Germany: Standing together to remember the victims of the Holocaust

published 30 January 2019 updated 6 February 2019

German education unionists have joined Israeli and Polish colleagues for an educational trip on the occasion of the memorial may for the victims of the Holocaust.

Germany's two largest teacher unions, the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft(GEW) and the Verband Bildung und Erziehung(VBE), attended an event in Krakow, Poland, on 27 January for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The event was organised by the Israel Teachers’ Union, the Polish Zwiazek Nauczycielstwa Polskiego and the German education unions.

In addition to exchanging information about the remembrance culture in the participating countries, the visit to the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, liberated by the Red Army on 27 January 1945, was the focus of the trip.

“Never again may genocide happen, that is our common goal. We need to keep the memory of Nazi crimes alive,” noted GEW President Marlis Tepe. “Precisely because popular and nationalist thinking is spreading more broadly in public, dealing with genocide, war and tyranny, with inhumane ideologies and political persecution in the 20th century is an indispensable component of historical-political education. Responsibility for a peaceful future remains central to living together in the migration society.”

VBE Federal President, Udo Beckmann, emphasised: “We see that language and manners are becoming more and more brutal. We should, however, take exactly the opposite direction: standing together, defending our values ​​and the free-democratic basic order and, through living together in tolerance, signalling that this society will no longer be divided.”

He went on to express his concerns at the increase anti-Semitic behaviour, reiterating that “such incidents and statements must have no place in our society”.