Auschwitz memorial weighs in on US racial divisions

Auschwitz memorial weighs in on US racial divisions

Over photo of concentration camp guards, museum tweets that perpetrators ‘rationalized and promoted hatred and evil’

The gate of the former German Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, July 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
The gate of the former German Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, July 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland — The memorial site of Auschwitz-Birkenau weighed in on the anti-Semitic and racially charged violence that has erupted in the United States, noting that hatred comes from people who promote it.

The state museum, which preserves the site of the former Nazi German death camp, wrote Thursday on Twitter: “One of the hardest lessons for us today. Perpetrators were people. They accepted an ideology that rationalized and promoted hatred & evil.”

Beneath the words is a photo of Auschwitz officers and guards smiling and having fun.

The message was posted in several languages after US President Donald Trump made comments that appeared to defend the actions of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. A woman was killed and 19 people were injured in the turmoil.

A museum spokesman told The Associated Press that people are free to interpret the message as they wish.

On Sunday, the museum tweeted: “Auschwitz stands today as a painful reminder of what racist & antisemitic ideologies can lead to, of what may happen when people hate…”

Nazi Germany killed an estimated 1.1 million people at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in German-occupied Poland, most of them Jews, but also Roma, Poles, homosexuals and others.

Today the Polish state institution preserves the physical remains of the site while leading educational efforts to remember the atrocities committed there.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Join our community
read more: