President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Monday said that anti-Semitism must never again go unopposed in Germany at the marking of the 80th anniversary of the first transport of Jews from Berlin to the east.
“Never again may anti-Semitic thought or action remain without contradiction and public reaction,’’ Steinmeier said at an event at the Platform 17 memorial at Grunewald Railway Station in Berlin from where the transport left for Lodz in Poland.
“Jewish culture is not only part of German culture, it has left a deep mark on it and endowed it richly,’’ he said.
On Oct. 18, 1941, the first so-called “East Transport’’ left with more than 1,000 Jewish men, women and children.
The systematic deportation of Jews from other locations in Nazi-ruled Germany began the same month.
“We Germans still bear the guilt that the perpetrators, their assistants and the supporters of the organised murder of European Jews burdened themselves with,’’ Steinmeier said.
“We still feel the shame that fellow citizens were separated out from the middle of society, cheated, deprived of their rights, dispossessed and ultimately sent on a journey to their deaths,’’ he said.
Berlin Mayor, Michael Mueller, called for the memory of the Shoah (Holocaust) to be kept alive and for democracy to be safeguarded against rising right-wing extremism.
Freedom, tolerance and democracy had to be constantly defended, he said. (dpa/NAN)
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