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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The threat to the Auschwitz World Heritage site

The BBC has a great piece with an audio slideshow for today, Holocaust Memorial Day.

The Auschwitz site is under real threat due to a vast shortfall in funds.

Some of the site and some of the artifacts will go due to inevitable decay after 65 years. But other parts will go because the money isn't available to preserve them.

Apparently, most of the funding comes from Poland. There is a debate about whether or not to preserve the site as much as it can be preserved, but the testimony of those who have visited it strongly suggests that it should. And as one survivor says, we preserve the relics of past civilisations but ones who are lost we don't remember.

This, from a SkyNews comment:
As a grandchild of 2 Holocaust survivors, I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau last October with my sister. We both grew up with stories from our grandparents about the horrors they had been subjected to and also those of other family members. One story that particularly stuck in my mind was that my great aunt had her womb ripped out of her whilst awake and with no numbing drugs by "Dr" Mengele; the "doctor who liked to experiment". I always wondered why she didnt have children, it was only years later after her passing that I was told. Thousands of stories by thousands of survivors most of whom have since passed away. Auschwitz is a very creepy place, its true that birds dont fly over it. This place must be preserved for future generations from all over the world to see and understand what happened back then.

Some other coverage from today, the day Auschwitz was liberated.

'Someone had to do it. So the 43 Group did'
VIDEO Meet Jules Konopinski and Harry Kaufman, veterans of an English anti-fascist group set up by Jewish ex-servicemen after the second world war. They waged a five-year war against Oswald Mosley's British fascists in the 1930s.

Here's some amazing newsreel footage of the famous 'Battle of Cable Street' against the fascists, which these guys took part in.

Jonathan Sacks: National Holocaust Memorial Day matters because it is not just about Jewish victims, but all those who are touched by atrocity.

Holocaust recordings put online by British Library
Audio recordings made by Jewish survivors of the Second World War go on the British Library's website from today to mark National Holocaust Memorial Day.
Harsh echoes of history as hard times help Europe's extremists to rise again
There is a fresh impetus within the far Right who will seek to capitalise on the recession through making scapegoats and building support from the unemployed and the disillusioned.
Remembering the Holocaust
In the briefest of moments I imagined a giant steam train labouring towards the main gate of the world’s most notorious concentration camp. It would have been just like this in mid-winter. The powerful engine would have hauled up to 15 or more cattle trucks filled with human beings - the already dead, the dying and the soon to be dead - right across Europe.
Events happened all over the UK. As they should

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