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Kontkanen, Kari

Karjalainen, Finland

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Karjalainen - Finland | 23/12/2009

Cruelty in times of charity

While the Western world prepares for the Christmas celebrations of peace and charity, Auschwitz, the epitome of the cruelty of the Nazi regime, is once again dominating the headlines after the theft of a sign at the site reading "Work will set you free". Kari Kontkanen recalls in the daily Karjalainen his visit to the former concentration camp: "A visit to Auschwitz leaves a mark that lasts a lifetime on a person. Once you pass under that sign that reads 'Work will set you free' you will never be the same again, even if you claim the contrary. … When our family, which had just seen the horrors of the concentration camp, had to make way for a loud group of visitors defiantly waving the Israeli flag as if they were going to a football match, we were put to a hard test. Is this what respect for the Holocaust looks like? … In our complex world it's difficult to distinguish between cause and effect. It's also not easy to understand why at Christmas time there is no peace in the place where Jesus' cradle once stood."

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