November 14, 2003

Holocaust remembered in Buenos Aires


With the presence of City Mayor Aníbal Ibarra and the active participation of the German Embassy here, a ceremony was held in the City Cathedral yesterday to mark the 65th anniversary of Reichskristallnacht.

The ceremony began with International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation Vice-President Natalio Wengrower reading out a message from Foundation President Baruj Tenembaum, which included confirmation from the lips of German President Johannes Rau that the Vaterunser (Our Father) Lutheran church in Berlin will be unveiling an exact replica of the mural next year.

Schumacher described Reichskristallnacht (when over 1,000 synagogues and over 7,000 Jewish shops were torched, nearly 100 Jews killed, hundreds more beaten up and thousands more sent to concentration camps after a German diplomat in Paris was fatally shot by a teenage Jewish refugee in November, 1938) as a turning-point for Germany’s plunge into dehumanization which did not end until 1945.

The envoy added that dictatorship was not finally banished from Germany until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 – since 1989 all Germans have been committed to freedom, democracy and human rights and remembering past horrors like Reichskristallnacht was part of that commitment, he concluded.

For anybody who knows anything about Ibarra, entering a church and arriving only 20 minutes late were two personal sacrifices clearly showing how much importance he attached to yesterday’s ceremony – good for the mayor!

Also at the ceremony was former Army Chief-of-Staff and future Ambassador to Bogotá Martín Balza, who had some very interesting comments to make on the current military situation to the Herald off the record.