Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
I recently visited the Museum of Auschwitz, better known to us as Oświęcim. As is said, I have an opinion, I want to share it…
Auschwitz is perhaps one of the strangest places on earth and is special for the human psyche. In this Nazi camp some people, being of sound mind and memory in two years like a conveyor exterminated a million and a half other people. Men, women, and children choked in the gas chambers and then their bodies were burned in ovens. Not because they committed some crime, not because the SS somehow personally hated their victims or they liked killing as a process. But simply because their superiors ordered it.
It is impossible for a normal, mentally healthy person to understand it. And this full awareness of the absurdity of the situation, the horror at the sight of the ovens, the gas and torture chambers completely disables the ordinary Museum visitor – the critical perception of information, which is cynically used by the authorities of modern Poland for propaganda against communism. Upon entering the Museum already the first pavilion created by the Polish government talks about the sacrifices of the Polish people who suffered during the Second World War.
After listing the crimes of the Nazis, the exhibition draws the attention of tourists to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, about how Soviet troops attacked the bleeding Poland from the East, showing photos of the meeting between Soviet and German troops in Brest-Litovsk.
Of course, we will not be shown the photos of German and Polish military in the Cieszyn region of Czechoslovakia. And here immediately Katyn is mentioned, which is placed on a par with Auschwitz, thus carefully instilling the idea that the Nazis, by their blood-shedding, in principle, doesn’t differ at all from communism. It’s as if it isn’t important that in Auschwitz the Nazis killed half a million people, while Katyn is an invention of the Department of propaganda of the Third Reich.
We are shown the photos of Polish Generals and officers, tortured to death in the USSR, offering to sympathize with the noble fighters of the Armia Krajowa, which participated in ethnic cleansing in Western Ukraine. The authors of the exhibition do not forget to kick also “wrong” Polish patriots who actually fought against the Nazis in the ranks of the Armia Ludowa, calling it a puppet organization of Moscow.
Interestingly, in the number of alleged Soviet crimes against Poles the Volyn massacre is included absolutely subtly. And it is done so that an outsider may not understand that a massacre was staged by Nazi collaborators. Also the slow pace of the offensive during the Warsaw uprising, which was suppressed by the Germans, is mentioned as a crime of Moscow, which is strange considering that the Soviet offensive in Poland is today referred to as nothing other than an occupation.
In general, as can be seen, disguised as Polish victims of the Nazis, the authors of the exposition tried to maximally feed to millions of tourists from around the world a sprinkling of Soviet crimes, which almost exceed the crimes of the Nazis. I.e. in summary, today the former Nazi death camp is used by the government in Warsaw for propaganda against a country that destroyed this same Nazism. As strange as it may sound.
By the way, the Russian exposition at the Museum is surprisingly good. Against the background of the others, where we are told how the Germans tortured and killed their countless victims, the Russian exhibition focuses on the facts of the resistance of prisoners. How Soviet prisoners of war from the first days created illegal organizations, organized mass escapes, some of which were even successful. We are shown telegrams of the German administration about the escape of certain prisoners. Regretfully, there are also telegrams about the successful capture of some of them. While those who managed to escape organized a partisan movement and continued to fight.
The most important thing is that in the actions of the Soviet prisoners of Auschwitz there is no doom and blind obedience to the machine that was destroying them. Everything is much more fun, if I may say so, more angry and… in a Soviet style. Such, at least, is the impression left by the exhibition, and this, in my humble opinion, is good.
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