Minister of State Maria Böhmer, along with Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, and representatives of religious communities, attended the ceremony of the lighting of candles to mark the beginning of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah 2014 in Berlin.
The Jewish festival of Hanukkah began on 16 December 2014. Over eight days, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BC. On each day of the holiday, another candle is lit on the eight‑branch chanukiah. Europe’s biggest chanukiah stands in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
Sign of hope and reconciliation
Lighting the chanukiah, said the Minister of State, was a special event and a wonderful indication of the revival of the Jewish faith in Berlin and Germany.
In this connection, Minister of State Böhmer recalled Germany’s special responsibility: “We will never forget our history, nor the Shoah as an indivisible part of that history.”
No room for anti‑Semitism or xenophobia
In her speech, the Minister of State called on everyone to join together to assume responsibility for peace, freedom and justice in the world. This included standing up to those who waged war and spread terror in the name of religion, she continued.
“There is no room in Germany for anti‑Semitism, racism or xenophobia, no room for hatred and violence,” she said. The Minister of State stressed that it was important to her that people of all religions and cultures felt welcome in Germany.
In her speech she also remembered those who are in danger as a result of conflict and violence:
Today we want to light the light of freedom and peace and to pass it on to all those who are in danger as a result of armed conflict and violence, to women and children experiencing immeasurable suffering, and to people who have lost friends and relatives, who have been forced to flee their homes and have lost all their belongings.