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Poland launches Auschwitz page on Facebook

As perhaps a small but significant rejoinder to anti-Semites and Holocaust denial groups on Facebook, Polish authorities create a Facebook page that educates about the Auschwitz death camp.

When I lived and worked in Warsaw, Poland, just before the turn of the century, I had a client who was about to make a TV spot. The client insisted on a Polish director. We offered the name Marek Dawid.

"Who's his DP (director of photography)?" the client asked.

"Pawel Edelman," was the answer.

"Oh, I'm not having two Jews on my shoot," came the reply, which was both stunningly anti-Semitic and frighteningly stupid, as Edelman went on to be DP on such movies as "The Pianist."

I tell this story only because Poland, despite its pride in being the only European country occupied by Nazis that didn't have a collaborator government, is not devoid of anti-Semitic attitudes.

This is why many will welcome the creation of an Auschwitz Facebook site.

Auschwitz, a very real place indeed. CC Lumiere/Flickr

According to the BBC, the authorities at Auschwitz, as bleak and frightening a place as you can ever visit, view the site as an experiment but hope that it will be a lasting reminder to younger generations of the concentration camp's painful significance in history.

Pawel Sawicki, a museum official at Auschwitz, told the BBC, "If our mission is to educate the younger generation to be responsible in the contemporary world, what better tool can we use to reach them than the tools they use themselves?"

These tools are already being used, after all, by those who seek to deny that the Holocaust ever happened, which has led to much controversy as to whether they contravene Facebook's terms of service.

The new Auschwitz Facebook site allows for discussion and, as yet, nothing has been posted by deniers.

However, it will be interesting to see whether, over time, it will serve as a lasting reminder when there is no one still alive who personally experienced Auschwitz's horrors.