Auschwitz: a well documented genocide, isn’t it just the tip of the iceberg of other ones ?  

Visiting the concentration camps with a fair amount of information about the extermination of jews, you get the feeling that the land is haunted and loaded with negative energy below you. However, Ignoring other “human tragedies,” either by excluding them or by simply mentioning them in passing, sends an implicit message that such historical events and their victims are not as important as the Holocaust. 

© Autschivtz-Birkanou concentration camp. Krakow

« Arbeit macht frei », is the first words you spot above the entrance gate of the camp. With the knowledge we have about the German Nazis, I felt strong empathy toward the people who were killed in the gaz chambers inside. I felt the heaviness of the ground beneath me while walking. I could not even visit all the blocks since there were more than 20 blocks.

« The weird part is, from where I am, just behind the Auschwitz II-Birkenau entrance, the grass is green, the perfectly aligned horse barracks look kinda lovely with the sun warming up their brick tiles. History makes this exact same picture unbearable but offers a glimpse of hope for a green start to all the black-muddy modern life camps. Beauty with baggage is what this is, a tremendous one but what doesn’t » Anonymous visitor
© bags with name tags of exterminated jews

The museum organizers have succeeded to keep all the prisoners’ belongings such as bags, jackets, glasses and clothes. The most shocking part was the block where they kept their hairs all together in one place. I was in a complete shock when I left the camp.

When you come to Autschivtz remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed. Respect their memory. There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolizes deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths.

Autschivtz Museum officials tweeted

The fact that I have come to learn that Polish people were also exterminated along with jews, made me think about the other genocides that had taken place in different parts of the world. Yes, it was a humanist tragedy for the jews, but we cannot deny the fact that it has overshadowed other tragedies which had preceded the holocaust or the ones which came after.  

On a basic level, it is obvious that if students do not learn about other genocides, they may assume that the Holocaust was simply an aberration of history.

Eisner, « Null Curriculum »

The attention given to the holocaust is useful but it disconcerts the inclusion of other genocides which might be equally important. For instance, there is the Armenian genocide (1915-1919), the Soviet manmade famine in the Ukraine (1932-1933), the Bangladesh genocide (1971), the Cambodian genocide (1975-1979), the Bosnian genocide (early to mid-1990s), the Rwanda genocide (1994), and the genocide in Kosovo (late 1990s).

Author: Imad Baazizi

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