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.
“Auschwitz had a wonderful orchestra.” With that line, Henry Zguda introduced me to a lesser known component of all German concentration camps – music. For some lucky prisoners, musical ability saved their lives, because they were selected for the camp orchestra. Henry worked for the director of the Auschwitz orchestra, so was able to describe it in first-hand detail.
January 27, 2015 marks 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. Plans for a worldwide commemoration have been in the works for some time. Through the support of the USC Shoah Foundation and the World Jewish Congress, a group of 100 survivors from around the world will take part in ceremonies at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
One story that Henry related to me during his indoctrination to Auschwitz was a recitation of the German Milestones of Freedom. At the time he told me these were veeeery famous. Yet I had great difficulty finding any mention of them on other documents or first-person accounts.