Auschwitz Did Not Fall From The Sky – By RAIR Foundation USA
Early last year, 94-year-old Auschwitz survivor Marian Turski gave a speech during the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation. The Pole, who was imprisoned in the camp in 1944, had a warning: Recognize the signs. “Auschwitz didn’t appear from nowhere. So one could say, as we say in Polish: was not an implicit matter of course.”
The Nazi camp didn’t drop from the sky, he reminded his audience, but was the endpoint of a process that began with exclusion: from park benches, food stores, chorus’, swimming pools, and social clubs. Once they established a new reality of stigmatism, segregation, and exclusion, it was an easy next step to strip further rights, dehumanize, and brutally extinguish that minority.
But be careful, be careful, we are already beginning to become accustomed to thinking, that you can exclude someone, stigmatize someone, alienate someone. And slowly, step by step, day by day, that’s how people gradually become familiar with these things. Both the victims and the perpetrators and the witnesses, those we call bystanders, begin to become accustomed to the thoughts and ideas, that this minority that produced Einstein, Nelly Sachs, Heinrich Heine and the Mendelssohns is different, that they can be expelled from society, that they are foreign people, that they are people who spread germs, diseases and epidemics. That is terrible, and dangerous. That is the beginning of what can rapidly develop.
Turski, along with his family, was forced into the Lodz ghetto and later deported to Auschwitz, called on people not to remain indifferent when people are discriminated against and “whenever any government violates already existing, common social contracts.”
The survivor implored people to remain faithful to his Eleventh Commandment: Never be a bystander. He then addressed his daughters and grandchildren, warning them to “defend the constitution, defend your rights, defend your democratic order, defend the rights of minorities” and above all, “thou shalt not be indifferent.” Turski explained, “if you become complacent, before you know it, some kind of Auschwitz will suddenly appear from nowhere and befall you and your descendants.”
Watch Marian Tursk’s powerful speech:
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