The Euros have started, to keep us all occupied, and surprisingly the games have been entertaining. My pre-tournament prediction of the winner, Germany, are looking like likely winners already, beating Holland though enjoying less possession.
This year the tournament has gone to Poland and Ukraine. It is only to be expected that any country hosting a major tournament will comes under the spotlight, and Euro 2012 is no exception. Accusations of endemic racism have been levelled against both those countries, and although probably exaggerated, there is likely a kernel of truth in these accusations. I confess that I have been surprised by the enmity of many of the Polish immigrants – most of them born since 1980 – towards Jews. This is all the more surprising since most of the worst excesses of the Holocaust took place within Poland – Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor and Birkenau were all within current Polish Borders. As a European on the Western fringe of the continent, the idea of central Europe usually involves France and Germany, but for a Nazi, concerned with lebensraum, Poland is as central to Europe as it gets.
If any inanimate object such as a building can be said to possess evil characteristics then surely the prime candidate must be the entrance to Birkenau, although the “arbeit macht frei” gate at Auschwitz comes close. On one side of the entrance is innocence, on the other almost certain death. Auschwitz – Birkenau has, quite rightly, been assigned as testimony to man’s inhumanity to man. Continue reading