WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – The Auschwitz Museum condemned a school ceremony in which students enacted a scene depicting the gassing of concentration camp victims.
At a ceremony last month, seven-year-old children from the school in Łabunie in eastern Poland portrayed victims of the Nazis. The students dressed in striped uniforms and when the “gas” in the form of steam appeared on the stage, they fell to the floor simulating death in a gas chamber.
The incident was first reported by Polish Newsweek.
“Nazi Germany was a country which broke the rules of natural law and which was instead based on the norms of law created by man,” Mariusz Kukiełka, the mayor of Łabunie, told the children and their parents.
“Today,” she continued, “we still have to contend with various people, with leftist groups, which are bent upon creating a new man, a new godless society.”
Pomysł, by uczniów w tym tym wieku przebierać w mundury SS, a także inscenizować z ich udziałem sceny śmierci, jest po prostu zły. Dorosłym, którzy to zorganizowali, brak elementarnej wrażliwości potrzebnej do edukowania dzieci o tak trudnej i tragicznej historii. https://t.co/IuHHfmWevG— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) December 31, 2019
The ceremony was linked to the dedication of the school’s new name, The Children of Zamojszczyzna, which references the deportation of 110,000 Poles, including 30,000 children, in 1942 and 1943, as part of a German attempt at ethnically cleansing of that area of occupied Poland. Some of the children from the area were later brought to Majdanek and Auschwitz.
“The idea of dressing up children of this age in SS uniforms and staging death scenes with them is simply bad,” the Auschwitz Museum tweeted. “The adults who organized it don’t have the elemental sensitivity needed to educate children about such a difficult and tragic history.”
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Auschwitz Museum condemns Polish school’s reenactment of Nazi gas chamber