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“Arbeit macht frei” appears at Detroit factory

“Arbeit macht frei” (work makes you free) — three of the most profane and chilling words ever written — has been posted on the overpass of the mostly abandoned Packard Plant on the city’s east side.

Arbeit Macht Frei

The phrase is a shocking and mocking reference to the infamous words posted over the entrance ways to a number of Nazi concentration camps during World War II, including Auschwitz, the horrific camp set up in Poland.

It’s unknown just who erected the signs on the massive and graffiti-scarred Packard plant on East Grand Boulevard near Mount Elliot.

The plant has become one of the city’s largest eyesores. It was built by the luxury automaker, which went out of business in 1958.

via Phrase made famous by Nazis appears on Packard Plant | The Detroit News |

February 5, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, News | , , | Leave a comment

Poland marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day

KRAKOW TOURSHolocaust survivors, politicians and dignitaries are taking part, Sunday, in ceremonies marking the 68th anniversary of the Liberation of the Nazi Death Camp at Auschwitz.

The invited guests, including Russian Parliament’s chairman Sergey Naryshkin, Polish Culture Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski, former prisoners, clergy and politicians from various countries, are marking the day the camp, located in southern Poland, was liberated by Soviet troops, after around 1.1 million died there at the hands of the occupying German Nazis, most of them Jews, but also Poles, Roma Gypsies, political prisoners and others.

In 2005, the UN General Assembly declared 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Ceremonies began in the morning on Sunday with a Holy Mass for the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, celebrated at the Church of Divine Mercy, located near the former Auschwitz I camp., with the main ceremony commemorating Holocaust victims taking place at the Monument to the Victims in Birkenau in the afternoon.

The visual symbol of this year’s celebration is a picture by a former prisoner, Halina Ołomucka, a Polish Jew, entitled “Liberation.”

“This image highlights, on the one hand, the joy of the end of the camp ordeal, and yet the unimaginable toll of the camp experiences that the liberated will have to carry with them until the end of their days,” says director of the Auschwitz Museum, Piotr Cywiński.

As part of this year’s commemorations, a new Russian exhibition is opening in block 14, prepared by the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow.

“People survived and gave testimony. Today, thanks to their words and also to the original extant remains of the camp space, we remember and we try to understand. The knowledge we have obtained imposes a fearful obligation on us,” Piotr Cywiński writes in the 2012 Auschwitz Memorial and Museum summary report, which was published on Friday.

On Germany’s responsibility for the Holocaust, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said in a podcast on her official web site: “Naturally, we have an everlasting responsibility for the crimes of national-socialism, for the victims of World War II, and above all, for the Holocaust.”

“We must clearly say, to generation after generation, and say it again: with courage, each individual can help ensure that racism and anti-Semitism have no chance,” Merkel added.

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , | Leave a comment

70 years on…proof my parents died at Auschwitz

A HOLOCAUST evacuee has received proof that his parents were murdered at Auschwitz after a photograph of their battered suitcase was sent to him by a Polish tourist.

Harry Grenville and his sister Hannah were among 10,000 Jewish children sent to Britain from Nazi Germany as part of the Kindertransport refugee mission on the eve of the Second World War.

Their parents, Jacob and Klara Greilsamer, and grandmother, Sara Ottenheimer, were sent to an internment camp in Czechoslovakia.

Mr Grenville received brief correspondence from the Red Cross about his family until a chilling message in 1944 said they were being sent “east”.

He was 18 at the time and suspected this meant to a concentration camp in Poland. He never heard from them again.

Mr Grenville, 87, born Heinz Greilsamer, had confirmation of their deaths at the end of the war. But for nearly 70 years he has been haunted by not knowing when or where they died.

Now Mr Grenville, of Dorchester, Dorset, has been sent a picture of the suitcase which for years was an exhibit at the Auschwitz Museum.

It clearly shows the name Jacob Greilsamer.

It was taken by a Polish visitor who researched the name and got in touch with Mr Grenville through a history society near his former home of Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart.

Last night Mr Grenville, said: “Out of the blue a photograph turned up of a whole lot of suitcases of victims.

“They have the names of the victims painted on them and low and behold, there on this photograph is my father’s name. My heart missed several beats when I saw it for the first time. This is the first evidence I have ever had that my mother, my father and my grandmother arrived at Auschwitz.

“I have carried suspicions with me for a long time and now I have this evidence.”

Mr Grenville and his sister, now 83, lived with a foster family in Cornwall. He volunteered to join the British Army and then worked as a biology teacher, marrying his late wife Helen in 1950.

He has three children and two grandchildren. He said: “There will never be closure but I take a great deal of comfort from the fact that the second and third generations after the Nazis are trying to bring about reconciliation and a confession of the sins of their forefathers.”

via At last, after 70 years…proof my parents died at Auschwitz | UK | – Home of the Daily and Sunday Express.

January 25, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , | Leave a comment

More Holocaust survivors to receive German compensation

Germany will increase pension benefits to Jewish Holocaust survivors and broaden the category of those eligible for compensation.

The move is part of revisions made to the 1952 Luxembourg Agreement, under which West Germany assumed responsibility for the Holocaust.

As a result some 80,000 Jews in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union will receive payments for the first time.

To date, Germany has paid an estimated 55bn euros (£44bn; $70bn) to survivors.

The amended accord was signed by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Julius Berman, chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, to mark the treaty’s 60th anniversary.

“We still do not know the names of all of the victims,” Mr Schaeuble said.

“The crimes of the Holocaust were so inconceivably enormous that you can’t know all of the victims or those with claims, so you have to adjust it again and again.

“In eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, there are still people who were not entitled to make claims. And because those people who were entitled were identified, we said they should also receive [payments].”

Under the new agreement, Jewish survivors in ex-Communist countries are now eligible for a one-off payment of 2,556 euros.

In addition, some 100,000 elderly Jewish victims of the Nazi regime in the region will see their pensions increase from 200 euros per month to 300 euros per month, to match the sum Holocaust survivors elsewhere are already receiving.

Mr Berman said around 500,000 Holocaust survivors were still alive worldwide. His organisation was founded in 1951 to secure financial compensation for them.

“Half [of the survivors] are in poverty or very close to the poverty line,” Mr Berman said.

November 15, 2012 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Survivor of Auschwitz and Family Stirs Controversy in Poland

KRAKOW TOURS – Adolek Kohn, an 89-year-old survivor of the Holocaust, has stirred up quite a controversy by dancing on what could have been his grave.

In a video (see below) that had become quite popular on YouTube, the Australian grandfather is shown dancing to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” with his daughter and grandchildren in several former Nazi concentration camps in Poland and Germany, including Auschwitz.

September 30, 2010 Posted by | News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Holocaust denier David Irving watched closely at Auschwitz.

Controversial British historian David Irving wants to lead a tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp site but the museum says he will not be allowed to do so.

Imprisoned by Austria in 2006 for Holocaust denial, the historian started a tour around Poland this week with a group of people from the US and Australia and wants to present his, revisionist, interpretation of World War II history.

Irving, the author of several books which question elements of established Holocaust history, has claimed that much of what visitors to Auschwitz see today is a “reconstruction” and a Polish “money making machine”.

Though his original itinerary did not include the most infamous site of the Holocaust, the 72 year-old Irving has confirmed that he intends to  lead his tour party around the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.

Irving will probably arrive at Auschwitz on 30 September but has not informed the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum about the visit. The museum says it will not be allowing him to lead a tour as he is not a bona fide qualified guide, however.

“David Irving cannot lead a tour group at Auschwitz because he is not licensed,” said director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Bartosz Bartyzel.

“He can visit the museum, like anyone else, but we will watch him closely and if he starts telling lies about the Holocaust, we will take action,” Bartyzel assured.

The director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum admitted, however, that it will be difficult to establish if a person who heads a group serves as a guide, or is just a group member.

“If I’m refused the right to enter a concentration camp or if I’m forced out, it will be methods such as the Nazi used,” David Irving told Italian daily Corriere della Sera after officials at the former Treblinka death camp announced that they will not let the British historian enter.

Irving’s tour has angered Poland’s small Jewish community. “Mr Irving is not a historian but a charlatan and a vicious liar,” said Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich.

Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) says that it is following Irving’s steps in Poland to make sure he does not commit another “Holocaust related crime”. “We know where he is, what he’s doing and what he’s saying,” assured Marcin Golebiewicz from IPN.

Denying facts about the Holocaust is punishable by up to three years in prison in Poland.

September 23, 2010 Posted by | News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Holocaust denier to lead tours to Auschwitz and Treblinka

NOT KRAKOW TOURS – The Nigdy Więcej (Never Again) anti-racist organisation have called for ‘Holocaust denier’ British historian David Irving to be banned from entering Poland later this month.

Starting September 27, Irving is leading a tour party, with tickets costing around 1,500 euros each, taking in sites including the Treblinka death camp, Warsaw Ghetto and Hitler’s Bunker in the Masurian lake district.

Never Again, in a joint statement with the UK based Searchlight magazine, have called for Irving and his tour party – which he claims is sold out – not to be let into Poland.

“We urge Polish and British authorities to react strongly and not allow this shameful visit which offends the memory of victims of the war and the Holocaust,” says the Never Again statement.

“The group will mainly consist of Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis from the UK and other Western Europe countries and the United States,” the statement adds.


No protests against the visit have yet come to the notice of the police. “We have not yet received any information about demonstrations and assembly connected with Irving’s visit,” said Warsaw police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski .

“We have also not receive any information from Mr Irving that he felt threatened,” Sokolowski told the PAP news agency, noting that police have no responsibility for the security of private visits.

Irving has dismissed protests against his visit. He told the Daily Mail that his tour party was for “real history buffs”, and that it was the Polish authorities who had turned the Auschwitz Nazi death camp site into a “Disney-style” tourist trap and a “money making machine”. Irving went on to accuse Polish authorities of neglecting other less “marketable,” more authentic death camps, which “don’t have a Holiday Inn down the road,” in favor of Auschwitz.

He also accused Poland of erecting watch towers in Auschwitz that were not there during WW II, to make the place feel more authentic. “I have been a historian for 40 years. I know a fake when I see one. When you look at old photos of Auschwitz, those towers aren’t in the photographs,” he said.

Irving was arrested and imprisoned in 2006 when he visited Austria, where Holocaust denial is a crime.

Andrzej Arseniuk, spokesman for Poland’s National Remembrance Institute  – which investigates and prosecutes Nazi and communist-era crimes – said that they would take appropriate action if Irving publicly denies Nazi crimes. If incidents come to the attention of the law then “the prosecutor has the authority to deal with it,” Arseniuk said.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments


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