COLOGNE On the occasion of the anniversary of the Nazis’ November Pogroms, german-foreign-policy.com (gfp.com) spoke with the chairs of two prominent citizens’ initiatives about German commemorative culture and Germany’s responsibility for Nazi crimes. They are Hans-Rüdiger Minow spokesperson for the Board of Directors of the “Train of Commemoration” and Christoph Schwarz, spokesperson for the Board of Directors of “Stolen Children – Forgotten Victims.”
german-foreign-policy.com: ‘The 70th Anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp will be commemorated in January. Its survivors will look toward Germany. Would this be a reason for you to take stock?
Hans-Rüdiger Minow (“Train of Commemoration”): Should the survivors actually look toward Germany on January 27, 2015, they will do it with much bitterness and anger. Even in the seventieth year since these mass crimes, the Federal Republic of Germany is still refusing to live up to its inherited responsibilities.
Minow: Today they are German citizens. Even in relationship to its own citizens, Berlin does not acknowledge that the Federal Republic of Germany is heir to all the deeds and crimes committed by its predecessor government. On the other hand, Berlin does claim all the rights of this predecessor government, if it means a repudiation of this heritage.
BERLIN (Own report) – Several citizens’ initiatives are unambiguously repudiating the semi-official German “commemorative culture.” Particularly the “Train of Commemoration” is raising serious accusations against the German government, on the occasion of the upcoming commemoration of the Nazi November Pogroms. According to the initiative’s voluminous publication, Berlin is crossing the line between revisionist theses and open denial of Nazi mass crimes. Aside from the token public events, the Federal Republic of Germany is expending a great amount of energy and mobilizing all official means in opposition to the survivors of Nazi terror, to avoid having to face the inherited debt left by its predecessor state (“Train of Commemoration, the Deutsche Bahn and the Struggle against Forgetting”). These accusations against Berlin are not new, however they are now accompanied with documentary evidence. The publication of this work comes at an embarrassing moment for Berlin, because demands are becoming louder in other European countries for a complete settlement of debts from Nazi crimes. In October, Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that lawsuits against the Federal Republic of Germany on the question of compensation are subject to review by courts.