For the first time ever, a German official will attend an official Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony this year.
Former German President Joachim Gauck, whose term ended about a month ago, has accepted an invitation from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to attend the state ceremony marking the end of Holocaust Remembrance Day. The ceremony will take place on Monday, April 24, at the Ghetto Fighters’ House.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ghetto Fighters’ House, Dr. Arik Carmon, explained that Rivlin and his German guest will in effect launch a new approach to dealing with the moral lessons of the Holocaust.
The Ghetto Fighters’ House is currently addressing the question of how they will relate to the Holocaust in the next generation. They intend to shift the focus from the tragedy that befell the Jewish people to drawing moral lessons for all of humanity.
The basic assumption of the new approach is that the extermination camps were established by human beings, and hence evil in its most terrible manifestations is part of human nature. Thus, intolerance towards the other may degenerate into fear of the other and from there to discrimination, murder and even crimes against humanity.
The positioning of the Holocaust as a warning sign is intended to burn its moral lessons in the collective consciousness of all the world’s communities.
During his presidency, Gauck apologized for the 1943 atrocity at Ligiades, Greece, where Nazi troops executed dozens of villagers, including months-old babies, in reprisal for a partisan attack: “With shame and pain I ask the families of those murdered for forgiveness in Germany's name.”
(Translated and edited by J. Herzog)