IAC :: Remember the past, be responsible for the future

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Press Information published by the International Auschwitz Committee


Invitation to IAC press conference on 16 June 2023, 11 am, German Resistance Memorial Center, Stauffenbergstr.13, 10785 Berlin-Tiergarten

Christoph Heubner, IAC Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee. Photo: IAK Berlin

Christoph Heubner, IAC Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee. Photo: IAK Berlin




The survivors of the Holocaust are not alone in feeling alarmed and disturbed by the drastic rise in support shown in current surveys for the AfD and their extreme right-wing slogans. Time and again in German cities there are violent attacks directed against ‘foreigners’, and anti-Semitic sentiments are now widespread within mainstream society. Throughout the country there is a sense of helplessness as to how the democratic parties should confront this dramatic development in society.

The survivors of the Holocaust are also asking themselves about the level of awareness that their educational and remembrance efforts have actually produced over the past decades. In this respect the Chemnitz Auschwitz survivor, Justin Sonder, spoke on behalf of them all in one of his last accounts of his memories, which he delivered in 2020 under the title ‘What have I achieved?’

A major response to Justin Sonder’s question can be seen in the many initiatives by Holocaust survivors to utilize public space as remembrance space, and not to abandon it to the rantings and hate speech of right-wing extremism.

This too is reason enough for the International Auschwitz Committee remember Justin Sonder in Chemnitz. He was born there into a Jewish family in 1925 and, after his liberation from Auschwitz and other camps, was one of the few German Jews to return directly to his home town: he didn’t want to relinquish Chemnitz to the Nazis and their legacy. And this needs to apply equally after Justin Sonder’s death in 2021. Especially in Chemnitz, the European Capital of Culture 2025, which is a recurring focal point of xenophobic, anti-Semitic and extreme far-right incidents.

It is to this city that we are donating a bench, on which Justin Sonder is sitting with his inquiring and caring gaze directed towards the former Jewish junior school and the people who want to sit down next to him and learn something about his life story and the causes of his persecution. The bench and the bronze figure are being financed with donations from many well-wishing private individuals and institutions. The project was first announced together with the city of Chemnitz and Justin Sonder’s daughter in January 2023.

We are happy to invite you, especially in the current situation, to the presentation of the model of the memorial which has been created by the artist Julia Kausch from Rostock. At the same time we would like to inform you about the educational and political work of the IAC. The press conference is taking place on Friday 16 June at 11 am in the

Auschwitz Exhibition at the German Resistance Memorial Center
Stauffenbergstr. 13
10785 Berlin-Tiergarten

For more information and appointments feel free to contact us at any time: 0172 393 22 62.

We would appreciate prior notification if you intend to join the press conference: susanne.goldstein(iak)iak-berlin.de

Many thanks for your interest

Christoph Heubner
Executive Vice President
International Auschwitz Committee


For further Information

Christoph Heubner

Executive Vice President
International Auschwitz Committee
Phone ++ 49 (0)30 26 39 26 81