European Youth in Auschwitz, for a world without violence
Youth of Sant'Egidio meet the former deported to the Nazi death camps
“We are gathered in Krakow and Auschwitz because racism, evil, hatred still burn. Jews, Roma, other minorities continue to be threatened. We do not want to allow these embers to outbreak another fire. To avoid this we ask help from you, young people. Help, help, help."
THIS IS THE COMMITMENT OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH AFTER HEARING THE TESTIMONY OF SURVIVORS TO THE HORROR OF THE HOLOCAUST AND OF PORRAJMOS, THE GENOCIDE OF ROMA AND SINTI DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
“The flames of the crematorium were extinguished, but perhaps you have still felt its heat. We are gathered in Krakow and Auschwitz because racism, evil, hatred still burn. Jews, Roma, other minorities continue to be threatened. We do not want to allow these embers to outbreak another fire. To avoid this we ask help from you, young people. Help, help, help." With this vibrant appeal Béla Varga, Hungarian jew survived the Nazi deportations during World War II, concluded his speech in front of a hall full of young Europeans, high school students. There were hundreds from different countries (Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary), arrived in Krakow at the invitation of the Community of Sant'Egidio. Touched by the testimony of a young man who has lived and seen the horror of the Holocaust, they wanted to tribute the elderly survivor a standing ovation, which has expressed their commitment to respond to the appeal addressed to them
How to build a future without violence? This was the question that has characterized the first day of the Third Edition of the International Meeting "Young Europeans for a world without violence." This is the question that arises from the commitment of the Community of Sant'Egidio in many European cities, where there have been many initiatives to promote the dissemination of a culture of solidarity, coexistence and dialogue, with particular attention to young people. Public meetings on the issues of anti-Semitism in Kiev, action to tackle demonstrations of violent antigipsy attitude in Prague and Budapest, city conferences on the themes of solidarity with the homeless in Warsaw, Breslau and Moscow, or the elderly in Bucharest. This question has been strengthened along the journey of intense preparation that led to the Meeting of Krakow-Auschwitz.
Not just high school students, but also many hundreds of university students gathered in the Polish city. At the same time in another hall they heard the words of Tibi Zeev Ram, who survived the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, who testified as even during the inhumanity of Nazism it was possible to save humanity: "I saw a lot of suffering and I suffered a lot - he said with emotion -. But I do not know the word the word hate or revenge. In persons I see the human being, without judging or despising. You are young people who have to build a better society. Your turn has come to build a more human world." This was echoed by Rita Prigmore, a Sinti woman from Würzburg in Germany, who has been the victim of Nazi medical experiments, heard with intense interest by the assembly: "Being with Sant'Egidio gives me hope to find young people who want to build a world without violence. It is the only hope for the future. Please do not judge others. Everyone is first of all a human being."
Tomorrow the steps of approximately 2,000 young people will move to the Auschwitz camp. "We will visit Auschwitz as free people, because these days we got rid of the germ of evil, violence, prejudice - said Msgr. Marco Gnavi of the Community of Sant'Egidio -. We do not want to be slaves of a logic that poisons. Together we will have less fear. We must free ourselves from the armor of indifference and violence to disarm ourselves." This will be the program and the commitment for the second day of the meeting of young Europeans.