Thursday 9 November 2017

UAF trip to Poland and Auschwitz – Birkenau

Next week, Unite Against Fascism (UAF) together with Love Music Hate Racism, is organising an educational trip to Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. An excellent group of people, some of whom have been touched by the Holocaust in the most personal ways, students, trades unionists and others form those attending.

 
Given the alarming rise of openly anti-Semitic fascist groups and parties in Europe such as in Poland and Greece, Hungary and Germany, UAF feels it essential to reaffirm the need to both chart the conditions for the rise of the Nazis to power and put this in the context of explaining why fascism threatens us today.

 
Early evening meetings on “Understanding the Holocaust” and “Fighting fascism in the 21st century”, are part of the trip. We are  proud that David Rosenberg, Educator-writer-activist historian, will accompany us and give a talk on Polish Jewish life in the 1930s and the fight against anti Semitism and fascism.

 

 

There’s much to be learned about Jewish resistance beyond that known, even about the wonderful fighters of the  Warsaw ghetto. The Minsk ghetto uprising, for example, is less well chronicled than events in Warsaw  but it showed the possibilities of joint Jewish/non-Jewish resistance forces. The scale of the revolt was huge and many of the thousands who escaped the ghetto, fought the Nazis with Soviet partisans.

 

Author and activist, Donny Gluckstein will also present a talk on the Holocaust, which will detail  how crises in German society created the conditions for Nazism and the Holocaust.  UAF Joint Secretary, Weyman Bennett, will also discuss how we can stop the rise of fascism today.

 
We will be based in the historic city of Krakow. Krakow was one of the great Jewish centres in Europe. In 1942 the Nazis ‘cleared out’ the ghetto and sent all the inhabitants to extermination camps. The story of the ghetto’s liquidation and Plaszow concentration camp was made famous by Steven Spielberg’s incredible film Schindler’s List.

 

The trip’s purpose is to better understand the Holocaust and how fascism can be combated in Europe today. For instance, anti-fascists kept at bay a bid to win the Presidency
by the fascist Austrian Freedom Party last year. Moreover, the FPO won a large number of votes in recent elections and the far right AfD in Germany now, as part of their parliamentary group, contain a number of fascist MPs. I
n France, Marine Le Pen of the fascist Front National went through to the second round of the Presidential elections. She won millions of votes and now sits in Parliament with other fascist MPs.

 

Alongside the trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps, the itinerary includes a guided tour of Krakow’s Jewish Quarter and ghetto, ending at the Schindler Factory Museum.

 

All who have been on previous such trips have returned,  more determined and resolute in their commitment to stop fascism.  Many who are going this year, are already organising report back meetings at their trade union branches and for Holocaust Memorial Day, in 2018. We welcome their particapation and look forward to seeing people in Poland.


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