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World marks anniversary of Auschwitz liberation

Discussion in 'Politics (deprecated)' started by ravinjunkie, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. ravinjunkie

    ravinjunkie TRIBE Member

    Brzezinka, Poland — Snowflakes swirled around the crematoriums and barbed wire of Auschwitz, and a shrill train whistle pierced the silence as frail survivors and humbled world leaders remembered the victims of the Holocaust on Thursday, the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp.

    Candles flickered in the darkening winter gloom of the sprawling site, which Israeli President Moshe Katsav called "the capital of the kingdom of death."

    During the Second World War, 1.5 million people — mostly Jews — were killed at the site. Others who perished there included Soviet prisoners of war, Poles, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals and political opponents of the Nazis.

    The haunting commemoration was held at the place where new arrivals stumbled out of cattle cars and were met by Nazi doctors who chose a few to be worked to death while the rest were sent immediately to gas chambers. Others died of starvation, exhaustion, beatings and disease.

    "It seems if you listen hard enough, you can still hear the outcry of horror of the murdered people," Mr. Katsav said. "When I walk the ground of the concentration camps, I fear that I am walking on the ashes of the victims."

    As night fell and the ceremony ended with a locomotive whistle blaring over loudspeakers, a half-mile of train tracks leading from the front gate to the crematoriums were set ablaze in a pyrotechnic display — two flaming rails amid the snow.

    The 30 leaders, including U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, Presidents Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Jacques Chirac of France, placed candles shielded in blue lanterns on a low stone memorial. Soldiers of a Polish honor guard stood stiffly in the freezing wind. New Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko gently set down his candle and made the sign of the cross.

    Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson was representing Canada.

    Germany's President Horst Koehler placed a candle but didn't speak, in recognition of his country's responsibility for the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler's attempt to wipe out Europe's Jews. In all, some 6 million Jews died in the network of camps, while several million non-Jews also perished.

    Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz and neighboring Birkenau — the occupiers' names for Polish Oswiecim and Brzezinka — on Jan. 27, 1945.

    At the ceremony, young girls brought blankets to survivors sitting in the cold.

    Auschwitz survivor Gabi Neumann, 68, traveled from his home in Israel and held up a poster that bore the words, "Stop it before it happens again" and the yellow stars of the European Union flag distorted to resemble a swastika.

    "I made this poster because anti-Semitism is a big problem in Europe," said Neumann, who was an 8-year-old boy when he was freed from the camp. Originally from Slovakia, he lost a grandmother at Auschwitz.

    "But she has no grave," he said. "I am happy there is snow here because it keeps me from standing on her ashes."

    Mr. Putin compared the Nazis with modern terrorists. "Today we shall not only remember the past but also be aware of all the threats of the modern world," he said. "Terrorism is among them, and it is no less dangerous and cunning than fascism."

    Earlier in Krakow, Mr. Cheney noted that the Holocaust did not happen in some far-off place but "in the heart of the civilized world."

    "The story of the camps shows that evil is real and must be called by its name and must be confronted," he said.

    People at the ceremony expressed concern over recent incidents such as a walkout from an Auschwitz commemoration by far-right local legislators in Germany, and a statement from far-right National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, who minimized the brutality of Nazi rule during the occupation by German troops. He said it "was not particularly inhuman, even if there were a few blunders."

    Camp survivor Franczisek Jozefiak, 80, said the world still needed reminding.

    "Today I'm remembering my father, gassed here. I'm remembering the atrocious things they did to us here," said Mr. Jozefiak, who is from Krakow.

    The Nazi guards lined them up and told some to go right, others left, he said. Jozefiak went left and his father went right and was taken to the gas chamber.

    "The message today is: No more Auschwitz," he said. "But the world has learned nothing so far — you see they are fighting and killing each other everywhere in the world.

    "Today they are saying a lot because of the anniversary, but tomorrow they will forget," he said.
  2. Moez

    Moez TRIBE Member

    On CBC right now:

    Holocaust: A Music Memorial Film From Auschwitz

    A special co-production between the BBC and CBC television, this film will be transmitted internationally on the day on which the world will mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. It takes the audience on a factual, emotional and above all musical journey which reflects on the events at Auschwitz-Birkenau during the Second World War and their wider significance.

    A music film to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in memory of those murdered in the Nazi genocide.

    Amidst the horrors of Auschwitz, music was a part of daily life. There were several orchestras and bands in the two camps, made up entirely of inmates.

    Marches were played at the camp gates as the labour gangs were led out to work each morning and musicians were called upon at all times of the day and night to perform for the SS and Nazi officers.

    For those incarcerated music was, in Primo Levi's words, "the perceptible expression of the camp's madness". For the surviving orchestra players, music was their salvation.

    In a unique tribute to the millions who died in the Nazi genocide, and for the first time in its history, the Museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau has allowed a number of leading musicians from around the world to come to the camps and perform in a 90-minute film shot entirely on location.

    A sequence of carefully chosen music, all of it connected in some way with the Holocaust, will be interwoven with the powerful accounts of three survivors from the men's and women's orchestras.

    Whilst bearing witness to the depravity of the Nazi regime's abuse of music, these voices also testify to the universal role music can play as consolation.

    The powerful combination of performance and testimony in this film will take the audience on an emotional and musical journey that reflects on those terrible events in Poland and on their wider significance in the 21st century.
  3. peko

    peko TRIBE Member

    logged onto tribe to post in a different thread - but this is perfect.

    Leaders, survivors mark Auschwitz liberation
    CTV.ca News Staff

    World leaders and Holocaust survivors gathered in Poland today, observing ceremonies to mark 60 years since the liberation of the Nazis' most notorious death camp.

    Snow was falling on the site of the rail siding where Nazi doctors once sent prisoners to the gas chambers at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex in Oswiecim, Poland. The commemoration began with the hollow sound of a lone, approaching train whistle.

    Then, Poland's Minister of Culture Waldemar Dabrowski extended a sombre welcome to those who gathered at what he said is the world's biggest unmarked cemetery.

    "We are standing on earth where over a million people died," he said.

    Then, two of the handful of survivors from the camp took the podium.

    "We the Polish people were all alone," former prisoner number 4427 Wladyslaw Barloszewski said. "The free world was not interested in our suffering, nor our death."

    Among the 30 world leaders attending the ceremony Thursday were the presidents of Poland, Russia, Israel and Germany. Governor General Adrienne Clarkson represented Canada.

    When she addressed the crowd, former prisoner number 78651 Simone Veil turned her thoughts to the lives, and the possibilities, that were lost.

    "Maybe they would have become philosophers, artists, great thinkers or perhaps skilled artisans or mothers of families," she said. "I still cry when I think of all of these children -- I will never forget them."

    "Me and my fellow survivors have the right and the responsibility to tell you to beware and to ask that this should never happen again."

    Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin joined Israeli President Moshe Katsav and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and survivors at the camp.

    Addressing the crowd gathered at the infamous spot where Nazi doctors decided which prisoners would be sent to the gas chambers and which would be worked to death, Putin acknowledged that anti-Semitism persists.

    "Even in our country, in Russia, which did more than any to combat fascism ... we sometimes unfortunately see manifestations of this problem and I, too, am ashamed of that," he said.

    It was exactly sixty years ago Thursday that Russian troops reached the camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau, where they discovered some 7,000 survivors barely clinging to life.

    It is estimated that at least 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, died at the two camps. In total, more than six million were killed as part of Adolf Hitler's so-called "final solution."

    Despite the horrific scale of the Holocaust, CTV's Tom Kennedy says that grim chapter in history is nevertheless losing its capacity to shock.

    Even the word Holocaust, he noted from Auschwitz, may have become diluted by overuse -- and by history's more recent horrors and genocides.

    An Environics poll published earlier this week in Canada found 30 per cent of Canadians surveyed couldn't identify that Jews were the primary victims of the Holocaust.

    In Poland, that number rose to about half of the population, according to a recent survey conducted there.

    The numbers weren't any better in Britain. A poll conducted for the BBC found that 45 per cent of adults had never heard of Auschwitz. The figure rose to 60 per cent among women and people under 35.

    International Observances

    At the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, EU lawmakers observed a moment of silence before passing a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and racism.

    And in Germany, where Jan. 27 has been set aside as Holocaust Remembrance Day since 1996, the parliament paused to remember the crimes committed in Germany's name.

    "We are gathered here today in the plenum of the German parliament to commemorate the victims of the National Socialist despotism in our language, which once was the language of the offenders, criminals and murderers," Parliament president Wolfgang Thierse said.

    Other events in Germany, where the anniversary is typically marked with speeches, classroom lessons and visits to historic sites, ceremonies were slated for the Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial near Berlin, and a train station in the capital from which millions were deported to Nazi camps.

    Commenting on the day's events from New Brunswick, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said "we can and we must honour those who lost their lives and those who survived."

    "The commemoration ceremony reminds us how important it is to reflect on the unspeakable atrocities that were inflicted in the camps, and the constant need to combat hatred and evil."

    With reports from CTV's Tom Kennedy in Poland and The Associated Press
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2005
  4. Boss Hog

    Boss Hog TRIBE Member

    Re: logged onto tribe to post in a different thread - but this is perfect.

  5. Saffron

    Saffron TRIBE Member

    ^^ Yeah wow!

    We're people skipping Grade 9/10 History? How can you not know or forget about the worst human massacre ever?

    I get goosebumps and tearie eyes when I think about how people were stripped of their humanity in these places.

    No wonder the world is in such an awful state.
  6. Deep_Groove

    Deep_Groove TRIBE Member

    Wow is right.

    So I guess the "Industry" is not as effective as you thought eh, Norman Finkelstein?

    - Deep_Groove
  7. Hamza

    Hamza TRIBE Member

    wow - your so predictable - its pathetic.
  8. Subsonic Chronic

    Subsonic Chronic TRIBE Member

    Now that I think about it, I can't remember ever learning anything about the holocaust, or any of WWII for that matter, in history classes.

    Of course, I went to a French Catholic school for grades 1-8, and all we learned was the most boring "Nouvelle-France" stuff. And in high school I opted for more science courses than history, so I probably would have learned at least a bit about it if I took anything more than the most compulsory of history classes.

    But that's still pretty shocking... how can you *not* know about the Holocaust just through everyday life and watching the news or reading the paper?
  9. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    How many of us can recognize the 10,000,000 victims of the Congolese genocide?

    There are lots of genocides, mass murders, etc. We should really be cognizant of all of them -- this will help us recognize that the Holocaust itself is another manifestation of human behaviour that seems to ebb and flow regardless of civilizations' current moral standards.
  10. Vincent Vega

    Vincent Vega TRIBE Member

    Re: logged onto tribe to post in a different thread - but this is perfect.

    (Out of respect for the day, I waited until today to do this.....)

    *almost post*
  11. Scarlett

    Scarlett TRIBE Member

    In my high school Religion class (Catholic), we studied the Holocaust for almost a whole term and it was one of the most compelling lessons I've ever learned and still take with me to this day. It's probably the only reason why i passed Religion class.
  12. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    We can't and yet there is something very profound about the Holocaust that does separate it. Its separate from Pol Pot and its separate from Stalin, both of which exterminated millions.

    The Holocaust was German and it was recorded and efficient. They processed the shoes the shirts and had them strip before there executions. They took x-ray’s of the teeth and branded the Jews with the same number. The factual horror and the fact that we have survivors and records makes the holocaust much more real.

    We will never know the full brutality of PolPot, be we all know and we all watch films that perfectly describe the horrors inflect on the Jews. History barely records the horrors of bombing even nuclear bombs in Japan. But History has a great record of the German atrocities.
  13. Subsonic Chronic

    Subsonic Chronic TRIBE Member

    Re: Re: logged onto tribe to post in a different thread - but this is perfect.

    You waited a day just to *almost post*??

  14. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Re: Re: Re: logged onto tribe to post in a different thread - but this is perfect.

    Hey pete

    I don't think WWII was covered until grade 10 for me. Other than the very Canadian sort of respects of the numbers lost.

    Same as I never saw Vietnam mentioned in a single class.
  15. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    While I agree to a certain extent in that the Jewish Holocaust was more recent (within 60 years) and we had technologies which allow us to extend the apparent relevancy of the events through to today, I do not think that is the primary reason for the disproportionatism. I'll use the Congolese atrocities as an example (although there are others, as you mentioned, which might be relevant as well).

    We have well-documented and photographic evidence of the atrocities that occured there. We have statistical accounts, visual accounts, familial accounts (families whose parents had their hands chopped off, etc). We have many visual and historical cues.

    I think Ditto is right in that for some reason, the atrocities suffered in the Congo are not as well remembered (or as apparently relevant) as the atrocities commited in Nazi Germany, but I disagree with him on the reasons why. I think the reasons have to do with cultural differences, propaganda differences, and so forth.

    I think that it is fundamental that we all recognize the Jewish Holocaust as a horror of humankind. But I think it is also fundamental that this is not at all unique with respect to human behaviour, and that we should reflect on human fuckups in general, not just the one that happened 60 years ago. I think it is even more important to understand why it is that we tend to focus on one of them, and not on any of the others. I think, as I mentioned, that the reasons are cultural and propagandistic (sp?); we feel a closer tie to the Jewish people in the 30's and 40's than we do to the Africans in the 1890's and early 1900's. We also do not understand King Leopold or how he relates to us Canadians nearly as well as we do Hitler.

    In any event, I'm not complaining about this, but I just think it's really terribly important to understand the horror as an ongoing and ever-present problem that pervades all of humanity. The awareness of that fact is what will help us better ourselves.
  16. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    We do, but in the case of germany we have actual surviving victims, in camps with building that contained the shoes and railroad schedules, and xrays of teeth and shipments of gold. It was industrialized human processing and it had modern accounting and branding. Part of the horror that was the Holocaust was that it wasn't done in chaos.

    See and I agree as well. You don't have historical movies being made by jewish producers about the Congo. And you don't have people from the congo writing these movies either. The Holocaust has a defeated power that stood trial. It has a begining a middle and an end. It has a victim it has a monster and it has a liberation at the end.

    Additionally jewish people have a great history of writing it down and turning it into there story. The History of the jewish people is largely based on the levite who secretairies the story down.

    Obviously the story gets told because the Jewish people told it, and inssited it be told. But fact remains that we have mountains of fottage and documents and living museums to the Holocaust. Most other genocides don't have this.

    And really I agree with what your saying. However I don't think that focusing on this single genocide deminshes others.

    Its not that other genocides were more or less brutal. It was that there is somethign inheritly fascinating about the methods used by the germans. Its very tangible where as others are difficult to picture.
  17. judge wopner

    judge wopner TRIBE Member

    this issue comes up alot and out of respect for the day and memorial ill say this:

    most high school history classes should have included WW2 study w/ some degree of focus on the holoucaut. you should know about it, and kids should be reminded.

    atp ill give you the point regarding the ability we have w/ modern technology to record the WW2 atrocities better than those earlier in the century. in addition becasuse there are still survivors and yes because jewish people are spread all over the world in various communities they are able to keep alive the story and the memory.

    i dont think if atp grew up in canada and isnt congolese has any more regard or emotion for what happened there than he does for the holocaust, its a nice leftist sort of sentiment to prop up the plight of africans when ever you can when making comparisons but right or wrong its an inappropriate comparison in many ways. (though the loss of life and suffering is equally vile across the board)

    i think the holocaust has special relevance to us in this sense:

    yes we should always hold dear the atrocities commited by any humans against another at any time. its true, bu its akin to suggesting one shouldnt mourn the loss of a loved one because there are people dying all the time.

    sometimes things can be relevant to you and bring sadness and reflection and noothing more. its bad enough dealing w/ the holocaust on it own, and sometimes i and im sure many others prefer to simply focus on that particular tragedy and thats it.

    i can think to other examples in due time but its not a requisite that we constantly hold up comparisons like meat charts of which holoucaust was worse or why one doesnt get the attnetion of the other. besides, go to asia and im sure there is reciprocal ignorance about the holocaust but burnign memories about the many asian atrocities and masacres.

    the holocaust happened in europe, in a relatviely affluent nation among peoples who have lived together for centuries. it happened not just suddenly and quickly but slowly, deliberately with rutheless german efficiency.

    not to minimize what happened in say rwanda but in perspective you are looking at a 3rd world nation that has seen endless war and suffering for a long time the regard you may have for their genocide perhaps lessens the millions who died well before things escalated in the regular conflict that existed there for so long .

    as well, if most of north america were africans of recent origin, we would have known more about it. Canada and the US are linked though less and less to europe, most immigrants post WW2 would call europe home, thus the holocaust holds great weight here, as it should in my mind, it happened on european soil.

    what makes it even more vile is that it didnt happen in a 3rd world unstable state, but in a nation that was supposed to be known for intellegence and enlightenment, for science and industry,
    for the holocasut to happen marks a very drastic turn around and a grim reminder of how much a stage show prosperity really is when things can change so quickly.

    perhaps if pol pot conducted experiments on his victums, or built elaborate death camps, or if rwandans had collective consent from many other africans that the tribe they were killing off was in fact a disliked people who were the cause of their problems,
    mabey then the comparison would be more voracious.
  18. Renton

    Renton TRIBE Member

    Why don't you just say what you're really thinking. That you are tired of hearing about the jews and their holocaust. That you're sick of the American and European "jew run" media dredging up the holocaust once again to encourage sympathy for Israel.

    But I guess you couldn't just come out and say that in a thread about the holocaust because then you would seem like an asshole. It's ok to criticize the jews in a thread about Israeli occupation or oppression but you couldn't do it in a holocaust rememberance thread, could you?

    This will probably be the last large holocaust memorial where the survivors can still attend. It's taken 60 years for the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Poland to truly acknowledge what happened, and condemn the actions taken by their own nations.

    Even 10 years ago, during the 50th anniversary, there was no such memorial. It's only NOW that this is being truly recognized the way it should be, by all the nations of Europe. So maybe for just for one day, you can try and remember what happened and put your politics aside.
  19. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    Your post is odious and does nothing but derogate the sensitivity with which I and others have been treating this subject.
  20. Renton

    Renton TRIBE Member

    Sensitivity.. hmm.. right. You could have started your post with, "Let's remember the holocaust, and also remember the world's other genocides." That would have been sensitive. But no, you were quick to point out in the first line of your post that there was a genocide on a larger scale then the Nazi Holocaust, in Cambodia.
  21. derek

    derek TRIBE Member

    you're an idiot.


    really bigtime.

    you're presumptions are quite entertaining though; being ridiculous and all. i don't base this on just your posts in this thread, but pretty much all your posts in this forum.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2005
  22. Renton

    Renton TRIBE Member

    hahahahahahah.. Ok, loser... Good argument there.
  23. Renton

    Renton TRIBE Member

    Wow.. You actually wasted your time looking at my profile and reading my other posts, I'm quite honoured! Thanks!
  24. derek

    derek TRIBE Member

    no need to argue you're an idiot. your posts do it for you.
  25. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    And what's wrong with that? What you're really telling me is that the holocaust should be considered unique, and thus should always be mentioned and never compared when talking about other genocides. To me, that's a completely dishonest approach.

    I think what ~atp~ is referring to is the idea the Holocaust has become an abstraction that does much to detract way from the seriousness, and thus the serious response, and serious recognition towards other examples of genocide, or potential genocide. I don’t care how many memorials you have. If you let 1,000,000 die in the span of 3 months in Rwanda, that tells me memorials do shit to elevate the importance of prevention in the social consiousness.

    I'd like to add the 12 to 18 million people of indigenous communities in the United States alone that were wiped out by genocidal tactics.

    "You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race!"
    Virginia Govenor - Lord Jeffrey Amherst - July 16, 1763

    From this command, Colonel Bouquet proceeded to hand over blankets infected with smallpox to two native Chiefs.

    This single exchange alone was estimated to lead to the deaths of over 150,000 indigenous people.

    Biological genocide, not warfare.. as it was aimed at all members of the native community. Man, women, and child. They still have universities named after Amherst. So don't tell me that this example is recognized in any way on a similar level as the holocaust. This is what I mean about abstractions.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2005

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