In 1996, Federal President Roman Herzog chosed the 27th January the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism. The Shoah Memorial Day not only commemorates the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp on January 27, 1945, but also symbolizes the millions and millions Jews and others suffering during the Nazi reign of terror. Since the UN proclaimed the day the Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005, the Shoah is commemorated throughout the world on January 27th.
In most cases, the number of victims or the various fates sound far too abstract to actually understand them. But if one realizes that part of this millionfold number of victims has lived in one's hometown, that one may live in the same house as a victim of the Shoah, or that children like Anne Frank also experience a similar fate at the school in their own place the grief becomes tangible. Also in the Altenburg County there were numerous victims of the Shoah. Therefore, today's Shoah Memorial Day especially should be dedicated to the Jewish victims from Altenburg, Schmölln, Meuselwitz or other towns and villages of the Altenburg County.
Over the years, Jewish artists like Josefa Back-Freund, Bernhard Salno, Felix Freilich or Karl Schorr influenced the cultural life of Altenburg. In the mining industry of the Meuselwitz-Rositz lignite mining district, in the sugar refining or oil production, Jewish capital and know-how were the basis for the creation of numerous jobs. Successful merchants like Sally Bucky, Jacob Fruchtmann, Wolf Goldberg, Sally Gottlieb, Selig Hausmann, Arnold Kohn, Albert Levy, Leo Lipinski, Kurt Pick or Isaak Rotenberg have shaped the retail trade of the Altenburg County or the social life by offering warm meals for the needy. Dr. Richard Sieskind or Dr. Arthur Friedmann have rendered outstanding services to the medical care, Hans Rosenberg dispensed justice at the Altenburg Court. The Jewish inhabitants of the Altenburg County have helped shape the area and have made their contribution to the cohabitation. At the latest with the seizure of power of the National Socialists began their systematic deprivation of rights and persecution, which many - far too many - have paid with their lives. Not only today - but especially today - we should give them an honorable memory.