A delegation of 173 French women visiting Auschwitz

A group of 173 French women, from a wide variety of backgrounds, visited the extermination camp and memorial at Auschwitz in Poland this month. The trip was organized by the Langage de femmes association, in partnership with the Shoah Memorial. A plane was specially chartered for the occasion.

Langage de femmes, created in 2017, aims to put women at the heart of the fight against racism and anti-Semitism.

All profiles were represented in the trip, reported Releasewho covered the visit: executives, HRD and director of communication, TV presenter (Karine Le Marchand, accompanied by her mother), hairdresser, nanny, cleaner, teenagers, quadras, retirees, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, agnostics …

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Beate Klarsfeld, Isabelle Rome, Minister Delegate for Equality between Women and Men and Diversity, or Elise Fajgeles, Secretary General of the Interministerial Delegation for the Fight against Racism, Anti-Semitism and Anti-LGBT Hate (Dilcrah), were also on the trip.

The group visited the camp at night, after being granted a waiver, as the women arrived after the venue was normally closed due to a late landing plane.

“In the cold and under the snow, we traveled the route between Auschwitz and Birkenau, the ‘factory of death’ where the gas chambers and the crematoria implemented the ‘final solution’. We burst into tears in front of the mountains of human hair, everyday objects or shoes that belonged to the victims,” the association wrote on Facebook after the trip.

The purpose of this was to then allow these women to relay and tell those who do not have the opportunity to go to Poland the reality of the Holocaust.

“We create a united and indivisible community to spend a day, free ourselves, remember, understand and be able to transmit on our return”, explained to the French newspaper Samia Essabaa, co-founder of the association. “Bringing together women who could never meet outside of this occasion is great. »

“To be armed with the knowledge necessary to be able to fight against racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination, you have to learn,” she added.

An English teacher at the vocational high school in Seine-Saint-Denis, she explains that her associative commitment took shape when she was confronted with conspiracy theories presented by students after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

“Staying within the four walls of a classroom doesn’t work: you need something concrete. There are kids who are so skeptical that you have to show them. When they see the showcases of hair, the layettes of babies, the ovens, the gas chambers, it changes the situation”, she indicated.

She thus sees Auschwitz as “the place which best symbolizes what man can transmit by word and then by a physical gesture”. All the prejudices that we may have started with words and end with actions. That’s what I want to show on the spot. »

At the end of the visit, candles were lit and the group sang the Chant des partisans. In front of them, the mezzo-soprano Sofia Falkovitch also sang the Maale Rahamim and the Kaddish.

Soon, in Paris, the group will meet again to look back on this trip and share their memories.

Before the visit to Auschwitz, the Langage de femmes association had organized a meeting with Esther Senot and Ginette Kolinka, Holocaust survivors.

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