This photo shows Stolperstein Holocaust monuments in Berlin, Germany. The one at the right commemorates Jewish woman Ruth Hirsch, who used to live there. She was born in 1919. From 1940-1943, she was a forced labourer at Siemens and IG Farben corporations. In 1943, she was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp; where she was murdered.
Björn Hocke, a prominent politician of the German extreme right AfD party, has spoken out against Holocaust monuments and commemorations.
Translated from the German Tagesschau TV show today:
Outraged, the International Auschwitz Committee reacted to the demand of an AfD politician to end the stumbling block [Stolperstein] campaign in memory of Nazi victims. This was an attack on the basic democratic consensus.
Since 1992, stumbling blocks have been put as a reminder of those persecuted by the Nazi regime. More than 60,000 of the gold plaques are now present in more than 20 European countries.
Attack on democratic basic consensus
After the AfD politician Wolfgang Gedeon had demanded the abolition of this “forced culture of remembrance”, the International Auschwitz Committee reacted outragedly: “The AfD fights ever more brutally and unscrupulously what the survivors of Auschwitz as contemporary witnesses have reached in German society”, said the vice-chairman of the committee, Christoph Heubner. The statement is an attempt to push the survivors and their memories out of society.
The criticism by the International Auschwitz Committee explicitly does not only refer to Gedeon: rather, the AfD “consciously destroys the fundamental democratic consensus that is repeatedly invoked in German society after dealing with the murderous Nazi system as the common property of the Republic.” Heubner warned the society to “this time stop [anti-Semitism] at the beginning”.
Gedeon is an AfD member of the state parliament in Baden-Württemberg. He already had a reputation as an anti-Semite before this scandal.