`Today we remember everyone´ (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Galia Limor BERLIN, GERMANY 01/28/05)
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BERLIN - "Today we remember everyone: Jews, communists, homosexuals,
gypsies and labor camp inmates," said Wolfgang Thierse, chairman of
the German parliament, at the opening of the ceremony marking 60
years since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer
and representatives of the Jewish community in Germany attended the
solemn, moving ceremony at the Reichstag.
"How could the political leaders join the murder plot? How did the
Germans become cold-hearted murderers? And why did many stand by
doing nothing?" said Thierse. He strongly denounced the extremist
right-wing party NPD, which last week called the bombing of
Dresden "Dresden´s Holocaust" at the Saxony parliament.
NPD members also left the parliament when its members were asked to
stand in memory of the Auschwitz victims. NPD is planning a
demonstration in Berlin on May 8, the anniversary of the end of World
War II. They intend to march under the Brandenburg Gate past the
Holocaust victims´ memorial, which is to be officially inaugurated
"The NPD have exposed themselves as neo-Nazis," Thierse
said. "They´re a disgrace to themselves and to us. We must support
all those who condemn the right-wing radicals and stand up to them.
Germany must not turn into the tongue of hatred and xenophobia again."
After Thierse, survivor number 85592 spoke of how he survived
Auschwitz and was sent to the death march in 1945. "I began the march
with 4,000 prisoners, without food and in temperatures of 20 degrees
below zero," said Arno Lustiger, one of the leaders of the Jewish
community in Germany. Lustiger, who also addressed the memorial
ceremony in Auschwitz, said "those who could not walk, were shot.
Only half of us reached the end of that awful voyage."
Lustiger commended the Holocaust commemoration events taking place
throughout Germany. Some 150 memorial sites have been set up, almost
100 of them on the location of the horrors. However, he said the
Germans must commemorate not only the Jews who perished in the
Holocaust, but also the Sinti and Roma gypsies, the homosexuals and
all those who were subjected to the Nazis´ horror regime.
Lustiger stressed that the anti-Semitism by Muslims worldwide must
concern not only the Jews but the entire world.
At the end of his speech, all the attendants rose and applauded at
German poet and songwriter Wolf Biermann, who is known for his
opposition to the oppressive regime of the German Democratic
Republic, sang Berl Katznelson´s Partisans´ Song translated into
German. He then read parts of Katznelson´s diaries, which he
translated from Yiddish into German with Lustiger´s help. At the
ceremony´s closing, Biermann sang a song he wrote describing the
cemeteries in Germany, whose gravestones continue to speak with the
voices of the dead.
A ceremony was also held at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp
memorial near Berlin, and tributes were paid at the capital´s
Gruenewald train station in memory of the Jews and other minorities
deported from there to Nazi camps. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz.
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