President of Panama at the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum
On July 30th, the President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela and his wife, who came to Poland on the occasion of the World Youth Day in Cracow, visited the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum. The guests were welcomed by the Director of the Museum Dr Piotr M. A. Cywiński.
President Varela visited a part of the Museum exposition, among others Block 4 devoted to the extermination of Jews in Auschwitz by the Germans. Block 4 exhibits contain canisters of Zyklon B gas which was used to murder people, as well as women’s hair, cut after their death in the gas chambers.
He also visited Block 5 where personal items looted from the victims, such as shoes, suitcases, glasses, children’s clothes or Jewish prayer shawls, are presented.
President Varela laid a wreath in front of the Death Wall in the courtyard of Block 11, where executions by shooting were performed. Candles were also lit and tribute was paid with a minute of silence to all victims of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp. The guests also visited the basement of Block 11, as well as the building of the gas chamber and crematorium in the former Auschwitz I camp.
“I pray for all men, women and children who lost their lives in this place. Humanity must never allow anything of such nature to happen again. Lord, make us an instrument of Your peace”, president Varela wrote in the Museum’s Commemorative Book.
Afterwards, Juan Carlos Varela visited the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp, among others the rail ramp where the Germans performed selections of Jews deported to the camp. He saw the ruins of the gas chamber and crematorium II. A wreath was laid and candles lit at the monument commemorating all camp the victims.