Anyone who wants to set an example against Antisemitism must start with himself!
On November 3, 2019, about 500 people, among them the Lord Mayor of Halle Bernd Wiegand, the local member of the Bundestag Karamba Diaby, the chairman of the Jewish Community of Halle (Saale) Max Privorozki, the former General Secretary of the Central Council of Jews Stephan Kramer, as well as numerous organizers of Marches of Life from all over Germany responded to this appeal and gathered for a March of Life on the Hallmarkt in the city center.
In recent weeks, there have been numerous solidarity demonstrations and commemorative marches in Halle and throughout Germany. Why still have a March of Life three weeks later? Firstly because of the close friendship with the Jewish community in Halle. Secondly because society usually forgets quickly and returns to the agenda. Halle demands answers that politicians, Antisemitism commissioners and educational institutions cannot give alone, emphasized Jobst Bittner, founder of the March of Life movement: “Anyone who raises his voice against Antisemitism is only credible if he begins with himself.”
This made the statement on the marketplace very personal. The question was not: ‘What can one do?’, but ‘What can I do personally?’. “A society can change when people change. We can change a lot if we look at our family stories,” explained March of Life organizer Stefan Haas. Participants of the rally told their stories on stage, which underlined the statements of the call:
1) We confess Antisemitism in ourselves and in our families. We stop only accusing others of Antisemitism!
2) We confess to having tolerated Antisemitism in everyday life for too long and to having remained indifferent to it. We stop instrumentalizing Antisemitism politically!
3) We confess a Christian anti-Judaism thousands of years old, which still has effects today. We stop to regard Antisemitism as a social phenomenon of this time alone!
4) We confess that, all too often, our expressions of friendship with Israel do not correspond to our actions. We stop separating Antisemitism from anti-Israeli attitudes!
5) We confess that we are responsible to continuously and vigorously raise our voices against Antisemitism and Jew hatred and for Israel at any time and in any place. We stop lamenting Antisemitism only at commemorative events and vigils!
Danial from Iran told us how he grew up with anti-Israeli propaganda and how he repeatedly came across Antisemitism as a refugee in Germany among his colleagues at work. A visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial and the March of Life had forever changed him. Today he confronts Antisemitic comments at work and stands by the side of the Jewish state. Descendants of theologians and convinced National Socialists also reported on their own indifference and the entanglements of their own families, and how their attitude towards Jews and Israel changed with the process of coming to terms with the situation.
Max Privorozki, chairman of the Jewish Community in Halle, said in a moving speech that the community of course was talking about whether it was time to leave Germany. But the attack showed two things: “Without God’s help we will not be absolutely safe anywhere. Neither in Israel, nor in America, nor in Germany. In every generation and no matter where, there are always enemies trying to destroy us. But we are called to be the light for the nations and even a little bit of it can drive away much darkness”. The fact that the door of the synagogue resisted the shots is a miracle, and it proves that God alone offers real protection.
Stephan Kramer, President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Thuringia, also does not view the emigration of Jews as a solution: “Jews have lived in Germany since 321 AD. We will not let ourselves be driven out of this country, because we belong here!” Tolerance and respect could not be decreed from above, but education in favor of humanity and charity was an irreplaceable measure against radicalism and extremism. That is why he personally appreciates the March of Life that begins in the families.
At the end of the public announcement, the participants symbolically formed a Star of David on the Hallmarkt and held little lights up into the evening sky. With this sign of light, the march set off through the inner city of Halle to the synagogue, where the march ended with a minute’s silence for the victims.
The March of Life in Halle was supported by Christian an der Seite Israel e.V., Initiative 27. Januar e.V. and ICEJ – Deutscher Zweig e.V.
Media reports (in German):