May 8 must become a holiday in Germany (Esther Bejarano)

28. Januar 2021

In a statement on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, published by German Television, Esther Bejarano, musician, anti-fascist, survivor of the Auschwitz death camp and member of the FIR honour presidency, said:

Where do we stand in this year 76 after the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp? What has become of our hopes? We are only a few, we survivors of the concentration camps. We are not silent. We report about what happened at that time. Will books, films and stories be enough to immunize the next generations against the new and old Nazis, against anti-Semites, racists and conspiracy ideologists?

Words become deeds. We know this. We know about the brown net after ’45, the loud silence, the failure of the German state in denazification. For us it is unbearable when Nazi slogans are shouted and synagogues are attacked again, death lists circulate, right-wing extremists sit in parliaments. Is history repeating itself? Primo Levi, also a prisoner in Auschwitz, said, « It has happened, consequently it can happen again. » We remember in order to change, in order to preserve our democracy. For me, the key to this is the youth. We have to win them. You are not guilty for what happened then, I say. However, you are guilty if you do not want to know about this history.

What ended in the gas chambers began with repression, exclusion, racism. Many of the young people know this. Often I hear then: « Mrs. Bejarano, even if you are no longer here, we will always continue to tell your story. » That is my great hope! Nevertheless, we can start immediately with one change: May 8 must become a holiday, a day on which the liberation of humanity from the Nazi regime can be celebrated! Moreover, for those, who have doubts whether Germans in particular should also celebrate this day, just imagine: What would the world look like today if the Nazis had won?