What is a concentration camp and why it’s
important to go there?
“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything.
You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”
What was the Holocaust?
If you want to know what is concentration camp, you need to know what was Holocaust, because as Elie Wiesel says: “To forget a Holocaust is to kill twice”. Holocaust was a systematic annihilation of peoples during World War II. It evolved slowly between 1934 and 1945 in Europe. It’s very important part of Europe’s history. Holocaust began with discrimination. Jews (mostly, but not only) were separated from their communities step by step (for example by living in ghetto or concentration camps) and finally they were murdered. The word ‘Holocaust’ in Greek means ‘complete’ (‘holos’) and ‘burned’ (‘kaustos’). The Nazis themselves used the euphemism: ‘the Final Solution of the Jewish Question’. The contemporary Jewish-Hebrew name for the catastrophe is ‘Shoah’.
It begins in January 1933 when Adolf Hitler was made Chancellor of Germany. Very soon after Hitler persuaded President to give him emergency powers, that took away people’s rights. On march 1933 the Reichstag passed an ‘Enabling law’, giving the Nazi party the power to make laws without parliamentary approval. Over the next year the Nazis eliminated all remaining political opposition and they began a campaign of violence and terror. Across Germany the local police, SA and SS rounded up many thousands of Jewish, communists, socialist, church leaders and anyone else, who might criticise the Nazis. Prisoners were physically concentrated in one place, so the Nazis called these first camps – concentration camps.
The first concentration camp
The Nazis set up their first concentration camp in Dachau (in Germany) in 1933. Over the next 12 years, they build over 20 000 camps of various kinds. These included concentration camps, transit camps, forced labour, work camps and death camps. German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz and Birkenau was camp set up solely for the murder of Jews. Adolf Hitler was convinced that Aryan Germany could to be a supremely powerful nation and therefore could not believe it was possible for them to have lost the war by their own devices. His view was that somebody must have betrayed Germany. Hitler believed, that those people were Jewish. Interesting is fact that, when Adolf Hitler was a struggling, poverty stricken artist in Vienna, he did not show any signs of anti-Semitism. Many of his closest associates in the hostel, where he lived, were the Jewish men, who helped him to sell his pictures.
The use gas chambers was the most common method of mass murdering the Jews in death camps (for example in Auschwitz-Birkenau). Nine out of ten victims in these camp were Jews. Six extermination camps were situated in Poland, where died about 3 million Jews – half of the 6 million victims of the Holocaust.
The best known concentration camp in Poland was Auschwitz. Auschwitz was a German Nazi concentration camp, which existed in the years 1940-1945.
Why it’s important to go there?
Everyone should visit German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz and Birkenau, even if no one wants to go back there. It’s very necessary visit for every European and for every person. For sure it makes experience far more personal. We should remember that it’s not only hard and sad history but also new hope for better future. To really know what is a concentration camp – it is necessary to go there and to see it.
Visit in concentration camp is not to remembering what happened,
it’s about never forgetting it.