Warning for Holocaust survivors, 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz
MEMORY The commemoration ceremony attended by more than 200 survivors from around the world sounded as a warning against anti-Semitism
Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, ever fewer Holocaust survivors gathered on Monday to honor the more than 1.1 million people who were killed there, mostly Jews.
Crowned heads, heads of state or government from some 60 countries joined them at the location in southern Poland, home to the largest of the German death camps Nazi, became the symbol of the six million European Jews then murdered. Arriving from around the world, there were more than 200 survivors on this site to share their testimonies, heard as a warning after a recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks on both sides of the Atlantic, some fatal. The commemorative ceremony, under a large tent erected in front of the "door of death" in red bricks in the part of the camp located in Birkenau, thus took place in the context of the development of groups of white supremacists in the United States and far right parties in Europe.
"Don't be indifferent! "
At nightfall, Holocaust survivors and dignitaries, lights in hand, walked along the railroad which had taken Jews to the gas chambers at the time. They placed lights and flowers at the foot of a memorial. The survivors, wearing caps and scarves with blue and white stripes to symbolize the uniforms of the prisoners of the camp, crossed the infamous wrought iron gate surmounted by a sinister "Arbeit macht frei" (in German, "The work makes free ”), before laying wreaths near the“ wall of death ”, where the Nazis shot thousands of prisoners.
"Auschwitz did not suddenly fall from the sky, Auschwitz trotted along, walked slowly, approached, until what happened here happened," warned Marian Turski, 93, a Polish Jewish survivor from camp, which called for vigilance against violations of minority rights, a key element in preserving democracy and avoiding new genocides. "Don't be indifferent! He implored, before members of royal families and politicians gathered for the commemorative evening ceremony.
Several heads of state present
Beginning in mid-1942, the Nazis systematically deported Jews from all over Europe to six major extermination camps: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. "Too many people in too many countries have made Auschwitz a reality," said Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, in his speech, noting that "practically all other European countries have helped the Nazis to unite their Jewish citizens ”. "It is shameful that 75 years later they (the Auschwitz survivors) see their grandchildren again facing the same hatred ... This should never be tolerated," insisted Ronald Lauder.
Polish President Andrzej Duda for his part warned against Holocaust denial and revisionism after recently accusing his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of falsely accusing Poland of collusion with Adolf Hitler and of helping to spark the Second World War. Several heads of state, including the Presidents of Israel, Germany and Ukraine, participated in the commemoration, as did the French Prime Minister. The United States and Russia have sent lower ranking officials.
The Allies knew from 1942
If the world did not learn the full extent of the horrors until after the entry of the Red Army into the Auschwitz camp on January 27, 1945, the Allies had well before detailed information on the genocide of the Jews. In December 1942, the Polish government in exile in London had transmitted to the Allies a document entitled "The mass extermination of the Jews in Poland occupied by Germany". The document, which was greeted with suspicion, included detailed accounts of the Holocaust witnessed by members of the Polish resistance.
Considered exaeroded or part of Polish war propaganda, the Allies did not believe "many of these reports," said Professor Norman Davies, a British historian from Oxford. Despite "strong demand" from Polish and Jewish resistance for Allied bombing of railways to Auschwitz and other death camps, "the attitude of the military was to focus on targets military, not civilian matters, "says Norman Davies. "One of the targets that the (British) army bombed was a synthetic fuel factory near Auschwitz" in 1943-44. Although British warplanes flew over the extermination camp, no order for bombing was given.
"It was one of the greatest crimes committed by those who remained indifferent, because they (the Allies) could have done something but deliberately they did not do it," judge David Lenga, 93, a survivors. Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the death toll was highest, is the only one of the Nazi camps to have been preserved. Created in 1940 by the Nazis who administered it until 1945, Auschwitz was part of a vast network of camps across Europe set up as part of Adolf Hitler's "Final Solution", with a view to of the genocide of around 10 million European Jews.