Tue Jan 30th, 2024 at 03:42:10 PM EST
Film | Testimony: the Liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Death Camp (1940-1945)
Shortly after triggering World War II with its 1939 invasion of Poland, Nazi Germany set about repurposing a system of immigrant barracks in the city of Oświęcim to house political prisoners. Renamed Auschwitz, the facility would become the most notorious killing factory in human history.
"Remembrance of the Holocaust obliges
us to address the scars of the past; at the
same time, it also obliges us to respect human
rights and to respect an international order
built on the fundamental principle that
there is dignity in every human life."
Remembrance Liberation Auschwitz Death Camp
The Red Army obtained detailed information about Auschwitz only after the liberation of Cracow, and was therefore unable to reach the gates of Auschwitz before January 27, 1945.
About 7 thousand prisoners awaited liberation in the Main Camp, Birkenau, and Monowitz. Before and soon after January 27, Soviet soldiers liberated about 500 prisoners in the Auschwitz sub-camps in Stara Kuźnia, Blachownia Śląska, Świętochłowice, Wesoła, Libiąż, Jawiszowice, and Jaworzno.
Over 230 Soviet soldiers, including the commander of the 472nd regiment, Col. Siemen Lvovich Besprozvanny, died in combat while liberating the Main Camp, Birkenau, Monowitz, and the city of Oświęcim. The majority of them are buried at the municipal cemetery in Oświęcim.
In the Main Camp and Birkenau, Soviet soldiers discovered the corpses of about 600 prisoners who had been shot by the withdrawing SS or who had succumbed to exhaustion.
Liberation of Auschwit | Anne Frank Foundation |
On January 27, 1945, the Soviet Red Army liberated the concentration camp where a little over 7,000 prisoners were still held, including a few hundreds of children. Between 1.5 and 2 million people of different nationalities, particularly around 15,000 Soviet citizens, were killed in the death camp. More than 200 Soviet officers and soldiers lost their lives in fighting to liberate the camp.
Yesterday we wrote by mistake that Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by American soldiers. They were, of course, Soviet soldiers. We recognize the important contribution of all Allied forces during the Second World War and remember the 6 million Jews who died during the Holocaust.
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Led by Lt. Col. Mike Mench, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band commander, and Staff Sgt. Chris Jackson, the USAFE Band drum major, the USAFE Band gather at a staging point before marching in the World War II Victory Day Parade May 9, 2015, in Minsk, Belarus. The band's participation was the first time in Belarus' history that participants from the U.S. Defense Department marched in the parade to commemorate the sacrifices of the World War II Allies and the end of hostilities 70 years ago.
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