Never stop remembering – thyssenkrupp visits Yad Vashem
thyssenkrupp is a unique company. This is also due to its very eventful history of over 200 years.
Particularly with regard to the active role in the Nazi era and the Third Reich, the history of the company requires to take a critical and unsparing look at it. "Here, our history holds us responsible. We acknowledge this and take a clear stand. We have a responsibility to play our part in keeping memory alive and ensuring that 'never again' never loses its power," says Oliver Burkhard, member of the Executive Board of thyssenkrupp AG. Examples of this are the study trips to Auschwitz and Dachau, which have been offered for many years by the Group Youth and Apprentice Representative Council, always under the slogan ‘Never stop remembering’.
“Never stop remembering” is also the basic idea of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem: a living memorial to the Holocaust by the Jewish people, which preserves the memory of the past and conveys its importance to future generations. Founded in 1953 as a worldwide centre for the documentation of the Holocaust, its research and teaching, and for remembrance, it is now a vivid place for people from all over the world to come together.
Yad Vashem is of manifold importance for thyssenkrupp. Not only by documenting and processing the Holocaust, but also by honoring those who risked their lives to save Jews. They are remembered in Yad Vashem with the title “Righteous among the nations”. These include Berthold Beitz, for many years general representative of Fried. Krupp and one of the architects of thyssenkrupp AG, who as a young businessman together with his wife Else saved the lives of hundreds of Jews in Poland.
Against the background of this significance and the responsibility to keep reflecting on the Holocaust, 12 young employees visited Yad Vashem together with the then CEO Guido Kerkhoff in September 2019 – the 75th year after the liberation of the concentration camp in Auschwitz.
The trip, which was organized jointly with the Group Works Council, included a visit to the memorial site and guided tours of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. “Many of us travelled to Israel for the first time, especially to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I was really impressed by the openness of the people with whom we were welcomed despite our origins,” says Anna Schreiber, 20, a dual student at thyssenkrupp Materials Trading and participant in the trip.
In Yad Vashem, the group visited the Holocaust History Museum, the photo exhibition, the Hall of Names, where the memorial sheets for millions of Holocaust victims are kept, and the memorial for the approximately 1.5 million Jewish children who were murdered in the Holocaust.
Yad Vashem aims to give each victim of the Holocaust a name and tell their stories. “Today, between 300 and 400 new names and fates are still identified each month. This makes the experiences and the dehumanising events incredibly close and tangible. That moved me deeply,” explains Jill Hirschmann, 26, Manager Corporate Controlling at thyssenkrupp Elevator after the trip.
Felix Pfüller, 21, dual student at thyssenkrupp System Engineering: “In terms of content, the photo exhibition impressed me most. Particularly with regard to the current debate on social media and fake news, the examination of the power that comes from images and sound is both impressive and shocking.
“At the end of the day in Yad Vashem, I became even more aware that we have the responsibility to actively remember and oppose the forgetting”, Anna summarizes the visit to Israel.