January 27, 2015: 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

January 27, 2015: 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

Today we joined the rest of the world to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp outside of Krakow, Poland.

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 gates of Auschwitz, Poland <br>Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

The “Judenrampe” where trainloads of Jews arrived at Birkenau and selections were made; from here 90% went straight to the gas chambers 
Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

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.

The railway into Auschwitz, Poland <br>Photo credit: Renee Van Drent

Tracks  that brought prisoners to Auschwitz
Photo credit: Renee Van Drent

Explore Your HeritageMIR has years of travel expertise and research experience in hand-crafting Jewish heritage and family heritage tours for our travelers. We specialize in custom private heritage tours to many of our destinations, including Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltics.

Travel to Poland with MIRMIR’s independent trip, Essential Poland, includes a visit to Auschwitz/Birkenau. MIR’s small group tour, Christmas Traditions of Poland visits Krakow, and a pre-tour to Auschwitz could easily be added to the departure. You may also choose to travel when, where and how you want on a hand-crafted custom, private journey.

(Top photo: An overview of Birkenau, Poland. Photo credit: Renee Van Drent)

PUBLISHED: January 27, 2015

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