Cantina Quote o’ The Week: Richard von Weizsacker


Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to new risks of infection.

- Richard von Weizsacker

Especially in this age of Godwin’s Law, Holocaust denial, and the distressing tendency of the American right to call everyone and everything they don’t like a Nazi, it’s important to remember the true horrors perpetrated in the name of an ideology.  Richard von Weizsacker, President of Germany from 1984 to 1994, gave a speech on the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II that speaks of the importance of that remembrance.  Here’s the above quote in context:

The vast majority of today’s population were either children then or had not been born. They cannot profess a guilt of their own for crimes that they did not commit. No discerning person can expect them to wear a penitential robe simply because they are Germans. But their forefathers have left them a grave legacy. All of us, whether guilty or not, whether old or young, must accept the past. We are all affected by its consequences and liable for it. The young and old generations must and can help each other to understand why it is vital to keep alive the memories. It is not a case of coming to terms with the past. That is not possible. It cannot be subsequently modified or made undone. However, anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present. Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to new risks of infection.

Never forget.