Holocaust Remembrance Day: In the Echo Chamber of a Bulky Story

That’s how it was until now. On January 27th, the victims of the Holocaust are commemorated, warned against anti-Semitism and an oath of “Never again!” Wreaths are laid, candles are lit. It will be the same this time. Such commemoration day rituals remain important – out of respect for the victims, for the self-assurance of a society that does not deny its past, and as a reminder.

But this year the anniversary seems more cumbersome than usual. Many historical truths do not form into an image or a story that can be told. On January 27, 1945, Red Army soldiers liberated the last living prisoners from Auschwitz. Prisoners of war from the Soviet Union were the first to be murdered in the gas chambers.

Jews, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, disabled people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, resistance fighters, communists and social democrats followed. The day of remembrance is dedicated to all victims of National Socialism. Hierarchy is out of the question.

In Ukraine there were eight million war victims

It’s quite possible that a soldier in the Russian army waging a brutal war of conquest in Ukraine is the great-grandson of a former soldier in the Red Army that helped rid Europe of Hitler’s fascism. Soon the great-grandson could be shot at with German tanks.

More than 20 million Soviet citizens had been killed by the Nazis. Hardly a family was spared from the terror of the Wehrmacht and the rage of the SS henchmen. This was preceded by the Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 23, 1939, which made the Wehrmacht’s invasion of Poland possible in the first place. It was also preceded by the Holodomor, the famine caused by Stalin that killed millions of Ukrainians.

There were eight million war casualties in Ukraine, including five million civilians. It is also true that Ukrainian nationalists, who wanted to free their country from Soviet rule and Polish tutelage, fought alongside the Wehrmacht and sympathized with the German Reich.

History breeds contradictions and absurdities. Donald Trump, the ex-President of America, receives an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. Marjorie Taylor Greene, an MP and anti-Semite, wants to run alongside Trump for vice president. The USA is considered the epitome of the free west.

Knowing what happened, telling what happened, and accepting that it was like this and not otherwise: the further back January 27, 1945, the greater the impositions associated with the commemoration.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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