Speech Delivered by Dr. Albrecht von der Heyden, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Shanghai

Time:2010/10/15 09:42:19        

  Dear Governor of the Hongkou District, Mr. Yu Beihua

  Dear Dep. Governor, Mr. Ying Mingyong

  Dear colleagues Consul Generals, ladies and gentlemen, friends

  It is a great honour and particular pleasure for me to welcome you on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the series of events "Remembering the past and creating a new future: Jewish refugees and Shanghai".?/span>

  We have come together at a historical site, remembering a period in the past, when Shanghai for many people. persecuted at home, was the last refuge. Thousands of citizens with Jewish origin came from Europe, in order to escape from the holocaust in their home countries. For some of them it was the last hope for saving themselves their relatives and friends.?/span>

  Nothing can really recompense what has been done by a felonious system, neither good words nor money. Today's event gives us the opportunity to bow ourselves vis-a-vis those who had survived ?#32;those as well representing others who could not be saved. Some of them will be present in the course of this series of events like Jerry Lindenstraus, to whom I would like to extend a special welcome, or Sonja M黨lberger, born in Shanghai at that time. To all of them and to many others who survived, when they look back to their emigration in Shanghai, we would like to express that our thoughts and feelings accompany them. Concurrently, this series of events is also targetted to express our gratefulness to China and the citizens of Shanghai ?#32;to those who are living today as well as to those living at that time in Shanghai. Then Chinese neighbours will be present within a special documentation. One of them, Prof. Tang Yating, then living in the vicinity of the Jewish ghetto, later on was inspired to research about Jewish customs and musical life. He will share his experiences with us.

  Beyond that, at a worldwide scale, in the past, many have dealt with the subject of the Jewish emigration to Shanghai, e.g. in the fields of literature, science, film and television. I ask for your understanding, that I can't mention all of them,?#32;but I would like to point ?#32;representing others as well ?#32;to Dietmar Schulz, who, by one of his films, gave us in a way some kind of initial stimulus for our project.?/span>

  The remembrance, the looking back at the past, is important by itself ?#32;but it reaches a completely new dimension, if it produces a source of power for the shaping of a new, of a better future. In Germany, we have chosen our own way of working up, coming to terms with the past. Our goal was, by reshaping state and society in our own country, as well as by responsibly exercising our role in Europe and in the world, thus to make a contribution to preventing a recurrence of such a fatally wrong development of historical dimensions.牋

  One consequence of the terrible experiences in the past, is the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany just 60 years ago. It is based on a constitution influenced?#32;in its value orientation by the tradition of the intellectual history as well as of the societal evolution in our own country, as well as in Europe and in the world. The then started process has hit a peak with the fall of the wall and the reunification of Germany 20 years ago. Nevertheless, this process needs a permanent continuation and deepening, in order to secure what has been achieved so far. Today we are to meet challenges of a totally different character, as, e.g. the responsible handling of our environment, of our natural resources, of the social well-being, advocating for a peaceful living together of religions and "Weltanschauungen", but as well the resolute combat against any extremist excesses, the creation of framework conditions corresponding to the principle of human dignity, in the cities, on the countryside, with us at home and anywhere.?/span>

  Please, allow me, at this point, to build a bridge to the EXPO in Shanghai, although from another angle of vision. The EXPO is dealing with the perspectives of the future of our world. The remembrance to the humanity, which lead to a reception without prejudice of persecuted people in Shanghai is indeed exemplary. But far beyond that: What would a glittering and perfected world be for without the mentioned aspect of humanity, more than that: What would the world be worth, without an environment with the human being in the center.

  This is a message reaching far beyond Shanghai. Because of the high importance of the remembrance for the shaping of our future, we envisage very soon ?#32;in cooperation with our Chinese friends ?#32;to organize a similar exhibition in my country, in Berlin and in Hamburg, the partner city of Shanghai.

  I would like to thank all those who have made it possible, to realize this series of events, first of all to the Hongkou District, to you, Mr. Governor, and to the Government of the City of Shanghai. Special thanks go to the Curator of the Museum, Mr. Chen, and his team.

  With unlimited resources we would have liked to make far more possible. But here as well, with a promising start, we like to realize what can be done today.

  We express our thanks to the Israeli Consulate General and its representatives as well as to many others like the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and to our speakers ?#32;some of them have come from far away ?#32;and, last, but not least, of course to my colleagues in the German Consulate General.

  I thank you for your presence and for your attention.