Apr 25, 2017

Chancellor Angela Merkel - Elie Wiesel Award 2017

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum presented Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Elie Wiesel Award on April 24 for her support of Holocaust remembrance and education. In a video message, the Chancellor recalled her encounters with the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace laureate. She and the people of Germany are deeply grateful, Merkel said, for the role Elie Wiesel played in enabling Germany to return to the international community of nations.

"We owe it to the victims who went through immeasurable suffering to explore these deepest recesses of our being. We also owe it to ourselves as we can only shape a bright future if we are aware of Germany's enduring responsibility for the ultimate betrayal of all civilized values that was the Shoa. Thus - and only thus - can we be sure that remembrance does not become a mere ritual, but that remembrance lives on and shapes our future."

Ambassador Wittig at Holocaust Museum National Tribute Dinner
(© U.S. Holocaust Memroial Museum)
Ambassador Peter Wittig accepted the award on Chancellor Merkel's behalf at the ceremony, which was held on Holocaust Remembrance Day and as part of Days of Remembrance in the United States. He also spoke of Germany's special responsibility for remembrance and for action, reiterating Chancellor Merkel's statements that anti-Semitism has no place in Germany.

"The lessons we have learned from our history are our moral compass. They define our values today. Our past makes it our duty to combat all forms of anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia and intolerance."

Ambassador Wittig also recalled the impact of Elie Wiesel on Holocaust remembrance and attitudes towards Germany.

"Elie Wiesel had always been one of the most powerful, most charismatic voices against forgetting; a great messenger to mankind and to my home country. He believed not in the collective guilt of the German people, but in a special responsibility: to remember this darkest chapter of German history and to fight against anti-Semitism and racism today."

© Germany.info

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