Under the keyword #WeRemember. "We remember") the world commemorates this week the victims of National Socialism, including six million Jews. Along for the ride: the German Bundestag. There on Thursday, Inge Auerbacher, a survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp, gave a moving speech. It is very important that eyewitnesses report first hand, as surveys show again and again.
Auerbacher told of how she miraculously survived Theresienstadt with her parents. When she was taken to the camp, she was seven years old. She appealed to people in Germany to stand up to today’s anti-Semitism. "Unfortunately, this cancer has reawakened, and hatred of Jews is once again commonplace in many countries around the world, including Germany," she said. "This disease must be cured as soon as possible"." She mentioned the yellow stars at Corona demonstrations, conspiracy narratives in the pandemic or everyday hostility against Jewish Germans.
Remembrance of the playmate Ruth
In her speech, the 87-year-old also remembered her playmate Ruth in Terezin. When she and her parents were taken on to Auschwitz, the two girls vowed to visit each other later on. "Dear Ruth, I’m here in Berlin to visit you," cried Inge Auerbacher in the Bundestag, close to tears. But Ruth was murdered in one of the gas chambers in Auschwitz. "She didn’t even live to see her tenth birthday."
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The survivor concluded her speech by saying, "Hatred of people is a terrible thing. We are all born brothers and sisters. My dearest wish is the reconciliation of all people."The past must never be forgotten. "Together we want to pray for unity on earth."
Many younger people do not know anything about the time
Israeli Parliament Speaker Mickey Levy also warned of the "fragility" of today’s democracies. The remembrance of the Holocaust is a difficult task that every generation has to take on anew, said Levy.
Mickey Levy (2.v.r.), speaker of the parliament of Israel, embraces the survivor Inge Auerbacher after his speech.
But that seems to be the case less and less often. Although National Socialism and the Shoa are subjects of instruction in Germany. But surveys have been showing this for years: For many young people, knowledge about the time is hardly available anymore. In 2019, a major study by CNN showed that about 40 percent of German young people aged 18 to 34 know "little" or "nothing at all" about the Holocaust. 33 percent of Europeans rated their knowledge as "low.
Bundestag President Bas: "Remembering does not make you immune"
But is remembering alone enough? "Remembering and commemoration do not make immune against anti-Semitism," warned Bundestag President Barbel Bas (SPD) in her speech. Rather, freedom and democracy are dependent on committed citizens.
The commemoration ceremony was attended by the entire German state leadership. In addition to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Bundesrat President Bodo Ramelow (Linke) and Constitutional Court President Stephan Harbarth were also present.