Holocaust Memorial Event at the Volkswagen Works


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Wreath-laying, reading and musical performance marking the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

The management, Works Council and staff marked the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz with an event commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. Wolfsburg Plant Manager Jens Herrmann, Works Council Committee Member Gabriele Trittel and Plant Works Council Chief Administrator Marco Wittek laid a wreath on the memorial stone at Gate 2.

This was the second occasion on which the works had held its own Holocaust Memorial event. Following the wreath-laying, a passage was read from the novel “Fateless” by Jewish author Imre Kertész (* 1929). Nobel Prize in Literature Laureate Imre Kertész survived the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps as a youth, and “Fateless” reflects his experiences. Musicians from the Philharmonic Volkswagen Orchestra then performed the Third String Quartet by Jewish composer Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944), who was murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The piece was written in the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1943, and was first performed at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg.

Plant Manager Jens Herrmann commented on the occasion of the memorial event: “For Volkswagen, commemorating the victims of National Socialism is an ongoing process, promoting mutual respect and consideration, and rejecting racism and intolerance.” In their statement, Gabriele Trittel and Marco Wittek from the Works Council added: “In view of the current debate concerning refugees, especially, exclusion and marginalisation must under no circumstances be tolerated.”

Among the 20,000 forced labourers at the works of the then Volkswagenwerk GmbH between 1940 and 1945 were Jewish prisoners from the Auschwitz concentration camp.