AUSCHWITZ - OŚWIĘCIM PEACE MOUND CENTER

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Why

The Peace Mound Center (Oświęcim/Auschwitz, Poland) is a project of the Polish Senior Citizen’s Union which is a subsidiary organization of the „European Senior Citizen’s Union”.

Mission & Vision

Our vision is to construct a building to remember all the victims of genocide, dictatorship and war.  The Peace Mound Center will stand between the former concentration camps Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau, reminding us all to actively support peace and to respect human rights.

We, the initiators, will do everything in our power:

  • to maintain dignity for every human being
  • to abolish suppression and enslavement of men, women and children
  • to realize a life of Peace and Dignity in a democratic and just world for all

Auschwitz

„Today I went to tour the concentration camp Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II- Birkenau for the third time. It was heart wrenching to view the entrance to the camp, the gas chambers and the crematorium as it was the sequence of death for countless millions of innocent lives. I observed other people on the tour and watched them as they returned to their busses and cars. I was concerned about their thoughts and how this visit affected them. Clearly… we have to build the Peace Mound Center so we can have the people visit the center for healing, education, and to give them hope for a bright new tomorrow. Indeed we don’t have to walk this path again as a species. Surely the human race can learn to live in peace as we share life on this planet. Let’s move forward together and say never again. We have the God given capacity to live in the higher life of peace”.
Here are the photos along with the morbid descriptions of what happened from within the concentration camp Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau, Poland.

auschwitz

„Arbeit Macht Frei”
The writing on the gate „Arbeit Macht Frei”, which means „work brings freedom”. This is the gate that Jewish laborers walked through to work in the camp. We were told that to the right of the gate was an orchestra that was put their to keep spirits high, it also kept the marches to a beat so everybody kept in line when walking through the gate. Also every body walking through the gate in the morning to work must comeback through the gate in the evening, so if somebody died whilst working, their bodies would be dragged back through the gates in the evening to make the numbers up.This was the mouth of death for many millions of innocent people.

arbeit_macht_frei
Before that, the Jews were lined up for roll call in lines of 10. If someone went missing, then they were forced to stay there until the escapees were found. The longest time known was 21 hours. When the escapees were caught, they were tortured or even shot in front of the other members of the camp to show them what the consequences were.
There was a strange feeling around Auschwitz, you sensed wrongdoing and there was an unpleasant atmosphere. It was just like a still photo, there were no birds singing, no birds would fly over Auschwitz, but would only fly around it. It’s very odd, yet poetic to think that the birds knew what was happening, but that’s almost what you sense when you’re there.

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The shooting wall at Auschwitz I – Block 11
Auschwitz I used to be Polish army barracks, then when the Germans invaded, it was turned into a concentration camp because of its structure and it’s railway links, so Jews all over Europe could be transported to Auschwitz. Jews came from all over Europe.
This was a map in the museum that showed us where the Jews came from. The place in the bottom right of the map took 11 days on a cattle truck with no food, no water and no sanitation. The cattle trucks were about 25 feet long, to 10 wide.
The trucks could transport 15 cows, yet up to and often more than 100 people were forced into them. The killing started before the Jews even arrived at Auschwitz.

In the museum was this sign. We were told that if you gave a minute’s silence for every human life lost in Auschwitz alone, it would take you two years. These days, if a well-known celebrity dies, we tend to have a minute’s silence for them, but knowing it would take 2 years for every Auschwitz victim alone was something that hit us all, especially knowing that there were millions more killed elsewhere in the holocaust. One million Jews, would equal two years of silence. Think of it and say a prayer.
As the sign says, the majority of the people were killed in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. We were shown into the gas chambers. The chambers were filled with 1500 people at a time and were gassed with Zyklon-B, within 25 minutes, they were all killed. After this, they were to be cremated, but it took 6 days to do so, which to the Nazis, was too long.

We were shown, in the museums, the possessions of the Jews. Human hair, suitcases, glasses, crockery and even artificial limbs were on display.

Human hair was shaved from the Jews who were working and were shipped back to Germany to stuff mattresses and pillows. However, this was the hair that was shaved after the Jews were gassed. They were not shaved until after they were killed because the Germans did not want to give the impression that anything was wrong. Also, if the Jews were to riot, there would not be enough guards to control them. It’s enough to make one wish there were an uprising. Perhaps history would have been different.

This is a small proportion of the possessions that were ruthlessly taken upon arrival at Auschwitz. These were the glasses that belonged to the Jews and were never sold to help Germany’s economy, or given to the poor.. This has a massive impact on us all that viewed this display. It really gave us all this reminder that 1.1 million is just a statistic, but each of these people were individuals with a soul and a spirit. – Wolfgang Hildebrandt

Holocaust

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Introduction to the holocaust
The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. „Holocaust” is a word of Greek origin meaning „sacrifice by fire.” The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were „racially superior” and that the Jews, deemed „inferior,” were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.

During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived „racial inferiority”: Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals.

What was the holocaust?
In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. Most European Jews lived in countries that Nazi Germany would occupy or influence during World War II. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of the „Final Solution,” the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe. Although Jews, whom the Nazis deemed a priority danger to Germany, were the primary victims of Nazi racism, other victims included some 200,000 Roma (Gypsies). At least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients, mainly Germans, living in institutional settings, were murdered in the so-called Euthanasia Program.

As Nazi tyranny spread across Europe, the Germans and their collaborators persecuted and murdered millions of other people. Between two and three million Soviet prisoners of war were murdered or died of starvation, disease, neglect, or maltreatment. The Germans targeted the non-Jewish Polish intelligentsia for killing, and deported millions of Polish and Soviet civilians for forced labor in Germany or in occupied Poland, where these individuals worked and often died under deplorable conditions. From the earliest years of the Nazi regime, German authorities persecuted homosexuals and others whose behavior did not match prescribed social norms. German police officials targeted thousands of political opponents (including Communists, Socialists, and trade unionists) and religious dissidents (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses). Many of these individuals died as a result of incarceration and maltreatment.Administration of the „final solution”
In the early years of the Nazi regime, the National Socialist government established concentration camps to detain real and imagined political and ideological opponents. Increasingly in the years before the outbreak of war, SS and police officials incarcerated Jews, Roma, and other victims of ethnic and racial hatred in these camps. To concentrate and monitor the Jewish population as well as to facilitate later deportation of the Jews, the Germans and their collaborators created ghettos, transit camps, and forced-labor camps for Jews during the war years. The German authorities also established numerous forced-labor camps, both in the so-called Greater German Reich and in German-occupied territory, for non-Jews whose labor the Germans sought to exploit.Following the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) and, later, militarized battalions of Order Police officials, moved behind German lines to carry out mass-murder operations against Jews, Roma, and Soviet state and Communist Party officials. German SS and police units, supported by units of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS, murdered more than a million Jewish men, women, and children, and hundreds of thousands of others. Between 1941 and 1944, Nazi German authorities deported millions of Jews from Germany, from occupied territories, and from the countries of many of its Axis allies to ghettos and to killing centers, often called extermination camps, where they were murdered in specially developed gassing facilities.The end of the holocaust
In the final months of the war, SS guards moved camp inmates by train or on forced marches, often called “death marches,” in an attempt to prevent the Allied liberation of large numbers of prisoners. As Allied forces moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Germany, they began to encounter and liberate concentration camp prisoners, as well as prisoners en route by forced march from one camp to another. The marches continued until May 7, 1945, the day the German armed forces surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. For the western Allies, World War II officially ended in Europe on the next day, May 8 (V-E Day), while Soviet forces announced their “Victory Day” on May 9, 1945.In the aftermath of the Holocaust, many of the survivors found shelter in displaced persons (DP) camps administered by the Allied powers. Between 1948 and 1951, almost 700,000 Jews emigrated to Israel, including 136,000 Jewish displaced persons from Europe. Other Jewish DPs emigrated to the United States and other nations. The last DP camp closed in 1957. The crimes committed during the Holocaust devastated most European Jewish communities and eliminated hundreds of Jewish communities in occupied eastern Europe entirely.

Invitation

Our common purpose:
The Peace Mound Center
Oświęcim/Auschwitz

Dear citizens of good will all over the world!

We ask you most sincerely to support The Peace Mound Center project in Oswiecim/Auschwitz Poland, emotionally, financially and politically.

With the construction of this building the Polish Senior Citizen’s Union, a member of the European Senior Citizen’s Union wishes to remember all victims of genocide, dictatorships and wars. The Peace Mound Center will stand between the former concentration camps Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau, reminding us all to actively support Peace and to respect Human Rights.

The Peace Mound Center is being initiatied by former prisoners and survivors of the concentration camps , prisons and gulags. Already, during its planning phase, many people wordlwide have been moved to show their solidarity mainly by donating a memorial stone. We are thankful for your contributions.
We are now starting our concrete work for which we need financial support.
Please help the Mound of Remembrance and Peace with your donations to meet its goals.

We, the initiators, will do everything in our power:

  • to maintain dignity for every human being
  • to abolish suppression and enslavement of men, women and children
  • to realize a life of Peace and Dignity in a democratic and just world for all

Help us to make the The Peace Mound Center a reality!

Our earth is but a small star in the great universe
Yet of it we can make, if we choose, a planet unvexed by war,
untroubled by hunger or fear, undivided by senseless
distinctions of race, color or theory. Grant us that courage
and foreseeing to begin this task today that our children
and our children’s children may be proud of the name of man.

Extract from a prayer to the United Nations
Stephen Vincent Benét

Henryk Łagodzki
HENRYK ŁAGODZKI
(15.07.1927 – 19.07.2012)
President 2010 – 2012
Participant in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 -
unit of Captain Witold Pilecki,
former prisoner of Warschau and other
concentration camps

Why people need it

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…so that future generations can learn from the painful war experience of contemporary witnesses, that in every war many innocent people will suffer and be killed. That must not happen again after the Auschwitz concentration camp hell and after the 2nd World War. We do not need more wars! Only in peace can people live normally and develop themselves.The Peace Mound Center can become a symbol of World Peace.

Dr. Janusz Mlynarski – retired surgeon, former prisoner No. 355 of Auschwitz Concentration Camp from the first deportation on June 14.1940
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Auschwitz is a place you cannot forget. The Peace Mound Center in the city of Oświęcim must be a symbol of life in Peace.

Tadeusz Jakubowicz – Chairman of the Jewish Religious Community in Cracow
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Auschwitz is the murder capitol of the world. We raise our voices to be heard.
Freedom is so so pure that God gives it as a cure.

Rabbi Edgar Gluck (New York, USA) – Chief Rabbi of Galicia, Poland
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I bless with all my heart this initiative and all the People of Good Will who support this work for PEACE. May it be realized as soon as possible and may it serve all the People and Nations of the world in the future! May it help raise people’s awareness about the misfortunes of others and contribute to a significant learning from the past in order to create a better world in which everyone can live and develop in peace and for peace.

Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy – Bielsko-Zywiec Diocese/Poland
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… so that the up and coming new generation in Germany, whose parents came from a different cultural group will never forget the atrocities man is capable of when he loses his connection with the God given commandment to love ones neighbor.

Dr. Bernhard Worms – President of the European Senior Citizen’s Union – former Parliament Secretary
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…so people from every nation, culture, religion, and race can have opportunity to use The Peace Mound Center to meet and work together to realize a violence free humane life based on understanding and mutual respect can be accomplished through meaningful dialogue with each other.

Janusz Marszalek – former Mayor of City of Oświęcim 2002 – 2011 and President of the Polish Senior Citizen’s Union
benedykt_980

“…the Holy Father wishes that the forthcoming Mound will be a visible sign and the symbol of the call to forgiveness and conciliation, a reminder of the need for peace in the hearts of the people and in the world.

His Holiness commends the Polish Senior Citizens Union to God in prayer and wishes a successful completion of the project realized by them – the construction of the Mound of Remembrance and Peace. He gives from his heart apostolic blessing to all who are engaged in this work and support it. “

Letter from Vatican

Why people need The Peace Mound Center?

benedykt_980

“…the Holy Father wishes that the forthcoming Mound will be a visible sign and the symbol of the call to forgiveness and conciliation, a reminder of the need for peace in the hearts of the people and in the world.

His Holiness commends the Polish Senior Citizens Union to God in prayer and wishes a successful completion of the project realized by them – the construction of the Mound of Remembrance and Peace. He gives from his heart apostolic blessing to all who are engaged in this work and support it. “

Letter from Vatican
pcm06

…so people from every nation, culture, religion, and race can have opportunity to use The Peace Mound Center to meet and work together to realize a violence free humane life based on understanding and mutual respect can be accomplished through meaningful dialogue with each other.

Janusz Marszalek – former Mayor of City of Oświęcim 2002 – 2011 and President of the Polish Senior Citizen’s Union
pcm05

… so that the up and coming new generation in Germany, whose parents came from a different cultural group will never forget the atrocities man is capable of when he loses his connection with the God given commandment to love ones neighbor.

Dr. Bernhard Worms – President of the European Senior Citizen’s Union – former Parliament Secretary
pcm04

I bless with all my heart this initiative and all the People of Good Will who support this work for PEACE. May it be realized as soon as possible and may it serve all the People and Nations of the world in the future! May it help raise people’s awareness about the misfortunes of others and contribute to a significant learning from the past in order to create a better world in which everyone can live and develop in peace and for peace.

Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy – Bielsko-Zywiec Diocese/Poland
pcm03

Auschwitz is the murder capitol of the world. We raise our voices to be heard.
Freedom is so so pure that God gives it as a cure.

Rabbi Edgar Gluck (New York, USA) – Chief Rabbi of Galicia, Poland
pcm02

Auschwitz is a place you cannot forget. The Peace Mound Center in the city of Oświęcim must be a symbol of life in Peace.

Tadeusz Jakubowicz – Chairman of the Jewish Religious Community in Cracow
pcm01

…so that future generations can learn from the painful war experience of contemporary witnesses, that in every war many innocent people will suffer and be killed. That must not happen again after the Auschwitz concentration camp hell and after the 2nd World War. We do not need more wars! Only in peace can people live normally and develop themselves.The Peace Mound Center can become a symbol of World Peace.

Dr. Janusz Mlynarski – retired surgeon, former prisoner No. 355 of Auschwitz Concentration Camp from the first deportation on June 14.1940