Gottfried Buehler with Holocaust survivor
By Karin Lorenz

The ICEJ’s German branch again marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, with this year’s commemorations especially important given that Germany is facing its worst surge of antisemitism since the end of Nazi rule.

When reports of the Hamas massacres on October 7 first appeared, Arabs and Muslims danced with joy and handed out candies in the streets of Berlin. Since then, tens of thousands of radical Islamists and leftists have held strident anti-Israel and antisemitic protests across Germany.

Under police protection, the ICEJ laid a wreath at the Holocaust memorial in Stuttgart, joined by members of the Jewish community and guests from Israel. Afterwards, 400 attendees heard speeches not only remembering the Shoah, but also denouncing the current frightening levels of antisemitism.

The ICEJ also held a large remembrance event with the Jewish community in the synagogue in Michelstadt, which also was broadcast to the nearby Protestant church. The 500 guests heard Ahmad Mansour, a German-Israeli psychologist of Arab-Palestinian origin, speak about his changed attitudes towards Jews and his concerns that anti-Semites in Germany are so brazen in openly expressing their hatred of Jews.

The German branch also organized school assemblies for 93-year-old Holocaust survivor Fanny Ben-Ami to tell her life story to over 2000 students and also testify on the horrors of October 7.

Born in Baden-Baden before the war, Fanny Ben-Ami escaped from the Nazis to France. Though still a child, Fanny supported the French resistance during the German occupation and rescued 150 partisans. At age 13, she also smuggled her two younger sisters and 26 other Jewish children to Switzerland. Fanny’s life was later made into a movie.

The school gatherings were moderated by ICEJ-Germany chairman Gottfried Bühler, who challenged the students to stand against anti-Semitism. As a visible sign, the students shone their cell phone flashlights in the darkened hall.

Main photo: Fanny Ben-Ami in conversation with Gottfried Bühler at a memorial event in Stuttgart.