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June 29, 2018 12:20 pm

I Was 16 When I Was Taken to the Cursed Auschwitz Death Camp — on Polish Soil

avatar by Yaffa Peer / JNS.org

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The entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgRevoking the terrible clauses in Poland’s controversial Holocaust law came too late. Still, I’m happy to know that our voices were heard and our protests against this unjust law made a difference.

We are no longer willing to be silent. I was 16 when I was taken to the cursed Auschwitz death camp, which was located on Polish soil. I remember it to this day. I will never forget it. And no one will silence us.

The Poles still need to be ashamed that after everything they did — to me, to my family, and to my people — they would pass a law like this, and try to erase their role in the Holocaust. It is appalling that it even crossed their minds. In my view, they need to make an opposite law, one that tells the entire world the extent to which the Poles were partners with the Nazis.

The time has come for the Poles to confess to their crimes and stop telling this enormous lie.

It is impossible to forget and deny what the Poles did to us. It will always be fresh in my mind. Every Shabbat, I would set the table, and in the center I’d place two silver candle-holders engraved with the words “Shabbat Shalom.” These candle-holders fell into the hands of the Poles, and were auctioned off. At the last moment, they were salvaged. Every Friday, I light candles and remember my murdered parents — and what the Poles did to us.

I am still angry at the Polish people for what they did during the Holocaust. The law that they passed only reflects the immense evil of what their descendants did. No government in the world should be allowed to make such laws. I’m glad that I fought against it. After everything they did to us, how could they have enacted a law to punish people for telling the truth about their collaboration with the Nazis?

The Poles worked hand-in-hand with the Nazis. They are the ones who built the death camps. Instead of making this law, they should take steps to return our stolen property — and atone for their sins.

Yaffa Peer is a Holocaust survivor.

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