The President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier found the right words on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden, and said in a surprisingly actual speech, says Jens Thurau.
Speech on the occasion of the anniversary of the terrible bombing of Dresden in the night from 13 to 14 February 1945 – always twine. The theme of the fiery hurricane that hit the Saxon city on the river Elbe, and then try to exploit a variety of groups. First, did the Nazis themselves in the last months of the war. Later, the powers that be in the GDR. Then the neo – Nazis and “forever yesterday”. The culmination was the most frequently dispute about the number of victims that the Nazis had inflated to several hundred thousand. After the end of the GDR and German unification, the dispute was mainly about whether to remember this incredible event in isolation, or only in historical context can do justice to pay tribute to those killed that night under the bombs in Dresden.
The importance of historical context
So Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Frank-Walter Steinmeier) knew how complicated it faces the challenge when he wrote this speech. And the Federal President was able not only historical context, but his speech was surprisingly relevant, to be honest about what led to war and destruction. And it is no coincidence that the word “Dresden” first time mentioned in his speech only in the fourth paragraph, after a lengthy three. Steinmeier starts with Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland, speaks about the endless violence, which then descended on Europe.
But none of the stitching head of the German state does not diminish the suffering of dresdenas. On the contrary. He speaks figuratively about the roar of the bombers, about the painted flame red sky, the fire that consumed all the oxygen from the streets of the city. But the President mentions other cities – in Germany and in other countries of Europe: Hamburg and würzburg, Naples and Belgrade, Warsaw, and Coventry. This part of his speech he completes this clear sentence: “Those who today still counts the dead in Dresden against the dead in Auschwitz, those who are trying to downplay the German evil, those who deliberately distorts the facts of history, we Democrats have an obligation to give back.”
The actual speech Steinmeier
Steinmeier knows that in the German parliaments again today there are those who deny Nazi crimes, and he definitely dissociates himself from them. This can be considered a new interpretation of the role of the President, which in fact is supposed to be non-partisan, to consider and summarise all the assumptions in the people point of view. But not on this topic.
Steinmeier goes even further, talking about today about the new anti-Semitism, the new xenophobia. And again: “If elected deputies discrediting and makes a mockery of parliaments, which themselves sit, it is an attempt to destroy democracy from within.” The President clearly appealed to the right-wing populists in land land parliaments and the German Bundestag.
Yes, it’s all the same to be in the speech on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the firestorm in Dresden. And deliberately Steinmeier concludes his speech with the answer “forever yesterday”. After all, the Federal President not only representative functions, but the assignment is to recall that should unite all Germans – about the basic law, the Constitution of a democratic state. Referring to the first article of the Basic law, Steinmeier urged to respect and protect the dignity of every human person, including in Dresden, and, namely, every person, not only every German.
The President is the defender of democracy
Criticism of his speech from the far-right Steinmeier will survive, he is no stranger. But it is good to know that the President sees himself – more clearly than ever the defender of democracy. Democracy, which relies not only on laws, Executive orders and parliamentary rules, but on understanding relationships, a clear position and awareness of historical responsibility. The overwhelming majority of Germans continues to share this view. Well, that Steinmeier defends the interests of this huge group of people.