Germany's top diplomat has used an international day of mourning for Holocaust victims to recall the menace of discrimination today. If the minority isn't safe, no one is safe, said Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Ahead of the German government's planned commemorations for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier used the occasion to condemn discrimination in today's society. Every form of racism and prejudice is intolerable, and the situation is urgent, said Steinmeier.
As Germany struggles to maintain the balance between an open, welcoming society and new fears about security after a string of sexual assaults carried out by migrants, the Social Democrat (SPD) politician reminded the public of the collateral damage of anti-foreigner sentiment.
"For when Jews, those of different faiths, or of different beliefs, no longer feel safe in Europe - then no one can feel safe here," said Steinmeier in Berlin.
The government will hold its own Holocaust remembrance ceremony on Wednesday, featuring a keynote speech by Ruth Küger, one of the youngest survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War.
January 27 marks 71 years since the Soviet Red Army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland. Ceremonies to mark the death of eleven million people, most of them Jewish, at the hands of Nazi Germany will take place all over the world. In the US, President Barack Obama is set to honor four people who helped protect Jews during the World War II at the Israeli embassy in Washington. Slovakia is also planning to open the country's first Holocaust museum at the former Nazi labor camp in the town of Sered.
es/jil (dpa, EPD, AP)