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Holocaust: Germany reiterates commitment to combat hatred

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The German government has pledged to counter a renewed wave of anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred at home and around the world.

Amb. Christoph Heusgen, the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), conveyed the message during an event to mark the 2020 International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday in New York.

The forum, held inside the UN General Assembly Hall with some holocaust survivors in attendance, also commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

The holocaust, otherwise known as the Shoah, was the genocide carried out by the Nazi regime in Germany against European Jews during World War II.

This saw the killing of no fewer than six million Jews, around two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population, between 1941 and 1945.

The regime’s most notorious killing centre was the vast Auschwitz concentration camp, where about 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered, and the liberation of which ended the war.

Addressing the gathering, Heusgen said he was ashamed standing before his audience, knowing his countrymen and women were responsible for the “unspeakable crimes’’.

“It is, therefore, not evident that I, the German Permanent Representative to the United Nations, should be given the opportunity to speak here today.

“And yet, at the same time, I feel deeply thankful to be able to do so.

“On the one hand, it is testament to the reconciliation and trust-building that has allowed Germany to once again become part of the international community.

“On the other hand, and more importantly, today’s commemoration allows Germany to join you in remembering the millions of victims of the Nazi regime,’’ he said.

He said Germany would spare no effort and resources to counter the renewed wave of anti-Semitism in Germany and around the world.

“We will protect Jewish life and we will stand by Israel. This is our highest duty and part of our national identity and it is part of our commitment to democracy and human rights.

“Sadly, as we know, such values are under attack from all sides. Bigotry and hatred abound – both online and offline.

“Leaders and political systems guarantee their political survival by trampling on human dignity.

“This is unacceptable. There is a danger of `never again’ becoming a hollow phrase, and Germany works tirelessly to prevent it from becoming one,’’ he said.

Heusgen highlighted some measures by the German government to combat hate, including an initiative called “Youth Remembers”.

Like other speakers at the event, he called for education of people around the world on the values of understanding, compassion and religious and ethnic tolerance as the best weapon against hatred.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola

Contact US: editor[at]nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247[at]gmail.com

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