ARBEIT MACHT FREI: “WORK SETS YOU FREE”


27/11/2016





Taking part in the World Youth Day festival in Poland, the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis visited Auschwitz-Birkenau where more than a million people, mostly Jews, had been killed in Nazi concentration camps. The Pope met with survivors of the camp and he walked in silent around the camp for the memory of those who lost their lives.Located in 60 kilometers southwest of the city of Krakow in Poland, Auschwitz was the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp; and it were built in 1940. Between 1940 and 1945, more than a million people, mostly Jews, were killed by Nazi forces.
Having built during the Second World War as the largest concentration camp, people were murdered in a systematic way by the Germans.More than a million people were worked, tortured and killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The camp was liberated by the Red Army in 1945.The Auschwitz camp has been visited by over one million people every year andthis time it welcomed the Pope Francis as the third pope who visited the camp. Hence in 1979 Pope Giovanni Paolo II and in 2006 Benedict XVIvisited the camp.During his historical visit to the camp, PopeFrancis wrote in the Auschwitz guest book; “Lord, have pity on your people. Lord, forgive so much cruelty. Francis in Auschwitz”.Passing under the sign "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "work sets you free", the Pope chose to pray in silence rather than make a speech. Indeed, in the past, the sign was stolen and five peoplewere detained in connection with the theft. In order to find the sign, the support from Interpol and Europol was demanded and finally it was found as divided into three parts in a house. Still it is a debatable issue how such a theft had been happened.A noteworthy feature of the sign is that the ‘b’ letter of the word "arbeiten" or "work" is written in reverse. When we think about the conditions of work in Auschwitz, it might be argued that the sign is dramatically emphasized the reversion whichhad been occurred in Auschwitz.
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