The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby described a recent visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau and urges people to resist a “post-truth” culture. He gave a speech during a memorial service in Westminster, London, Thursday in advance of Holocaust Memorial Day.
Every January 27th – the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau– the international community reflects on the holocaust and other genocides.
In his speech, Archbishop Welby said: “I have just returned from a visit to Auschwitz – Birkenau, with 60 clergy; its witness is to appalling human suffering caused by the terrible collusion of the silent majority.
“Whilst Jews and others were caricatured and vilified by unscrupulous politicians and venal newspapers, there was an unquestioning acceptance by ordinary people.
“Life goes amid a culture of alternative facts, of post truth, of collusion with deeds which sing the tunes of evil, a culture which needs to be challenged at every level and in every conversation and debate in this country, if it is indeed to be a place of safety and healing for those fleeing tyranny and cruelty, if indeed life is to go on, flourishing and fully.”
In an interview for BBC News, the Archbishop said:
“The most profound thing that struck me was the sheer mechanistic efficiency and the normality for those who did these terrible things: the accountants, the doctors, the architects: they just did their jobs and they never really focused on what those jobs were.
“It was absolute destruction of humanity – and their own humanity, although they didn’t know it.
“That was very powerfully seen; and I think that has to say to us we must be alert and we must speak out.”