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February 25, 2012

“An assault on difference is really an assault on all of humanity” What British students are taught about Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: — furtherglory @ 9:49 am

The BBC online news had an article yesterday about British students visiting Auschwitz; it included a recording of several tour guides taking turns in the indoctrination of the students.  This quote is from the article:

Sixth-formers from across Wales have paid a visit to Auschwitz as part of a project to educate people about the horrors of war.

More than a million people were killed by the Nazis at the concentration camp in present day Poland.

Students visiting the site with the Holocaust Education Trust told BBC Wales what they thought.

The recording starts off with a tour guide in Krakow telling the students that they are first going to make a 30 to 40 minute stop in the town of Oświęcim, not Auschwitz; she tells the students that Oświęcim was RENAMED AUSCHWITZ BY THE NAZIS during the war.

Then we hear another tour guide telling the students that Auschwitz “used to play two roles.”  It was a “place of imprisonment” and also a “top secret place of mass extermination” with gas chambers.  The students are told that Auschwitz had “a well-organized production line” for “mass murder.”

Most of the tour guides were women.  At the end of the recording, we hear a man who says that the Jews were targeted for no reason other than being who they are.  He asks “Why were they targeted?” and answers his own question: “The Jews were targeted because they were different.”  His last words are “An assault on difference is really an assault on all of humanity.”

What did the students learn from this trip?  They learned how to pronounce the words Oświęcim and Auschwitz correctly from people who speak Polish.  Other than that, they learned that it was “so cold” in Poland and that the Jews were “stripped before going into the gas chamber,” implying that the victims suffered from the cold because there was no heat in the gas chamber. The gas that was used (Zyklon-B) had to be heated to 78.3 degrees before the poison was released, so this was an obvious blunder on the part of the tour guide.

The students learned from the tour guides that the main Auschwitz camp was located in “former Polish military barracks.”  But were they told why the Auschwitz buildings were originally built?  Were they told that Auschwitz was the largest railroad hub in Europe?  All railroad lines in Europe went to Auschwitz which is why this town was selected for a migrant worker camp way back in 1916. The migrant workers lived in what later became the Auschwitz I camp, and went from there to farms all over Europe to harvest the crops.

The students were told that 50% of the people in the town of Auschwitz were Jewish before the war and now there are no Jews in the town.  Of course, they were not told that Auschwitz was a town in which liquor was produced and shipped to America during Prohibition and also a place that was known as a hub for human trafficking, or “white slavery” as it was called back then (Source: Hitler’s Vienna: A Portrait of the Tyrant as a Young Man, written by  Dr. Brigitte Hamann, German-Austian historian, in 1999).

The town of Auschwitz was originally built by the Germans in 1270.  It was renamed Oświęcim by the Poles when this area was given to Poland after World War One.

Why am I nitpicking about these small details?  Because the students should be taught HISTORY, not propaganda and hatred of the German people.  They should not be told that the Jews were targeted because they were “different.”  They should be required to read “Mein Kampf” before getting on a plane to Poland.  They should learn about HOW the Jews were different and why Hitler thought that the Jews caused Germany to lose World War One.  They should learn that Auschwitz was in Silesia, a province that Germany lost after World War One.