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Thursday, 27 January 2011

"Auschwitz is the symbol of a tragedy"


The two presidents agreed that the atrocities of the Nazis must not be forgotten while at the same time their nations need to reconcile.

The General Assembly of the United Nations decided that the International Holocaust Remembrance Day shall be celebrated on 27th January.

During the main part of the commemoration, in the building of the central sauna where the Germans registered their prisoners, Bronisław Komorowski emphasized that Auschwitz-Birkenau is a globally unique focal point for the knowledge and memory of crimes. "We would surely prefer to remain silent in a place like this. We would prefer to pray silently to ourselves, everyone in his or her own way, and to contemplate the anatomy of the crime; we would like to consider the significance of this evil and to find the reasons underlying such atrocities. But there must be no silence here," Bronisław Komorowski said, emphasizing that the concentration camp in Auschwitz is one of the symbols of a tragedy which shook the entire world.

The Polish President believes the fact that the President of Germany attended the celebration of the anniversary is also important. "This is a token of the world now heading towards the good; in spite of this horrible experience, we are now, after many years (…) closer to removing from modern history of nations, states, and the world at large all those dreadful things which burdened the shoulders of at least several generations of people inhabiting this part of Europe. The venom of hatred and the unbearable pain will be no more," he said.

Christian Wulff, the President of Germany, said that the very name of Auschwitz symbolises the evil and harm Germans have done to millions of human beings. "These crimes fill us, Germans, with disgust and shame. We are all historically responsible for them, regardless of the fault of particular individuals. It is our duty to make sure that such atrocities never haunt this world again," he said.

Before the main part of the ceremony took place, the presidents of Poland and Germany headed to the execution wall of the former Auschwitz I camp and paid honour to those who perished in the camp. Joint Christian and Jewish prayers were held at the Monument to the Victims of the Camp in the former Auschwitz II - Birkenau camp. Bronisław Komorowski and Christian Wulff lit vigil lights there.
Before that, in Oświęcim, the presidents of Poland and Germany met with the youth in the International Youth Meeting House. Former inmates of the Auschwitz camp took part in a debate called "What is not forgotten... History of Europe, hope for Europe (Co pozostaje w pamięci... Historia Europy, nadzieja Europy)."


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