It was a cold and snowy day just like in January 1945 when the extermination camp was liberated. Survivors of Auschwitz-Birkanau joined world dignitaries at the former Nazi concentration camp to mark the 65th anniversary. For most it is probably the last time they will gather at the place where more than a million people, mostly Jews, were sent to their deaths.
“This reminds me of all the past, these are sad memories”, said one survivor, Mathilde Cohen. “I left the whole family here, I alone survived. The entire family, my father, my mother, my grandmother, my grandfather, they all died here.”
A special ceremony was held in memory of the victims. The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told those present that there were again threats to exterminate the Jewish people.
He meant Iran, whose president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been compared to Hitler by the World Jewish Congress.
Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress said: “Holocaust teaches us that European policy of apaisement towards fanatic regimes and leaders who threaten the world harmony and abuse their own people is bound to fail.”
Jewish groups are addressing the question of how to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive after the last survivors die. They have called for more commemorative events, and say the crime should always be made relevant to the modern world situation.