Sending clear signals and strong signs against hatred and agitation Commemorating the victims of National Socialism at TU Braunschweig
As a sign of remembrance, but also as a reminder, the President of the Technische Universität Braunschweig, Professor Angela Ittel, and representatives of the AStA laid wreaths at the Stolperschwelle on 27 January 2022, the national day of remembrance of the victims of National Socialism, and commemorated those persecuted. In their speeches, they urged us to keep the memory of these people alive and to learn lessons from history.
On 27 January 1945, Soviet soldiers liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, where more than one million people were murdered by Nazis between 1940 and 1945. Since 1996, this has been a nationwide, legally established day of remembrance that commemorates the crimes of Nazi rule. At TU Braunschweig, the Stolperschwelle on the steps in front of the old building has been a place of remembrance since 2014. This was laid by the Cologne sculptor Gunter Demnig in cooperation with the association “Stolpersteine für Braunschweig e.V.”.
“In memory of the victims of National Socialism at our university. Discriminated, dismissed, expelled, persecuted, murdered,” reads the inscription on the stumbling block, which keeps the memory of the darkest chapter of German, but also of our university history alive at this prominent location and at which a commemoration has been held since 2018. This year, as in 2021, the event only took place in a small circle due to the Corona pandemic.
Setting positive signs
“It is important to keep the memory of the victims alive and thus also to urge vigilance in order to counteract any danger of repetition,” TU President Professor Angela Ittel emphasised in her address. “Never again should members of Technische Universität Braunschweig be defamed, discriminated against or persecuted because of their origin, religion or gender or for other reasons.” She said it is the task of universities to stand up against intolerance, defamation and exclusion of minorities and to live democracy. “Accordingly, I would like to encourage all TU members to send clear signals and signs in the spirit of the values of TU Braunschweig, as an international, cosmopolitan and tolerant university!”
Learning lessons from history
Lena Jahnke from the Unit for Anti-Fascism and Anti-Racism, which had invited to the event together with the AStA, also pointed out before the wreath-laying ceremony: “In times of increasing right-wing violence and a strengthening of right-wing populists and extremists worldwide, it seems more important than ever to commemorate the victims and at the same time to learn lessons from history. We need an active civil society that opposes hatred, agitation and violence together every day.
Luca Kienel from the AStA board, which supports students in the unit to organise lectures on these topics in addition to events such as the Day of Remembrance, emphasised how important this is so that “students can educate themselves about this part of history independently of their studies.”
The president of the student parliament, Sabrina Ammann, who also laid a wreath on behalf of the students, emphasised: “As democratic representatives directly elected by the students, it is important for us to commemorate the victims of National Socialism today together with the members of the university.“