미주 한인들은 독일 베를린시 소녀상 철거를 반대합니다

저희 김진덕정경식 재단은 며칠 전 뉴스를 통해 독일 베를린 시 미테구에 설치된 ‘소녀상’이 철거된다는 소식을 접했습니다.

 

이 소식은 저희 재단 뿐만 아니라 미주 지역의 모든 한인들에게 큰 충격을 주었습니다. 샌프란시스코에 세워진 위안부 기림비도 기림비가 세워지기까지 또한 기림비가 세워진 이후에도 일본 정부와 극우단체들의 끊임 없는 방해 공작에 결코 안심할 수 없었기 때문입니다.

 

샌프란시스코 위안부 기림비는 물론 독일 베를린 시에 세워진 소녀상은 단순한 조형물이 아닙니다. 과거 2차대전 당시 일본군에 의해 자행된 인권 말살의 역사와 피해자들의 고통이 그대로 담겨있는 조형물입니다. 

 

일본은 2차대전 당시 독일과 마찬가지로 전범국 이었습니다. 하지만 전쟁후 두 나라가 걸어온 길은 너무도 다릅니다. 독일이 주변국에 무릎꿇고 진심어린 사죄를 할 때 일본정부는 피해자들의 아픔을 외면했고, 독일이 전쟁의 아픔을 치유하는 기념물을 자국 영토에 건립해 다시는 전쟁과 학살이라는 역사가 반복되지 않기를 염원 할 때 일본은 역사를 왜곡하며 한국을 비롯한 이웃나라 피해자들에게 더 큰 상처를 안겼습니다.

 

우리는 이런 일본정부의 행태가 더이상 계속되지 않기를 바랍니다. 일본이 독일과 같이 역사의 진실 앞에 무릎꿇고 진심어린 사죄와 반성을 할때 피해자들은 비로소 가슴의 상처를 치유할 수 있을 것이며, 나아가 이웃 나라들과 함께 세계 평화와 인권 발전이라는 발걸음을 함께 걸어 나갈 수 있을 것입니다.

 

저희 재단과 미주 한인들은 독일 베를린 시정부가 소녀상 설치에 대한 의미를 깊이 이해하지 못하고 있다고 생각합니다. 소녀상의 의미를 알고 있다면 ‘철거’라는 결정을 하지 않을 것이라고 믿기 때문입니다.

 

그렇기에 미주 한인들의 간절한 바람을 담아 독일 정부와 베를린 시, 소녀상이 설치된 미테구 담당자 분들께 소녀상 철거 결정을 철회하고 소녀상을 잘 지켜달라는 서한을 보냅니다.

 

서한은 저희 재단과 미주 한인들을 대표하는 단체들의 명의로 Heiko Maas 독일 외무장관, Michael Müller 베를린 시장, Stephan von Kassel 미테구 구청장, Helge Rehders 베를린 시 문화예술 책임자에게 전달될 예정입니다.

 

아울러 미주 한인들은 베를린 시 소녀상 설치를 주도하고 철거 결정에 맞서 반대운동을 펼치고 있는 독일 코리아협의회(Korea Verband)에도 감사와 성원을 보내드립니다. 감사합니다.

 

2020년 10월 15일

 

김진덕 정경식 재단, 미주한인회총연합회, 미주한인회장협회, 미주총연서남부연합회, 한미교류위원회, 세계한민족여성네트워크 SF지회, 샌프란시스코지역한인회, 실리콘밸리한인회, 이트스베이한인회, 새크라멘토한인회, 몬트레이한인회. 

 

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October 15, 2020

 

 

Dear Mayor Stephan von Dassel,

 

I am Jonathan Kim, co-founder of the Jin Duck and Kyung Sik Kim Foundation based in California. I represent the foundation in addition to ten organizations that span across the country, I am writing to you on behalf of the 2 million members of the Korean American community in the United States.

 

We are writing to you in regard to the recent decision that the German government made—that of appeasing Japan’s request to remove the “Comfort Women” statue that currently stands in the district of Mitte in Berlin. The members of our community were appalled at Germany’s appeasement. Such callous action was unexpected because of its sensitivity to its own historical atrocities.

 

On October 14, 2020, we received word that the statue shall remain for the time being. The international community stands in solidarity in our urgent desire for the statue not be removed, but to remain permanently. A former “Comfort Woman” stated, “Our worst fear is that our painful history during World War II will be forgotten.”  This painful history should not be forgotten and never be repeated.

 

The German peoples’ history has been marred by its participation in the Holocaust. During World War II, the German nation committed monumental horrors. Six million Jews were the victim of immeasurable suffering at the hands of German soldiers. The international community—with Germany itself included—rightfully and justly deemed this an atrocity that should never be repeated again in the history of humankind. Germany’s response to this was remarkable in its humanity and integrity. With its harsh punishment against Holocaust denialism, humankind could look upon the German nation as an exemplar of responsible nationhood. Germany appeared to be one of the countries that champion the importance of human rights. Your nation demonstrated a commitment to truth and integrity.

 

That is, until now.

 

Germany’s decision to remove the “Comfort Women” statue in Mitte is in direct conflict with the values demonstrated by its fight against Holocaust denialism. The removal of this statue is no small gesture. Indeed, it conveys a selfish sense of hypocrisy.

 

The Korean American community, in its commitment to the protection of human rights, collaborated with a wide range of communities across the globe. We partnered with the Comfort Women Justice Coalition, the Chinese American community, as well as thirteen “Comfort Women” communities around the world. Together, we worked tirelessly to install “Comfort Women” statues in San Francisco and Seoul.

 

These “Comfort Women” statues are an important symbol of the acknowledgement of just how important it is to fight for human rights. Part of that fight is to ensure that the international community recognizes historical atrocities, and to serve as a permanent fixture that educates future generations of the dark history that has transpired.

 

The “Comfort Women” survivors that stand on this globe of ours have been suffering injustice for decades. Year after year, these victimized women go unheard, going to their death beds suffering inhumane injustice. There are 16 “Comfort Women” remaining in South Korea. These people need justice for the war crimes that were committed against them, for the horrors that they survived and carry in their bodies and souls each and every day they still stand alive. They need their voices to be heard.

 

The international community as a whole stands together firmly in defense of the violation of human rights. I think you would agree that state-sponsored sexual violence and sex trafficking is an appalling assault on humanity that can never be allowed to happen again.

 

We urge you to allow the “Comfort Women” statue in the Mitte district of Berlin to remain where it stands. Germany has been respected for the way that it handled its own dark history and how compassionate it was towards the suffering of the Jewish people. It’s only fair to extend the same compassion to the “Comfort Women” communities around the world. We hope that Germany will not disappoint the global community. We trust that the German nation will, as it has in the past, do the right thing and continue its commitment to truth and integrity.

 

Signed on the behalf of 2 million Korean Americans,

 

 

Jonathan Kim
Co-founder of the Jin Duck and Kyung Sik Kim Foundation 김진덕 정경식

Kyun Hee Park
President of the Federation of Korean Associations USA 미주한인회 총연합

Moonkey Nam
President of the Korean American Presidency Coalition 미주한인회장협

Suk Chan Lee
President of the Korean American Federation of Southwest States, USA

Thomas W. Kim
Chairman of the KOREA-USA Exchange Committee

Sunghee Park
President of the Korean Women’s International Network San Francisco

Jeny Kwak Weber

President of the Korean American Community Center of San Francisco & Bay Area

Sean Park
President of the Silicon Valley Korean American Federation

Joseph Jung
President of the Oakland & East Bay Korean American Association

Mun Yi
President of the Korean American Community Organization of Monterey

Paul Hyunpo Cho
President of the Sacramento Valley Korean American Community