Gedenkrede 75 Jahre Kriegsende in Düsseldorf & Apeldoorn

Diese Rede, die von den Schüler*innen am 17. April 2020 während der Gedenkveranstaltung in Apeldoorn gehalten werden sollte, entstand im Rahmen unseres Jugendaustauschprogramms „75 Jahre Frieden und Freiheit in Apeldoorn und Düsseldorf“. Die Schüler*innen formulierten ihre Gedanken Anfang März. Sie konnten daher nicht die Situation vorhersehen, in der wir uns heute durch die Coronavirus-Pandemie befinden. Wir möchten die Rede dennoch so mit Ihnen teilen, wie die Schüler*innen sie in der Gedenkzeremonie gesprochen hätten.

Angesichts der gegenwärtigen Notwendigkeit, die persönliche Freiheit einzuschränken, um eine globale Gesundheitskrise einzudämmen, bekommt das Plädoyer der Schüler*innen, unsere Freiheit und unsere auf Freiheitsrechten gegründeten Gesellschaften zu wertschätzen, eine Aktualität, die wir uns vor sechs Wochen nicht hätten vorstellen können. Niemand von uns stellt die Notwendigkeit infrage, die Pandemie eindämmen zu müssen, um Leben zu retten – gegenseitige Verantwortung, Respekt für unsere Mitmenschen, deren Gesundheit und Wohlergehen verlangen von uns eine temporäre Begrenzung unserer persönlichen Freiheit. Doch die Worte der Schüler*innen erinnern uns auch daran, dass wir unsere Freiheitsrechte verantwortungsvoll schützen müssen – selbst und vielleicht besonders jetzt. Vor allem aber präsentieren wir die Worte der Schüler*innen als Zeichen der Hoffnung, der Ermutigung, des gegenseitigen Respekts und einer gemeinsamen Zukunft.

++ Speech by the Düsseldorf students for the commemoration on 17 April 2020 in Apeldoorn ++

Dear Mayor Heerts, dear members of the Foundation „Liberation „45“, dear members of the Gelre Association International, dear Lord Mayor Geisel, but most of all: dear citizens of Apeldoorn.

There are no words to express how honoured and grateful we are to be given the chance to partake in this historical event – historical for both Apeldoorn and Düsseldorf – at this day, 75 years ago, these two cities were liberated from the terrors of the radical, oppressive Nazi regime. The resistance movements which led to the liberation were the inspiration for our project, that we are here to represent today. It is interesting to discover that in both cities it was ordinary citizens who stood up and acted to save their cities from destruction.

Before this project, we had no idea of how the war had ended in Düsseldorf, much less we knew about a city called Apeldoorn and how similar the Nazi regime came to an end there. Well, now you might be wondering why we took part in the project in the first place.

After years of history classes and learning about the National Socialists’ regime in Germany, we were eager to find out how it all ended - not abstractly and in general – but in a concrete sense in our hometown. We craved to know how it was to live in Düsseldorf in 1945 and by this to get closer to the history of our native city. In addition to that we wanted to look across the border, to see what it meant for our Dutch neighbours.

So for this project, students from our school (the Friedrich-Rückert-Gymnasium) in Düsseldorf and the Veluws College Mheenpark here in Apeldoorn came together to learn and reflect on the events that occurred during the last year and last days of the war in our respective cities and how they were finally liberated. Then, in the second part of our project, we looked back at what we had found out and we asked ourselves: Does this have any relevance today? We started to collect keywords to create posters with pictures we took in Apeldoorn and Düsseldorf. These posters serve the purpose to transfer the spirit and ideals which were brought to life 75 years ago by the resistance movements, and they will be presented around our cities in order to keep that spirit alive.

We did all of this because even now, 75 years after their heroic actions, it is important to commemorate the activists behind the movements, as it required great courage to dare to fight the regime's oppression despite having the odds against them. The sacrifice they made in order to secure a world where we are able to move freely without fear of each other, without having to distrust our neighbours is still going to be worth speaking of in even 75 years from now.

With their actions they were able to prove that if people who share the same goals unite, and if their will to make a difference is bigger than their doubt, they are able to make a change. They proved, that hope is the only thing that beats fear.

So now, if we look back at what they have done for all of us; if we take a moment to reflect on their legacy, all we can do is to feel grateful. It cannot be taken for granted to be able to live in a democracy. And it is certainly not a given to live in a society that cherishes equality, and at the same time encourages individuality.

We are here today because we acknowledge the privilege we have gained to live in a secure, humane society. And it is because we acknowledge these privileges that we need to remain consistent with the progress we can still make as humanity; Germany's Nazi past has taught us what we do not want to become, how we do not want to live. So let us prove to ourselves that we are not our past. Let us prove to the generations to come, that we have not only learned from the past, but also evolved from it. And let us prove to the world, that we are not here to fight each other, but to accept and love each other. Let us work together to build a world where war will only be a distant memory.

Thank you.

Aurelia Müller, Q2

 

Einen Artikel über das gemeinsame Projekt zwischen den Schüler*innen des FRGs und den niederländischen Jugendlichen erschien am Donnerstag in der Rheinischen Post: rp-online.de/nrw/staedte/duesseldorf/duesseldorf-was-uns-die-helden-von-1945-sagen_aid-49900821