Soon we will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In these days, we remember the victims and honour the survivors.
We remember the betrayal of all civilised values that was the Shoah.
Edith Bruck survived the concentration camps; Robert Badinter lost his father, but managed to hide and survive; Yehuda Bauer has dedicated his life to researching the Holocaust.
The Holocaust is the historical responsibility that we Germans bear.
“A world that remembers the Holocaust. A world without genocide.”
That is our moral compass.
The dignity of every human being – it is up to us to protect it everywhere, at all times, for today there are still people who publicly deny the Holocaust, who play down and falsify history, who promote hatred, who attack, threaten or even kill Jewish or Roma men and women because of their background or beliefs.
In Germany, we painfully experienced this once again on Yom Kippur last year when the synagogue in Halle was attacked and two people were killed. Only a door stood between the attackers and the Jewish community.
Many lessons have been drawn from the experience of the Holocaust: multilateral agreements were concluded, the most important being the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
International institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union were founded. And not long after the horrors of World War II, Germany was once again given a seat at the table of nations.
This is our past and our responsibility – which includes a particular responsibility for these multilateral institutions and agreements.
They make us strong as a community of shared responsibility.
This also applies to the fight against antisemitism.
We can only win this fight together, as a community of states.
The IHRA is still the key forum for this, 20 years after its founding: in fact, it is now more important than ever.
Germany will assume the IHRA Chairmanship from March 2020. We look forward to welcoming you in Berlin and Leipzig.
As Chair, we want to take action in particular with regard to denial or distortion of the Holocaust.
Let us jointly discuss and develop ideas. One important point in this regard is the question of the decline in historical knowledge among the younger generations. And we will further enhance the visibility of the IHRA’s important work.
I would like to thank the Luxembourg Chairmanship for today’s conference and for our Ministerial Declaration, which provides an important foundation for the future of the IHRA.
I am convinced that is a necessity as well as an encouragement – for all of us.