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Holocaust Remembrance Day in Germany
   2016-01-28 07:28:35    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Li Bin

Deputies and guests paid tribute to the victims of the Nazi regime with a minute of silence and a speech to the delegates by Holocaust survivor during the international Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2016 at the German parliament in Berlin. [Photo: CFP]

Germany's parliament held an hour of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust.

The memorial came on the 71st anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, a date now recognized around the world as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Ira Spitzer reports from Berlin.

 

Auschwitz was the deadliest of all the Nazi concentration camps, a place where about one point five million people were killed, most of them Jews.

The scale of the horror, and the extent that the German Nazi rulers had tried to carry out their final solution from 1941 to 1945 came to light after the liberation of the camp, which lies in what is now Southern Poland.

Austrian Jew Ruth Klueger is one of the lucky ones to have survived Auschwitz and she shared her story with Germany's present-day parliament.

"The winter of 1944 to 45 was the coldest winter of my life and surely remains unforgettable for all those who were living in a Europe ravaged by war. I am now 84 years old and hadn't experienced many winters - I was just 13 years old, but all the winters that came later were never so cold as that last winter of the war."

Germany of course is a dramatically different place since the end of the Second World War, after the allied forces drove the Nazis from power. Most recently, Germany has provided refuge to hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the war in Syria.

"A new generation - no, two or three generations - have grown up here since. And this country, which 80 years ago was responsible for the worst crimes of the century, has today won the acclaim of the whole world for its open borders and the generosity"

In many ways, it is the lessons of this past that defines the Germany of today. Norbert Lammert, the president of Germany's lower house of parliament.

"In acknowledging the extreme loss of humanity across all sections of the population, we vow to remain vigilant against brutality and fight against social exclusion, anti-Semitism, racism and inhumanity. This is expected of everybody who lives in this country, without exception.

January 27th became International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005 following a United Nations resolution. It is now commemorated around the world, alongside several other Holocaust memorial days.

This is Ira Spitzer for CRI in Berlin.

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