Amid US racial divisions, Auschwitz memorial issues warning

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The memorial site of Auschwitz-Birkenau is weighing in on the anti-Semitic and racially charged violence that has erupted in the United States, noting that hatred comes from people who promote it.

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FILE - This Oct. 19, 2012 file photo shows the gate of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland. The museum and memorial site appears to have weighed in on the debate over U.S. President Donald Trump's response to the outpouring of anti-Semitic and racially charged hatred in Charlottesville, Virginia. The state museum wrote Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, on Twitter: "One of the hardest lessons for us today. Perpetrators were people. They accepted an ideology that rationalized and promoted hatred & evil." (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)


The state museum, which preserves the site of the former Nazi German death camp, wrote Thursday on Twitter: "One of the hardest lessons for us today. Perpetrators were people. They accepted an ideology that rationalized and promoted hatred & evil."

Beneath the words is a photo of Auschwitz officers and guards smiling and having fun.

The message was posted in several languages after U.S. President Donald Trump made comments that appeared to defend the actions of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. A woman was killed and 19 people were injured in the turmoil.

A museum spokesman told The Associated Press that people are free to interpret the message as they wish.

On Sunday, the museum tweeted: "Auschwitz stands today as a painful reminder of what racist & antisemitic ideologies can lead to, of what may happen when people hate..."

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FILE - This file photo from July 29, 2016, shows the gate of the former German Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland. The museum and memorial site appears to have weighed in on the debate over U.S. President Donald Trump's response to the outpouring of anti-Semitic and racially charged hatred in Charlottesville, Virginia. The state museum wrote Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, on Twitter: "One of the hardest lessons for us today. Perpetrators were people. They accepted an ideology that rationalized and promoted hatred & evil." (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)


Nazi Germany killed an estimated 1.1 million people at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in German-occupied Poland, most of them Jews, but also Roma, Poles, homosexuals and others.

Today the Polish state institution preserves the physical remains of the site while leading educational efforts to remember the atrocities committed there.