It was perhaps the worst act ever taken by mankind. Adolf Hitler's extermination of Jews and others, including gypsies and a variety of others not deemed worthy of the Third Reich.
In today's news, we can see the distance already in what was a blemish that should never die but will be gradually forgotten and misshapen, hopefully in a better world that wants to forget rather than because of new atrocities.
Yet, with the huge problem in the current slave trade some tell me is overwhelming even in the US, the horror of how humans can treat others continues. And the need for historical accuracy is more important than either so-called "social correctness" or some other excuse that can be given for the AP's recent caption under an article published yesterday as "Germany launches Nazi war crimes probe against Philadelphia man."
The problem is that our knowledge and treatment of the events of Hitler's Third Reich, as important it is never to forget, diminishes with each generation and with those who bring us our news.
The caption under the photograph reads: "This January 1941 file photo shows entry to the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, with snow-covered railtracks leading to the camp. The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was the largest camp where people were terminated during the fascist regime rule of dictator Adolf Hitler over Germany during World War II."
1. In January 1941, Auschwitz-Birkenau did not exist. Construction was not begun until October 1941, established after Himmler visited Auschwitz and announced the "Final Solution," being the extermination of Jews and other "undesirables." There were three camps in the Auschwitz area. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest and worst of all death camps throughout the Third Reich.
2. Auschwitz-Birkenau was built not as a "concentration camp," a euphemistic name for these horrors of humanity, but as an extermination camp. To kill humans in as "efficient" a manner as possible, by gassing them and then cremating their bodies.
3. The article itself notes that Auschwitz I may have been where the Philadelphia man was located. He claims that he "only" worked outside that camp, making the picture of Auschwitz-Birkenau (Auschwitz II) misleading. This is not to say that everyday horrors did not happen all over Auschwitz. In fact, they did. Including Mengele's medicine horrors.
4. The picture itself is quite innocent. A large gate allowing trains to enter on merging tracks. Nothing that shows even the slightest horror behind the plain entry. While this may have a place in reporting on the camp, it seems far too innocent for what was going on. Surely, a more representative picture could have been taken.
We need to correct these problems in this article, and to make certain that we never forget this, the worst of human activity against an entire race and religion.
We need to ensure, as the anniversary of the establishment of Auschwitz-Birkenau on October 8, 1941, rapidly approaches, that we are especially correct in our comments on this horrendous time, and that we have a historically accurate picture of what was going on behind this innocent front.
Sadly, we have similar evidence as to what happened during the 1940s, when virtually no press reported on Auschwitz and its sister death camps and concentration camps, where madness prevailed and doctors performed "operations" on perfectly well humans in ways that are still unimaginable today.
Today, there is far too little written and done about the horrendous experiences of girls and women forcing into sex slavery.
Perhaps the slaughter of millions was not really the same as sex slavery. But the common thread of human mistreatment cannot be missed. And the blind eye, as we move toward our national elections, should not be directed toward these horrors of the past which have seeded today's Middle East and continue to haunt us all. We must use the sharpest sight possible, as we consider the past and make into reality the concept of "never again."