Holocaust Commemorations Mark 70th Anniversary Of Auschwitz Liberation

Leslay Daunt

It’s been 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and this year was probably the last time most survivors of the Nazi extermination camp were present.  Over one million people were killed during World War Two at Auschwitz in Poland, the majority of them being Jews. Auschwitz, which is known as the world’s biggest Jewish cemetery, was also the death place for many people who did not fit into the Nazis’ view of their world. Homosexuals, lesbians, Poles, and the disabled were among those also killed there.

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During the process of evacuation and liquidation of the camp the Nazi authorities managed to evacuate approximately 100 thousand prisoners and put them to work as slave laborers for the benefit of the German war economy. They also salvaged a large amount of the loot stored in the camp which belonged to exterminated Jews. About 7 thousand prisoners awaited liberation in the Main Camp, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, and Auschwitz III-Monowitz.

The main commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was held in front of the Death Gate of KL Auschwitz II–Birkenau. Much of the world honored this day with their own commemorations.

In the United States, hundreds of people gathered at the Palm Desert Civic Center Park and sang songs in tribute. The event, hosted by the Gerald R. Ford chapter of the Mensch Foundation, welcomed people of all ages to the Coachella Valley to celebrate the resilience of the Holocaust.

In Paris, UNESCO, in partnership with the Shoah Memorial and France Culture, commemorated the International Day of Holocaust

Remembrance at its Paris Headquarters. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in her speech for the commemoration event, “70 years after the worst crimes in history, anti-Semitism is returning, along with Holocaust denial and revisionism.”

In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, where he said: “My job as prime minister of Israel is to make sure that there won’t be any more threats of destruction against the state of Israel. My job is to ensure that there won’t be any reasons to establish any more memorial sites like Yad Vashem.”

In Moscow, Putin visited the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center and used the occasion to press the Russian points on Ukraine. He spoke of the Ukrainian nationalists’ collaboration with the Nazis in killing Jews during the war, and he accused Ukrainian authorities today of killing civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk in cold blood.

The commemorations in Poland, which during World War II was under Nazi occupation, was marked by a melancholy awareness that it will be the last major anniversary that a significant number of survivors will be strong enough to attend.

Last modified on Friday, 18 August 2017 19:52
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