The state parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania commemorated the victims of National Socialism with a memorial hour on Tuesday evening. The event took place a few days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, which has been a statutory day of remembrance in Germany since 1996. On January 27, 1945, the surviving inmates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp were liberated by the Red Army.

State President Birgit Hesse recalled the suffering that the National Socialist dictatorship had brought to millions of people. They were excluded, disenfranchised, persecuted, tortured and murdered. Jews were particularly affected. The memory of this must be kept alive and passed on to future generations so that lessons can be learned from history.

“The Nazi regime not only raged in the concentration camps such as Auschwitz, Dachau and Buchenwald or in large cities, but also right here on our doorstep. As incredible as these events are, we have to realize today – 78 years after the liberation of Auschwitz that anti-Semitism has not disappeared from Germany”, stated Hesse. Jew-hostile slogans and a trivialization of the Third Reich up to anti-Semitic acts of violence made it clear that not everyone had learned from the past.

“It is important to keep showing what can happen when democratic achievements are undermined and no longer apply. The memory of the victims of National Socialism therefore always has an impact on the future,” emphasized the President of the Landtag. Active remembrance protects the democratic constitutional state and its values. “Democracy is not an end in itself and not a matter of course! Instead, we have to stand up for our democracy over and over again,” warned Hesse.

Minister of Education Simone Oldenburg (left) announced that she wanted to strengthen remembrance work in schools. Among other things, younger schoolchildren should also have the opportunity to visit memorials: “For example, the Wöbbelin memorial has excellent project work, especially for elementary school children,” she said on Tuesday in Schwerin.

She also referred to a multimedia project with Holocaust witnesses, which is intended to contribute to the culture of remembrance in history lessons. Pupils from the north-east had the opportunity to ask six contemporary witnesses of the Shoah questions. “The result is an impressive digital education format that addresses the issues that concern young generations today,” said Oldenburg. The country financed the film work – including in Israel – with around 220,000 euros.

Regional Rabbi Yuriy Kadnykov reminded that time for such projects is running out: “Time leaves its mark, the number of eyewitnesses to the crimes committed by the National Socialists decreases every day. We hardly have time to ask people one or the other question to judge what they have personally experienced.”

The state parliament will also deal with the topic at the end of the week. On Friday, an application submitted jointly by the parliamentary groups of the Left, the SPD, the CDU, the Greens and the FDP will be discussed. The aim of the joint initiative is to strengthen the democratic culture of remembrance in schools.