By Alexandra Oikonomou – 4th Year LLB student
With reference to World War II:
I am writing to tell you that I want to visit your most terrifying home. Yes, the one in Poland, Auschwitz – Birkenau. His name encompasses the darkest nightmares and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
I want to go there, walk on its soil, feel the footsteps of your victims, who with pain and anger left their soul despondent by the hatred of your supporters. I want to see the cubicles of your prisoners, the frozen rooms which you locked them in like animals after the torture they were exposed to. I want to picture your ‘educated’ doctor, Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the “Angel of Death” selecting the people he would use for his awful experiments in the name of Medicine. I want to listen to the horror of the children, as they were taken immediately for a bath, so they said, but in fact instead of water, your poison would drop over them Zyklon B and it would kill them without remorse. I want to see the crematoria in which you burned the bodies of the people you abolished, after removing what they owned, clothes, jewellery, teeth, hair and of course their hope. The hope that was still alive in them, that one day you would leave and all the hatred that shaped you would leave with you.
I know I will feel devastated during my tour.
The images of all the screaming and desperate faces of the people you executed and the smell of your victims’ ashes will dominate my mind.
I know I will feel disgusted, not only of you but also of all those who have supported you by spreading death and destruction.
But then again I have to come, and I’ll bring others with me too. It is important, especially for us young people, to learn about your crimes, not only by reading books or searching the internet but also by visiting your home. We have to experience Auschwitz in a way that cannot be compared to movies and documentaries. There, we will sense your nastiness. We will be overwhelmed, shocked and disappointed by the unfairness that dwelt there, devastating the human souls, the perpetrators and the victims.
But we must come. We must always keep in our hearts the memory of the innocent souls you have killed. We should never forget your atrocities in the concentration camps that have contributed, for you to be recalled as the most devastating war of all times. We should remember the indignity of our human kind and the point where a human can reach in order to satisfy his selfishness and greed. We should always remember that this can be changed.
Developing from an individual into an animal and treating others as if they are not animals but inanimate objects. Our visit will be a promise. It will be a promise that WE, the young people of our generation, who hold the future of mankind in our hands will never allow you to enter our world again. We will fight in order for you to remain barred in the past and never resurrect again. We will fight to preserve the supreme good amongst all individuals: PEACE.
Late November of last year, the Law school of UCLan Cyprus in cooperation with AEQUITAS organised an essay competition which would provide five lucky winners with a 300 euro stipend for the field trip to Auschwitz- Birkenau.
Candidates had to prepare a 500 word essay on ‘why they think it is important for a young person to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau’.
Well done for winning a place Alexandra!