With the motto "Borussia connects," BVB have organised remembrance and education projects for many years, and we are committed to a diverse society. 27 January plays a particularly important part in this every year, as it was on 27 January 1945 that the Red Army liberated the few remaining survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camp. "Memorial Day for the Victims of National Socialism," as well as "International Holocaust Remembrance Day," are therefore grounds for many initiatives this year too.
Digital Event: Remembrance Day
For many years, "Remembrance Day" has taken place at the BORUSSEUM around 27 January. Nationwide, this event is held within the context of "Remembrance Day in German Football." This year, an often-forgotten group of victims is the focus of various events, such as yesterday evening's at the BORUSSEUM: those that were persecuted and murdered by the National Socialists for supposedly being terminally or mentally ill.
The murder of more than 70,000 patients from sanatoriums and nursing homes between 1940 and 1941 was the first centrally organised mass murder in the National Socialist state, euphemistically called "euthanasia" ("a beautiful death").
As part of yesterday's digital event "From 'Euthanasia' to the Holocaust. Sick and disabled people as victims of the first National Socialist murder programme," Berlin historian Robert Parzer gave a lecture on the local aspects of the patient murders - with a special focus on the sanatorium in the Dortmund district of Aplerbeck - and he also explained the ties between "euthanasia" and the Holocaust. Daniel Lörcher (Head of Corporate Responsibility at BVB) and Sarah Hartwich (Museum Director at BORUSSEUM) led the event, which was followed by numerous spectators via livestream.
"It was very important for us to remember this important topic, as well as this group of the National Socialists' victims. It's also important to understand that in this context, the term euthanasia is a term coined by the perpetrators and a trivialisation. Behind it lies the murder of supposedly incurable mentally or physically ill people," explained Lörcher.
The event can be viewed here retrospectively:
Memorial Service at the LWL Clinic
A few hours before Wednesday evening's event, a BVB delegation led by Club President Dr. Reinhard Rauball had already joined the memorial service for the victims of National Socialism at the LWL Clinic Dortmund on Wednesday afternoon. Together with the clinic's management, those involved laid a wreath at the "Remembrance Day for National Socialist crimes against the mentally ill and disabled" on the clinic's grounds. All of those present paused to listen to the ringing of LWL Church of the Resurrection's bells.
It was especially important to BVB and the LWL Clinic to remember the darkest chapter in German (psychiatric) history. "Way too few people stood up against the inhuman mindset," stated clinic pastor and chaplain Anke Thimm, who said a prayer during the commemoration.
(Photo: Clinic Pastor Anke Thimm, Nursing Director Yvonne Auclair, Medical Director Prof. Hans-Jörg Assion, Commercial Director Prof. Jens Bothe, BVB President Dr. Reinhard Rauball, Head of BVB Corporate Responsibility Daniel Lörcher, BORUSSEUM Director Sarah Hartwich)
Together with Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank, and Volkswagen, BVB is taking part in the Germany-wide sticker campaign "Licht zeigen" ("Showing Light"), organised by Yad Vashem's Circle of Friends. The Posner family's Hanukkah menorah is on display at the company's headquarters on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Arthur Posner was the last rabbi in Kiel before the Nazis began their pogroms. His wife Rahel photographed the family's Hanukkah menorah in 1931, which stood in the windowsill of their living room in the city. Outside, on the other side of the street, huge Nazi flags were already hanging on the building's facade. "The inconceivable number of six million murdered Jews becomes more tangible through individual biographies, and it becomes clear that each individual victim was a person with their very own unique story," said Hans-Joachim Watzke, CEO of Borussia Dortmund. "I hope that the story of Rahel Posner's Hanukkah menorah is a starting point for many people to come to terms with history. We can only shape the present and future if we are aware of our past."
For many years, BVB have participated in World Jewish Congress' #WeRemember campaign. That was also the case this year, where they provided a video contribution. BVB are also delighted by any fans that would like to participate.
Memorial Service at Dortmund Südbahnhof
Remembrance Day for the victims of National Socialism has been observed on 27 January in Germany since 1995, alongside International Holocaust Memorial Day. A BVB delegation also took part in a memorial service and wreath-laying ceremony today, this time at Dortmund Südbahnhof. This was the central deportation station for the entire administrative district of Arnsberg. From here, Jewish and Roma Dortmund locals were deported to concentration camps such as Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Riga between 1942 and 1945. Very few survived.
Together with members of the Dortmund district council Innenstadt-Ost, representatives of the Jewish community in Dortmund, and pupils of Käthe-Kollwitz-Gymnasium, Sarah Hartwich and Daniel Lörcher took part in a wreath-laying ceremony on behalf of BVB.
Today, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is also commemorating the atrocities of the National Socialist terror regime with a memorial service on the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. The service can be followed here via livestream from 16:00 CET.