Polish Composers and Music at Auschwitz

Electric Fence at Auschwitz

Photo by author, 2013

The first transport of 728 Polish prisoners arrived at Auschwitz eighty years ago, on June 14, 1940.  In honor of those first Polish prisoners, I want to highlight what may seem incongruous to many: music in Auschwitz. Two recent reports highlight Polish political prisoners who composed music at Auschwitz. It’s fascinating history, and a reminder that even in the darkest of places, the human soul  can stay alive through the power of music. Continue reading

Do Not Blame Poland and Poles for the Holocaust

Block 11 in Auschwitz

Nearly 20,000 Poles were executed in front of this wall near Block 11 in Auschwitz by a single shot in the back of the head. Photo by author, 2013.

Do not blame Poland and Poles for the Holocaust. It’s untrue, wrong and akin to hate speech. I struggle to comprehend the vehemence of so many people to blame Poland for the Holocaust and for concentration camps built in occupied Poland by Germany. Clearly, a review of Polish history is in order. Think of Henry Zguda, and thousands like him, who were beaten, starved, or worse, in German concentration camps like Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Then imagine someone telling Henry Zguda to his face he hadn’t suffered as much as others, and most of Poland collaborated with the Germans. That Poland should pay for its role in the Holocaust. It happened. And he never forgot it. Such is the seemingly worldwide insistence and conviction to blame Poland for the Holocaust, including the government of Israel. Consider the following.

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