70th anniversary of Liberation Day
Speech of CID President Pieter Dietz de Loos
Madam Chancellor, Mr President,
survivors from different countries,
veterans and liberators of the Seventh US Army,
Ladies and gentlemen, representatives of the Governments and Bavaria, of the
diplomatic missions, districts and communes, of the
religious communities, parties and organisations, and of the Bavarian and
friends of the Stiftung Bayerische Gedenkstätte and Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site,
honoured guests, your presence, Madam Chancellor – a recipient of the General André-Delpech Prize – honours the CID, the co-organiser of this commemoration ceremony.
You are the representative of the German people.
Your presence bears witness to the unanimous desire of the German people to combat all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, and honour the prisoners who
suffered and died here.
I must, however, mention an important incident. Yesterday morning, I read in a report by Reuters / USA that the Dachau camp was a Jewish extermination camp, where 200,000 Jews were imprisoned and 41,000 were killed. This report is incorrect! We have to stay vigilant in the face of misinformation! We must never forget, that Dachau was a camp for the political resistance. First, German political prisoners and members of the resistance were detained, tortured and killed. Then came political opponents from all over Europe. Three quarters of the prisoners were members of the resistance, political deportees.
Jewish prisoners were usually not interned at the main camp in Dachau, but in Kaufering, Landsbergen and other satellite camps.
In the name of the CID, I feel it is imperative to emphasise that the vast majority of the prisoners held in Dachau were political prisoners. We must never forget the six million Jews or the more than 500,000 Sinti, Roma and other persecuted groups who were killed, but the Jewish victims of the Nazis must not be abused in false reports. Let it therefore be known that Dachau was not a Jewish extermination camp as described by Reuters. Dachau was the Nazi's "school of violence", and it was here that they developed plans to destroy their opposition. The site was the "blueprint" for the Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek and other extermination camps.
Dachau is a symbol of the resistance and obliges us as the descendants of the Nazi's political opponents to never fall silent!
The Sinti and Roma people, of whom at least 500,000 were murdered, long went unrecognised as victims. Yesterday, you heard Mr Romani Rose's speech, in which he demanded that a memorial finally be erected for these people in Berlin. But that's not enough! Without our commitment to peace and the fight against racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and discrimination, monuments for the Roma, Sinti and Jews in Dachau and elsewhere are nothing but meaningless stone.
Today, it is extremely important that we protect minority groups like the Jews, Roma, Sinti and others and give them the chance to live in safety and feel at home in the world.
And now, on behalf of the Comité internationale de Dachau, I'd like to give the floor to three former prisoners who resisted Nazism: Jean-Samuel, Vladimir Feierabend and Abba Naor.
Thank you for your attention.
3 May 2015