«Only understanding leads to freedom» *

Daniel Barenboim’s lessons from the Holocaust

wp. In the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” of May 12, 2020, Daniel Barenboim takes the upcoming swearing-in of the 35th government of Israel on May 13, 2020 – and probably also the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War – as an opportunity to examine what lessons must be drawn from the Holocaust if freedom and peace are to be established.

An essential principle of Judaism is the striving for justice for all people, so Barenboim. Israel, however, is handing over this capital with its behavior and its policies, namely that its culture of remembrance is only about the injustice that has been inflicted on it, and secondly through the unjust treatment of the Palestinians. It only makes sense to remember if there is a constructive aspect of what this means: For Israel, the Holocaust must not be “the only moral criterion for its existence”1, and the Palestinians can only accept Israel if they “accept its history. including the Holocaust”. However, it is not just about knowledge, but also about understanding, that – following a thought by Spinoza – leads to freedom: The Holocaust with all “its horror” and “its tragedy”; belongs to “humanity as a whole”. He must – and it should be added, like all other monstrous crimes against humanity – be understood by people so that they do not remain “slaves to memories”.
    Finally Barenboim made a clear statement on Israel’s politics: not only Israel’s “ethics of remembrance” was wrong, but also the occupation and settlement policies in the West Bank and the annexation of parts of this area planned by the new coalition government. But also the Palestinians are seen in a duty: Just as the Israelis must understand the Palestinians, the Palestinians must understand the Israelis. And Barenboim would not be Barenboim if he did not involve the music as a teacher who lives from dialogue, from counterpoint: “If there is only one voice, it is an ideology and that could never happen in music.”   •

* Barenboim, Daniel. “Nur Verstehen führt zur Freiheit”  (“Only understanding leads to freedom”) in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of May 12, 2020
1 Translation of all quotes Current Concerns


Our website uses cookies so that we can continually improve the page and provide you with an optimized visitor experience. If you continue reading this website, you agree to the use of cookies. Further information regarding cookies can be found in the data protection note.

If you want to prevent the setting of cookies (for example, Google Analytics), you can set this up by using this browser add-on.​​​​​​​