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  5. 75th anniversary of the liberation – International Auschwitz Committee and Volkswagen remember Holocaust victims

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75th anniversary of the liberation – International Auschwitz Committee and Volkswagen remember Holocaust victims

  • HR Board Member Gunnar Kilian accepts invitation to international commemoration event in Poland
  • Minute’s silence for the victims of forced labor, persecution and racial hatred under National Socialism
  • Opening of exhibition “Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. Photographs and poems on the Shoa”
  • Free-of-charge concert of the Israeli National Arts High School, Tel Aviv at the CongressPark in Wolfsburg
Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg: wreath laying and minute’s silence for the victims of the Nazi dictatorship

On Monday, January 27, the liberation of Auschwitz 75 years ago will be commemorated throughout the world. During these days, the International Auschwitz Committee (IAC) and Volkswagen will be holding commemorative events in remembrance of the millions of people who were deported, consigned to forced labor, persecuted and murdered during the Nazi dictatorship. On Monday, HR Board Member Gunnar Kilian will be laying a wreath for the victims of National Socialism on the stone of remembrance at Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant. In the afternoon, Kilian will be taking part in the international commemoration event in Poland.

Employees and apprentices of the Volkswagen plants at Wolfsburg, Brunswick, Chemnitz, Emden, Hanover and Salzgitter who took part in the joint project, “Auschwitz – remembrance and future”, of the International Auschwitz Committee (IAC) and the Volkswagen Group last year will also be participating in a number of events.

Gunnar Kilian says: “Volkswagen and the International Auschwitz Committee have joined together in a unique cooperation for 32 years. We want to keep the memory of the atrocities and suffering alive. This is why we see the conservation and maintenance of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Site as extremely important. People in the future must be able to see what sort of place Auschwitz was. 3,371 Volkswagen apprentices from Germany and Poland have already been involved in Memorial Site work at Auschwitz. On behalf of these young colleagues, I will, together with Christoph Heubner from the International Auschwitz Committee, be taking part in the commemorative event in Auschwitz and will be speaking to the other guests about our commitment.”

Heads of state and representatives from more than 40 countries, including the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, are expected to attend the event. The commemorative speech is to be given by Marian Turski, a survivor of Auschwitz and Vice-President of the International Auschwitz Committee. Turski has repeatedly talked to apprentices at the International Youth Meeting Centre in Oświęcim/Auschwitz about the lessons to be learnt for the present from the Holocaust. Turski warns: “Never get used to seeing other people being derided or attacked. Never be indifferent – you could say that this is the eleventh commandment. Indifference kills.”

Bernd Osterloh emphasizes: “Even after 75 years, January 27 reminds us that Germany can never absolve itself of its responsibility for the murder of millions of European Jews. It is our responsibility to keep remembrance alive and to pass it down to future generations. In connection with this task, we must always oppose those who wish to draw a line under this most dreadful chapter in German history.”

Wreath-laying and opening of exhibition at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg
Holocaust Remembrance Day at Volkswagen is to begin at 8:45 on Monday morning with the laying of a wreath by HR Board Member Gunnar Kilian and the Chairman of the Group Works Council, Bernd Osterloh, at the Stone of Remembrance on Südstraße (Entrance 2) followed by a minute’s silence for the victims of forced labor, persecution and racial hatred under National Socialism.

At 2:00 in the afternoon, employees and dedicated members of the public will have an opportunity to lay white roses on the memorial stone for victims of forced labor in remembrance of the victims of National Socialism. Afterwards, the exhibition of Dr. Karl Teille in the forum of the Volkswagen AG Corporate Archive “Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. Photographs and poems on the Shoa “ will be opened.

The exhibition consists of large artistic photographs combined with poems written by Holocaust victims. The poems will be read by Bernd Upadek of the Scharoun Theater, with musical accompaniment by the string quartet of the Philharmonic Volkswagen Orchestra.