Germans recognized for work
Monday, January 26,
BERLIN -- On the day
Germans come together to remember Nazi atrocities, an American Jew arrived
in Berlin from Boston to thank some Germans for their acts of kindness.
Tuesday marks the
59th year since the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex - where
more than 1.5 million people perished, 90 percent of them Jewish - was
liberated by advancing Soviet troops on January 27, 1949. Since 1996,
the day has been set aside for Germans remember the crimes committed in
a Jewish American whose four grandparents were all German, said it was
the perfect day to recognize six Germans who have helped to keep the memory
of Jews in Germany alive.
While searching for
his German roots, he met people who fought to preserve the Jewish history
in their own communities and wanted to bring attention to their efforts,
Obermayer told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday.
"I found there
were people who felt the only thing they could do personally to make up
for a terrible history was to record and preserve, to do work related
to Jewish history in their own communities," he said.
is one of the people to receive an Obermayer German Jewish History Award.
In her town of 13,000, Breisach am Rhein near the French border, she spearheaded
an effort to save a historic Jewish school from destruction and plans
to create an educational center on Jews and other minorities.
confronted with this discussion in Germany, with the ongoing anti-Semitism,
which you can sense in our town. It made me decide to get involved,"
she said. "I thought it would be worthwhile to
try in such a small town to reach out to people, to bring back the stories
of the 250 Jews who lived there in 1933."
Other people being
recognized include a Hamburg man who created a huge genealogical database
to assist Jews seeking relatives; a Berlin man who recovered Jewish gravestones
that had been used to build staircases, and the creators of a museum of
Jewish-German history in Wiesbaden.
Germany marks national
Holocaust day with speeches, visits to cemeteries, class lessons, and
tours through former concentration camps.