REFLECTIONS ON AUCHWITZ, 70 YEARS ON…

REFLECTIONS ON AUCHWITZ, 70 YEARS ON…

My first view of snow-covered Poland was out of the plane window on its descent into Krakow airport. A cold white landscape hid what lay beneath the fields and woods surrounding Auschwitz-Birkenau: the ashes of the dead. The Lord had been putting Auschwitz on my heart for some time, so in January 2015, I set off to see for myself the evidence of the Shoah, the holocaust, that saw millions murdered in a highly efficient and well documented killing factory. The crumpled ruins of the gas chambers and crematoria, destroyed by the Nazis in an attempt to hide their atrocities, lay under a carpet of crisp white snow, betraying the silent screams of millions who passed through these edifices of inhumanity. The sheer scale of Auschwitz-Birkenau is breathtaking, the size of a small town. In all directions stretch rows of huts, or their remains, where Jews, Gypsies and others deemed unsuitable for the Aryan vision, were worked to death. The women and children had no such opportunity, they simply disembarked from the trains, were processed and sent straight to the gas chambers. If there was a delay due to sheer volume, they were made to wait in forested areas within eyesight of chimneys that filled their noses with the smell of burning flesh, simultaneously dusting them with the ash of those who had gone before. At Auschwitz 1, itself an ex-Polish military barrack close to the town of Oswiciem, the evidence of great pain and suffering, human experimentation, mass shootings, brutality and gassing is clearly evident. One is struck by how efficient the Nazi ideology was enacted. Today, as...