Bearing Witness to Unspeakable Crimes

A visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland is a difficult emotional experience but it is one way we can honor the victims of unspeakable crimes against humanity. It’s important to see what happened there so that nothing so heinous can ever occur again anywhere in the world. The death of millions of innocent men, women and children at these extermination camps, most of them Jews, could never have happened if the majority of the people carrying out the atrocities had the courage to say, “No, I won’t do that.”

If such a mass extermination of innocent people– of any religious or ethnic group–ever starts to happen again, it is our responsibility to say, “No, I won’t participate in that. And I won’t tolerant that either because every person in the world has worth and dignity.” No exceptions!

It is everyone’s responsibility to bear witness to the injustices in the world. And the Holocaust has to be one of the most awful injustices every inflicted upon Jews, Poles, gays, communists, Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc., that ever transpired. Seeing hard evidence of the suffering that occurred is one way we can honor the victims. Bearing witness in this way helps fuels the moral outrage required to bring about positive change in the world. It inspires us to not only say, “Never again!” but to act in such a way that that such unspeakable crimes never take place in the future.

Birkenau train tracks used to transport people to the extermination camp. Flowers were left in remembrance of the victims
Train car used to transport victims. By the time the cars arrived at the camp, many people inside were already dead
Words fail me here
Photos of some of the women who died at Auschwitz
A Polish doctor of law who was deported on Sept. 22, 1940 and died on May 27, 1942
Photograph of women and children just before their extermination in Auschwitz
Display at the museum showing photographs of Jews being deported from different locations around Europe
More than 1 million people died at Auschwitz, 90 percent of whom were Jews
Barracks where prisoners slept, including on floor level where there were rats. There were no bathroom facilities nearby
Main entrance to Auschwitz. Many tour groups there in August 2021, with guides speaking many languages to their respective groups

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