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An important political step towards a memorial for Holocaust victims

23 March 2021

An important matter of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad has definitely reached both chambers of the Swiss Parliament. In two identical motions, Council of States member Daniel Jositsch (SP, ZH) and National Councillor Alfred Heer (SVP, ZH) call on the Federal Council to "create an official Swiss memorial for the victims of National Socialism". 

The two parliamentarians cover a very broad political spectrum with their demand submitted on 15 March 2021: Daniel Jositsch, member of the Council of States, represents the left of the Council as a Social Democrat, while Alfred Heer, member of the National Council, belongs to the right-wing of the Grand Chamber. The fact that they come to the same opinion from politically very opposite positions adds additional weight to their concern.

According to Heer and Jositsch, the memorial should keep alive the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust and raise awareness of the importance of democracy and the rule of law. It is not yet clear when the two motions will be discussed in the Council of States and the National Council.

The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad has been calling for such a memorial since 2018. In its view, the history of National Socialism is particularly important from a Swiss perspective, because numerous Swiss Abroad died in the Nazi concentration camps. From today's perspective, the behaviour of the Swiss authorities during the war years also appears to be very strange in part: many lives could have been saved if Switzerland had been more courageous and more emphatic in protecting its threatened compatriots abroad. From the Swiss perspective, remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust is therefore also remembering the actions of Swiss authorities and diplomats at the time. 

Finally, from the point of view of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad, it is important not only to create a memorial, but also to combine it with an educational programme. The aim is to make a contribution to human rights and against discrimination and racism. 

On you can now find the online dossier "Swiss Holocaust Victims" , which contains various materials on the topic.