VK-Exkursion nach Tarnow in Polen

Es war ein bedeutender Moment , als die Teilnehmer der VK-Exkursion in Tarnow im Umland von Krakau eine der „LGBT-freie Zone“ in Polen besuchten. Hier hat unsere polnische Partnerorganisation selbstbewusst und zielgerichtet ein Selbsthilfezentrum eröffnet. Während der Veranstaltung sprach Vorsitzender Kurt Siering bewegende Worte über die polnisch-deutschen Beziehungen und die Verantwortung, die sich aus unserer Vergangenheit ergibt.

Tarnow ist auch der Ort, von dem aus erstmalig Menschen von den Nazis ins Konzentrationslager Auschwitz deportiert wurden. Damals wurde die Region als „judenfreie Zone“ von den Nazis deklariert.
Die Erkenntnisse des Tages wirkten lange nach, machten bedrückt und nachdenklich.

Matthias Weber, VK-Vorstand für Internationales und Chairman unseres Europa-Verbandes EPBN, wollte mit der Exkursion bewusst die Gelegenheit zur Reflexion geben und auch zum Vergleich der sehr unterschiedlichen Lebenswelten für LGBT in Europa.
Es war eine gute Gelegenheit, Solidarität zu zeigen und ein Bewusstsein für die Herausforderungen zu schaffen, mit denen viele Menschen in unserem Nachbarland konfrontiert sind.

Hier die Rede von Kurt Siering im Wortlaut (in Englisch):

My dear friends,

I am deeply moved by the history that pervades this place. The burden of the past with its dark chapters – full of sorrow and suffering – weighs heavily in the air.
As a German it feels a bit less shameful to speak to you in English and not in the language of the perpetrator. As a German it is impossible for me not to see the poignant presence of the Holocaust, not to hear the stories of Polish forced laborers and all other victims, not to feel the suffering of all the killed human beings.
This knowledge of this part of history, our history, painfully reminds me today of the complex and sometimes tense relationship between our two nations.
It is a burden we must bear, a legacy that we must face with humility and determination.
Tarnow, your city, where you welcome us today as guests, fell under the control of the General Government after the German invasion of Poland in 1939 – a regime of terror and oppression imposed by the German occupiers. The actions of the Gestapo cast a shadow over this city and sent the first prisoner transport to Auschwitz on June 14, 1940. The shocking reality is that many of those – who embarked on this journey – never returned. Only a fraction of the 728 souls on this transport survived the end of the war. And after this transport, many more followed. Many voices were silenced in the camps during the war, especially those of marginalized groups, people like us today, people of the LGBT community.

And Tarnow itself bears the scars of war and occupation. Large parts of this city were devastated, leaving behind a landscape marked by tragedy and loss. These memories are now an essential part of our collective memory. But amid the shadows of the past, there is a common thread that binds us as part of one community – shared experiences of resilience and courage that have shaped our respective journeys.

Despite the geographical and ideological divides that once separated us we have all felt the bitter pain of oppression in the post-war period. It is this shared struggle, this collective spirit of resilience, that unites us. In this context, I am deeply touched by the indomitable spirit of your community and impressed by the founding of RAINBOW (TECZOWY) TARNOW as a safe space for LGBTQAIP+ people. The unwavering commitment to equality and justice is hope in a world too often marked by intolerance and prejudice. It is evidence of the transformative power of collective action and reminds us of the importance of standing together in solidarity against injustice.

We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, those who endured unimaginable hardships so that we can live freely and authentically.
We honor their memory and commit to never forgetting their sacrifices in the fight for justice and equality. But our commitment extends beyond remembrance. We must actively uphold the values of tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. We must strive to create a community where each individual is accepted and embraced for who they are – regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Only through our collective efforts can we build a future where discrimination and prejudice have no place. Especially in today’s world, we are confronted with pressing challenges, particularly the LGBT community in Poland, but also in other parts of our continent. Therefore, as we come together today, it is crucial to acknowledge the shared experiences and challenges that unite us as LGBT+ individuals in both Germany and Poland.

Our call for legal protection, social acceptance, and support for LGBT+ rights movements is a call that should not be ignored or underestimated. In modern Europe, it is essential that we recognize and uphold the rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Social acceptance is not a privilege – it is a fundamental human right that every individual deserves. Together, we must strive to foster a culture of inclusivity and understanding across Europe. Only a Europe where diversity is not just tolerated but celebrated can tackle the challenges of the future.

Therefore, our political leaders and institutions bear the solemn responsibility to advocate for equality and human rights for all their citizens. They must be steadfast in their commitment to legal reforms, that ensure equal treatment before the law and actively combat discrimination in all forms. Only through concerted collective action and political will can we bring about meaningful change. I implore our political leaders and institutions to listen to the voices of the marginalized and oppressed. Let us join forces to build a society, where every individual is valued and respected, and where everyone has the same rights and opportunities.

Our commitment to equality and justice must remain steadfast, for it is the cornerstone upon which a truly democratic and inclusive society is built. Let us together forge ahead on this path towards a better, fairer future. A future where every person, regardless of who they are or whom they love, can live freely and authentically, and where every individual is treated with dignity and respect. The road ahead may be challenging, but with unity and determination, we can overcome any obstacle.
Let us march forward hand in hand towards a future where love and equality reign supreme.