Germany mobilized, Holocaust Remembrance Day

Hundreds of demonstrations are planned for Holocaust Remembrance Day in Germany this weekend. Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisted “never again”. He was pleased to see his country “standing up” against the far-right, with “millions of citizens marching in the streets”.

“Never again,” the German chancellor urged on Saturday for Holocaust Remembrance Day, amid a strong mobilization of her fellow citizens against the far-right. In total, demonstrations are planned in more than 300 villages and towns in the country this weekend, according to the “Together Against the Far Right” coalition.

In the northern German city of Kiel, 11,500 people, according to the police, and 15,000 according to the organizers, gathered in the town hall square in the late morning. “Democracy is not for the faint of heart!”, “Red card for AfD (German far-right party, Alternative for Germany)”, the signs read, AFP Johannes Böcker, 29, pointed out. – An old physiotherapist who participated in the rally. “For me, it's important to demonstrate in memory of the victims of National Socialism, but also to demonstrate against the rise of the far right,” he said.

In Dusseldorf (west), police say “several tens of thousands of people” gathered. In a podcast broadcast on Saturday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz recalled German responsibility for the Shoah as a crime against humanity. “Millions of citizens are marching in the streets” as he rejoices to see his country “rising up”.

A tense environment

For two weeks, Germans have been rallying across the country against the radical tendencies of the AfD. “There are three times more demonstrations than last week, especially in East Germany,” the civil coalition Campact, among the movement's organizers, wrote in a press release issued Saturday morning. In this region, which corresponds to the former GDR, the AfD achieved its best electoral results.

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Two weeks ago, Social Democrat Olaf Scholz took to the streets in Potsdam, a city neighboring Berlin where he lives. On Saturday, his defense minister, Boris Pistorius, plans to hold a demonstration in Osnabrück (northwest), where he was born.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which coincides with the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by the Soviets on January 27, 1945, is an annual occasion of remembrance. But this year, his 79th birthday comes in a tense atmosphere after German investigative media Corrective revealed on January 10 a meeting of extremists in Potsdam, where they discussed the planned deportation of foreign people or people of foreign origin last November.

On January 18, German Interior Minister Nancy Fasser compared it to the Wannsee Conference in 1942, when the Nazis planned to exterminate European Jewry. “'Never Again' should be everyone's vigilance. Our democracy is not a gift of God, it is man-made,” the Chancellor warned. And to conclude: “Never again, it's every day.”

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