Yossi Gordon will take on Auschwitz security challenge
Photo: Yariv Katz
Stolen sign being put back in its place
Photo: Avihu Bergman

Survivor who'll secure sign stays in Auschwitz

Years after he escaped Nazis, Yossi Gordon returns to Poland as head of former death camp's security

"Auschwitz is a cemetery, a cursed land", security specialist and Holocaust survivor Yossi Gordon notes, "and the fact that they invited me to advise them is my victory".


On December 18, Gordon, 68, was sitting in his home in Raanana watching a news story on the theft of the famous "Work Sets You Free" sign from the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. "I was furious", he recalls. "That sign is a clear symbol of the victory of the human spirit over the monsters".  


Gordon knows those monsters well: After the Germans invaded Poland, his parents escaped to Russia where they were captured and sent on to a concentration camp. "I was born in the camp in 1942", he notes. "My parents came back to Poland in 1945 and discovered that the whole family – on both my mother and my father's side had been murdered, quite possibly in Auschwitz."


The sign was eventually found, and the thieves punished. Yet for Gordon, for the last 34 years and owner of a security consultancy company, who is considered an expert in technology security, the affair became the beginning of a personal journey to find closure: Four months ago, the Polish government approached Gordon and asked him to act as security consultant and planner for Auschwitz.


"We will be introducing closed circuit televisions and security personnel who are trained in the latest technologies", Gordon explained.


Gordon says that the Polish government offered him a lot of money to carry out the project, but he chose to do it pro bono. "I told myself that if I received payment for the project the Poles would say: 'Here's another Jew who would do anything for money'."


"The heritage of this place is what's important to me. I asked only that they pay for my travel expenses". And yet, he believes that were she alive, his mother would never have allowed him to work in Auschwitz. "Till her dying day she refused to step on Polish soil", he states.


"This is cursed land whose son returns only to watch over the sign of 'Work Sets You Free'".



פרסום ראשון: 11.07.10, 14:53
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