President of German Parliament endorses MoL

"So valuable and so important ... I hope that many people will be ready to be moved by this idea and that over the next years, there will be many more 'Marches of Life'."

In a powerful word of greeting for the event 70 Years Sportpalast Speech, Professor Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag (Parliament), endorsed the March of Life as a valuable "international movement".


Here is Professor Lammert's word of greeting in full length:

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word.” Emily Dickinson

Perhaps the most impressive account of the power of words is given in the Bible. The book of Genesis relates how God created the world solely through His word. Words have power. So do the words uttered by human beings. And as any other kind of power, words can be abused and perverted. They can serve the truth, spread lies, inform or deceive, comfort and hurt, express love and incite hatred. Kurt Tucholsky coined the phrase: “Language is a weapon.” With his sharp wit, he realized the dangers of National Socialism and predicted the coming disaster. From the beginning, the National Socialist regime consciously and purposefully used language as a weapon of its propaganda machinery in order to deceive, seduce, and lie to people, steadily poisoning society with its criminal ideology. First the victims of those monstrous words were marginalized verbally, then publicly humiliated, denunciated, defamed, debased, mentally destroyed. At the end, the destruction was physical: millions and millions of dead people.

The so-called Sportpalast speech, which propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels held on February 18, 1943, marked the grotesque climax of a truly total perversion of the power of words. Two weeks after the defeat at Stalingrad, their goal was to mobilize all available forces for the final annihilating campaign, whatever the cost. The fanatical invocation of “total war” in front of a handpicked audience, supposedly representative of the entire population and cheering frenetically for the propaganda minister’s hate-filled rallying cries, is a ghastly testimony of history. It remains a warning and an admonition – even to us, 70 years later.

This is why the “March of Life” initiative is so valuable and so important. Turning the former routes of deportations and death marches taken during the last months of the war into symbolic routes and marches of life is a public homage to the victims and a conspicuous act of remembrance of the deportations that were also conducted in public by the Nazis. Thus, we perceive our cities and streets as places of history – this is maybe one of the most important aspects of the initiative. It makes remembrance palpable, and it encourages people to consider their own family history, taking a new perspective on places known and unknown. What started as a humble prayer event has long since turned into an international movement that incorporates both contemporary witnesses as well as those born later. I hope that many people will be ready to be moved by this idea and that over the next years, there will be many more “Marches of Life”, both physically and mentally.


Bildrechte: (c) Deutscher Bundestag / Lichtblick/Achim Melde

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