"Wenigstens euch dürfen wir nicht im Stich lassen" / "You, at least, we must not fail"

Ansprache Kofi Annans vor der UN-Generalversammlung zum Gedenken an die Opfer der nationalsozialistischen Vernichtungslager
Statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the General Assembly, commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps

Am 24. Januar 2005 hat die UN-Vollversammlung erstmals in ihrer Geschichte mit einer Zeremonie der Befreiung der NS-Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslager gegen Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs gedacht. UN-Generalsekretär Kofi Annan, Bundesaußenminister Joschka Fischer (Grüne) und andere Redner der Gedenkstunde betonten, dass aus dem Holocaust für die internationale Gemeinschaft die Verpflichtung erwachse, konsequent überall auf der Welt gegen das Verbrechen des Völkermordes vorzugehen.

Anlass der Gedenkveranstaltung ist der 60. Jahrestag der Befreiung von Auschwitz-Birkenau am 27. Januar. Die historische Sitzung wurde mit einer Schweigeminute der Staatenvertreter aus aller Welt eröffnet. Ihren Respekt für die jüdischen und anderen Opfer des Holocaust könne die Weltgemeinschaft zeigen, indem sie all jene Gruppen schütze, die heute "ähnlich bedroht und verletzbar" seien, betonte der UN-Generalsekretär. In den vergangenen Jahrzehnten habe es die internationale Gemeinschaft "zu ihrer Schande" allerdings immer wieder versäumt, Völkermord zu stoppen, etwa in Kambodscha, Ruanda oder im früheren Jugoslawien. Annan forderte in diesem Zusammenhang den UN-Sicherheitsrat auf, gegen die Menschenrechtsverstöße in der westsudanesischen Provinz Darfur vorzugehen.

Die Schlusspassagen in Kofi Annans Ansprache lauteten:

(...) Heute ist ein Tag, um die Opfer des Holocaust zu ehren - denen leider nie mehr Wiedergutmachung gewährt werden kann - zumindest nicht in dieser Welt.

Dies ist ein Tag, um unsere Gründer zu ehren - die alliierten Nationen, deren Truppen kämpften und starben, um den Nazismus zu besiegen.

Dies ist ein Tag, um die tapferen Menschen zu ehren, die ihr eigenes Leben aufs Spiel setzten und manchmal hingaben, um Mitmenschen zu retten. Solche Beispiele erlösen unsere Menschheit und müssen unser Verhalten beseelen.

Dies ist ein Tag, um die Überlebenden zu ehren, die heldenhaft die Plänen ihrer Unterdrücker vereitelten und dem jüdischen Volk eine Botschaft der Hoffnung brachten. Im Lauf der Zeit schwindet ihre Zahl. Es obliegt uns, den nachfolgenden Generationen, die Fackel der Erinnerung hoch zu halten und unser eigenes Leben in deren Licht zu leben.

Es ist vor allem auch ein Tag, um nicht nur der Opfer vergangener Schrecken, welche die Welt überwunden hat, sondern auch der potenziellen Opfer der Verbrechen in Gegenwart und Zukunft zu gedenken. Ein Tag, um ihnen in die Augen zu sehen und zu sagen: Wenigstens euch dürfen wir nicht im Stich lassen.

Im Folgenden dokuembntieren wir die Ansprache Kofi Annans in englischer Sprache im vollen Wortlaut.



Following is today's statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the special session of the General Assembly, commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps:

The date for this session was chosen to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. But, as you know, there were many other camps, which fell one by one to the allied forces in the winter and spring of 1945.

Only gradually did the world come to know the full dimensions of the evil that those camps contained. The discovery was fresh in the minds of the delegates at San Francisco, when this Organization was founded. The United Nations must never forget that it was created as a response to the evil of Nazism, or that the horror of the Holocaust helped to shape its mission. That response is enshrined in our Charter, and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The camps, Mr. President, were not mere "concentration camps". Let us not use the euphemism of those who built them. Their purpose was not to "concentrate" a group in one place, so as to keep an eye on them. It was to exterminate an entire people.

There were other victims, too. The Roma, or Gypsies, were treated with the same utter disregard for their humanity as the Jews. Nearly a quarter of the one million Roma living in Europe were killed.

Poles and other Slavs, Soviet prisoners of war, and mentally or physically handicapped people were likewise massacred in cold blood. Groups as disparate as Jehovah's Witnesses and homosexuals, as well as political opponents and many writers and artists, were treated with appalling brutality.

To all these we owe respect, which we can show by making special efforts to protect all communities that are similarly threatened and vulnerable, now and in the future.

But the tragedy of the Jewish people was unique. Two thirds of all Europe's Jews, including one and a half million children, were murdered. An entire civilization, which had contributed far beyond its numbers to the cultural and intellectual riches of Europe and the world, was uprooted; destroyed; laid waste.

In a moment, you will have the honour of hearing from one of the survivors, my dear friend Elie Wiesel. As Elie has written, "not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims". It is fitting, therefore, that the first State to speak today will be the State of Israel -- which rose, like the United Nations itself, from the ashes of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust came as the climax of a long, disgraceful history of anti-Semitic persecution, pogroms, institutionalized discrimination and other degradation. The purveyors of hatred were not always, and may not be in the future, only marginalized extremists.

How could such evil happen in a cultured and highly sophisticated nation-State, in the heart of a Europe whose artists and thinkers had given the world so much? Truly it has been said: "all that is needed for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing".

There were good men -- and women -- who did do something: Germans like Gertrude Luckner and Oskar Schindler; foreigners like Meip Geis, Chiune Sugihara, Selahattin Ülkümen, andRaoul Wallenberg. But not enough. Not nearly enough.

Such an evil must never be allowed to happen again. We must be on the watch out for any revival of anti-Semitism, and ready to act against the new forms of it that are happening today.

That obligation binds us not only to the Jewish people, but to all others that have been, or may be, threatened with a similar fate. We must be vigilant against all ideologies based on hatred and exclusion, whenever and wherever they may appear.

On occasions such as this, rhetoric comes easily. We rightly say, "never again". But action is much harder. Since the Holocaust, the world has, to its shame, failed more than once to prevent or halt genocide -- for instance in Cambodia, in Rwanda, and in the former Yugoslavia.

Even today we see many horrific examples of inhumanity around the world. To decide which deserves priority, or precisely what action will be effective in protecting victims and giving them a secure future, is not simple. It is easy to say that "something must be done". To say exactly what, and when, and how, and to do it, is much more difficult.

But what we must not do is deny what is happening, or remain indifferent, as so many did when the Nazi factories of death were doing their ghastly work.

Terrible things are happening today in Darfur, Sudan. Tomorrow I expect to receive the report of the international commission of inquiry, which I established at the request of the Security Council.

That report will determine whether or not acts of genocide have occurred in Darfur. But also, and no less important, it will identify the gross violations of international humanitarian law and human rights which undoubtedly have occurred.

The Security Council, once it has that report in its hands, will have to decide what action to take, with a view to ensuring that the perpetrators are held accountable. It is a very solemn responsibility.

Today is a day to honour the victims of the Holocaust -- to whom, alas, no reparation can ever be made, at least in this world.

It is a day to honour our founders -- the allied nations whose troops fought and died to defeat Nazism. Those troops are represented here today by veteran liberators of the camps, including my dear friend and colleague, Sir Brian Urquhart.

It is a day to honour the brave people who risked, and sometimes sacrificed, their own lives to save fellow human beings. Their examples redeem our humanity, and must inspire our conduct.

It is a day to honour the survivors, who heroically thwarted the designs of their oppressors, bringing to the world and to the Jewish people a message of hope. As time passes, their numbers dwindle. It falls to us, the successor generations, to lift high the torch of remembrance, and to live our own lives by its light.

It is, above all, a day to remember not only the victims of past horrors, whom the world abandoned, but also the potential victims of present and future ones. A day to look them in the eye, and say: "you, at least, we must not fail".

Source: www.un.org

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