Remarks by German Ambassador to Zambia – International Holocaust Remembrance Day
- Honourable Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Ms Godfridah Sumaili
- Dr. Coumba Mar Gadio, United Nations Resident Coordinator
- Mr and Mrs. Zukas, Chairperson of the Council For Zambia Jewry
- Ms Alice Saili, UNESCO Zambia Team Leader
- Distinguished Representatives of faith-based organisations and Representatives of Civil Society Organisations
- Colleagues of the diplomatic corps,
I greet all those who are following us online in these unusual times.
76 years ago the Red Army liberated the death camp of Auschwitz. At least here the unprecedented mass murder came to an end – although too late for millions of victims. Death in horrifying numbers continued for months, until the end of the war in Europe in May 1945.
Today we commemorate the millions of Jewish victims of the Nazi extermination campaign. We remember and we bow to honor them and their memory.
76 years – a whole human life span. It is not easy at all --- no, it is difficult, to speak at this occasion as the official representative of Germany, as the heir of the perpetrators. I am sincerely grateful and humbled for the opportunity to address you on this key day in our collective memory.
Whole libraries have been filled with books and articles written on the German mass murder of the Jews of Europe, the systematic effort to extinguish them, on the Shoah, on the Holocaust. Literature, films and visual arts have been and still are trying to reflect the inhuman nature of the events.
So we do know, we can remember – but in the end we are still trying to understand --- to understand the incomprehensible. The effort to comprehend and to learn for the present and for the future remains a continuous challenge, an imperative task – not only, but especially for us Germans.
After 76 years the call “never again” remains as urgent as ever. In my country, trials and prosecutions of wartime perpetrators continue. Of course the accused are very old people now. But it is not possible to draw a line. We do owe this to ourselves, for our self-understanding as Germans, but especially to the memory of the victims.
More disturbing is a frightening rise in Germany and abroad in anti-Semitic incidents, many of them violent. This is a development our societies must not tolerate, under no circumstances.
So I am very grateful that today there will be a discussion on the lessons from the Holocaust: the importance of peace, tolerance and co-existence.
We can only achieve tolerance and peaceful co-existence when we base our discussions on facts. Holocaust distortion and denial is on the rise. It must be fought against.
To conclude: We strongly must protect the facts. We have to honor the historical record to ensure victims and survivors are not forgotten. And our effort to do so must be continuous. Speaking as a mother of two young children, I can assure you that we will do everything possible to ensure the next generation will “never forget”.