Prime Minister Beata Szydło: By preserving the truth and disseminating the knowledge about the past, we pay homage to the heroes of those times

While mourning the victims today, we remember the courage of those who helped the people, risking their own lives and the lives of their families, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło during the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of the German Nazi Concentration Camps and Death Camps.

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Photo: P. Tracz/Chancellery of the Prime Minister

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp is a place sacrificed by blood of over a million of innocent victims, people who left a void in the hearts of their families and loved ones. But history has not forgotten them. There is no void in our hearts. We remember them now and will remember them forever, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło during the ceremony commemorating the 77th anniversary of the deportation of Polish prisoners to Auschwitz.

She emphasized that the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of the German Nazi Concentration Camps and Death Camps reminded us in a special way about the fate of individuals, but also of a tragic part of the history of our Homeland.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło reminded that 77 years ago the first mass transport of prisoners, kept in crowded carriages, had arrived in Auschwitz from Tarnów. Among the prisoners, there were soldiers fighting in the September campaign, members of the resistance, political and social activists, representatives of various religions, including Jews, of whom only few survived.

We must present the truth about those tragic events

All those people should have never experienced this immense suffering they went through in this German Nazi death factory. They became witnesses of a methodically planned genocide and the fall of humanity. Shocking and disgraceful mass murders in concentration camps left a mark on the history of the world forever, said Beata Szydło.

She stressed that there has never been and will never be any justification for hate crimes. This is why it is so important to tell the truth about those tragic events. The history of the world had never known anything like that before.

We remember and will always remember

While mourning the victims today, we remember the courage of those who helped the people, risking their own lives and the lives of their families. It is worth remembering that during the World War II only in Poland the punishment for helping the Jews was death penalty. Due to the rule of collective responsibility applied by the German occupying forces, entire families and sometimes even entire local societies fell victim to repressions, reminded the Prime Minister.

She declared that we remembered with gratitude the dedication and often heroism of Poles whose sacrifice had restored the faith in humanity at that time. It is also remembered around the world, as evidenced by the fact that Poles are the largest group of individuals recognised as Righteous Among the Nations.

We remember that during World War II the Poles were the victims of those tragic events. We remember that during World War II Poland lost approximately 6 million of its citizens. We also remember that freedom-loving Poland had always opposed the totalitarian regimes and had never cooperated with such, stressed Prime Minister Beata Szydło.

Remembering nameless heroes

The Prime Minister also reminded that Poles stood up to the invaders by i.a. fighting in armed partisan units and saving the prisoners of the camps. Those who managed to escape from Auschwitz found shelter in local farms. Therefore, we cannot forget the brave residents of local towns and villages, who shared bread and hope for a better tomorrow with the prisoners. They were the nameless heroes, who heroically stood up against the German occupying forces, defying their barbarism. These facts must be highlighted, because in those dark times there were people of good will whom we want to honour today.

“The Righteous from Auschwitz”

During the ceremony, the representatives of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Oświęcim starosty signed a letter of intent on establishment of the Museum of the Righteous from Auschwitz. The Museum is to commemorate the residents of Oświęcim and surrounding areas, including the soldiers from Sosienki unit of the Home Army, who helped the prisoners of the camp. Prime Minister Beata Szydło thanked the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński, who also attended the ceremony, and local authorities for the decision about establishing the Museum.

The Museum of the Righteous from Auschwitz, which will be built here, will testify about the heroes. About good and decent people. I am very happy that it will present the histories of specific individuals and families living in this land. We are responsible for reminding others who was the executioner and who the victim, who was the hero and who the torturer. We must demand and defend the truth, emphasized Prime Minister Beata Szydło.

As the late president Lech Kaczyński said referring to World War II: “What happened in Auschwitz was organised by the then German state – The Third Reich. We have to remember this, because it is not always the one who has the power that is right. We have to draw conclusions from what happened at that time, she added.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło stressed that it was a great and important task for the politicians to make sure that such horrific events as those that had taken place in Auschwitz and other places of executions would never happen again.

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