‘Indifference can be fatal’

At the Transparent Factory in Dresden, Volkswagen apprentices from Germany and Poland talked about their conservation work, encounters and experiences at Auschwitz Concentration Camp Memorial Site before an audience of employees and managers from Volkswagen Saxony.

The Prime Minister of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, attended the event as guest of honour and discussed with the apprentices how young Poles and Germans understand history and can shape the future together. Other topics included cooperation between people from different cultures in international companies and the fundamental importance of tolerance and respect at the workplace and in public life.

‘At Auschwitz, I understood that indifference can be fatal. During the Nazi dictatorship, indifference made it possible for millions of Jews, members of ethnic minorities and people with other political convictions to be persecuted and murdered,’ said Tim Clauß, apprentice motor vehicle mechatronics technician at the Transparent Factory. ‘This is why I will no longer close my ears or look the other way if people are bullied on the streets today. Anyone can ask other people for help or call the police on their mobile phone.’

Over the past 30 years, the joint project ‘Auschwitz – Remembrance and Future’ of the International Auschwitz Committee (IAC) and the Volkswagen Group has brought more than 3,800 German and Polish apprentices and vocational school students as well as foremen and other management personnel from the group to the Concentration Camp Memorial Site at Auschwitz and the International Youth Meeting Center Oświęcim.

The apprentices and vocational school students clear weeds from pathways, repair barbed wire fences, preserve the shoes of the victims and talk to eyewitnesses who survived Auschwitz concentration camp and Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.