Watch the latest episode of TVP World’s Help Without Borders - a show dedicated to refugees from Ukraine, to learn about their stories, the volunteers, charities, and organisations providing humanitarian assistance.
TVP World’s Anna Jabłońska interviewed Mrs Lidia Maksymowicz, who survived the German Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp. Born in what is today Belarus, she was sent to the infamous death camp when she was merely three years of age. Joseph Mengele, “The Angel of Death” himself, selected her for human experimentation, and she survived in the camp for 13 months, until she was rescued by a Polish family. Mrs Maksymowicz now lives in Krakow, and she frequently works with the Galicja Jewish Museum located there.
This year, she was invited to the opening of the Eurovision contest, where she inaugurated the opening of the Music Village in Turin. During her speech, she appealed for peace and solidarity with Ukraine. In the interview, she expressed the hope that she managed to get through to people with her message. For most of her life she had only spoken to people about her experience as a survivor of Auschwitz.
For two years she has been organising events in Italy, during which she would talk to people about history. She also often has the chance to speak with important and powerful people, and thereby, hopefully, influence them. An elderly lady, Mrs Maksymowicz is happy to be able to contribute something important towards the end of her life.
Mrs Maksymowicz thinks it is important to tell them about history, and so she tells her own story. She frequently meets with young people who come to the Galicja Jewish Museum or Auschwitz, as she believes that talking to the next generations is particularly important.
She says that when she shows her listeners the tattoo she received as a child, some are incredulous that anyone would do something like that to a child. But she says that the youths are always interested to listen. She uses the fact that she has their attention, and tells them that the future of the world is in their hands, and it is up to them to prevent these things from happening again in the future.
Mrs Maksymowicz hopes the situation in Ukraine will not lead to a repeat of what happened during World War Two. She is hopeful, because she sees people opening their arms to welcome the refugees and help them. She thinks that Polish people are so eager to help, because of their own historical experiences. She stresses that during World War Two there were also people who did their best to help, such as the people who lived around the Auschwitz camp, saw what was going on, and tried to provide some assistance.
Mrs Maksymowicz concluded the interview with an appeal to the powerful people of the world and to the young people, asking them to get involved and stop the madness and the hate.