09/17/2023 News

A Tree from Israel

On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was founded - only three years after the Shoah. As part of the anniversary celebrations, members of the Greens Party in the Bundestag planted 75 trees in their respective constituencies in a joint action with the Embassy of Israel to express the rootedness of both countries. One of the trees was planted at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial.

On the morning of Saturday, September 16, 2023, Jenny Jasberg, the Hamburg parliamentary group leader of the Greens Party, and two members of the Bundestag, Linda Heitmann and Dr Konstantin von Notz, planted the “copper rock pear tree,” flown in from Israel, in the memorial grove of the former Neuengamme Concentration Camp.

More than 100,000 people were imprisoned in Neuengamme, the largest concentration camp in northern Germany, including approximately 13,000 people persecuted as Jews. "These were mainly deported Jewish women who were brought from Auschwitz to numerous subcamps of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp for forced labor from 1943 onwards because there was a shortage of labor," explained the director of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial and of the foundation of Hamburg Memorials, Prof. Dr. Oliver von Wrochem.

In a further exchange about the culture of remembrance, both the memorial director and the politicians expressed concern, for example, when looking at the current political developments in Thuringia. The increasing disinterest regarding remembrance culture in some parts of the population is worrying, which is why remembrance in the present must be supported more. Oliver von Wrochem sees this important task of learning about National Socialist crimes as one of the tasks of memorial work. This work is also in a state of permanent change in Hamburg. For example, the memorial denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof, from where Jewish people were deported to ghettos like Minsk or Riga and on to extermination camps, will have a documentation center in HafenCity by 2026.

For more about the campaign: 75 trees for Israel (Jüdische Allgemeine; in German)