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`Today we remember everyone´ (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Galia Limor BERLIN, GERMANY 01/28/05)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/533044.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 that day.

"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 length.

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. 01/27/05)


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