German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday praised contribution of the Jews to German culture. He said their history in the country was “one of emancipation and prosperity, but also of humiliation, exclusion and disenfranchisement.”
“Whether in philosophy, literature, art and music, science, medicine or business, Jews have played an important role in writing and shaping our history and lighting up our culture,” Steinmeier said at a ceremony marking 1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany at a synagogue in Germany. German. Cologne.
The German president said that Judaism had made a decisive contribution to Germany’s transition to modern times.
Centuries of exclusion and persecution
President Steinmeier recalled centuries of marginalization and persecution of Jews and called for an “honest look” on Jewish history.
“That’s the only way we can learn lessons for now and for the future. That is and remains our responsibility.”
The president acknowledged that Jewish life was under threat open anti-Semitism. It was necessary to fight it, he insisted.
Josef Schuster, president of the Jewish Central Council, said Jews would not celebrate this year given the recent attacks on Jewish institutions and rising anti-Semitism.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin stressed the deep friendship between Germany and Israel, saying that “although we will never forget past tragedies, we share a common legacy.”
It’s not just about the Holocaust
Due to the Corona virus pandemic, the opening of the festival year was recorded earlier and took place without spectators.
About 1,000 events on Judaism will take place in Germany in the coming months.
Andrei Kovacs, managing director of the 1,700-year Jewish Living Association in Germany, told DW what the year-long festival was aiming to achieve.
“We want to show that we have a common history between Jews and non-Jews … a shared gift – with 150,000 Jews living in Germany, and we also want the same future. To have the same future … “It’s very important to spend some quality time with one another and build empathy. And only with this empathy can we fight anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories,” said Kovacs.
Melinda Crane, DW’s chief political correspondent, said there was more to Jewish life in Germany than The Holocaust . “Jews have contributed to German culture, German identity and a major structure of German history for hundreds of years. The interaction between Judaism and being German must not be reduced to the Holocaust,” he said.
“For people who are leaning towards anti-Semitism, there is a feeling that Judaism is something foreign, and the main aim of this year is to make it clear that Judaism is by no means foreign to Germany but very much a part of its identity,” he added.
shs / csb (KNA, AFP, dpa, EPD, DW)
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