Berlin, June 6th, 2019 – The European Coalition for Israel has been received by the President of the German Bundestag, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble on the eve of the 75th anniversary of D-day, which marked the beginning of the end of the Third Reich. Meeting in the historic Reichstag building in Berlin on Wednesday, the President reiterated what a catastrophe the Shoah was for the Jewish people but also for Germany.
“Germany without its Jewish population is not the same. Take away the German Jews from the list of German Nobel prize winners and the list suddenly gets significantly shorter,” he said.
He added, “Germany will continue to fight antisemitism and stand by its commitment for the safety and security of the State of Israel. These historical commitments are non-negotiable for every German government, regardless of background or political composition.”
During the meeting ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell shared how the Coalition was formed in Brussels in 2003 and how in April of 2004 he had participated in the OSCE conference on antisemitism in Berlin, hosted by the Germany government under then Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.
“It was here in Berlin that we laid the foundation to our work, inspired by this German led conference. As a coalition we wish to see Germany at the core of any future activities, both on a government level and in relation to civil society,” Sandell said.
He added, “As Europeans we have a duty to share our collective experience and lessons learnt from the darkest chapters of our history so that we can prevent history from repeating itself.
But as long as we only fight antisemitism we will not succeed. It is when we recognise the immense positive value of our Jewish heritage and the many contributions of the Jewish people to our communities that we can find an antidote to Jew hatred.”
Wolfgang Schäuble is one of the most experienced and longest serving politicians in German history whose political career spans more than four decades. He became the president of the German parliament in 2017.
Today, Thursday, Sandell will have a private visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin, hosted by the director of the Museum, Dr Peter Schäfer on the official invitation of President Schäuble. The Museum, which was opened in 2001, is the largest of its kind in Europe. It documents Jewish life in Germany spanning over a thousand years.
In 1933 Germany had a Jewish population of 565,000 people. In 1950 this number was down to 37,000. Today there are roughly 100,000 Jews living in Germany, among them some 12,000 Israeli citizens.