Nearly 200 survivors participated at the former Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the camp on Monday, January 27, 2020. Among the tales of the holocaust survivors, the retired German prosecutor Gerhard Wiese shared a testimony among he heard from survivors of the camp at Auschwitz, Poland.
Tales of the Holocaust at Auschwitz
Historians claimed that more than 1.1 million people among whom the majority were the Jews community lost their lives at the death camp at Auschwitz. The concentration camp was a large complex and became a primary site for the Nazi’s extermination of Jewish people after Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Poland in 1940. The Nazi’s genocide continued till the end of the Second World War (1939-1945) at the camp as a part of Hitler’s command of “Final Solution” to exterminate European Jews.
Many notable inmates including Anne Frank, Adolf Burger were once sent to this camp and luckily, they escaped the wrath of the Nazi soldiers. Towards the end of the war, Soviet Union’s Red Army liberated the camp on January 27, 1945, a day that is commemorated every year as “International Holocaust Remembrance Day” since 2005.
The former German prosecutor, Gerhard Wiese heard a couple of stories from the survivors of the Auschwitz camp. Among the hundreds of testimonies, the prosecutor recalled a story about a Jewish father whose attempts to save his twins children went in vain. In the story, the father had handed over his children to Mengele, the Nazi officer known as the Angel of Death in the hope that his twins would be saved. However, Mengele had conducted his inhumane genetic experiments on twins and sent them away to the gas chamber.
Wiese was the last surviving prosecutor of the Auschwitz and among the ex-members of Adolf Hitler’s SS Group who faced the trials in the 1960s about the holocaust persecution in the camp. “After this witness statement there was absolute silence in the room,” said 91-year-old Wiese, as Germany and the world mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. “One wave of the hand – that’s all it took for fate to be sealed.”
Talking about the Anti-Semitism Issues
The 75th anniversary was attended by several world leaders and the most concern theme was the rise of the anti-Semitism feelings among the German youth and many parts of the world. On contrary to the others’ opinion, Wiese expressed his main concern was the existing trend of how Germans tried to distance themselves from Nazi and its crimes. The old German prosecutor told, “Even if some people don’t like it, you have to keep reminding them: ‘you were born in this country and you have to live with its history: the good and the bad parts’.”
The German government has recently witnessed multiple events which involved the killing of people due to the rise of anti-semantic feeling and hate crimes. As Reuters reported, an anti-Semitic man fired arms and killed two people near a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle last year and a sympathizer of anti-Semitism was arrested on suspicion of killing a pro-immigration politician.
Many German mainstream parties have been accusing Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party for creating such anti-immigrants and hate attitudes towards youths which led to indulging in political violence in the country. On Monday, an AfD lawmaker Stefan Raepple was widely condemned over his remark saying that Germany should put an end to its “cult of guilt” over the Holocaust.
Referring to the widespread concern over the rise in anti-Semitic attacks, in particular in Europe and North America, a 92-year-old Polish-born Jew whose family was sent to Auschwitz in 1944, Benjamin Lesser said, “The Holocaust was sponsored and was okayed by a government. Not only did they allow it to happen but they enforced it and encouraged regular people to become killers.”
Citing the issues of hating attitude against the Jews, he continued, “I have returned so that I don’t forget any of the details of what happened to me, so I can keep the memories alive, and stop the world from acquiring amnesia.”
The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), which has been funding more than 100 survivors and their families, Ronald Lauder said, “The emphasis here is on the survivors, as it should be, not on political leaders. There will probably not be another major anniversary as we’re losing so many of them.”
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