News January 26, 2021

Memorial service for the victims of the Holocaust: Five against forgetting

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The five companies Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen and Borussia Dortmund today issued a joint declaration against antisemitism and racism at a virtual memorial service for the victims of the Holocaust. The declaration is based on the universally valid formulation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The commemoration was organised by the Friends of Yad Vashem.

With the declaration, the five companies want to send a strong signal for freedom, democracy, diversity and peaceful coexistence. The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dr. Josef Schuster, explained how important this signal is for Jewish life in the country: "Antisemitism can only be fought if it is defined and recognised. That is why the definition of antisemitism is all the more important. We would like to see it applied at all levels, including government agencies."

On behalf of Deutsche Bank, Supervisory Board Chairman Paul Achleitner attended the commemoration. In conversation with moderator Shelly Kupferberg, he emphasised how important it is to create a corporate culture that values diversity and is characterised by a climate of openness: "As Deutsche Bank, we therefore also see it as our task to stand up for diversity and tolerance, participation and democracy with our employees, every day anew."

Like Ola Källenius (Daimler), Richard Lutz (Deutsche Bahn), Gunnar Kilian (Volkswagen) and Hans-Joachim Watzke (Borussia Dortmund), Achleitner also emphasised the great responsibility of companies, especially in a crisis such as the current one, not to forget history and its horrors in order not to give hatred, harassment and extremism a breeding ground in the present.

You can watch a replay of the commemoration here (available only in German):

Facts about Deutsche Bank on the subject

  • Deutsche Bank was the first German financial institution to have its history during the Nazi era investigated in depth and without reservation by independent historians.
  • Deutsche Bank was one of the 13 German companies that proposed to the Federal Government in 1999 that the foundation initiative "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" be established. The foundation came into being the following year. For forced labourers and other victims of the Nazi regime, the federal government and the business community together provided five billion euros.
  • In banking in particular, employees of Christian and Jewish origin worked closely and smoothly together before 1933. One of the founders of the bank (Ludwig Bamberger) and one of its first board members (Paul Wallich) were of Jewish faith, as were three of the six board spokespersons before 1933 (Paul Mankiewitz, Oscar Wassermann, Georg Solmssen).
  • Deutsche Bank employees and their families were also deported via the Berlin-Grunewald S-Bahn station – the place where the representatives of the five companies laid wreaths before the commemoration ceremony. Anna Herrhausen did this on behalf of Deutsche Bank.

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