Monday marks the 81st anniversary of the first deportation of Poles to the German Auschwitz concentration camp. Victims of totalitarian regimes as well as representatives of state and local authorities took part in the commemoration ceremony.
June 14 is celebrated in Poland as the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the German Nazi Concentration Camps and Death Camps.
“The moral duty of people in power is to carry out such activities that allow all nations to live in mutual respect,” Stanisław Zalewski, the head of the Polish Association of Former Political Prisoners of Nazi Prisons and Concentration Camps (PZBWPHWiOK) said during the ceremony.
The first part of the celebrations took place at the Museum of Pawiak Prison in Warsaw, a former Nazi prison used amid the German occupation. During the ceremony, a letter from the Speaker of the Sejm (Polish lower house of parliament), Elżbieta Witek, was read out. She emphasised that the foundations of Nazi ideology were “evil, hatred and contempt for other people”.
“Thanks to providence and destiny, I survived, and it became a sign of the time for me to cultivate the memory of those whose cremated ashes were blown away by the winds of history,” Mr Zalewski said.
The ceremony ended with a common prayer and laying of wreaths by four former concentration camp prisoners at the Pawiak Tree monument. Then the participants went to the Powązki Military Cemetery, where the rest of the celebration took place.