Anti-Semitism Commissioner: Keeping memories of Nazi crimes alive

Status: 01/27/2022 10:09 a.m

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Klein, Commissioner for Antisemitism, called for new approaches to uphold the memory of Nazi crimes. It shouldn’t get bogged down in formulas and rituals. The Bundestag also commemorates the victims of National Socialism.

Today, January 27th, the liberation of the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz in 1945 and the victims of the National Socialists are remembered, including millions of Jews, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals and political opponents of the Nazi regime.

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 in Berlin. Empathy is crucial in “times of brutalization and Shoa relativization”.

The Federal Government’s Anti-Semitism Commissioner Klein: Appeals and words of warning on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Image: dpa

Klein speaks of a “growing state of brutalization”

Klein sharply condemned anti-Semitism in corona protests. The Federal Commissioner called it “extreme and infamous” that some participants in Corona demonstrations attached yellow Jewish stars and thus put the Nazi crimes into perspective. “It’s the desire to provoke and the desire to draw attention to it,” said Klein. But you can’t ignore that. “It shows a growing state of brutalization in our society.”

Anti-Semitism “a kind of sticky putty”

Extremists took advantage of some people’s dissatisfaction with the Corona policy. Anti-Semitism is “a kind of sticky cement” for the various protest groups, from supposedly inexperienced citizens to esotericists, conspiracy supporters, “preppers”, Reich citizens to right-wing extremists. Klein welcomed the fact that law enforcement agencies investigate hate speech much more consistently if Nazi crimes were played down. To grasp these monstrous crimes mentally today is almost impossible. “But it is important to accept this story as a kind of inheritance or legacy, which cannot be denied,” said Klein.

Jews wanted nothing more than to live in normality and security, Klein said. But normality is far away when police protection is part of everyday life in front of Jewish institutions.

Commemoration event in the Bundestag

With a ceremonial hour of remembrance in the morning, the Bundestag commemorates the victims of National Socialism. On the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher and Israeli Parliament Speaker Mickey Levy will take the floor. The participants in the commemoration event traditionally also include Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Federal Council President Bodo Ramelow (Left).

Levy with an urgent appeal

Before his appearance in the Bundestag, Levy made an appeal to society: The day of remembrance makes people aware of the fragility of a democratic way of life, he writes in a guest article for “Welt”. And: “Don’t let anyone tell you that your democratic beliefs are insufficient for difficult times, and don’t let difficult times undermine your commitment to defending our liberal democracies.” The Knesset Speaker emphasized that the Holocaust linked the fates of Germany and Israel. Both states today enjoy a “unique alliance that is seldom found in the amoral realism of international relations.”

Several nationwide campaigns

On the occasion of the Holocaust Remembrance Day, the nationwide campaign #LichterGegenDarkheit takes place, in which memorial and educational sites are illuminated. The action wants to set an example against racism and anti-Semitism.

On the occasion of the Holocaust Memorial Day, the Central Council of Jews called for the speedy adoption of a democracy promotion law. This is necessary to promote civil society engagement against anti-Semitism, the Central Council said in Berlin. In addition, anti-Semitism officers would have to be appointed to the public prosecutor’s office in all federal states.

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