Speech by Foreign Minister Steinmeier at the opening of the 21st Jewish Film Festival Berlin & Potsdam in the Hans Otto Theatre Potsdam

10.05.2015 - Speech

Dietmar Woidke,
Ambassador Hadas-Handelsman,
Ms Galliner,
Ms Hormann,
Mr Yardim,
Ladies and gentlemen,

“I hate reality, but it’s still the best place to get a good steak.”

This is a quote attributed to Woody Allen.

And Woody Allen would be in exactly the right place for his healthy appetite here at the Jewish Film Festival. Ms Galliner, you chose “Jews and Food” as the motto of this year’s festival.

The some 35 films that will be screened in Berlin and Potsdam in the coming days have far more to offer than juicy steaks!

I have heard that a New York hot dog dynasty will play a large role and that Jerusalem’s culinary delights will be presented by the Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that we can expect a real feast for the eyes!

At the same time, your festival also has a clear political focus this year. The opening film will look at the darkest chapters of Germany’s past. The docudrama “The Eichmann Show” tells the story of an American film team that travels to Jerusalem to tell the world about the trial against Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann.

The film thus shines a light on the other two topics of this year’s festival, namely the end of the Second World War 70 years ago and the 50th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel.

The fact that both anniversaries occur this year shows us how extraordinary and how wonderful it is that we can celebrate the close friendship between Germany and Israel in the coming weeks. And the fact that we can do so – 70 years after the end of the National Socialists’ vile rule of terror and after the crime against humanity that was the Shoah – seems like a real miracle to many of us, Ambassador Hadas-Handelsman.

This miracle was possible because Germany admitted its guilt and because the country of the victims reached out its hand to the country of the perpetrators.

Israel and Germany do not only enjoy close political ties today. Every year, thousands of young people take part in exchange programmes; artists swap studios; and creative thinkers from both countries – like many of you here with us now – work on joint films and projects.

The Jewish Film Festival is an important part of this lively exchange. But with the films you show, Ms Galliner, you also inspire something else. You make people here in Germany curious about Judaism’s many facets, about its traditions and rites. And in this way, you are sending a wonderful message during this anniversary year – the message that Jewish life is thriving – also here in Germany!

Ladies and gentlemen, this fills me with profound gratitude and joy.

Rabbis are now being ordained here in Germany again. There are Jewish newspapers. Just a few weeks ago, hundreds of young people celebrated and sang together at the Jewrovision Festival. And the large number of excellent Jewish and Israeli restaurants in Berlin alone certainly makes one thing clear.

Woody Allen would not have to look long for a good steak there!

Many thanks!

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