“day of Victims of Nazism” Passes Almost Unnoticed in Germany

The annual “Day of the Victims of Nazism” has come and gone in West Germany, but it is questionable whether even one German in five hundred as much as heard about it.

Several years ago this was a major and solemn event in towns large or small, with the most prominent public figures and government spokesmen eager to address open-air rallies or indoor mass meetings. Now the occasion is forgotten. In a very few cities small persecutee groups hold closed meetings, generally without any representation from official quarters.

In Munich, where the sole memorial assembly in all of Bavaria was arranged by the State Council for Freedom and Justice, its secretary-general, Gerhard Hirsch, recalled how the largest hall in the city had not been spacious enough, back in 1946, to contain the crowds that came to pay tribute to the victims of Nazism. Today, he noted wryly, it was a difficult task to fill the 120-seat auditorium in which they had gathered.

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