Remembering Dachau in times of covid 19
speech 3 may 2020
Video message by General Jean-Michel Thomas, President of the Comité International de Dachau (CID)
Dear Survivors, The CID regrets the cancellation of the ceremonies for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp, at which we wanted to honor you and your American liberators as well as commemorating victory over National Socialism. For twelve years the Dachau Concentration Camp was a symbol of the regime, a model for the Concentration Camp system, based on the suppression of its German political opponents, the prisoners from the occupied countries, the Jews, the Sinti and Roma, and other prisoner groups. This international Dove of Peace, designed by artist Alain Carrier, commemorates how quickly the flags shot out of nowhere in the liberated camp. You ceased to be “Stück”, numbers, and became people again. You were aiming to see your families, your villages, and your homeland again, finally liberated of Nazism, for which many of you had fought. And there was also the creation of a nation state for the Jewish people, Israel. The pandemic will reinforce the solidarity between our nations, whose hearts beat for democracy and freedom. I send you my friendly and very respectful remembrance. Please take care of yourself and see you next year.
General Jean-Michel Thomas, President.
Message from Cornel Lustig
I’m writing this the 27th of April 2020, 75 years after my father , Oliver Lustig, was liberated, in Kaufering IV, two days ahead of Dachau.
Like any other of you (second generation) I heard, “first hand”, all the stories, starting with Birkenau-Auschwitz and ending with Dachau and it’s “satellites” camps. But at the end of his stories, like a leitmotif ( I don’t know if they where my father’s own words or he was quoting someone), he would always add: : “in this whole world there was no place to be found for their graves, so the only place for their graves will be in our minds!”.
It takes a virus (may it be SARS-CoV-2) to really put our minds at work!
No ceremony, no speeches … only our minds!
May they rest in peace and may we be able to secure a place for their graves in the humanity’s mind and then it’ll never happen again!
Message from Pavle Vamoser
Today, April 29th, Dachau was liberated.
My father Wamoscher Leopold / Vamoser / numero 150985, was one of the survivors.
His last address in Dachau: Barake 13.
Before he was deported to Dachau, he went through various other camps (Flossenburg, Backa Topola ...)
but he never told me what had happened. I know very little about it.
I enclose the only photo I have of my father's family before the war:
The only photo I have of my father's family before the war:
My grandmother Helene - exterminated in Auschwitz-Birkenau, and his two brothers, the older Emil Vamoscher and the younger Rudolph - Rudi, both detained by the Hungarian fascists in a forced labor battalion, probably ended on the Russian front.
Message from Romani Rose
“Today we commemorate the more than 40,000 people, including many Sinti and Roma, who were murdered in the Dachau concentration camp before the camp was liberated by American soldiers 75 years ago. They were tortured, used for medical experiments and murdered. Dachau was the training ground for many SS henchmen who organized and operated the systematic extermination of Sinti, Roma and Jews in other concentration and extermination camps such as Auschwitz.
This camp is also representative for the holocaust of 500,000 Sinti and Roma throughout Nazi-occupied Europe. The Dachau concentration camp clearly shows us that the rupture of the civilization created by the Holocaust was ideologically prepared in years of agitation.
Right-wing populist parties are again fuelling hatred against minorities. Not only are they preparing new anti-Gypsy and anti-Semitic violence, but they are also aimed at destroying our constitutional state. Consequently, our thoughts must be oriented towards the future.
It is not a question of transferring guilt, but of reminding us of the responsibility we share for the rule of law and democracy, which have brought us over 70 years of internal and external peace. "
Evangelische Versöhnungskirche in der KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau
Dear friends / Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren aus Familien von NS-Verfolgten und aus dem CID, liebe Freundinnen und Freunde,
The Protestant Churches of Bavaria and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Munich and Freising marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau concentration camp with an ecumenical service of remembrance on the 27th April 2020. This took place in the Protestant Church of Reconciliation, built on the actual location of the former prisoner camp site, a short distance from the crematorium. As public commemorations cannot take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic – a larger scale service with Regional Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Cardinal Reinhard Marx and Metropolitan Augoustinos Lambardakis had been planned – the service was recorded in both German and English language versions. This came at the request of the families of Dachau survivors as well as veterans who served with the US troops who liberated Dachau.
At the core of our service will be readings from the recollections of former Dachau prisoners Herbert Zipper, Jura Soyfer, Joseph Rovan and Karl Adolf Groß. Music will be performed in German, Greek, English and Hebrew by young local music student Sophie Aeckerle. These languages help us to join our commemoration of all concentration camp survivors and the grateful memory of the liberation seventy-five years ago, with our hope for an end to injustice, war and suffering in our day.
The video is available from 5pm on Wednesday 29th April 2020, at roughly the time when units of the US army liberated the camp seventy-five years ago.
The two churches on the site of the former Dachau concentration camp
- the Evangelical Church of Reconciliation and Catholic pastoral care (with the fear of Christ chapel) have designed an online video prayer that has been released in four versions since today you can see:
Long version German (4:21): https://youtu.be/DrOrmAIhvK8
Short version German (4:41): https://youtu.be/-8nBYrZBq2c
Long version Englisch (24:23): https://youtu.be/06FtoR-z20c
Short version Englisch (27:45): https://youtu.be/Msb5TdEHL40
You will find the german text here
You will find the english text here
Other digital projects
Virtual Liberation Ceremony Mauthausen
This is the link for the 61 minute film which we (Comité International de Mauthausen and Mauthausen Komitee Österreich) have produced and put online to celebrate, virtually, the liberation of the Mauthausen concentration camp on may 5, 1945. The film was broadcast live by ORF III: