We drive through outskirts of Oświęcim during our trips around southern Poland but we have never been to the town centre or its famous museum created in the former German death camp where over 1.5 million people were killed by Nazis during WW2: Jews, Poles, Russians etc. Sooner or later we will visit it, I am waiting for my kids to grow up a little.
Today, Oświęcim tries to break the aura of war and death which history imposed on the place and its residents. Oświęcim, it is good to live here, it is worth investing here.
I have visited the two remaining camps of Auschwitz in April 2004. It was heavy, sad, important and somewhat confronting. I was there with a group of Dutch, German and Polish art students of the Arnhem Art Academy. I had to part with the group for a moment there to be alone. I thought about my Polish aunt from Warsaw who had been there in that living hell as a young girl. I thought about my Polish grandmother in Mauthausen, and about Anne Frank and Etty Hillesum who had been there.
It is good that that place exists to warn against totalitarianism, the evil of dehumanizations of people, xenophobia, racism, discrimination and labeling or categorizing people.