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Dear Ambassador Rybakov,
Dear Matvel Basov,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me thank the Belarusian Mission for the invitation to participate in tonight’s opening of this important exhibition. I feel honored to be given the opportunity to briefly address you in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the destruction of the Minsk Ghetto.
It remains our duty today to remember the breakdown of civilization. We owe this commemoration to our joint future.
We remember not only to keep the painful memories of the victims alive, but also to preserve their identities and give them a name and face. We do this to draw the right lessons from this dark chapter of history – to work today for a peaceful future.
We Germans know the responsibility we bear to this day for the cruelty committed by our countrymen. Our history demands that we act against all forms of marginalization and xenophobia and that we defend human rights worldwide.
What happened 75 years ago is difficult to put into words. Nothing can adequately describe the atrocities inspired by a fanatical and racist ideology that sought to wipe out Jewish citizens.
In light of the horrific acts committed in the Minsk Ghetto, we as Germans feel humbled that this has also come to symbolize reconciliation and joint commemoration 75 years later.
Where words fall short, the languages of art and music help to overcome our speechlessness. In my personal view, the pictures by the Belarusian artist Matvei Basov presented in this exhibition capture this in a very unique way.
I am confident that these pictures will leave an impression in our hearts and minds for a long while to come. May they remind us to work even harder for a peaceful future.
Thank you very much!