On his tour of Poland, President De Gaulle of France today (Saturday) visited the grim site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Oswiecim (Auschwitz) where 80,000 French citizens were among the estimated 4,000,000 victims who dies there.
De Gaulle arrives at the camp site; the memorial; De Gaulle lays wreath; party moves towards blocks; De Gaulle looks over cell.
Initials RM/EURO-TELE (TVP)/RM/VOO
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: On his tour of Poland, President De Gaulle of France today (Saturday) visited the grim site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Oswiecim (Auschwitz) where 80,000 French citizens were among the estimated 4,000,000 victims who dies there. The President placed a wreath of red and white roses at the foot of an international monument to the camp's mainly Jewish victims and wrote in a book of Remembrance before going on a tour of the camp.
President De Gaulle, on a week's official visit to Poland, drove through the camp's "gate of death" which still bears the original cynical sign in German - "Arbeit Macht Frei" ("Work Liberates") - accompanied by the Polish Head of State, Mr. Edward Ochab. After placing his wreath the French leader stood silently at the sprawling memorial, composed of rows of blocks, shaped like coffins and gravestones with a black structure like a crematorium chimney rising in their midst.
During the Second World War, crowded transport of men, women and children from 23 Nations arrived in Auschwitz on the last stage of a nightmare journey to forced labour, hunger, disease, torture and death. The French President and Madame De Gaulle walked through a former prison barracks converted into a museum of personal belongings of victims. They saw mountains of shoes, suitcases, metal-rimmed spectacles, shaving brushes, stacks of crutches and artificial limbs and Jewish praying shawls.