Thursday, January 27, 2011

Auschwitz : A Day to Remember

I just learned today that January 27, 2011 marks the 66th anniversary of the Allied forces liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Germany's Third Reich under Adolph Hitler, otherwise known as International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Auschwitz Concentration Camp

It so happened that on January 12, 2011, were privileged to have four high school students and their Counselor, Mr. David Dummer, tell us first hand about an Auschwitz experience of their own. Our Grand Canyon Chapter hosted a Lunch & Learn for the students to tell their story.  

A group of 20 students from the Phoenix Country Day School travelled to Eastern Europe in 2009 . As part of their tour, they took an afternoon to view and learn about Aushwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.  These young students, barely 16 years old at the time, learned about the Holocaust of World War II and the atrocities that were inflicted upon prisoners of Auschwitz-Birkenau as a product of it.

Female student shares Auschwitz experience
The students spoke of their personal impressions to the gas chambers, the ovens, and the bizarre collection of 'things' that were taken from the people who had the misfortune to be there -- shoes, eyeglasses, luggage, clothing, and even teeth.  

They learned that these items were removed, and in many cases recycled, to reinforce the dwindling supply of goods for the German population.  

They also spoke of the contrast between the seemingly bright summer day when they visited with the dreary reality of tragedies within Aushwitz-Birkenau. 

(This video portrays their description. Go here to see a tour of what remains of Auschiwtz.)

While the sky seemed clean and peaceful, the students realized that the prisoners inside would never see that or any sky again. 

It struck me that in 1945, although I was a little younger than these students, I was quite aware of what I heard over the radio and what I heard the adults talking about.  I am so glad to know that the youth of today are being taught the lessons of the Holocaust and what it means to our world today.  

They, themselves, acknowledged that it changed their lives.

-- Donna Winkler
Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Outreach Coordinator


Please take a moment today to remember the victims of the Holocaust today 
and the importance of human rights.   As quoted from the United Nations,

"We must also go beyond remembrance, and make sure that new generations 
know this history.  We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world."


More Info:
Visit The Days of Remembrance Website for more information and resources.

Watch a CBS public service announcement about International Holocaust Remembrance Day, featuring Katie Couric and the Museum.

Read an International Holocaust Remembrance Day Op-ed on preventing genocide today.

How We Help
The Red Cross provides a free International, Holocaust, and War Tracing Program for persons seeking the fates of loved ones missing since the Holocaust and its aftermath. For many survivors, the search brings the solace of learning, after years of uncertainty, what happened to loved ones. For some, it brings the miracle of a reunion. 

If you are interested in this program, please e-mail:

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