Make 8th May a public holiday! Needs to be done 75years after the liberation from fascism!

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I survived the extermination camp Auschwitz as a member of the “Mädchenorchester” - the girls’ orchestra and, 75 years ago, I was able to escape the death march of the inmates of the concentration camp Ravensbrück. I am chairwoman of the Auschwitz Committee in Germany and honorary president of the Association of Persecutes of the Nazi Regime/Federation of Antifascists (VVN-BdA). 

I demand the 8th May to be a public holiday! A day on which the liberation of humanity from the Nazi regime can be celebrated.  This has been overdue for seven decades. And maybe this will help to finally understand that the 8th May 1945 was the day of liberation, the day the Nazi regime was finally defeated. I have promoted this in an open letter to the government and all people who want to learn from history on 26th January 2020.

To recognize the military destruction of fascism by the Allies, partisans and resistance fighters as an act of liberation means to draw the correct conclusions and to act by them. It is not acceptable that - 75 years later – members of the far right now hold seats in all German parliaments and that racially motivated murders occur more frequently.

To us, implementing the lessons of 8th May means:

  • to stop the AfD, the NPD and their allies
  • to prevent the actions of violent and murdering neo-Nazis, uncover and dissolve their networks within police and army,
  • to intervene whenever Jews, Muslims, Sinti and Roma or others who do not fit the world view of Nazis are insulted and attacked
  • taking in refugees in Germany
  • to break with military logic and stop arms exports
  • ending the defamation and obstruction of democratic and antifascist groups and organizations by intelligence and tax authorities 

A mere show of consternation during soapbox speeches is not enough. There needs to be a controversy about the new world of peace and freedom assigned to us by the liberated inmates in their “Schwur von Buchenwald” - the oath of Buchenwald. An official, nationwide public holiday would be a recurring commitment to that oath. Not exclusively, but especially every 8th May.

Therefore: Achter Mai – arbeitsfrei! Zeit für Antifaschismus! (8th May – a day off! Time for anti-fascism!)

Esther Bejarano and the Association of Persecutes of the Nazi Regime/Federation of Antifascists (VVN-BdA)

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Photo: Ulf Stephan | R-mediabase