Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, 75 candles were lit on Sunday at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a field of 2,700 concrete pillars arranged in a labyrinthine grid in the heart of Berlin.
Lea Rosh, who was instrumental is getting the nearly 15-year-old monument created, set up the candles for Sunday’s ceremony.
“Every day, but especially on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we have to show our faces, we have to stand up together so that the much-vaunted ‘Never again’ does not become a hollow phrase,” she said.
The candlelight vigil in Berlin came on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Soviet liberation of the Nazi concentration camp. Monday is also Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Of the 6 million Jews annihilated by the Germans, more than 1 million were murdered in the camp.
Concerts were also held at the Berlin Cathedral on Sunday, including a “Requiem for Auschwitz” in the evening. The Frankfurt-based Roma and Sinti Philharmonic was to play music by Roger Moreno-Rathgeb, a Dutchman who comes from a Sinti family and who composed the work after his first visit to Auschwitz.
Sinti and Roma people were also persecuted by the Nazis.
On Monday, around 200 Holocaust survivors are expected to attend commemorations at the site of the former camp in Oswiecim, Poland, where the Nazi German occupiers established the concentration camp during World War II.
The presidents of Israel, Poland and Germany, as well as the Dutch and Spanish royal couples, heads of state and government, and delegations from more than 30 other countries will also be in attendance.
It comes after around 40 world leaders attended a memorial at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance centre last week.