Congress in Tours

Gathered in Congress in Tours on January 27, 2024, the members of the Neuengamme Friendship Association extend their greetings to the city of Tours, decorated with the Croix de Guerre in 1948, and to the department of Indre-et-Loire, which provided numerous fighters for the Resistance, many of whom were deported to Neuengamme or other Nazi camps. Many of them paid with their lives for their commitment to the liberation of France.

They express gratitude to Françoise Marchelidon, who took on the responsibility of organizing this congress, for her great dedication and efficiency in carrying out this heavy task, as well as to all those who, in one way or another, contributed to its preparation and smooth progress.

The resolution reaffirms their unwavering commitment to the values that inspired the resistance, values that the survivors of Nazi camps tirelessly defended and promoted. With concern and even anguish, they observe that these values are increasingly lost sight of, both in the relationships between citizens and among nations. Values such as respect, tolerance, and the pursuit of peace are often replaced by aggression, violence, and hatred in both speech and actions.

They express deep concern about the ongoing aggression against Ukraine, initiated almost two years ago by Russia in violation of international law, resulting in war crimes and even crimes against humanity committed on our continent.

With profound sorrow, they observe the situation in the Middle East, where the pogrom and terrorist hostage-taking that struck Israel on October 7 were followed by massive retaliation, causing numerous civilian casualties among the Palestinians in Gaza.

They are determined to relentlessly combat denialism, political, identity or religious fanaticism, racism, and anti-Semitism, which unfortunately on the rise. These threaten national harmony, good relations between peoples, and the security and freedom of certain population groups.

Once again, they call on the younger generations to channel their energy into serving the values that inspire the action of the Neuengamme Friendship Association, to take on more responsibilities within it, and to actively continue the memory work initiated by the deportees upon their return, fully embracing and cultivating their precious legacy.

They express once again the desire for an increased emphasis, within the teaching of history, on the Resistance and deportation in all its various forms. They are pleased with the close cooperation established with other associations within the Union of Associations for the Memory of Nazi Camps, which gained legal status a few months ago.

Finally, they reiterate their commitment to do everything in their power to ensure that solidarity and dialogue prevail over confrontation, open-mindedness over sectarian attitudes, and the search for consensual solutions over the promotion of hate speech.”