Yesterday we went to Auschwitz, the day I was simultaneously dreading and looking forward to learning more about. I am still trying to process everything I experienced, the whole day was a lot to come to terms with.
Now, after a lecture from Dr. Wright, I have even more questions. While touring Auschwitz, I noticed a brick building that was in Birkenau, that we never heard the tour guide mention. Now I know, that building is a Catholic Church. How can there be a Catholic Church at the place where over a million Jews were murdered? Where their ashes covered the grounds of the camp? Of course this is a very complicated question that is entangled with Polish identity. The Poles were lead to feel and believe that they were the real martyrs of fascism and Nazis. There were Poles at Auschwitz and some died there, but they did not die because they were Catholic. The intent of the Nazis was to annihilate European Jewry. Poles were far more likely to survive the camps. They were prisoners for reasons for political reasons. This belief is creating a Jews vs Poles, again, years after the end of the war. Both Jews and Poles were victims of the Holocaust, so another question running through my mind is, how much participation in the Holocaust did Poles have? I think this greatly impacts the answer as to who is more of a victim. But I find it so complicated, because we have to recognize all of the victims. So I look forward to learning more about this and maybe then I can answer the question, should the Catholic Church be removed?