Auschwitz box car

On 27 January 1945 the Soviet Red Army liberated the sites of Auschwitz, about 70 km south-west of Krakow, the largest of the several purpose-built extermination camps established by Nazi Germany during World War II in Poland to dispose of those that the Nazi leaders considered racially unsuitable for their Reich, primarily Jews.  Unlike the other camps, Auschwitz was left substantially intact, the Nazis only blew up the gas chambers and crematoria before they retreated.  Precise records of the number who perished there aren’t available, but it was in the one to one-and-a-half million range.

In 2005 your editors visited the two main sites — Ausschwitz 1 — the Stammlager, built as a standard concentration camp for political prisoners in 1940, and Auschwitz 2, Birkenau — the mass extermination complex, about 2 km away.  There was also a slave labour camp, Auschwitz 3, Monowitz and many sub-camps.

It is a somber and depressing experience, a stark reminder to where racism can ultimately lead if unchallenged.

As has been said on here before, while people’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviour can be legitimately challenged, they should not be attacked, denigrated and vilified for the things they are not responsible for — ethnic origin, national origin, skin colour/physical features.

ronald-reagan bigotry