Based on the World Heritage Convention, UNESCO has also designated and preserved such 'negative heritages' left behind by humanity as World Heritage Sites. The most prominent example of this is the Auschwitz-Birkenau site in Poland, where the brutal slaughter of Jews by Nazi Germany had taken place. Others include the island of Gorée in Senegal which served as the center of the African slave trade, and the Bikini Atoll nuclear test site where 67 nuclear tests were conducted.
Inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1979, Auschwitz-Birkenau is the largest Jewish concentration camp built by Nazi Germany. A place that combined genocide with forced labor, the site is the ruins of a camp consisting of a defensive wall, barbed wire, train platforms, barracks, gallows, gas chambers, and crematoriums. The Nazi anti-Semitic and racist policies that were carried out here resulted in a large-scale massacre of over 1.2 million people, 90% of whom were Jewish victims.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Heritage Site is a place for all of humankind to remember the Holocaust: the policies of racial discrimination and the atrocities based on them that led to organized murder at the hands of the Nazis. It is also a place that warns of the dangers posed by extreme ideologies and the denial of human dignity and the tragic consequences that follow. Poland changed the name of the heritage site in 2007, which had been listed as the "Auschwitz Concentration Camp", to "Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)."
These negative world heritages are also of great significance for future generations as places to reflect on the tragic events of the past and to pledge not to repeat the mistakes that were made.
The same should take place with the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution. Consider if the Japanese government were to adopt a message encompassing that "Japan's industrial heritage is the result of the blood and sweat of not only entrepreneurs and engineers, but also of numerous workers," and that "successive wars of aggression, colonial rule, and forced labor on Koreans, Chinese and Allied POWs should be neither forgotten nor hidden." Would not this explanation of the dark side of history, a proper remembrance of the victims and a learning from the lessons of the past be the right way to share the universal value of this World Heritage with those around the world?
Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps 1
Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps 2