Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial: Paying My Respects

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*** Warning: Extremely disturbing images below ***

Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most notorious of the Nazi concentration camps, is now preserved as a Memorial Museum. Located in the Polish town of Oświęcim (fifty kilometers West of Krakow, Poland) the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex is more accurately called an extermination camp, designed by the Nazis in order to systematically eliminate “undesirable” elements on an industrial scale.  It is estimated that over one million people were killed at this site alone.

Before presenting the photographs, I feel compelled to share a thought: The confluence of bigotry, scapegoating, blind obedience, and conformity is still producing horrific violence and injustice in our world to this day.  And my pilgrimage to this place of horror and sadness invited me to ask: What am I doing in my daily life to ensure that this happens “Never again”?  At the least, I can start by getting to know those who are “different”, by rejecting blind obedience to “authority”, and by resisting blind conformity with the herd.

That said, some of the photographs that follow are beyond disturbing, but I feel strongly that this is a history that must be preserved… in order to remember, to honor, and to teach.  I will allow the images to speak mostly for themselves…

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