Auschwitz: Eradicating History (Part I)

Oświęcim is located outside of Krakow. It was the site of a Nazi Concentration-Extermination Camp. Over 1.1 million people, 1 million Jews, died there. The Caylor-Browns spent the afternoon of July 5, 2019 in this hallowed and somber locale in the Polish countryside. In 2019, you would… wait, what? You’ve never heard of this Nazi camp? Wait a second. Do I have the correct place? Well, yes, I do …. I guess perhaps you don’t know that the German Nazis enjoyed changing names of places as mental subjugation to those they conquered. It’s to subdue people into forgetting who they were. It was a way of erasing their existence: art, music, history, literature, the name of a town, their language …. You name it. Oświęcim is the Polish name for Auschwitz. The German Nazis renamed Oświęcim to Auschwitz.

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I have to divide up The Caylor-Brown Polish Experience 2019 into two parts. It’s the best way to do Auschwitz and the importance of memorials justice.

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Birkenau Extermination Camp July 5, 2019

 

Several countries, Russia, Austria, and Germany (Nazis) have tried to erase Poland from the world: Literally. When people do this, they eradicate art (sculptures, STATUES), literature, music, and language. They wish to ERASE your identity …. your heritage. While we were at the Schindler Museum I took a photo of a photo where Nazis were toppling a provincial / national Polish statue attempting to erase history. Folks, since the dawn of civilization, groups have done unnecessary sometimes horrific atrocities. No person, city, state, nation, or empire is blameless. That doesn’t mean we erase the art, literature, and heritage from the past. Madame Marie Curie was born in Warsaw. Her birth home is now a museum which we toured. Poland / Warsaw was under the rule of the Russian Empire. When she was born in Warsaw in 1867, it was AGAINST THE LAW for her to read or write in Polish: Her family’s native language! How ridiculous , right? Who wants to erase languages in 2020? Y’all this rhetoric of deleting history and the social upheaval is happening right now here in 2020 in the United States. My birth-town, Dalton, Georgia is fighting to keep a statue of Confederate General Johnston who saved Dalton from being burned to the ground by General Sherman from being moved. As with the Nazis, appeasement is never the answer. It leads to removal/eradication.

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Nazis remove history in Krakow.

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General Johnston’s statue in Dalton, GA

 

However, we know it’s just not in Dalton. It’s all around this country. We are the UNITED States of America, yet, since 2008, there has been an unfortunate movement to divide us. Get rid of George Washington, Elihu Yale, Christopher Columbus, Cervantes (once a slave to the Turks), Robert E. Lee!  Once again, a group of people trying to change/control another group of people to give up their existence isn’t new.

Allow me to use a one-sided,  abridged yet TRUTHFUL (proven time after time in history) monologue of how groups of people have controlled people during the past 100 years.  I could use Russians to Poles in 1800, but that is too distant from my understanding. However, I am using 20th Century Poland and the Nazis in Europe.  I have listened to and researched primary sources who lived through the Nazi time:  my grandparents, my Nanny who saw actual photographs of people wheeling the bodies of exterminated Jews in wheel barrows, I walked through Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, I actually heard live and in person, Eva Schloss, Anne Frank’s step sister, tell of the atrocities of Nazi extermination camps, I have trod the grounds of the infamous Auschwitz, and I have read the stories of Polish people from Warsaw, Gdansk, and Krakow Poland who experienced the horrors of intended extinction.

Nazis to Jews & yes, the Polish people as well:

You are not worth anything. You are the reason for our problems. We are better than you. You need to bow down to us. Everything you have erected as a group of people must be taken down. Surrender your armaments. You need to surrender your businesses. You need to surrender your riches. You need to surrender your freedom. You need to surrender your homes. We will provide you a home in certain areas. You try to escape from this area and you will be killed. We are taking you from this guarded area to a place where you can live at peace (a lie… concentration / extermination camps)…

FINAL INTENT: 
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Berlin, Germany Summer 2019

 

In 2012, I honestly thought it was the warm weather and hundreds of extra tourists that made the Germans edgy: There are other turbulent currents under the sea of migratory change in Germany. Two disturbing interruptions that did not happen to us was that 1) One afternoon near the Hard Rock Cafe, a Jewish man was was kicked out of a supermarket while we were standing in line to check out groceries and 2) there was a group of Palestinians near Alexanderplatz marching in protest and chanting stuff against Israel one Friday afternoon.

The pleasant photos you will view were the onset of our arrival and the celebratory feeling of returning to Europe on Friday June 21. Three weeks later we returned to the Berlin travel hub to fly back to the United States after a wonderful and engaging Central European vacation. On Tuesday July 9 around 10 AM, Berlin Train Nazis entered the train we were on, violated us, and made us pay 120 Euros for not having inner-city train tickets. We asked the “train police” to escort us off the train and help us buy a ticket. They refused! They told us they would call the police and turn us in at the Train Station stop. Carter and Ammon were SCARED TO DEATH especially after studying then visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and seeing what Germans did to Europeans nearly 100 years ago. The train Nazis first told us that it was 60 Euros each (240) we did not have that much! We did not have a ticket because no one else bought a ticket all morning on neither the bus nor the train. We asked them to 1) Please escort us to an ATM, or 2) Escort us to the Ticket kiosk and explain what we needed to do. “No, it’s either 120 Euros for you two adults or we call the police!”  Earlier in the morning we had tried to read the kiosk, and it was very confusing. Three weeks earlier we had walked everywhere without the train/bus system. Thanks be to God, combined, Sean and I had EXACTLY 120 Euros!!  We will not travel to Germany again until certain political tides have turned. The whole time in Berlin we felt oppressed and troubled spiritually… much like foreign travelers felt traveling in Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s. The German authority figures are bullies using “terrorist tactics” (we are calling the police, they said) to manhandle their citizens and foreign travelers. If we feel the need to engulf ourselves in the awesome German language, my family and I will travel to Switzerland or Austria.

So, we finally “shook off” the scare of the Berlin police imprisoning Daddy H and Daddy S (what would have happened to Carter & Ammon!!), finished the day, and prepared to go home. The following day at the Berlin , Tegel, Airport was horrific. We were there 2 hours ahead of time, but there was AWFUL and EXTENDED bag check in and security check lines.

As soon as we stepped up to the passport counter Sean and I were targeted. The “gentleman” scowled at us. Hours before, all our liquids had been placed in zip-bags and the beverage bottles had been thrown away. All my pockets had been cleaned out and the items placed in my backpack, but at one point in the security line Sean had asked me about the taxi receipt we had just gotten from our ride from the Novotel Tiergarten to the airport. I took the wallet out of my backpack and read the time we had arrived at the airport.  In haste and out of habit, I placed my wallet back in my pants pocket. So, in the security line, I went last in our family of four. Sean had gone through the bag search with Carter, and I had helped Ammon who went into a panic when she thought she might have food in her backpack. The little, middle-aged, militant (short haircut and uniform) security lady said in English with her militant, German accent, “Any food?” “No, I hope not”, I said in an exasperated tone. “Anything in your pockets. Everything out of your pockets!” My verbal reaction was “No!” She looked at my pocket and saw my wallet that I had absentmindedly placed back in my front pocket. In an elevated voice she repeated, “Everything out of your pockets!”, I was more mad at myself than her. With a look of disgust, I took out my wallet and tossed it in the bin. THAT WAS IT for the little security Nazi. She immediately lifted her hand to a female protégée on the other side of the X-ray machine, and I knew I was “in for it” … As I walked through the metal detector (stripped of everything metal and had CLEANLY passed through ALL the airports from Atlanta to Berlin, to Budapest, to Krakow) I began walking to the protégée, and I did, indeed, beep. The male security man began man-handling me. I did not know that they had done the exact thing to Sean who had also “argued about some food”. Carter went to the woman and said, “I would like to complain that you all are searching my dads’ private parts, and that isn’t right.” Another Nazi lady said, “This is the security check. We can!” …. It was awful, folks.

I will repeat, we will not be returning to Germany. HOWEVER, I did want to share these photos from our pleasant days.

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Brandenburg Gate (Happy Beginnings June 21, 2019: The dark cloud of the day was a Palestinian parade near Alexanderplatz shouting about racist Jews )

 

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Ruins of the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie.

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The Berlin Cathedral.