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Cambridge University: Sick Jokes or Inspiring Quotes?

Anonymous

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Cambridge University students are outraged at the infamous Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz, where over a million men, women, and children were tortured and killed during World War II, being used as an image on a flyer to welcome incoming freshmen to Emmanuel College. The sign on the flyer bears the slogan arbeit macht frei” (work brings freedom).

The school has apologized for the use of the photo (above), but the dean of the school says the suggestion that the use of the image was some kind of “sick joke” is “infuriating”. He says the image was supposed to go with a sermon inspired by the choir’s trip to Auschwitz last year and the “iconic image of evil” paired with the sermon would bring to light the evil in the world and the steps that can be taken to resist it.

A student who wishes to remain anonymous said, “There will be quite a lot of Jewish students seeing this. I have no idea at all what the possible aim of this is or whether it’s some kind of joke about entering university life. I cannot imagine any reason. I am conscious there are a lot of very upset students at the moment though.”

Reverend Caddick, who delivered the sermon, says: “The point of putting the picture there is that it is an image of evil. The first thing I’ll do in the service is explain why it is there. It is a sermon about our response to gross evil.” The sermon was inspired by the story of Maximillian Kolbe, a Polish priest who willingly took the place of another prisoner due to be killed. Reverend Caddick says his act of sacrifice was reminiscent of Jesus’ death. He goes on to say, “Any suggestion we are making sick jokes about the Holocaust is infuriating.”

Though apologies and explanations have been made, does that really make it okay? Taken out of context, the picture on the flyer may look like a joke being made about the Holocaust, even if that’s not how it was intended. What do you think? Was this an act of ignorance and insensitivity or were the intentions completely informed and innocent? 

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Cambridge University: Sick Jokes or Inspiring Quotes?