Survivors of the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, in Poland, commemorated the 71st anniversary of the camp’s liberation by Soviet troops on Wednesday (January 27).
Survivors arrived with wreaths at a former execution site on the grounds of what now is the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum.
Flowers and candles were laid at the site where thousands were executed by firing squad, under the windows of prisoners’ living quarters, before methods of mass murder in gas chambers were introduced by the camp’s German administrators.
“I experienced hell on earth, I’m scared to tell. I have seen human death, pain and suffering,” one survivor, Bronislawa Czeczulowska, said, showing a tattooed inmate number on her forearm.
“The fire from the crematorium chimneys, it is still embedded in the eyes of everyone who saw it,” said Jerzy Kucharski, who was 15 years old when he was in the death camp.
Around 1.5 million people were killed in Auschwitz alone,
mostly Jews, but also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, homosexuals and other minorities. The camp has since become a symbol of the horrors of the Holocaust.