President, US Vice-President lay flowers at Auschwitz
Polish President Andrzej Duda and US Vice-President Mike Pence laid wreaths on Friday at the Death Wall in the former Nazi-German death camp Auschwitz in southern Poland, a symbol of the Holocaust and the martyrdom of Poles and other nations.
The Germans carried out the first execution at the wall on November 11, 1941, when they shot 76 prisoners, nearly all of them Poles. They continued executions in that place until the end of 1943, killing thousands of people, including women and children. They pulled down the wall in February 1944.
The wall was reconstructed after WWII as a symbol of martyrdom.
The politicians visited a part of the Auschwitz Museum exhibition and later in the day will go to the camp's Auschwitz II-Birkenau section, the main site of the Holocaust and also a place of extermination for Roma and Polish people.
In their entry in the Auschwitz site's memorial book, Pence and his wife Karen wrote that the site should serve as a reminder that silence in the face of evil meant its acceptance. In their entry, the Polish presidential couple reminded that the camp symbolised the Holocaust and was the extermination site for countless Jews, Poles, Roma, Soviets and other nationalities.
"We stand guard of the memory and the truth about the genocide committed here, in the biggest Nazi-German camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, which is a symbol of the Holocaust, the extermination of Jews and the martyrdom of Poles, Porajmos Roma and Sinti, and mass executions of Soviet POWs and members of other nationalities," Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda wrote.
Pence is the fourth acting vice-president of the United State to visit the Auschitz site after George H. W. Bush, Al Gore and Dick Cheney.
The Auschwitz concentration camp was built by Nazi Germany in 1940 to imprison Poles. Its Auschwitz II-Birkenau section opened two years later and became the main site of the Holocaust. Nazi Germany killed at least 1.1 million people there, mainly Jews but also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners and people of other nationalities. (PAP)