Foreign Minister Steinmeier on the occasion of the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism

Remembrance for the victims of National Socialism

Remembrance for the victims of National Socialism, © Photothek/Imo

27.01.2016 - Press release

Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (27 January) on the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism on 27 January 2016:

Today we remember the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp by Red Army soldiers 71 years ago. We remember the six million European Jews killed, the Sinti and Roma, the forced labourers, the prisoners of war left to starve, the people euthanised by the state, the homosexuals, all those who, for religious, political or simply humanitarian reasons, stood against the reign of terror and so fell victim to the strictures of the totalitarian regime.

Anniversaries such as 27 January are days on which we as a society must take time to stop and reflect. It is not only a task for politicians, or for parents and schools; we all have a responsibility to ensure that this remembrance is passed on to subsequent generations and to promote and support education, dialogue and personal interaction wherever possible. This, the darkest chapter of German history, affects our own perception of ourselves and will always be inextricably associated with our country. After all, it is not possible to simply draw a line under history.

Yet remembrance also imposes a duty on us. A day like today warns us not to lose sight of the fate of the people who are fleeing to us in Europe in these times. The large numbers of people seeking protection from persecution, hate, war and terrorism in our country are sparking fears that we are taking very seriously. For if Jews and people with different religions and beliefs cannot feel safe in Europe, then none of us can feel safe.

The need for us to work to combat any form of discrimination and racism is therefore as urgent as ever. This task is also guiding our work within the framework of our OSCE Chairmanship in 2016. Germany therefore intends to focus on the themes of tolerance and non-discrimination within the context of its OSCE Chairmanship.

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