Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Auschwitz death camp gets new name

'Auschwitz Concentration Camp,' a U.N. heritage site, will be renamed 'the Former Nazi German Concentration Camp of Auschwitz'

The United Nations has agreed to rename Auschwitz concentration camp to stress that Nazi Germans, not Poles, were responsible for the world's most notorious death camp, Poland's Culture Ministry said on Wednesday. 


"Auschwitz Concentration Camp," a U.N. heritage site, will be renamed "the Former Nazi German Concentration Camp of Auschwitz," the ministry said. 


"This decision marks a victory for both Poland and historical truth," Culture Minister Kazimierz Ujazdowski told a news conference. 


Poland asked the U.N. to rename Auschwitz in April. Some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, died at the camp during World War Two. 


Ujazdowski said Israel and German officials had agreed to the new name. 


Warsaw objects to references to "Polish gas chambers" at the "Polish concentration camp" in foreign media. Nearly 3 million non-Jewish Poles died at Nazi hands, and Poles see themselves as victims of the war. 


"We hope this will help correct the misconception that Auschwitz is a Polish death camp," Ujazdowski said. 


Murderers or victims? 


The role of Poles in the deaths of millions of Polish Jews, and at Auschwitz, is a sore topic. Some accounts say Poles assisted the Nazis at Auschwitz, where 6,000 died every day during 1944.  


This month, Jewish and Polish officials marked anniversaries of two massacres of Jews carried out by Poles before and after World War Two.  


But Poles say their fellow nationals risked their lives to hide Jews. Poles are the largest group awarded Israel's Righteous Among the Nations title for helping to save Jews.  


Some Jews were angered that Poland's communist government portrayed Auschwitz in the 1940s and 1950s as a place of martyrdom of Poles, too. Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals and Russians also died at the camp.


פרסום ראשון: 07.13.06, 16:14
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