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Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the German Ambassador’s Day of Unity Celebration


Washington, DC
United States

Good evening. And thank you, Mr. Ambassador. It is a pleasure to stand with you as we celebrate the extraordinary progress that Germany has made, the inspiring example that its people have set, and the strong partnership that our great nations have forged.

During my tenure as Attorney General, it has been – and it continues to be – an honor to help strengthen the special relationship that exists between the United States and Germany. And, on this Day of Unity, it is my honor to bring greetings from President Obama, and from my colleagues across the Administration and the Department of Justice. On their behalf, I especially want to thank the Ambassador – and the outstanding team at the German Embassy – for their dedication to advancing the goals, and honoring the values, that our countries share.

In this time of uncommon challenges and evolving threats, our allegiance to these values – of liberty, opportunity, and justice – and the achievement of our collective security goals – have never been more important, or more urgent. Nowhere is this truer than in our work to prevent and combat today’s most serious crimes and global terror threats.

Just a few weeks ago – as citizens across, and far beyond, the United States marked the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, our nations – and our allies around the world – reaffirmed our commitment to use every lawful tool and resource at our disposal – and to leverage the tremendous strength of our partnerships – to protect the citizens we are so privileged to serve; and to respond to national challenges with international action, with global solutions, and with a renewed commitment to collaboration.

In the two decades since the German people came together – to end a painful period of separation and to launch a new era of freedom and prosperity – our nations have learned that our economic and security interests are closely, and permanently, intertwined. Today, we know that our ability to protect the rights and safety of our people – and to seek justice on their behalf – depends on our willingness to work as partners, and to ensure that our different perspectives, approaches, and legal frameworks never distract us from our shared objectives, or become obstacles to fulfilling our collective responsibilities.

As President Obama noted a few months ago when he welcomed Chancellor Merkel to Washington and presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the progress that our nations have struggled to achieve must be, “defended anew, every day of our lives.” That’s true, not only for the countries we serve, but also for those we are working to strengthen – and, in places like Libya and Afghanistan, to help ensure opportunity, liberty, and stability.

In this work, we can all be proud that the ties that bind the United States and Germany have never been stronger – and that our joint efforts to promote the rule of law, to share information, to protect civil liberties, and to identify and combat crime and terror threats have never been more effective.

In addressing today’s global challenges, we have adopted an innovative, aggressive, and collaborative approach. And that’s precisely what, nearly half a century ago, President John F. Kennedy called on our two nations – and future generations of Americans, Germans, and likeminded citizens, to do. In 1963, in a divided city of Berlin, President Kennedy encouraged those who dreamed of – and were willing to work toward – a free world to, “ lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow.”

Today, despite new concerns and persistent obstacles, we must never lose sight of the future that we all seek and – together – must build.

I am proud to be part of this effort – and of the contributions that our nations are making in advancing the goals, and meeting the responsibilities, that we share. From prosecutors and investigators, to policy experts and diplomatic leaders – many of our nations’ most talented and dedicated public servants are now working alongside their counterparts, in both Germany and the United States, and in countries all around the world. And our efforts to achieve security and justice for all are making a meaningful, measurable difference.

As we keep up this work, America will continue to stand with Germany – and proudly support additional steps toward improving current conditions, and future prospects, for people across Germany and the United States – and beyond. I look forward to this work – and to all that our nations will accomplish together in the critical days ahead.

Thank you.

Updated August 18, 2015