Willkommen auf den Seiten des Auswärtigen Amts
Rabbi Zelig Ashkenazi
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank the Russian Jewish Congress and the Yeltsin Centre for inviting me to this opening of the exhibition „Spasateli“ (Saviours), dedicated to the 209 Russian citizens honoured as „Righteous among the Nations“.
The Righteous were bold men and women many of whom risked their lives helping to save Jewish fellow citizens. They were people of the most diverse backgrounds - each of their stories is different, but all are striking in the compassion and courage they showed in the face of Evil and in the face of the breach of civilization.
I am here today to underline how important remembrance is, how important for us Germans remembrance of the Holocaust and of Germany’s responsibility are.
At the commemorative ceremony in Auschwitz three days ago, German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said:
„Auschwitz – a place of horror and a place of German guilt. We know what Germans have done to others, but we struggle for words when trying to describe the scale of the horror.“
No country and no society can escape its history.
We Germans know that we have to face our history in all its truth.
Without remembering honestly there is reconciliation Is not possible.
I wish to underline this:
We Germans are and remain most grateful that after 1945, after the war and after Auschwitz Reconciliation became possible.
As part of the commemorative events in Germany this week, the German Parliament held a special session yesterday which included a most remarkable speech by the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin.
He also discussed with Berlin High School students how to let future generations know what happened in the Holocaust to make sure hatred and anti-Semitism do not rise again.
Remembrance is essential when we build our future.
And yes, today anti-Semitism and xenophobia do exist, in my country, too.
We have to re-intensify teaching, learning and speaking out clearly „never again“.
We, after 1945, after The war and after Auschwitz, put this in Article 1 of our constitution.
It reads: „Human dignity is inviolable.“
This is the lesson of our history and it is the guideline for our future.
We must be engaged.
I pay the greatest respect to the 209 Righteous Among the Nations here, and the more than 27,000 worldwide!
My thanks for arranging such an extraordinary exhibition here in Jekaterinburg.
This exhibition is important for our remembering, it is important for our future!
Thank you for your Attention.