Willkommen auf den Seiten des Auswärtigen Amts
(Es gilt das gesprochene Wort)
Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar,
Rabbi Alexander Boroda,
a few years ago I had the privilege to take part in a visit to the former concentration camp Buchenwald.
Since my schooldays in Munich, I had repeatedly visited the former concentration camp in Dachau – but this time in Buchenwald it was an especially emotional moment.
I´ll never forget, how Elie Wiesel, referring to a photo taken at the liberation of the camp at the entrance door to one of the houses, told us: This boy on the photo, it´s me.
And then he told us at this very site what had happened to him and to his family.
It was almost unbearable to listen to him- and at the same time it was of utmost importance, for me and for all the others.
Today we remember and honour the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
We also remember the soldiers from the former Soviet Union, the United States, France, Great Britain and many other countries that gave their lives to free the world of the Nazi dictatorship.
Millions of people, many of them from all over the former Soviet Union fell victim to this most terrible of all wars and to the Holocaust – both unleashed by Nazi Germany.
Today, in fact in about one hour, in Berlin, in the German Parliament, as every year, a special commemoration ceremony will take place.
The President, the Chancellor, the Presidents of the Federal Parliament and of the Bundesrat, the President of the constitutional court, together with many others, will be remembering the Holocaust, will be honouring the victims and will be listening.
This year two invitees will speak:
Charlotte Knobloch, former vice president of the World Jewish Congress, 88 years of age, who as a child survived – many of her family did not.
And a young German politician, Marina Weisband, will speak, representing the third generation after the Holocaust.
Today, remembering these horrors, this betrayal of all civilized values is part of the core believes of my nation – and it is our sacred responsibility to hand this core belief down to the young generation and, thus, also to the generations to come.
The President of the German Parliament, Wolfgang Schäuble, just recently underlined that this „abyss into which Germans have lead themselves and humankind will always be part of our history and coping with it will always be part of our national identity“.
My country is and remains ready to face the truth about this darkest period of our history.
We do know about our responsibility – our historic responsibility as well as our responsibility for the future: it must never happen again.
To remember and to listen to what had happened: this is an important part of the „never again“ –
and this is an important part of our future.
„Never again“ asks for more than to listen and to remember.
Over the last years, we witnessed an increase in the denying or distorting of the Holocaust, including in my country.
As Foreign Minister Maas stated unambiguously: „Nobody can be allowed to deny or play down this worst crime in human history“.
Currently Germany for the first time chairs the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
During our chairmanship we make it our priority to counter dangerous lies about the Holocaust around the world.
And there is another aspect of „never again“, which is of special importance this year:
We commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials.
All four allied victors embarked on bringing the main perpetrators of the Nazi-crimes to justice.
The Trials in Nuremberg marked the emergence of international criminal justice.
President Steinmeier said at a ceremony in the historic Nuremberg Court room a few month ago:
„crimes against international law are a betrayal of all civilized values. If they remain unpunished, not only the law but humanity as a whole suffers. Our aim must be to restore broken law in the name of humanity. The law must win the day in the struggle with power. It cannot always overcome power but it can place limits on it.“
Today, facing our past, we understand it as part of our responsibility not to remain silent when human rights are violated and human dignity is in danger – be it at home or in other parts of the world.
We have to speak out.
In Germany, today, we see it as a very special and precious gift, that, after the horrors of the past, Jewish life is again blossoming.
It is once more – as it had been for many centuries - part of German culture, part of my country.
Yes, it had been for centuries. This year, 2021, in Germany we are proud to celebrate with a multitude of events 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an honour for me as the German Ambassador to the Russian Federation to have been invited to a address you today. It is my privilege and I am grateful.
Thank you so much!