The Speaker of the US House of Representative, Nancy Pelosi paid a visit to the site of the Nazi German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau to commemorate the more than 1 million souls murdered behind the camp’s barbed wire during the course of the Second World War.
The Speaker was accompanied by a bipartisan Congress delegation as well as her Polish counterpart Elżbieta Witek and the Speaker of the Polish Senate, Tomasz Grodzki. Pelosi and the six congress members will leave for Israel on Wednesday to participate in the 5th World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Pelosi wrote in the museum’s commemoration book “in the memory of every individual who was murdered in Auschwitz - may you rest in peace and may we all commit to our vow which is Never Again”.
The delegation entered the former concentration camps under the infamous gate with the sign saying “Arbeit Macht Frei”. In Block Four, the delegation saw traces of the heinous crime such as the Cyklon-B canisters which once contained the gas used to kill prisoners as well as hundreds of kilos of hair which the prisoners were forced to shave off after arrival.
In Block Five, the Americans were shown the items stolen by the Germans from the inmates, children’s clothes, eyeglasses, kitchenware and suitcases with people’s names on them. After laying flowers at the “Death Wall”, and a short conversation with the two Polish speakers, Pelosi entered Block eleven, dedicated to executions and torture.
The Speaker of the Polish Senate, Tomasz Grodzki, later wrote on twitter “It's difficult to find words describing the horror in this place of industrial killing of the innocent who had been stripped of their humanity”. He added “we must remain active so that nothing similar ever takes place again. The two speakers of the Polish parliament will also meet Nancy Pelosi for private meetings in the evening.
The German concentration camp was opened in 1940. In total, 1.1 mln people, mainly Jews but also Poles, Roma, Soviet POWs, Jehovah’s Witnesses and political dissidents from across Europe perished in the camp which was liberated by Soviet troops on January 27th 1945.