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Zikaron BaSalon in the eyes of Her Excellency Susanne Wasum-Rainer Ambassador of Germany to Israel

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

Dear readers,

It is a great honor for me having been asked by Zikaron BaSalon to contribute to the organization's new blog as one of the first guest writers.

I follow this invitation with great pleasure. For me this reflects the trustful and close relationship that has developed between the German Embassy Tel Aviv and Zikaron BaSalon over the years for which I am most grateful.

Zikaron BaSalon plays an important role in the memory of the Shoah.

As a guest at numerous Zikaron BaSalon events, I had the privilege of listening to personal memories and experiences of Holocaust survivors several times. Most recently, at the “Global Ambassadors Seminar”, I even had the opportunity to speak to the outstanding community of Zikaron BaSalon volunteers from all over the world. These volunteers actively and whole-heartedly create a convincing work of remembrance and serve as role models and inspiration for all of us. Through their commitment they have contributed to a different, personal, meaningful, authentic way to commemorate the Shoah.

The memories and stories shared with the participants of “In the Living Room” have the power to bring personal memories of the survivors to life. Listening to the stories of the survivors, the participants open not only their houses and living rooms, but even more their hearts and their consciences to their shocking stories and experiences.

The pain over what human beings are capable of doing to other human beings, the grief and the memory of all those who were deprived of all dignity, persecuted, tortured, humiliated and murdered, will forever remain part of Germany’s identity.

We cannot turn back the wheels of history. Germany assumes the historic responsibility for the Shoah and the crimes committed in the name of Germany during the period of National Socialism. Germany is committed to work for a better future while never forgetting the past. Germany’s fight against antisemitism, racism, discrimination and exclusion is firmly enshrined in the conviction that the dignity of every human being is untouchable and that universal human rights are the guiding principle for all our actions. This is the only way to prevent the terrible events of the past from happening again.

Our collaboration with Zikaron BaSalon is a special contribution to this work of remembrance and awareness-raising. Zikaron BaSalon is highly valued in Germany. The fact, that Elke Büdenbender, the “First Lady” of the Federal Republic of Germany, met Holocaust survivors for the second time this year in the framework of a Zikaron BaSalon event, is but one expression of this. She was deeply impressed by her encounters with Marianne Karmon and Sara Goodman.

The organization has come a long way since it was founded in 2011. Initiated by some committed individuals in a rather private setting, the community has grown to over 1.5 milion members worldwide. Zikaron BaSalon events take place regularly not only in Israel, but in many places around the world. The stories of survivors therefore reach thousands of people.

I was particularly impressed by the participation of many people from Arab countries in one of the recent commemorative events.

Also, the commitment of the people behind Zikaron BaSalon deeply touches me. In the same way as all of us, they will be confronted with questions on how to keep the memory of the Shoah alive in the decades to come. With their work on enhancing digital possibilities of commemoration, they have greatly increased the potential reach of the work of Zikaron BaSalon and fostered instruments apt to bring the memory of the past to the future.

At the same time, working in the intimate environment of the “Living Room” also provides possibilities of including the young and future generations into the work of remembrance. Their experiences and perspectives on the traumatic stories of their parents and grandparents are an important part of coping with the past. Their perspectives can play a crucial role in ensuring that the memory of the Shoah firmly remains part of the identity of modern, future-oriented societies.

I am grateful that Zikaron BaSalon considers the German Embassy in Tel Aviv an important partner. May the community of Zikaron BaSalon continue to grow! May as many people as possible in Germany, Israel and all over the world, particularly young ones, have the opportunity to personally attend one of those important events and learn about the painful experiences of persecution and murder during the Shoah! May this help to make the world a better place for us and future generations.

This blog can also be an important tool for reaching more people and bringing them closer to the memory of the Shoah. I therefore wish Zikaron BaSalon the greatest possible success with this new project!

Sincerely yours,

Susanne Wasum-Rainer

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