19 October 2020

At 7 pm (Yangon, Myanmar) today the Free Rohingya Coalition is screening its first-ever documentary “Auschwitz: Lessons Never Learned”, based on its group study tour of the Jewish ghetto in Krakow and the 3 camps at Auschwitz this past March. 

Two Christmases ago, the two co-founders of the Free Rohingya Coalition, Ro Nay San Lwin and Maung Zarni, a Rohingya Muslim and a Burmese Buddhist respectively, visited Dachau during their short stay in Munich to meet with Uyghur human rights activists who run their anti-genocide campaign from the Bavarian capital.

“The world never learns (from the Nazi genocide)” muttered a woman museum staff at Dachau, Hitler’s first concentration camp Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich as she discovered that the two visitors purchasing “Never again” pins were from Myanmar. 

This March, a group of 19 human rights activists from Japan, Rwanda, USA, Canada, Germany, Ukraine and Myanmar, including 9 Burmese and 2 Rohingya activists visited Auschwitz where they paid respect to 1 million Jewish and other victims of the Holocaust.

Three years on since the mass exodus of over 750,000 Rohingyas in August 2017, Myanmar is showing no signs of cooperation or political will to repatriate the refugees who survived the Burmese genocidal purge, who have since been stranded across the border in Bangladesh. 

In the absence of any real political, economic or diplomatic pressure, or military intervention to end the institutionalized destruction of Rohingyas, who is a protected group under the Genocide Convention, the extremely uncertain future awaits 500,000 Rohingyas inside Myanmar’s vast open prison camps and 1 million on Bangladeshi soil since 1991. 

Ruth Kluger, the late Austrian Jewish author of “Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered” (2001) and professor of German literature at the University of California at Irvine, wrote of the very first encounter she and her mother with an American soldier immediately after WWII, who “deliberately closed his ears”, as they attempted to tell him they were at Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. She remarked as a matter-of-factly, “this war hadn’t been fought for our sake.”

Looking at the chilling parallel between the Nazi genocide and Myanmar’s genocide of Rohingyas, the visiting activists reflected on how geopolitical and economic interests typically drive policies of international organizations, corporations and national governments.  They drew a twofold conclusion: that Allied would have let Hitler get away with the mass murder, if it weren’t for his invasions and military threats and that the post-Holocaust world has let multiple genocides happen, having failed to learn any lessons from the Nazi’s industrial scale mass-killing.  

The screening will be Facebook LIVE at https://www.facebook.com/FreeRohingyaCoalition at 1:30 pm UK and 7 pm Yangon), to be followed by 30 minutes of discussion in Burmese and English among the co-producers and Rohingya activists. 

The film was directed by the award-winning Ukrainian filmmaker Petro Tsymbol and funded by the European-Burma Office of Canada, a pro-democracy NGO.

For more information, please contact:

Nay San Lwin
+49 176 62139138

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