village of Oswiecim, more commonly known by German name as Auschwitz, ordinary S. Polish village with small Cavalry school, in swampy land, area covered by forests, about 40 minutes fr.ancient Royal Capital of Krakow.
Death Camps > Holocaust =/= place you want to visit more than once.
- Heinrich Himmler, Head of SS wanted to study habits + lifestyle Sinti people (belonged to an Aryan tribe)
- Sinti housed in Birkenau = large industrial extermination camp, > Auschwitz I = very small in comparison.
- After study > all gassed in one night / one survivor (sent to another camp day prior to mass execution).
- could not imagine having family living in such a place > very common amongst SS Guards.
- Camp Commander Höss hanged in 1947 by Polish Government.
- site refurbished by SS just after invasion of Poland > first opened in May 1940 > to house + kill Polish Intelligentsia, Polish Resistance Fighters + Russian prisoners + Resistance fighters from many other European countries, Priests + Nuns also. Later Jews form a contingent of prisoners. => ~ 70,000 people die at Auschwitz I Camp.
- one building in particular = never forget > Camp Tribunal ~~ only sentence = death.
- Prisoners quick trial to humiliate + degrade person = common for political prisoners, + inmate stripped naked > outside stone courtyard > knelt + shot behind the head.
- different insignia prisoners > what class of prisoner
- list of people not fit into political agenda of Nazi ideology = very long.<= criteria could be racial, ethnic, religious, political, medical, sexual orientation, general, etc… =/= restricted to Jews only
- ~ 7 million Poles special target => Poland to be wiped out completely + systematically,
- Russians + other Slavic people targeted for extermination.
- Opponents, resistants of any stripe, persons belonging to an opposition or a labour union, journalists, teachers, people suffering fr. physical or mental handicap = exterminated.
- In Germany = hospitals emptied, families received an official death certificate with an invented cause of death.
- Catholic Priests + Nuns not safe either,<= old rivalries of Thirty year War between Catholics + Protestants playing out again > in Bavaria a Catholic stronghold repression was vicious.
- Little library cards recorded in details lives + who they were = madness = ? killing people systematically =>understood humans capable of great evil which boggles the mind + becomes incomprehensible.
- Birkenau – built on ruins of small village Brzezinka, swampy ground Birkenau or Auschwitz II = immense, cheap wood barracks lined up = opened in November 1943 > trains entered through infamous gate tower.
- Dr.Mengele + his acolyte decided on the spot > who would die now or be worked to death or who would be subjected to horrible pseudo-medical experimentation.
- camp divided in neighbourhoods, all fenced in from each other.
- Most prisoners at Birkenau = Jews + Gypsies with populations of Russian prisoners + section for Czech & Slovak families. = one million people perished.
- no human emotions involved = cold mechanization of death as a means to achieve a political goal enshrined in an ideology of hate > presented to the masses in Germany as well meaning & reasonable to ensure prosperity.
- total numbers of dead =/= important => important = to remember people = just like you or me = ordinary people with jobs, families & friends, from all walks of life, from many countries, princes + paupers, of various religions + beliefs.
- Nazi destroyed Europe, culture, education, humanity > whole way of life.
- introduced into the world an evil we still live with today, that evil was not destroyed in 1945, it lingers, > in former Yugoslavia 1991-1995 + so many on-going conflicts.
Find also to read:
- Reformed Churches Muzzled but Protest at Barmen
- Through the Lens of Faith
- Nazi Germany
- the Soup will not be eaten as hot as it is served
- Black page 70 years Release – commemoration Auschwitz
- World remembers Auschwitz survivors
- Luca Jahier, EESC President on the present intolerance
- Polish commemoration of the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau
- Seventy-five years ago on January 27
- January 27 – 70 years ago Not an end yet to genocide
- 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz
- 5th World Holocaust Forum
- Dedication ceremony for a memorial at Jerusalem’s Sachar Park in honour of the casualties of the Siege of Leningrad
- Auschwitz survivors providing a warning of rising anti-Semitism and exclusion of free thinking
- What’s the Future of Holocaust Remembrance?
- Christadelphians’ role in the rescue of Jewish children from Nazi Germany
- Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust
You have heard of the village of Oswiecim in Southern Poland about 40 minutes from the ancient Royal Capital of Krakow. Today it is more commonly known by its German name as Auschwitz. I visited this village and the Death Camps about 5 times while in Poland. I did not know much about it at first, no more than the average person did through the usual media reports, movies and history that has been repeated so many times about the Holocaust. I went many times for official reasons to attend ceremonies or because our visitors wanted to see it. It is not a place you want to visit more than once.
Oswiecim, Southern Poland, today
Oswiecim was an ordinary Polish village with a small Cavalry school, the school was closed at some point and then the buildings became a trade school which was in turn closed. The area is covered…
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