Auschwitz and Holocaust Remembrance will always be intertwined. I visited Auschwitz in October 2013. But I really began seeing Auschwitz in 2002, through the eyes and memories of a Polish political prisoner.
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.
Hate must not replace us. In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, written in 1986, she included what I call both a historical and prophetic line: “. . . you have to create an it, where none was before. You do that first, in your head, and then you make it real.” If you want to see an extreme and real example with historical forebodings for today, study Germany and Europe in the 1930s as I have. Like it or not, the lessons are black and white. Consider this post an editorial observation and a historical comparison that most certainly shows precedent.
After three years of planning, World Youth Day 2016 begins this week in Kraków. Organizers expect the event will draw more than two million people from around the world. Poland’s archdioceses and dioceses have pledged to offer accommodations for over 373,000 foreign visitors. The festive gathering of youth and young adults represents the chance to share in prayer, worship, and a celebration of the Catholic faith. From Pope Francis to dancing nuns, Catholic leaders will welcome everyone in attendance.