Jewish leaders urged Munich’s mayor to put off the city’s annual carnival parade, which falls on Holocaust Memorial Day.
Munich Mayor Christian Ude says he can’t change the date. He told the Tagesspiegel newspaper on Jan. 22 that the international Holocaust Memorial Day “is not a holiday and therefore does not get any kind of legal protection. So the authorities have no legal means to prohibit other celebrations on that day.”
Salomon Korn, a vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement Wednesday that the plan to hold the “Fasching Parade” on Jan. 27 “insults the memory of the victims to whom this day is dedicated, and it raises questions about our society’s culture of remembrance.” Jan. 27 marks the 63rd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp by the Soviet army.
Munich native Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Central Council, raised the issue during the 300th anniversary celebration of the Jewish community of Offenbach on Sunday.
The Munich-based association that is putting on the parade, “The Dizzy Knights,” said the protest was lodged too late for them to disinvite international guests. Association head Peter O. Bosse told Tagesspiegel that they had set the date in May 2007. He said if he had known it was Holocaust Remembrance Day he would have chosen another day.
About 20,000 viewers are expected to fill the streets for the carnival, which will feature some 1,000 marchers from around the world wearing colorful costumes.