By Christopher Pitchers
Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer has told MEPs that the memory of the Holocaust is “politically abused” at times.
The 100-year-old native German was speaking to European lawmakers in Brussels on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, where she warned that the historic massacre of millions is even sometimes “ridiculed and trampled on”.
“The so-called Jewish Star,” she added, “is shamelessly used today by new enemies of democracy to style themselves in public – and in the middle of a democracy – as victims. On a day like today, we must stand together so that the memory of the Holocaust remains true and is not abused by anyone.”
The occasion on Thursday marked 77 years since the Auschwitz death camp was liberated on 27 January 1945.
Friedländer was herself caught and deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic.
She moved to the US in 1946, after her mother and brother were killed in Auschwitz, only to move back to Berlin in 2010.
In an interview with Euronews, the Holocaust survivor said that it’s important to tell her story to remind people that it can always happen again.
“It is very, very important because only if everybody knows what it was and that it can happen again is it important to be a human being,” Friedländer said. “I tell them, I don’t care if it is Christian blood, Jewish blood, Muslim blood – we are all human and we all have the same red blood. We are all the same. So, isn’t it important to be human and to recognise people?”
She added that respect for all people is the key to combatting antisemitism and hate speech, while also warning people to be vigilant and not look away as they did back then.
European Council President Charles Michel was present at the ceremony, saying that the memory of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.
“We all have a special responsibility and a special duty and we are all the guardians of this memory,” Michel said.