In an educational effort to combat the troublesome phenomenon of anti-Semitism and racism in soccer, England’s national football team will visit Auschwitz and other Holocaust-related sites while in Poland next week for the Euro 2012 tournament.
According to the Algemeiner, the team will visit Auschwitz some time between its arrival in Poland on June 6 and its first game (against France) on June 9. The players are expected to light candles along the train tracks leading to the camp, and to sign the guest book there.
It’s not just Haredi Jews who have offended many this past week by using — or rather, abusing — Holocaust imagery.
A news outlet in the United Arab Emirates reported that a Dubai health club put out a promotional poster with a picture of the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, with the tag line: “Kiss your calories goodbye.” The club, The Circuit Factory, pulled the poster after receiving complaints about it — but not until after it had gained significant exposure through Facebook and Twitter.
It’s hardly as bad as a proposed mall across the street from Auschwitz, but some are still upset about the new fee being charged at Sachsenhausen, the former concentration camp near Berlin.
Earlier this month, officials at the camp began charging one euro for each member of organized tours of the site, where more than 200,000 people were imprisoned during the Nazi regime. The fees are not for profit, but will help to cover education costs and training for tour guides. Nevertheless, they mark the first time that a Holocaust-related site in Germany has charged visitors, stirring unease.
Taking on conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and other voices on the right, Slate blogger Tom Scocca makes a reasoned case against comparing the Islamic center planned for Ground Zero to the now-shuttered Catholic convent near the Auschwitz death camp.
The Auschwitz convent is a recurring theme in the campaign against the Islamic center; Newt Gingrich found the analogy impressive enough to post it to Twitter.
The comparison is stupid and abominable, even if you make it in more than 140 characters. Lower Manhattan is not Auschwitz. Also the dispute over the convent at Auschwitz was a complicated one, having to do with a clash between the Poles and the Jews over the understanding of history, made worse by the anti-Semitism and propaganda of the Soviet bloc. But that is beside the point. Lower Manhattan is not Auschwitz.
Just months after three men were convicted of stealing the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets You Free) sign from the Auschwitz memorial, two Canadians were detained Saturday for allegedly pilfering two spikes from the railway tracks that run through the compound.
The nails, which were not fastened to the ground, were found in the men’s backpacks after witnesses notified authorities, according to an AFP article.
Just a few days after the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial complex was closed in an effort to save its Holocaust archives from heavy flash flooding in southern Poland, the site has been partially reopened, according to the Associated Press.
Heavy rainfall has wreaked havoc across central Europe in recent days, causing rivers to burst, flooding many provincial towns. The floods have been especially deadly in Poland, killing seven people as of Thursday. Auschwitz-Birkenau, which draws over a million tourists a year, sits near the Vistula River, Poland’s longest, as well as another, the Sola. The site, home to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and a wealth of Holocaust historical artifacts, was closed two days ago.
This past week, the Anne Frank Center USA along with the U.N. Holocaust Program launched a twitter account for Anne Frank, asking students who visit the center to imagine what they would say to Anne – in 140 characters or less — if they could communicate with her in hiding.
Students are prompted with the questions: “What messages of support would you have sent Anne?” and “What would you have told Anne that you have learned from her life and experience?”
In response, one student tweeted: “Anne, ur way of thinking made me braver to act and easier to understand myself. I’m very thankful with ur legacy.”
The responses, which so far have come in English, Russian, Spanish, Dutch and Arabic, are posted at the Anne Frank Center in New York, and online.
The campaign began the last week in March (which commemorates the 65th anniversary of Frank’s death at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp), and will run through April 11, Yom HaShoah.
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