February 26, 2020

Polish School Children Reenact Auschwitz Gassing

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A group of about a dozen students at a Polish elementary school in the town of Lubanie conducted a reenactment in December of prisoners being gassed to death at the Auschwitz concentration camp that was recorded and posted online.

A video of the reenactment was posted to Facebook three weeks ago but didn’t go viral until Dec. 31; it shows some students wearing striped uniforms and pretending to lie dead from gas while other students dressed in Nazi uniforms stand beside them.

Poruszająca inscenizacja z przesłaniem w wykonaniu dzieci ze Szkoły Podstawowej w Łabuniach im. Dzieci Zamojszczyzny… o tych ostatnich.

Posted by Tygodnik Zamojski on Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The reenactment was part of a ceremony to rename the school Children of Zamosc, a name that commemorates the Polish children who the Nazis either killed or sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust.

The Auschwitz Museum condemned the reenactment in a Dec. 31 tweet.

“The idea of dressing up students this age in SS uniforms and staging death scenes with them is simply bad,” museum officials wrote. “Adults who organized this lack of elementary sensitivity needed to educate children with such a tragic and challenging history.”

The Auschwitz Museum suggested that the students should learn from Holocaust experts instead of through a reenactment.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) similarly tweeted, “This is not how schools should be teaching the #Holocaust and is an example of what can transpire when educators are not properly trained on this topic.” They then linked to educational programs on the ADL’s website regarding Holocaust education.

On the other hand, Polish historian Jan Gabrowski, who was at the ceremony, told Haaretz, “No one in the audience thought there was anything problematic about the scene.”