70 YEARS OF LIBERATION: Hundreds of Auschwitz Survivors Celebrate their Liberation from the Death Camp

liberation

The memories that must haunt these survivors; I can only imagine. Now, we have threats like ISIS and al-Qaida who are on the rise. Hopefully they are stopped before a third world war occurs.

Some 300 Auschwitz survivors have returned to the site of the Nazi death camp in southern Poland to mark 70 years since its liberation.

Some 1.1 million people, the vast majority Jews, were killed there between 1940 and 1945, when advancing Soviet troops liberated it.

Ceremonies are under way at the site in the presence of foreign dignitaries.

It is expected to be the last major anniversary event survivors are able to attend in considerable numbers.

The ceremony began with a classical concert after which the survivors were applauded.

Welcoming the visitors, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said the Germans had made Poland a “cemetery for Jews”.

Auschwitz survivor Halina Birenbaum, born in 1929, told the assembly that her greatest duty was to “tell others how much people [in the camps] had wanted to live”.

“I lived my mother’s dream to see the oppressor defeated,” she said, condemning Holocaust denial and warning that anti-Semitism remained a threat.

Fellow survivor Roman Kent, his voice breaking, told the gathering: “We survivors do not want our past to be our children’s future.”

Those who survived Auschwitz lived through one of the 20th Century’s worst acts of hatred and inhumanity. Many of those still alive today were children in 1945 but they are elderly now and this may be the last significant anniversary where so many will gather.

A huge, white temporary building has been erected over the brick railway buildings where many of the Jews of Europe were sorted into those who were fit enough for slave labour and those who would be taken straight to the gas chambers.

Candles have been lit at the Death Wall where prisoners were executed – small points of light in this wintry landscape of snow and ice, where Europe is remembering a time of darkness.

Auschwitz was liberated on 27 January 1945. It opened as a museum in 1947.

Read more: BBC

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