Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, Holocaust survivors are gathering in southern Poland on Monday to honor the more than 1.1 million victims, mainly Jews, amidst great concern about the resurgence of anti-Semitism.
Piotr Cywinski, the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, is worried.
“More and more we seem to be having trouble connecting our historical knowledge with our moral choices today,” he said. “I can imagine a society that understands history very well but does not draw any conclusion from this knowledge.”
Across Europe and in the United States, there is concern about a resurgence of anti-Semitism. Toxic political rhetoric, holocaust denial and attacks directed at groups of peoples — using language to dehumanize them — that were once considered taboo have become common across the world’s democracies.
Despite the fact that the tens of thousands of prisoners who survived Auschwitz were witnesses to the crimes committed there; despite the fact that they left behind thousands of depositions, accounts, and memoirs; despite the fact that considerable quantities of documents, photographs, and material objects remain from the camp—despite all of this, there are people and organizations who deny that hundreds of thousands of people were murdered in this camp, that gas chambers operated there, or that the crematoria could burn several thousand corpses per day. In other words, they deny that Auschwitz was the scene of genocide.
Unlike many of the concentration camps, where a total of six million Jews were killed over the course of the war, Auschwitz largely escaped destruction.While the two main gas chambers were blown up by the Nazis before they fled, the ruins still testify to their existence. Visitors can see the ovens used to incinerate the remains of those slaughtered.
Last year, more than two million visitors crossed under the same wrought iron gateway as tens of thousands of prisoners once did, looking up at the cruelly ironic words “Arbeit Macht Frei,” or work sets you free.
For most during the war, freedom would never come.
The Yucatan Times Newsroom shows utmost solidarity, we wear our heart on our sleeve when it comes to such delicate yet important topics, we find it necessary to publish, remind and inform of history, as the only way to combat ignorance is through information.
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