Around 300 hundred Holocaust survivors joined heads of state and government for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the biggest and most notorious of the Nazi death camps during World War II: Auschwitz-Birkenau. The voices of these 300 are, in the words of the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum Piotr Cywinski, “the most important warning against the human capacity for extreme humiliation, contempt and genocide.”
Of the estimated 1.3 million people – Jews, Roma, homosexuals, the mentally ill, prisoners of war – to have been deported to Auschwitz, more than one million were slaughtered there in the fields and gas chambers. It was on this day, January 27, 1945 that the Soviet army happened upon Auschwitz as they pursued the Nazi war machine into modern-day Poland and towards Germany.
Revisit highlights from the ceremony and the build-up below
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