PETALING JAYA, 17 OKT – Germany is strongly committed to help develop Malaysia in a variety of fields.
German ambassador Dr Peter Blomeyer acknowledged that both countries were medium sized powers within their respective alliances, namely Asean and the European Union.
“We want to broaden and deepen the cooperation with Malaysia in all fields: Multilateralism; the fight against climate change and for environmental protection; peace, security and stability; promotion of human rights and rule of law; rules based, sustainable free trade; and culture, education and science,” he said.
Blomeyer reflected on how both countries enjoyed warm and cordial relations from day one of Malaysia’s independence on August 31, 1957.
He said that Germany was very happy to reinforce the strong ties following a three days state visit of its President, Frank Walter Steinmeier, to Malaysia early this year.
“The strength of our relations is also demonstrated by the recent announcement of Infineon, the major German semiconductor company, to invest five billion Euros in Malaysia, which is the biggest German investment ever going to the region.
“All this shows the strong commitment of Germany to Malaysia, that our relations are founded on a broad base of common values and interests,” Blomeyer said at a reception to celebrate the ‘German Unity Day 2023’ at the Petaling Jaya Performing Arts Centre at 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama Damansara.
The reception exhibited German arts and culture, including the screening of the classic silent-movie ‘Metropolis’, produced from the great UFA studios in Germany,
Music for the movie was backed by pianist Stephan Graf von Bothmer, who has composed for a repertoire of more than 1.000 silent movies.
Blomeyer said that Germany’s cooperation with Malaysia was akin to its members in the European Union.
“We do this shoulder to shoulder with our friends within the European Union who have subscribed to the same goals.
“We all reach out to Malaysia, encourage Malaysia to look West.
“We want you to find in us Europeans the right partners and jointly discover with us the common ground on which we stand to cope with the multitude of challenges in this world,” he said.
He cited German businesses established here like Deutsche Bank, Allianz, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Infineon, SAP, Bosch, Rieckermann und Siemens which contributed to Malaysia’s economy.
On the German Unity Day, Blomeyer said that the celebration was not limited just to the unity of the former East and West Germany, but of the struggles his country went through.
“The first words of our national anthems describe the three inseparable goals we Germans have pursued for centuries, which we have won and lost by our own default, and then won again.
“These are the unity, rule of law and freedom (meaning democracy).
“We achieved national unity for the first time in 1871, but Germany in the latter half of the 19th century was an empire, an imperialist and authoritarian country.
“It was not what the liberal and democratic movement in the first half of the 19th century had aspired for.
“It was only after World War I that Germany was turned into a republic, and all three – unity, rule of law and democracy – were established and flourished for a short period, for fourteen years,” Blomeyer said.
He added that a new constitution was adopted 1919 in Weimar, the city of their great poets Goethe and Schiller.
It, thus, made Germans call it the Weimarer Republik (or Republic of Weimar).
“The 1920s in Germany saw an enormous upheaval of all aspects of politics, economy, science, society and arts, pre-empting the whole 20th century, actually until today.
“It was the dawn of a new age, a burst, a firework of creativity, a playground of new forms of life in all fields,” said Blomeyer.
He added that Weimar, for the first time Germany had universal suffrage, with women allowed to vote and to be voted for.
“Women entered the world of labour, they did away with the old clothes and literally abandoned the corselet which had constrained them for so long.
“Science and arts flourished. You find great scientists living in Germany at the time – Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Fritz Haber. Martin Heidegger and Theodor Adorno built up their philosophical theories.
“Thomas Mann wrote his masterpiece ‘The magic mountain’. Architecture went new ways, like the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau, and also painters tried out this style of new objectivity,” Blomeyer said.
He explained that film, dance and music stepped on uncharted territory.
“In the cities, and especially Berlin, a new mass culture was established with radio, amusement parks, vaudeville shows, cinema palaces and boxing arenas.
“On the international arena, signs of hope for a more peaceful and lawful world emerged,” he said.
Blomeyer added that the League of Nations was founded in 1920, as a precursor to the United Nations, and Germany acceded to it in 1926.
“That was the year, when Gustav Stresemann and Aristide Briand, the Foreign Ministers of Germany and France, received the Nobel Peace Prize for working to reconcile their nations.
“Only two years later, the two countries were among the eleven founder signatories of the Briand-Kellogg pact, a treaty which for the first time in history, ostracised the use of force in international relations,” Blomeyer said.
But next to this thrilling new world, there was also depression. Germany had lost the war, had lost territories, had lost part of its sovereignty, had to pay reparations, and the economy went roller coaster.
“Exactly one hundred years ago, in 1923, we had a monstrous inflation. Money became utterly worthless, not even being worth the paper it was printed on.
“It ended up in people drawing handcarts of money – some bills of up to hundred billion Reichsmark – rushing from payment to stores because every minute counted if you still wanted to be able to buy something with your salary.
“Right wing movements were capitalizing on this, exploiting nationalist feelings, frustration about the loss of the war, poverty and the sense of being lost in this modern democratic world,” Blomeyer said.
In 1923, Adolf Hitler staged his first, unsuccessful putsch in Munich and went to prison for nine months.
Only ten years later, in 1933, he succeeded in assuming power and staged a gigantic rollback of the achievements of the exciting roaring twenties.
“Democracy was abolished, the free press streamlined, music and arts censored, minorities suppressed and the persecution of Jews started, ending in the holocaust.
“Eventually he started World War II, the most horrible of all wars, ending with the destruction and the division of Germany, the division of Europe and the start of the Cold War.
“That division of the world, after 1945, went straight through Germany. Even the capital, Berlin, was divided by an unsurmountable wall.
“Between East and West Germany there was a 1.400 km long border that was called the death stripe, with watch towers, automatic firing systems and 1.3 million land mines. “Estimates are difficult, but there were about a thousand people who lost their lives in attempts to cross this border.
“But then, in 1989, a political miracle happened.
“The people in East Germany staged a peaceful revolution, their slogan reminding communist dictators of who was the true sovereign of the country: “Wir sind das Volk!” (We are the people!).
“Later this slogan was changed to “Wir sind ein Volk!” (We are one people!),” Blomeyer said.
He added that it was the cry for unity after forty years of division.
“The wall crumbled, the cruel communist system in East Germany appeared paralyzed and did not dare intervene, and East and West Germans embraced each other in joy.
“It truly was a moment of joy in history, history which does not have to offer many such moments,” Blomeyer said.
He added that Germany was immensely grateful to its European and American friends who gave them their trust again, including Russia.
“However, these events thirty years ago were not limited to Germany. They also triggered the fall of the iron curtain, which went through Central Europe and divided the European people.
“They allowed the courageous peoples in Central and Eastern Europe who also shook off the yoke of communism to embrace the model of democracy, human rights and rule of law the European Union stands for, and eventually become members of the EU,” Blomeyer said.
He reminded the younger ones who had not consciously witnessed that era – the fall of the wall, the end of the Cold War, the end of dictatorships around the globe and the transition of Central and Eastern European countries to democracy and rule of law –to imagine what incredible joy the events had triggered in people in Germany, in Europe and throughout the world.
“They inspired great hopes at that time. Some people even thought that the end of history had come, democracy, rule of law and human rights prevailing everywhere in the world. “These hopes did not materialize entirely, as attempts to establish a democracy in Russia failed,” Blomeyer said.
He added that Europeans thought that war and violence finally belonged to the past.
“Since the age of imperialism and colonialism, European nations had changed completely, committing to equality of all UN member states as established in the UN Charter, and to the rule of international law,” Blomeyer said. – airtimes.my