Wiesenthal Center: Concentration camp memorial fails to heed warning from the Holocaust

Center’s chief Nazi hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, slams staff at Sachsenhausen for inviting controversial journalist to speak in July.

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June 15, 2014 08:24
2 minute read.
Visitors at Sachsenhausen concentration camp

Visitors at Sachsenhausen concentration camp 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, issued a scathing indictment of the staff of the memorial and museum at the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp for inviting a German journalist who energetically supports Hezbollah and Iran’s regime to speak in July.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, “It is unthinkable that a former Nazi concentration camp will invite a supporter [Christoph Hörstel] of an organization which has murdered Israeli civilians and pursues a lethal policy of anti-Semitic terror. Hezbollah makes no secret of its animus to Jews and the Jewish state, so an invitation to one of their supporters to Sachsenhausen is the antithesis of the lessons which we would assume are being taught there.”

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Horst Seferens, a spokesman for Sachsenhausen, wrote to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that the “planned Mr.

Hörstel event was already canceled by us on June 2.” He said that “this event was planned without the participation of the memorial. It can in no way be said that the memorial ‘invited’ Mr. Hörstel.”

Hörstel has said that Germany “has in no way responsibility for the security of Israel or for its right to exist.”

He has spoken at the annual Al-Quds Day March in Berlin, which attracts more than 1,000 supporters of Hezbollah and Iran, and calls for the destruction of Israel. Hörstel, who is not Jewish, wrote earlier this year in the socialist daily Neues Deutschland an article titled, “We Jews should not establish a state,” which argued in favor of the extremist anti-Zionist views of Natorei Karta.

Seferens declined to answer a series of Post questions requesting the name of the Hörstel event and if employees were disciplined for scheduling a guest event with him. He would not comment on whether Sachsenhausen views Hörstel as anti-Semitic, and declined to provide statements on whether Sachsenhausen considers Iran’s regime and Hezbollah to be anti-Semitic.

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In response to multiple Post queries, Seferens wrote Sachsenhausen views “other questions… as invalid.”

According to Sachsenhausen’s website, the memorial and museum “is a place of open learning and offers its visitors many possibilities to learn about the site.”

Sachsenhausen’s programs have faced criticism over the years for unsavory events, according to critics, that dishonor the victims. Writing in the main German Jewish weekly Die Jüdische Allgemeine in 2012, the prominent cultural journalist Hannes Stein called a musical theater production of Korczak, which was performed at Sachsenhausen, “Musical vultures” or a musical robbing of the dead.

The former Sachsenhausen camp is located outside of Berlin in the state of Brandenburg.

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