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Holocaust Gedenktag 2018

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day, © Deutsche Botschaft Bangkok

26.01.2018 - Rede

Rede (Englischer Sprache) von Botschafter Peter Prügel anlässlich des Internationalen Tags des Gedenkens an die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus am 26. Januar 2018 im UNCC, United Nations Building

UN International Holocaust Memorial Day


The Embassy of Israel and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) organized the UN International Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday January 26, 2018 at UNCC, United Nations Building. #WeRemember 
More pictures can be found here:  http://t1p.de/yuxf


Dear Ambassador Meir Shlomo,
Dear Hongjoo Hahm,
Your Excellency, Minister Dr. Teeerakiat Jaroensettasin
Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
As the German Ambassador, I feel deeply honoured to be given the opportunity to speak to you on the occasion of this year’s International Holocaust Memorial Day and to light the third candle. I am very grateful to my Israeli colleague and friend, Ambassador Meir Shlomo as well as to UN-ESCAP for organizing this important and meaningful annual event.
On this day we commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi concentration and extermination camps, which has become the epitome of the Holocaust. Like no other place, Auschwitz stands for the crimes against humanity of the Holocaust, committed by Germans and in the Name of Germany.
Today we recall the horrible scope and nature of the Shoa, the ideology driving the unprecedented, systematic extermination policy of the German Nazi Regime, its cruelty and absolute disregard of human dignity, which leaves us speechless still today, 73 years after the liberation of Auschwitz.
We have come together to remember all the victims including those who survived but whose lives could never be the same as before again. We have come together to reaffirm our commitment to always remember and never forget the lessons of the Holocaust.
For us Germans, the remembrance of this darkest chapter in our history and the responsibility Germany has taken for the crimes committed by Germans under the Nazi regime was certainly not easy. But this commemorative culture was key to building a strong democracy and a peaceful, open-minded and tolerant society in post-war Germany – as it was also key to an all but easy reconciliation with Israel - laying the foundations for the close friendship we enjoy today. And to me, this friendship between Israel and Germany today still resembles a miracle, given the unique dimension and atrocity of the Holocaust and the still relatively short time elapsed since then.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, again, we witness widespread antisemitism, including in Germany: While there is a well-known residual antisemitism on the extreme political right, we have to acknowledge that there is also significant antisemitism within the political left and an antisemitism new to Germany brewing amongst immigrants, from the Middle East and from Africa in particular. None of this is acceptable or even excusable! The German Government is committed to fight antisemitism in all its forms, among all our citizens as well as beyond our borders on an international level.
And just as we are committed to fight anti-Semitism, we are committed to fight any form of ethnic or religious discrimination. As we are confronted today with rising intolerance throughout the world, people are prosecuted, abused, forced into exile or even killed for the beliefs they adhere to or for the ethnic or religious community they belong to – including in our neighborhood here in Southeast Asia. We must not close our eyes to this reality: Violations of human rights and dignity and crimes against humanity are never an internal affair of a state and never too distant.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The exhibition outside this room teaches us an important message in this regard and it gives hope. It shows that even during the darkest times of the Holocaust there were righteous people who held up the principles of humanity by even risking their own lives to save persecuted Jews.
While serving as a German diplomat in Israel, I attended several ceremonies at Yad Vashem honoring such “Righteous among the Nations” and the meetings with these people were - besides meetings with Holocaust survivors themselves – certainly among the most memorable experiences in my diplomatic career.
And the message of this exhibition reminds me of what Primo Levi, an Italian writer and Holocaust survivor, once said: “Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The cruelties of the Holocaust cannot be undone, but it is our responsibility to uphold the remembrance of the millions of victims, to do our utmost to prevent any such crime from happening ever again and to ensure that the lessons from the Shoa remind us always – as a moral imperative and as an internal compass – of our shared and individual responsibility:
- Our responsibility  to fight anti-Semitism and any form of racism and to stand up for what we cherish – a peaceful, free and liberal world;
- Our responsibility to protect and preserve the rights and dignity of every human being and to stand up against any form of intolerance, exclusion or violence;
- Our responsibility to join forces to end war and terror around the world and to give shelter to those who are forced to flee from violence, repression and persecution.
May the Holocaust Memorial Day be a reminder to all of us to relentlessly strive for the protection of universal human rights and of human dignity!  That is why we are here today: To say that we remember and shall never forget!
Thank you.

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