Funeral service in Berlin: Steinmeier commemorates Auschwitz survivor Roman Kent

DAccording to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany will preserve the memory of Auschwitz survivor Roman Kent. “His legacy is an obligation for us to resist anti-Semitism and racism of all kinds,” said Steinmeier on Monday in Berlin at a memorial service for the President of the International Auschwitz Committee, who died in New York in May at the age of 92. He thinks back to Kent “with deep sadness and great gratitude”, said the Federal President.

Roman Kent was born in 1929 in Lodz, Poland, to the Jewish Kniker family. At the end of 1939 the family was taken to the ghetto, where Kent’s father died in 1943 as a result of malnutrition. The rest of the family came to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. Together with his brother Leon, Kent was in other concentration camps until, according to committee information, American soldiers liberated him on a death march from Flossenbürg to Dachau. Kent emigrated to America with his brother in 1946, where he worked as a businessman. From 2011 until his death he was President of the International Auschwitz Committee.

The survivors had recognized “that in Auschwitz the monstrous did not appear in human form, but that the beast lurked in all of us,” said Steinmeier. Kent knew the abyss of man, but was also a “pragmatic, assertive fighter for the rights and concerns of survivors”.

As President of the Auschwitz Committee, he spoke so urgently about it and warned about what had happened in Auschwitz like no other, the Federal President said. Kent made it important not to disguise his words. People did not lose their lives in Auschwitz, nor did they die, but were “brutally murdered”. Kent’s goal was that the world should become a better one through the next generations. “I hope that these hopes will be fulfilled,” said Steinmeier.

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