(24 January 2019) The prisoners of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi-concentration camp were liberated 75 years ago by the allied forces at the end of World War II, 27 January 1945. This camp was designed to assist in the annihilation of Jews in Europe. It was part of an abhorrent system of repression and racism and a network of death camps, ghettos, forced labour, razzias and execution squads. 6 million Jewish people were murdered as well as many millions of other innocent people, such as the Roma, who were murdered for belonging to an ethnic group. The Nazi regime symbolises the very opposite of what trade unions stand for: human dignity for, and equality of all people. We stand together with all those who said, and continue to say: “Never Again”.
European cooperation manifest in the Council of Europe and the European Union, and the global work of the UN and ILO for example, was and is built by putting humanity at its core, with fundamental rights, democracy, freedom of expression, the rule of law and social justice. In many places, not least in Europe, these core values are threatened by nationalism and xenophobia, increased racism and anti-Semitism, homophobia, attacks on women’s rights, often fueled by austerity policies and runaway capitalism which increases inequalities and injustice. We remember what nationalism and racism can lead to. It was also 75 years ago that Anne Frank died, a young Jewish girl who hid with her family hid for years, before being betrayed and deported to Auschwitz and later the camp of Bergen-Belsen.
As we remember, the EPSU Congress was very clear where Europe’s public services unions stand. We fight against racism and fascism. There is no place for it in society.
It condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief.