Last month was the 66th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp. At Auschwitz and in ceremonies around the world, we honored the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust and those who survived that terrible crime against humanity. We reflected on the importance of memory and the responsibility of educating our children about this tragedy, so they may learn from our past and shape a better future.
But today we face a new challenge. After 66 years, the camp and grounds at Auschwitz-Birkenau, along with thousands of invaluable historical objects -- shoes, suitcases, prayer garments -- are deteriorating. Quite simply: The walls of Auschwitz are crumbling. We are in danger of losing this historic site, this burial ground for our grandparents, our parents and our friends, forever.
So now, we ask you to INtervene! We, the remaining survivors of Auschwitz and the keepers of its memory, urge you to help preserve the physical evidence that is Auschwitz and raise awareness to prevent future acts of hatred and intolerance. Take the pledge to "INtervene Now!" in recognition of "what happened, what happens and what could happen again." Pass the pledge on to your children, your friends and your colleagues with artwork created by a victim of Auschwitz. You can also download new and archived photographs of Auschwitz-Birkenau and educational resources that can be used in your school, community group or synagogue.
Auschwitz is a unique symbol. It's a place that has bared witness to the fall of human beings, a place where man has condemned his fellowman to unthinkable suffering. It's also a gateway to understand the experiences of those who are victims of hate today. We can say "Never again," but we must realize that repeating these words will not bring consolation to those who are persecuted because of their religion or race. Each crime born of hate or intolerance is a wound to those who carry with them the memory of Auschwitz.
We, two men aged 28 and 85 -- one a survivor of Auschwitz and the other, a guardian of its future -- share the same wish: to preserve this precious site so we may share it with our children and grandchildren. Memory is a responsibility. It's not only an act of will, but an act of courage and passion. At this moment, as the physical evidence of Auschwitz is crumbling and the last eyewitnesses of that tragic time are passing away, the preservation of Auschwitz-Birkenau is becoming a truly shared responsibility.
Auschwitz is necessary for all of us. Standing among the barracks and barbed wire, we can truly understand the tragedy of a world plunged into war and mutual hatred. Only by preserving the authentic Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Site and maintaining the testimonies of our past can we ensure a better future.
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