From 11 to 16 August, the 14th seminar, “Solutions to the Violent Past of Auschwitz,” organized by the Maximilian Kolbe Foundation, took place at the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Auschwitz, Poland.
Twenty-eight participants from Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Moldova, Ukraine, and Japan shared their countries’ experiences with this traumatic history, discussed the consequences of these events for today and how Europe can avoid these mistakes in the future.
Lithuania was represented at the seminar by Lina Kasparaitė-Balaišė, deputy director for museum affairs at the Kaunas IX Fort Museum, and Vaida Jankūnienė, a history teacher at Lizdeika Gymnasium in Radviliškis.
The participants also visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial, met with survivors of the Auschwitz camp, attended the commemoration of the anniversary of the murder of M. Kolbe, and visited other sites of historical significance to the Holocaust.
The discussions allowed participants to reflect on the impact of traumatic events in history on contemporary society, discuss the importance of respect and remembrance, and hear about the consequences of traumatic experiences in different European countries.
Each participant reflected on what we can do now to avoid the mistakes and violence of the past in the future. This is important because although we are not responsible for what happened in the past, we are all responsible for ensuring that the Holocaust, genocide, and crimes against humanity do not happen again. Therefore, each participant is responsible for educating the public and speaking out in their communities.
Photos by Marco Orlovic