Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement today (12 July) on his visit to the Gestapokeller and Augustaschacht memorial sites on 12 July:
I see this as a place to pause and remember the Nazi regime’s barbaric crimes, the Gestapo’s reign of terror, which reached into every last corner of society, and the horrific fate of the women and men who suffered here as forced labourers for the German arms industry.
It is one thing to remember and become aware of the past. Yet remembrance also imposes a duty on us. Policies and schools can help to hand this remembrance down to the next generations. However, personal contacts and dialogue remain the best way to draw the right conclusions for the future. For decades now, Action Reconciliation – Service for Peace has been bringing young people from different countries together. These young people want to talk about the past, including here in Hasbergen. This darkest chapter of German history affects how we see ourselves to this day. This should not change in any way. The meetings between the volunteers and the young participants of the international summer camp send a clear message that future generations will hand on the promise, both at home and abroad, that one cannot draw a line under the past. This promise has lost none of its urgency.
All of us must stand up against all forms of discrimination and racism – now in particular. People who seek protection in Europe and Germany from persecution, hatred, war and terror must be able to feel safe here. We must not offer any scope to those who preach and incite intolerance.