Refugees from Ukraine are also welcomed at the youth gathering center on the site of the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Among the up to 100 refugees there are also Holocaust survivors, said the executive vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee, Christoph Heubner of the Evangelisches Pressedienst (epd).
Young people from the fan organizations of the Borussia Dortmund football club supported the memorial team in welcoming the refugees. “This is where history and present meet,” Heubner said.
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People who were tortured and killed in Auschwitz between 1941 and 1945 were persecuted for different reasons than Ukrainians today, explained the member of the board of directors of the Foundation for the International Youth Meeting Center in Auschwitz. But even they would have had to leave a safe life in apartments or houses with nothing more than a bag in hand.
Gone is the certainty of the post-war order that war in Central Europe is a thing of the past. “The horror of this is so elemental, the willingness to help is so great,” Heubner said.
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Most of the refugees arriving at the monument on buses from the Ukrainian-Polish border are women and children. One mother was able to save nine children between the ages of two and 15, Heubner reported. A 96-year-old Holocaust survivor arrived with her 70-year-old daughter. The International Auschwitz Committee estimates that there are still about 10,000 survivors of Nazi persecution in Ukraine, about 3,500 in Belarus and about 35,000 in Russia.
Despite some contacts, the future of the refugees is uncertain, the writer complained: “There is a deep fear that can be felt physically.” “Everyone who sees this is personally asked and challenged to help to the best of their ability,” Heubner said. (eps)