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Botschafter von Geyr anlässlich des International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Ambassador von Geyr speaks during a ceremony dedicated to International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow

Ambassador von Geyr speaks during a ceremony dedicated to International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, © Sputnikpicture alliance/dpa/Sputnik/Evgeny Biyatov

27.01.2022 - Rede

Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Moskau

*** Es gilt das gesprochenen Wort ***

Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar,

Wiktor Wekselberg,

Rabbi Alexander Boroda,

Excellencies, colleagues,

Distinguished guests,

Thank you for inviting the Ambassador of Germany to this commemoration, I am deeply grateful and honored by your trust.

January 27 is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – a date deeply enshrined not only in the political calendar of Germany but also in the identity of my country.

Today, in Berlin the German Parliament in presence of the Federal President, the Chancellor, the President of the Chamber of the Länder, the President of the Constitutional Court and many other representatives of state and civic institutions together are commemorating the holocaust – the darkest chapter in German history, the darkest chapter a country’s history can possibly have.

We know our historic responsibility for this most inhumane crime Nazi Germany committed.

And we will be forever grateful that after this horror reconciliation was possible and that Germany could become a respected member of the international community again.

Speaking here in Moscow, where last year we remembered the 80th anniversary of the Nazi-German attack on the Soviet Union, I would like to add, that we know, that it was not the Germans who liberated themselves and others from the evil of Nazism and anti-Semitism. The Holocaust was ended by military means, led by an Alliance of the United States, Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and many others.

Hundreds of Soviet soldiers died in the fighting around Auschwitz concentration camp. We owe them our remembrance, our respect and deep gratitude.

Just a few days ago, on 20 January, we remembered the so-called „Wannsee Conference“, which took place 80 years ago in a villa in a suburb of Berlin. This conference brought together high-ranking members of several German ministries as well as representatives of the SS and the Nazi-party.

They came together to systematically organize the Holocaust. In an incredibly business-like tone, they planned the murder of millions of Jews in Europe. With a bureaucratic voice, they implemented the deadly anti-Semitic Nazi ideology.

In the words of Federal President Steinmeier: „The records of the Wannsee Conference, which depict this barbaric project as a bureaucratic administrative act, still render one utterly speechless.“

The German Foreign Office was also involved in this conference at that time. This will forever remain the darkest stain on the history of German diplomacy.

The anniversary of the Wannsee Conference reminds us of the responsibility of government officials. They are just as guilty as the perpetrators on the front line or in the camps.

The lesson must be to speak out when human rights are seriously endangered, when peace is threatened.

This includes racism and antisemitism. Today we must recognise that racism is by no means a thing of the past. It is present in many parts of the world – and it is dangerous.

We have to face the painful fact that anti-Semitism is on the rise in quite a few countries. It is shameful, but also in Germany the number of anti-Semitic incidents has increased in recent years. My government is taking all measures to fight all forms of anti-Semitism and racism.

Given our past, we know that it is essential and precious that many in the world consider the way of life in Germany today as being tolerant and respectful to the dignity of each human being.

We want Jews to feel safe and at home in Germany.

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