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President moved by Auschwitz

india Updated: Apr 26, 2009 23:16 IST
Aloke Tikku
Aloke Tikku
Hindustan Times
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President Pratibha Devisingh Patil wrapped up her Poland visit by paying homage to the 1.1 million victims at the Auschwitz concentration camp who were killed during the Nazi holocaust.

Visiting the first and the largest extermination centre put up by Nazi Germany during World War II, Patil described as “horrible” the incidents at Auschwitz that witnessed the biggest mass murder in history.

Patil said the human misery and cruelty suffered by victims at the camp were “horrible”, much worse than she had believed till she saw the camp.

“I hope it never ever happens again,” Patil said on the last day of her stay in Poland — part of the two-nation European tour that started last Monday.

“In a place like this, words fail. My head bows in prayers for the peace of souls of countless men and women, old and young alike, and children who were tortured with hard labour and then gassed to death at these camps. May this be a chilling reminder that such crimes of genocide shall never go unpunished,” she wrote in the visitors book at the camp.

She will leave for Delhi after a quick visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines this evening — one of the world’s oldest salt mine.

“Who so ever have been killed here, I’ll pay homage to all,” she said. But in the midst of stories of torture and death, “Ultimately humanity came out victorious,” she said.

She said despite all the inhuman episodes witnessed by history, humanity has moved forward. This shows that “no one can crush humanity… Compassion is the biggest tool and everyone should understand it.”