(English) International Camp Committees „The Appeal of Milano“

13. Juli 2018

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July 1st, the Italian member federation of FIR, ANED, organized a meeting of International Camp Committees in Milano. After a very fruitful debate about the common tasks depending of the work in the memorial places and with the young generations they adopted “THE MILANO APPEAL”.  FIR is very proud of this initiative of its member federation and supports this declaration. 

On July 1st, 2018, the presidents, vice-presidents and secretaries general of the International Committees of the former Nazi concentration camps met in Milano, at the Casa della Memoria, on the initiative of the Associazione Nazionale Ex Deportati Nazionale Ex Deportati Nei Campi nazisti (ANED).

Facing the known threats against European memory, the future of Europe and its citizens, we launch the following appeal:

We are the custodians of the testimonies of the survivors of the Nazi crimes. We carry this living and painful memory and we speak for the thousands of men and women who have survived the camps, for their descendants or for the simple citizens who are active in our respective associations.

We are also committed to preserving the former concentration camps which have become memorials of Humanity from oblivion, banalisation and destruction; we take inspiration for that work from the Resolution of the European Parliament of February, 11, 1993 „on the European and international protection as historic monuments of the places of the former Nazi concentration camps.» We are outraged by the recent attacks against the memorials in Mauthausen and Flossenbürg.

We are indignant about the fact that a UNO Resolution of November 21st, 2014 “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” was not adopted due to three negative votes and 55 abstentions (among them the Member States of the European Union).

We remain vigilant in the face of nationalist and populist attempts to eradicate from European memory these places of inhumanity but also of struggle and of solidarity.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 reminds us that „disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind“. Hundreds of thousands of deportees to the Nazi camps have become the victims of these barbarous acts.

For more than seventy years now, the survivors and their descendants have remained faithful to the commitments taken at the moment of liberation of the camps. They have worked tirelessly for peace and fraternal solidarity among nations. Through their testimonies, they have been fighting racism, antisemitism, xenophobia and extreme right ideas in Europe.

Confronted with the arrival of refugees fleeing from war and misery, certain European states answer by totally closing their borders instead of offering humanitarian assistance. The Mediterranean has become a huge cemetery where the hopes of thousands of men, women, and children have come to an end. Europe seems to have lost its memory: many Europeans were refugees themselves before and after the war. They have been met with solidarity but also with discrimination and rejection. Europe must learn the terrible lessons from its recent past and not turn a blind eye on its responsibilities.

Which values are we willing to transmit to the younger generations? Egotism and the fear of others must not replace the values of humanism, which are at the core of our common history and commitments.

Our appeal therefore goes to all elected officials in various national and European institutions: your efforts to reach appropriate responses to the migration phenomenon must be driven first and foremost with regard to human dignity.

First signatories:

  • Associazione Nazionale Ex Deportati Nei Campi nazisti (ANED):

Dario Venegoni, Président, Aldo Pavia: Vice-Président

  • Comité International de BUCHENWALD-DORA:

Dominique Durand, President

  • Comité International de DACHAU:

Jean-Michel Thomas, Président, Preben Dietrichson, Administrateur

  • Association des déportés et familles des disparus du camp de concentration de FLOSSENBÜRG et Kommandos:

Michel Clisson, Président

  • Comité International de MAUTHAUSEN

Guy Dockendorf, Président, Floriana Maris, Vice-Présidente, Jean-Louis Roussel, Vice-Président

  • Comité International de NATZWEILER-STRUTHOF:

Jean-Marie Muller, Président, Claes Reksten, Secrétaire général

  • Amicale Internationale de NEUENGAMME:

Jean-Michel Gaussot, Président, Christine Eckel, Secrétaire générale,

  • Comité International de RAVENSBRÜCK:

Ambra Laurenzi, Présidente, Jeanine Bochat, Vice-Présidente