Students from Hannover commemorate the deportations to Theresienstadt - and show how xenophobia is today.
"Why do right-wing parties like the AfD get so much approval? Why do so many people look away when it comes to this topic?” The student asked. "75 years have passed and now many people with Jewish belief have to live in fear again." She is standing in front of the Holocaust memorial at the Opera Square, her audience is silent thoughtfully.
They gathered to commemorate the Jewish victims of the deportations from Hannover to Theresienstadt between 1942 and 1945. The last of five deportation trains from Hanover arrived there on February 25, 1945. The memorial bears the names of 374 Jewish Hannoverians who were murdered in Theresienstadt or Auschwitz. Those and the survivors were commemorated by citizens in Hannover on Tuesday.
In addition to the cantor Assaf Levitin, who frames the event with Jewish prayers, pupils of the BBS 1 Gifhorn commemorate the suffering of the Jewish fellow citizens with touching eyewitness reports. Theresienstadt was more than a “ghetto”, it was the “forecourt of hell”, as one student quotes the Jewish literary scholar and author Ruth Klüger.
And today? A right-wing terrorist cell is exposed in raids. There is an attack on a synagogue in Halle. And in Hanau, a man shoots people of Turkish origin in a shisha bar and in a kiosk. What has happened in the past few months shows how topical issues like racism and anti-Semitism are still today.
2025 marks the 80th anniversary of the end of the Second World War - the year in which Hanover would like to be the European Capital of Culture. Topics such as National Socialism and antisemitism already play a role in the first bid book "Agora of Europe". For the second bid book and the program of the European Capital of Culture year, these projects are concretized, conceptualized - but also completely rethought.