Status: 01/27/2022 12:10 p.m
Admonishing words and urgent appeals from Bundestag President Bas and a moving description of the Holocaust survivors in Auerbach: On Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Bundestag commemorated the victims of National Socialism.
On the occasion of the commemoration day for the victims of National Socialism, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD) called on people to face today’s anti-Semitism. “Anti-Semitism is there,” she said at the parliamentary commemoration hour on Holocaust Remembrance Day. He is a problem for the whole of society and “among us”.
“Anti-Semitism is unacceptable. Period.”: Bundestag President Bärbel Bas on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Bas: “Anti-Semitism is unacceptable”
At the same time, the President of the Parliament emphasized: “Anti-Semitism is unacceptable. Period.” Hostility towards Jews is found “not only on the very edge, not only among the eternally unteachable and a few anti-Semitic trolls on the internet,” she continued.
Bas asked to question oneself how free one really is from anti-Jewish clichés. She stressed the importance of remembering history and calling for keeping it alive. She also pleaded for “courage to show intolerance” towards those who incite hatred and relativize the crimes of the Nazis.
In 1996, then-Federal President Roman Herzog proclaimed the day the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army as a day of remembrance. Since then, Parliament has held its own event around this day to commemorate the victims of persecution and murder by the National Socialists.
Holocaust survivors campaign for reconciliation
The Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher also appealed to the people of Germany in the Bundestag to oppose anti-Semitism. “Unfortunately, this cancer has woken up again, and hatred of Jews is commonplace again in many countries around the world, including Germany,” she said. “This disease must be cured as quickly as possible.”
Auerbacher told the deputies how she miraculously survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp with her parents and emigrated to New York after the end of the war. There she suffered for years from illnesses as a result of Nazi persecution. “I still remember the horrible time of horror and terror,” said Auerbacher.
She concluded her speech with the words: “Human hatred is something terrible. We were all born as brothers and sisters. My deepest wish is the reconciliation of all people.” The past must never be forgotten.
Strong words and pleas for reconciliation: Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher.
Levy urges people to work for democracy
In addition to Auerbacher, the President of the Israeli Parliament, Mickey Levy, also spoke: He recalled Nazi crimes and warned of today’s dangers to democracy. In the Reichstag building one could get an idea of how people could use democracy to overcome it. “This is the place where humanity has stretched the boundaries of evil, a place where a loss of values has turned a democratic framework into a racist and discriminatory tyranny,” Levy said. “And now here, within the walls of this house – silent witnesses of steel and stone – we are once again experiencing the fragility of democracy, and we are once again reminded of our duty to protect it.”
Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is a difficult task that every generation must take on anew, Levy said.
The participants in the commemoration event traditionally also include Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Federal Council President Bodo Ramelow and the President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Stephan Harbarth.
They had previously laid wreaths in the Field of Stelae of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. Steinmeier already visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial in Brandenburg on Wednesday.
Wreath-laying ceremony at the Holocaust memorial: Federal Constitutional Court President Stephan Harbarth, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (from left to right)
Scholz: Don’t let the memory fade
According to his government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, Scholz called for the memory of the crimes of the National Socialists not to fade. “We owe that to the murdered.” Other members of the federal government and other top politicians also commemorated the victims of National Socialism.
Admonitions of the Anti-Semitism Commissioner
Anti-Semitism Commissioner Felix Klein calls for new approaches to keep the memory of Nazi crimes alive. “It must not be frozen in formulas and rituals, and it should not only appeal to the head, but also to the heart and emotions,” Klein told the dpa news agency. Empathy is crucial in “times of brutalization and relativization of the Shoah.”
Central Council calls for action
On the occasion of the Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Central Council of Jews had to quickly pass a democracy promotion law. This is necessary to promote civil society engagement against anti-Semitism, the Central Council explained. In addition, anti-Semitism officers would have to be appointed to the public prosecutor’s office in all federal states.
Several nationwide campaigns
Several events are taking place on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day – including the nationwide campaign #LichterGegenDarkheit, which illuminates memorial and educational sites. The action wants to set an example against racism and anti-Semitism.