Polish school play re-enacts Auschwitz gassing

National Holocaust museum pans the event even though Polish pride and not anti-Semitism was the underlying theme.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Polish children made Auschwitz the theme of a play on December 10th in honor of renaming their school for Polish youngsters deported by the Germans in World War II to either be killed in the concentration camp or forcibly Germanized, various Polish news media have reported.

In the play, children 7-12 years old played both victim and Nazi, dressed in realistic-looking costumes. When the “Nazis” operated a smoke machine representing the poisonous Zyklon B gas used in the death camps, the “prisoners” all fell down, and girls dressed in black and with skull and crossbones capes danced around them.

Although Jews were the vast majority of the victims in the German camps, ethnic Poles were the second-largest group to be murdered. The performance was held when the school in Labunie near Lublin in south-east Poland was renamed “Zamość Children,” memorializing thousands of youngsters from this region whom the Nazis separated from their families and took away.

They were either adopted by German families if they looked Aryan enough, used as forced laborers, or taken to Auschwitz and killed.

According to Notes from Poland, a website run by two university professors who present a digest of the country’s news in English, Newsweek Polska reported that the local mayor “told the children that they must defend Latin civilization.”

The article’s writer pointed out that the mayor was a member of the ruling Law and Justice party, which is nationalist in nature, and that “thousands of schools” have held such historical re-enactments that emphasize German perfidy and Polish victimhood – and pride.

The government last year enacted a law outlawing the reference to “Polish” concentration and death camps, as they were all established and overseen by the Germans in the Holocaust. This led to tension with Israel and accusations that the Poles were trying to reduce the role played by many of their countrymen in collaborating with the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewish people.

Kan Israel News reported that the Polish Holocaust Museum criticized the children’s event.

“The idea of dressing students in SS uniforms and staging death scenes with them is simply evil. The adults who organized this insensitive show should have taught the students about this tragic and challenging history, especially in the region of Lublin, which was so affected by the war and the Holocaust,” the museum said in a statement.