Arnold Schwarzenegger visits Auschwitz concentration camp

Austrian-born actor and politician is the son of a Nazi party member who served in the German army during the Second World War

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Actor and former Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp on Wednesday, where he vowed to fight hatred and discrimination, and to keep alive the memory of what took place there between 1940 and 1945.

Schwarzenegger toured the infamous barracks, sniper watchtowers and the remains of gas chambers that stand as evidence of the slaughter of Jews and others during the Second World War.

He then spoke at a former synagogue that now is home to the Auschwitz Jewish Centre Foundation.

"This is a story that has to stay alive," Schwarzenegger said. "This is a story that we have to tell over and over again.

"And it is important that not only the Jewish people say 'never again', but that we all collectively help, to come together and say 'never again’."

While standing with Simon Bergson, the foundation’s chairman whose parents are Auschwitz survivors, Schwarzenegger talked of his family’s history with Nazism.

“I was the son of a man who fought in the Nazi war and was a soldier,” he said iof his father, Gustav Schwarzenegger.

The actor, who is originally from Austria, has told Russians in a video posted on social media in March that they were being lied to about the war in Ukraine, much in the same way he claims his father was.

Schwarzenegger is wildly popular in Russia, and apparently also with President Vladimir Putin who follows the actor’s Twitter account.

He vowed that Wednesday’s visit would not be his last: “I’ll be back."

It is estimated that 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz during the war — 1 million of them were Jews. Russian prisoners of war, 75,000 Poles and others also died there.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: September 28, 2022, 9:24 PM