Welcome Address from Joachim Gauck, President of the Federal Republic of Germany
In the world of filmmaking, a close-up is a shot with the camera focused tightly on its object. A close-up gives the viewer a sense of taking part directly in the story, as well as a better view of the characters and their motivations. The Germany Close Up program works in a similar way. It shows participants a close-up view of Germany – and in doing so, offers them new perspectives, encounters and feelings.
Since the program’s launch in 2008, more than a thousand young Jewish people from the US and Canada have had the chance to see how Germany deals with the responsibility arising from the Shoah and the Second World War. Participants learn about how diverse and tolerant the country is today, how firmly rooted its democracy is, and how vibrant its Jewish community has once more become. When many individuals form a new image of Germany on the basis of their experiences, carry this image home with them, and – in some cases – even come back to Germany to visit again, then all of our horizons are broadened.
I would like to thank the organizers and sponsors who make such encounters possible: first and foremost Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, and also the many other partners in Germany and the US. And I’d like to cordially invite all of you to come and get a close-up view of Germany!