Farewell to the "Commemorative Culture"

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Several citizens' initiatives are unambiguously repudiating the semi-official German "commemorative culture." Particularly the "Train of Commemoration" is raising serious accusations against the German government, on the occasion of the upcoming commemoration of the Nazi November Pogroms. According to the initiative's voluminous publication, Berlin is crossing the line between revisionist theses and open denial of Nazi mass crimes. Aside from the token public events, the Federal Republic of Germany is expending a great amount of energy and mobilizing all official means in opposition to the survivors of Nazi terror, to avoid having to face the inherited debt left by its predecessor state ("Train of Commemoration, the Deutsche Bahn and the Struggle against Forgetting"). These accusations against Berlin are not new, however they are now accompanied with documentary evidence. The publication of this work comes at an embarrassing moment for Berlin, because demands are becoming louder in other European countries for a complete settlement of debts from Nazi crimes. In October, Italy's Supreme Court ruled that lawsuits against the Federal Republic of Germany on the question of compensation are subject to review by courts.

In an interview with german-foreign-policy.com, the spokesperson for the Board of Directors of the "Train of Commemoration" explained that demands for a complete settlement of the billions in debts for personal and property damage throughout Europe will "affect the core of the so-called German commemorative culture, which would like to lull everyone into forgetting these debts with inconsequential commemorative ceremonies and invocation of a nebulous "responsibility".[1]

Pay Nothing

"The German government profits from the reputations of numerous citizen's initiatives and associations, with whose arduous efforts it is giving the impression abroad that Germany is facing up to its responsibilities - albeit only to the moral ones, because they do not cost anything." However, the Federal Republic of Germany is, in fact, not even above using revisionist lies, to avoid having to compensate poverty-stricken victims of the Nazis, even if it means tolerating a mockery of the dead.

None Among Them

The "Train of Commemoration's" accusations also expose the tug-of-war over maintaining the Sobibór Memorial in Poland. For several years, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused subventions for maintaining the rest of the former Nazi death camp, arguing that the countries that had had victims in the camp should pay, and that this does not concern Germany, because "there were no German victims."[2] In fact, however, between 15,000 to 25,000 German Jews, including thousands of children, were gassed in Sobibór. Using ignorance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is denying the existence of these German victims. Altogether, the Federal Republic of Germany's predecessor state's accomplices had murdered around 250,000 people in Sobibór. The Foreign Ministry's State's Minister (FDP), responsible for this revisionist statement, had not been relieved of her post. On the contrary, she was promoted by the current CDU-SPD government. Since 2014, she resides as the General Consul in Gdansk.[3]

Not to be Proven

As the most recent example of the escalation of brazenness in handling historical facts, the "Train of Commemoration" points to public statements of the largest state's enterprise, the Deutsche Bahn (DB). In a statement for the First German Television Channel (ARD), the company alleged that the invoices for the millions in receipts resulting from the Deutsche Reichsbahn's mass deportations to Nazi concentration and death camps, had probably only been issued pro-forma.[4] There is no proof of payments, because the accounting records cannot be found - burned in the allies' hail of bombs. In 2013, the DB dished up its most crudely fallacious allegation to date, alleging that there is "no intrinsic link" between the rail transport to the and the liquidation in the Nazi camps.[5]

Opened Flood Gates

The "Train of Commemoration" views German government contacts to foreign anti-Semitic and terrorist organizations documented since 2013 as signifying a turning point.[6] "For example, for several years, the German state has groomed promotional relations with these parties and political representatives in Ukraine and continues, obviously, to do so," says Hans-Rüdiger Minow in an interview with gfp.com. These contacts "are played down as soon at they are exposed," says the spokesperson for the Board of Directors. In Ukraine, the German government has, in fact, "opened the flood gates that could lead to the revival of an extremist nationalist and demagogic solution to the European state crisis - regardless of whether Berlin had been conscious of the consequences or not."

Play Both Sides of the Fence

As was explained in the gfp.com interview, taking part in the semi-official German commemorative culture is out of the question for the citizens' initiative, as long as the Federal Republic of Germany continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with the resurgence of the Nazi past, abroad, while, domestically, trying to hold it down for reasons of power rivalry: "playing both sides of the fence."[7]

Please read also The Commemoration Train, Legal Successors, Not a Cent, Berlin Central Station, Hundred Thousand Euro Offer, "Policy of Historical Memory", Revisionist Lies (II) und German Commemoration.

[1] Interview mit Hans-Rüdiger Minow, Vorstandssprecher.
[2] Der Zug der Erinnerung, die Deutsche Bahn und der Kampf gegen das Vergessen. Stuttgart 2014.
[3] Vgl. www.polen.diplo.de/Vertretung/polen/de/05-gk-danzig/00-gk-danzig.html .
[4] Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen (ARD) am 20.10.2014, 23.30 Uhr.
[5] DB AG vertreten durch Redeker, Sellner, Dahs. Antrag in dem Rechtsstreit -2-26 O 7/13 vom Februar 2013., S.4f.
[6] Drucksache 14603, Deutscher Bundestag, 17. Wahlperiode.
[7] Interview mit Hans-Rüdiger Minow, Vorstandssprecher.