Status: 01/26/2022 12:58 p.m
Before the Holocaust Memorial Day, the Central Council of Jews is pushing for unabated legal prosecution of Nazi crimes. At the same time, he complains about a “frightening level of anti-Semitism” and calls for concrete action to be taken against it.
On Thursday, the liberation of surviving prisoners in Auschwitz and the Nazi victims will be remembered internationally. One day before Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Central Council of Jews called for the legal investigation of Nazi crimes to continue. Even after a long time, such court hearings are not only important for the victims and their descendants, said Central Council President Josef Schuster of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”.
“Processes like this show our society what people are capable of. They show where hate speech against minorities can lead.”
Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews, Schuster, warns that the legal investigation of the Nazi crimes should be pushed further.
“Frightening levels of anti-Semitism”
In a published statement, the Central Council also called for resolute action to be taken against Jew hatred. 77 years after the end of the Shoah, “an alarming level of anti-Semitism” can be observed in Germany, the association said.
“Much more effort and a self-critical examination of one’s own attitude” are needed in the judiciary, in universities and schools, in culture as well as in the police and armed forces.
In its Berlin statement, the Central Council called for the Democracy Promotion Act to be introduced quickly in order to strengthen commitment against anti-Semitism. In addition, officers against Jew hatred should be appointed to the public prosecutor’s offices in all federal states. Federal states and universities would have to implement an amended judges’ law that provides for compulsory courses on Nazi injustice in legal training. Teacher training must also be reformed accordingly. A stronger fight against Israel-related anti-Semitism is also necessary.
Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) announced that she would further develop the federal memorial site concept and strengthen educational work. And: “An important task will be to keep the memory of the crimes in Europe alive, to make them more visible throughout Europe and to anchor them in the collective memory.”
Steinmeier’s visit to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial
On the day before the commemoration, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial in Brandenburg and laid a wreath for the victims of National Socialism. He was accompanied, among others, by Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke.
Between 1936 and 1945, more than 200,000 people were imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, including political opponents of the Nazi regime, Jews, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, prisoners of war and other Nazi victims. Tens of thousands of them were murdered in the concentration camp or died in other ways. From August 1945 to 1950, the site was used by the Soviet Military Administration (SMAD) as a so-called “special camp”.
On January 27, 1945, the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army. In 1996, January 27 was declared a national day of remembrance in Germany. January 27 has also been International Holocaust Remembrance Day since 2005.
Pope: Must never forget
Pope Francis also made a statement in the run-up to the Holocaust Remembrance Day and warned: This murder must never be forgotten and this “incredible cruelty” must never be repeated. At the general audience in the Vatican, the 85-year-old called on everyone, especially teachers and families, to tell future generations about these horrors. “So that a future can be built in which human dignity is no longer trampled underfoot,” said Francis.
“Stand up against hatred and fanaticism”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned in a service at the Park East Synagogue in New York on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day that people around the world “must stand up against hate and bigotry everywhere”.
He was shocked to learn recently that just under half of the world’s adults had heard of the Shoah. The lack of knowledge among the younger generation “is even worse,” Guterres said at the event. “Our response to ignorance must be education. Governments everywhere have a responsibility to teach about the horrors of the Holocaust.”
Hour of remembrance in the Bundestag and EU Parliament
On the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day, a memorial service for the victims of National Socialism is traditionally held in the Bundestag in Berlin on Thursday. This year, Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher will hold the central speech. According to the Bundestag administration, Israel’s parliament speaker Mickey Levy will also speak at the event. A survivor also spoke in front of the EU Parliament on Thursday: Margot Friedländer, who recently turned 100 years old.
On that day, more than 100 memorial sites in Germany want to draw attention to their work with a special campaign. Under the motto #LightsAgainstDarkness, numerous local sites of remembrance will be illuminated after dark.