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George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Auschwitz
Posted on: 1/27/2020 12:09:21 PM

I was watching, this morning, some of the broadcast of the commemoration of the victims of the Nazis at Auschwitz. Somber, solemn and certainly so sad it was.

There were a few of the remaining survivors and it was noted that they are our witnesses to history.

75 years ago, on Jan. 27, 1945, the Soviet Red Army liberated this death camp.

The CBC interviewed a woman who lives in Montréal and who was liberated on that day. She said that she did not want to come but felt that she had to, to honour the members of her family and all the others that perished there.

But she also said that she sees and feels the signals that anti-Semitism is on the rise and that governments are being installed who, if they are not yet promoting anti-Semitism, are doing little about it.
She said that it all seems to be happening again. And she added that we don't elect dictators but that their rise to power happens, "a little bit by little bit". Simple but poignant and certainly cautionary.

I don't think that our service people would mind if we used the phrase, Lest We Forget, on this occasion.
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Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Auschwitz
Posted on: 1/28/2020 1:44:16 AM

George,

Holocaust Memorial Day.....that’s what we call it.

Auschwitz is the name on peoples’ lips.

Understandable , given the size and scale of the establishment and the atrocities that were perpetrated there.

We don’t hear much about Sorbibor , Chelmno , Madjanek or Treblinka.....not so many survivors from those, I suppose.

Six million Jews perished ; fewer than one million of them at Auschwitz . More should be made, I feel, of the fatal role of several other places.

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Auschwitz
Posted on: 1/28/2020 6:55:30 AM

True Phil, the industrial killing machine was far more extensive than just Auschwitz. However, the place was selected for this commemoration of the 75th year after liberation.

I noted that one of our news reporters said that Auschwitz had become an important tourist destination. The statement bothered me and I hope that the reporter just misspoke but it seems to me that there is something obscene about attending a place like Auschwitz just because it is there.

So, a place of pilgrimage perhaps? Maybe I'm being picky. How is the camp maintained today? What is its source of funding? I am thinking that the Poles or whomever maintains the place would need a source of funds just for upkeep.

But tell me, is Auschwitz the only camp that remains as a reminder? Bergen-Belsen was burned down by British forces to ensure that deadly diseases would not be transmitted. What of the others?

Cheers,

George
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Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Auschwitz
Posted on: 1/28/2020 7:22:53 AM

George,

Your sentiments accord with mine.

I would visit Verdun ; but I’ve never wished to go to Auschwitz . I have to admit that there is something flawed in my logic....but since when has logic had anything to do with this ?

It is indeed a tourist destination, and I think Buchenwald is too.

There is an educational emphasis to this : I believe that the German school curriculum insists on sixteen year olds being taken on a tour of Auschwitz , to drive home the message that this must be countenanced in order to help prevent any kid of recurrence .

Lynn and I did visit that villa at Wannsee which was , in its way, uniquely chilling. The idea of walking around the site of gas chambers and crematoria repels me.

Edit : my conscience isn’t clear : I won’t ever visit Verdun again....it does have a kind of “ Auschwitz “ feel to it that the Somme lacks. There is something horrible in the atmosphere of Verdun.


Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Auschwitz
Posted on: 1/28/2020 2:55:46 PM

A friend of mine (Phil, you will remember Steve from our lunch in London) and his wife were recently in Poland. Before they left, Steve and I talked about the ethics of such a visit.

At the time they left they still hadn't decided whether to visit Auschwitz or not. On the day, they did take the tour; Steve is still not sure he made the right decision.

Personally, I could not make such a visit. Perhaps I'm too cowardly. I don't believe I'm in danger of forgetting the extermination plans generated and so efficiently enacted by the Nazis and their fellow-travellers, but I don't feel the need to see the buildings or the ash heaps or the rail lines or the chambers. Those are just physical residue of an abysmal evil.

As a very young lad, I visited Rome in 1960, and wandered through the Colosseum (as one could then). That experience literally provided an epiphany which changed my life. But there was a spirit, a soul, a coherence about the Colosseum and the setting that was a tribute to humanity. I can't imagine finding such a sense in a bleak series of huts and shelters designed for death.

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2778
Auschwitz
Posted on: 1/28/2020 8:26:58 PM

Quote:
George,
There is an educational emphasis to this : I believe that the German school curriculum insists on sixteen year olds being taken on a tour of Auschwitz , to drive home the message that this must be countenanced in order to help prevent any kid of recurrence .


Not of Auschwitz which is in Poland but of a concentration camp. I have visited Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Ravensbruch. In Berlin is the "Topographie of Terror".

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

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