Auschwitz: An overcast day of black-and-white history where it still rains yesterday

by , under Enrique Tessieri

In the face of the rise of far-right ideologies and populism, it is scary how some forget how hatred turns some people into heartless beings. Did you know that before the rise of Hitler in 1933, Jews with German citizenship totaled half a million, or about 0.75% of the total population?

Captain Gustave Mark Gilbert, the Army psychologist at the Nuremberg trials (1945-46), said what the Nazi war criminals on trial had an incapacity to feel with their fellow men. That fellow men and women are today Muslims and other minorities like the Roma.

“Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy,” he said.

Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1990. The fences and structures still stand like in the 1940s. Photo: Enrique Tessieri.
Dread and hopelessness in Auschwitz-Birkenau have given way to silence. Photo: Enrique Tessieri.
Shoes that will never fit the feet of their original owners. Photo: Enrique Tessieri.
The main entrance gate of Auschwitz that reads: “Work will set you free.” Photo: Enrique Tessieri.