Rede des Botschafters, Herrn Höfer-Wissing, anlässlich des Holocaust-Gedenktages
Dear Ambassador Shamir, dear Ambassador Sterk, ladies and gentlemen,
71 years ago, Soviet troops liberated the German Concentration Camp in Auschwitz, the place of the worst crimes against humanity ever.
Today, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016, we cannot only look back and mourn in order to honor the victims of the most monstrous crime in human history that was committed by the German Nationalsocialists. Without any doubt, this mourning in itself is one very important task today. However, it would remain an empty gesture if we were not taking up the many challenges by totalitarian structures that humanity is facing today.
There are far too many extremely disturbing developments in our world today reminding us that there is still a danger that crimes of this kind could be repeated. Religious, nationalist and racist intolerance are demanding many victims every day. Not only in my country Germany but elsewhere between Vladivostok and Vancouver xenophobia, brutality and intolerance against so-called “others” are growing, be it because of color, race, and faith or just because they are coming from another country. Terrorist structures are not only mercilessly killing everybody who is suspect of not having the right faith but they are also trying to annihilate the cultural and historical memory of mankind thus destroying our roots. The State of Israel is still under threat. And the many refugees who have to flee the zones of conflict are still looking for protection, shelter, survival. My own country as well as many others has still to respond much better to their needs. Europe as a whole is still not up to the task.
The answers to challenges by terrorist regimes and groups that we have found so far are by no means satisfactory. The international community has lost far too much time to take up the challenges presented by these dark forces, and we should at least now - and with no further delay - understand that we have to overcome the rifts among us in order to jointly address the threats posed by violence, intolerance and monstrous crimes today. Only if we managed to do that, could we claim one day that we have understood the most pressing lessons of the past.
I am very grateful to the Israeli Embassy for giving us, the German Embassy, the opportunity to take part in tonight’s ceremony. This is an inestimable honor for us. Listening to Dmitry Shostakovich tonight will give us ample opportunity to reflect about the torments of the 20th century. And let me in particular thank the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan under the direction of Kamoliddin Urinbaev and Vladimir Neymar and our soloists for performing tonight.