Greetings on the occasion to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Seventy-five years ago on 11 April 1945, American forces liberated the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. The gruesome images American war reporters captured over the following days were to circulate around the world. Today, these images represent some of the best-known documentaries about the horrendous crimes perpetrated by the Nazis.
More than 60,000 people from almost every nation in Europe had to undergo forced labor at the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. One in every three internees perished because they were deprived of the strength to live. In few other sites across Germany is the horror of the prisoners’ work as palpable as it is in the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. The 75th anniversary of its liberation constitutes a unique warning-call to us to never forget the inhumane crimes and terror perpetrated by the Nazis. The memory of these atrocities fills us with shame and deeply felt sadness.
It is our responsibility and that of future generations to remember those who died and the survivors’ profound pain. The destiny of each individual prisoner has demonstrated the devastating consequences that the loss of democratic values and principles and the radicalization of society can entail. It is all the more alarming in that we are currently confronted with growing anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism throughout Germany.
History has taught us that any free society into which misanthropy, exclusion, and racist violence take root, faces the gravest threat. Hence, it is the task of every democrat to clearly position themselves against anti-democratic practices and misanthropy at all times.
Freedom, democracy, and the rule of law cannot be taken for granted. They have to be actively defended each and every day.
I would like to thank all those committed staff members at the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation. Thanks to their work, they have kept those memories alive and rendered audible voices that had been long silenced. It is invaluable for our democracy that knowledge about inhumane crimes perpetrated by the Nazis is passed on and that future generations will learn the lessons from the darkest chapter in our history.
President of the Thuringian State Parliament
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