaded for reconciliation.
An “incomprehensible dimension”
Axel Drecoll, Director of the Brandenburg Memorials Foundation, wrote in the Jüdische Allgemeine with a view to contemporary witnesses of the Shoa: “It is the authority of the personality, the charisma of what one has personally experienced, and the power of the individual narrative, that the deeply inhuman, almost incomprehensible dimension of the Nazis, to contextualize crimes biographically, in turn making them more comprehensible.”
Even before his speech to the Bundestag, Levy campaigned in a newspaper article for greater commitment to democracy. Responsibility for Israel’s security is a cornerstone of foreign policy in Germany, he wrote.
The Central Council of Jews, on the occasion of the Remembrance Day, campaigned specifically for a law to promote democracy in order to promote commitment of civil society. There is also a need for anti-Semitism officers in the public prosecutor’s office, the President of the Central Council, Josef Schuster, suggested. Words must be followed by deeds, he said. Anti-Semitism must not meet any tolerance in any form.
Bas calls for vigilance against lies
Bundestag President Bas called for vigilance, including against lies. On his part, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz referred to the need to commemorate the crimes of the Nazi era and emphasized that this memory was owed to those murdered. Federal Interior Minister Faeser wrote in the short message service Twitter that it was ever more important to counteract anti-Semitism and protect Jews. Federal Minister of Agriculture, Özdemir, wrote a post against resentment and racism. Also in an online post, CSU boss Markus Söder formulated that hate has no place in Germany.
Klein: calls for a line of closure are nonsense
It is necessary to deal with the history of National Socialism, said the Federal Government’s anti-Semitism Commissioner, Klein. This should not only be expressed in formulas and rituals, but also via new approaches. Klein expressed the desire for normality, especially in times of brutalization. He described the calls of individuals for a line of closure as nonsense, because the incomprehensible crimes of the National Socialist era are part of German history: a legacy that cannot be denied. Incitement to hatred must be vigorously pursued.
The German Institute for Human Rights spoke out against the denial and trivialization of the Holocaust. Representatives of the Catholic Church and representatives of the Evangelical denomination also warned on the occasion of the day of remembrance. For example, the evangelical Central German regional bishop Friedrich Kramer asked “which deep anti-Jewish structures are at work in our theology and piety.” The International Auschwitz Committee, then, expressed their appalment in the face of trivialization of the crimes against humanity.
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