Bärbel Bas calls for courage into intolerance

IHolocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher spoke at a commemoration hour in the Bundestag and specifically remembered the one and a half million children who were killed in German extermination camps during the National Socialist era and shot in mass killings, who died in the torment of the ghettos and concentration camps. Auerbacher, who comes from Baden and was deported to Theresienstadt with her parents at the age of seven, told the MPs on Thursday about her ordeal and the fate that many of her family members shared with six million murdered Jews.

Bundestag President Bärbel Bas said January 27, German Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism and International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust, was a day of shame for “what previous generations did in Germany”. On this day, one commemorates “the murdered Jews, the dead of the Sinti and Roma, the victims of the Slavic peoples,” said the SPD politician. “We commemorate the millions of people who were persecuted, robbed, humiliated, disenfranchised, tortured, put to death. Because they thought differently, believed differently, loved differently or because the National Socialists considered their lives ‘unworthy’.”

In her speech, Bas recalled the Wannsee Conference, at which high-ranking officials from ministries discussed the “final solution to the Jewish question” together with bureaucrats from the German terror authorities and those responsible for mass murder 80 years ago. She and many other perpetrators got away: “Far too few had to answer in court. Far too many have gotten away with punishments that amounted to mockery of the victims. Also participants in the Wannsee Conference.” Germany bears “a special responsibility: the genocide of the Jews of Europe is a German crime. But at the same time it is a past that concerns everyone.”

“Anti-Semitism is unacceptable”

The President of the Bundestag added: “We warn and state unequivocally: anti-Semitism is unacceptable. Period. No matter what he says. It doesn’t matter where he comes from. Anti-Jewish stereotypes and prejudices should never again be allowed to spread. Jews should never again be held responsible for the evils of the world. Anti-Semitism should never again prepare the ground for exclusion, hatred, and mania for annihilation.” According to Bas, anti-Semitism is there, it is a problem of society, and one has to ask oneself: “How free are we really from anti-Jewish clichés? Do we always manage not to hold Jews responsible for Israeli policies? Are we, out of misunderstood tolerance, too soft on anti-Semitism that some immigrants have brought with them from their old homeland?”

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The majority in this country “have nothing to do with it,” said Bas. “She will not be seduced into hatred. She votes and argues democratically. And I like to do it passionately, sometimes bitterly. We need more ‘courage for intolerance’ towards the others. The determined use of all means known to a well-fortified democracy.” When right-wing extremists, historical revisionists and ethnic nationalists celebrate electoral successes, then it is “high time to stand together to protect the values ​​and institutions of our free, democratic society”.


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