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A Tribute to Victims of National Socialism: Holocaust Survivor Warns, “That’s how it all started,” and Makes an Appeal

On the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day, Chancellor Olaf Scholz calls for a resolute fight against anti-Semitism and racism. “‘Never again’ is every day,” says the SPD politician in his weekly video ‘Compact Chancellor’, which will be published on Saturday. “January 27 calls us to: Stay visible! Stay audible! Against anti-Semitism, against racism, against hatred – and for our democracy.”

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Green) wrote on the X platform (formerly Twitter) on Saturday that Nazi Germany “showed the world the abyss of humanity. It is up to us, the living, to shape our present out of the responsibility for our past. ‘Never again’ is now.”

Nationwide Holocaust Remembrance Day

Nationwide, on this Saturday, numerous events are held to commemorate the victims of National Socialism. On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops liberated the survivors of the German extermination camp Auschwitz. The Nazis had murdered more than one million people there, mostly Jews. Since 1996, the date has been observed as Holocaust Memorial Day in Germany, and the United Nations declared it a memorial day in 2005.

Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer expressed concern about the increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Germany. “I never thought it would happen again, because that’s how it started back then,” said the 102-year-old on Friday to the ARD-“Tagesthemen”. “For ‘those of us who experienced it,’ it is ‘particularly difficult to understand and very sad.’ She also criticized the Germans’ handling of memory and remembrance of the Holocaust: “They know too little.”

In the video, Scholz emphasizes that today’s democracy is based on the central commitment of “Never again.” “Never again exclusion and deprivation of rights, never again racial ideology and dehumanization, never again dictatorship.” He stressed that ensuring this is the central task of the state. “That’s why we fight every form of anti-Semitism, terrorist propaganda, and misanthropy.”

Scholz: “Our democracy is not a given”

The Chancellor once again welcomed the numerous large demonstrations against right-wing extremism in recent days and weeks. “‘Never again’ demands the vigilance of all. Our democracy is not self-evident. It is man-made. It is strong when we support it. And it needs us when it is attacked.” He stated that neo-Nazi networks and the spread of right-wing populism are not something one can simply accept.

The German government’s Commissioner for Antisemitism, Felix Klein, called for new forms of Holocaust remembrance. “We must find new formats to emotionally appeal to the broad population and particularly the young generation,” Klein said in the Funke Media Group newspapers (Saturday). There are now very few Holocaust survivors who can personally testify and report on the crimes of the Shoah. Therefore, remembrance is a challenge, Klein said. Memorials need to “become more digital and mobile” to “engage young people where they like to spend their time – not just on social media, but also in real life, at sports clubs or music schools,” Klein said.

Minister of Education Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) also sees schools as having a responsibility in remembrance. “We must keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, especially in schools. This requires dedicated teachers and contemporary access, particularly through social media,”sagte sie den Zeitungen des Funke-Verlags. Es sei beschämend, dass sich der Judenhass in Deutschland so massiv und ungeniert zeigt. “Überall begegnet uns Abneigung gegen Jüdische Menschen, sei es auf den Straßen, in den sozialen Medien, den Universitäten oder Schulen. Die Gesellschaft muss dem entschieden entgegentreten.

Sohn eines Überlebenden des Holocausts: „Die Demonstrationen geben mir Hoffnung“

Lisa Paus, Bundesministerin für Familie, betonte in Berlin: „Auschwitz steht symbolisch für unerträgliches Leid. In Zeiten wie diesen, geprägt von Konflikten und wachsendem Hass, ist die Erinnerung wichtiger denn je.“ In den letzten Wochen haben die Worte des Shoah-Überlebenden Primo Levi eine neue Aktualität erhalten: „Es ist geschehen, und deshalb kann es wieder geschehen.“

Die diesjährige Gedenkstunde im Bundestag findet erst am 31. Januar um 10.00 Uhr statt. Es werden unter anderem Eva Szepesi, die als Kind das deutsche Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslager Auschwitz überlebt hat, und der Journalist Marcel Reif sprechen.

Der ehemalige Fußball-Kommentator Reif, Sohn eines Überlebenden des Holocausts, äußerte sich ermutigt durch die aktuellen Demonstrationen gegen rechts. „Die Demonstrationen und die Haltung auf Deutschlands Straßen in den letzten Tagen geben mir Hoffnung“, sagte er dem Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND/Samstag). “Nie wieder!” ist eine Grundlage dieser Nation.” Er hofft, dass die Deutschen das beherzigen. „Es gibt unüberwindbare Grenzen, die respektiert werden müssen. Das betrifft den Antisemitismus und den Rechtsextremismus im Land, das betrifft auch den Terror der Hamas, den wir alle verurteilen müssen“, sagte er.



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