January 27, 2015: 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp
In 1940, the German occupiers took over this former army barracks and populated it with Polish political prisoners. As the war years went on, the Nazis expanded and refined the camp, imprisoning Jews from all over Europe here before sending them on to their deaths at nearby Birkenau. The Martyrdom Museum at Auschwitz is a ghastly reminder of the inhumanity that humans are capable of. The site of the camp is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The commemoration ceremony at the gates of the camp saw heads of state gathered to honor the several hundred remaining survivors, most of them elderly. As Rick Lymon reported in the New York Times,
“This will be the last decade anniversary with a very visible presence of survivors,” said Andrzej Kacorzyk, deputy director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum… At the 60th anniversary, 1,500 survivors attended. This year, on Tuesday, about 300 are expected. Most of them are in their 90s, and some are older than 100.
To mark the anniversary of the life-saving liberation, some of the survivors had their portraits taken with photos of loved ones who never left the camp.
(Top photo: An overview of Birkenau, Poland. Photo credit: Renee Van Drent)
PUBLISHED: January 27, 2015