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Please Don't Forget the Liberation of Auschwitz

Ellen Levitt

Posted on January 27, 2020 10:13

2 users

A letter to the general public, on the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

To People Everywhere:

Please do not overlook the fact that today is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most notorious of the Nazi death camps in operation during the Holocaust, World War Two. If you don't know much (or anything) about Auschwitz-Birkenau, read here. If you or someone you know is in denial of the Holocaust and Auschwitz's impact, read here and here. If you think that the Holocaust was a good thing and should have killed more people, please seek psychiatric and moral help. If you are tired of people talking about the Holocaust, please reconsider and read here

There was a Holocaust, and at least six million Jews were killed during this horrible time. In addition, a huge portion of the Roma people (Gypsies) were killed, as well as homosexuals, those who protested the Holocaust, and other people. There was a terrifying, dehumanizing place called Auschwitz where people were tortured and killed in multiple ways. There was a time when Auschwitz was liberated. And Auschwitz was not the only death camp in Europe.

It is important to teach children and adults about the Holocaust and about Auschwitz, even if it seems like an old, sad story that "we all know about." No, not enough people understand it, and not enough realize that it illustrates the depths of cruelty that people can inflict upon each other. Also realize that Auschwitz stands in an awful continuum of inhumanity and suffering that includes slavery, the Crusades, the Inquisition, pogroms, and much more. Auschwitz didn't pop out of nowhere. 

It is important to realize that even today there are people and governments that do terrible things to people they denigrate, and this is not right, it is an injustice. It is also important to realize that mistreatments are not necessarily on the level of Auschwitz, and that over-reaching comparisons can diminish its significance-- but that mistreatments are bad, and should be stopped.

There are people who see suffering as a hierarchy, and this certainly can be debated: which groups have suffered the most, the worst, the longest, with the greatest frequency. Rather than cast aside these discussions, I do encourage them as long as people see there is more to it than just distorted bragging points.

Late in the summer of 1998, I spent a day at Auschwitz-Birkenau. I went by myself, not with a group. It was a heavy visit, but I felt an obligation to see what my people had experienced and to witness the aftermath of such horrors. I took black-and-white photographs, which I developed on my own, and I used some of these photographs when I taught social studies classes at Murry Bergtraum High School. The photographs made an impact on my students and on my colleagues, some of whom borrowed them to use in their classrooms as well.

The Holocaust and Auschwitz really are not easy to discuss, but they must be known. Take this to heart.

 

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on January 27, 2020 10:13

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Source: CNN

Since its liberation in January 1945, Auschwitz has become a symbol of the atrocities of the Holocaust.

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