News / Europe

Survivors, World Leaders Mark 65th Anniversary of Liberation of Auschwitz

Multimedia

Audio

Holocaust survivors joined world leaders in southern Poland on Wednesday to mark the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the infamous World War II Nazi concentration camp. 
 
Hundreds of people braved snow and sub-freezing temperatures to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day at Auschwitz, Nazi Germany's most infamous concentration camp.

The event marked the 65th anniversary of the day the camp was liberated by the Soviet Red Army.

Holocaust survivors and their families gathered with the leaders of Poland and Israel to lay candles at the Monument of the Victims in neighboring Birkenau, where the majority of Auschwitz prisoners were murdered.
 
In a speech before the ceremony, Polish President Lech Kaczynski said that what happened at Auschwitz was an atrocity conceived and perpetrated by a modern state. 

"We need to remember that not everyone who is strong is right," he said.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also attended the ceremony.  He delivered a message of sadness and hope.

"We sit here in a warm tent and remember those who shivered to death," he said. "And if they didn't freeze to death, they were gassed and burned in a horrible conflagration.  As we stand here together to commemorate the past, we are helping to build a future of decency, and of truth and hope for all the peoples represented here, and for all mankind."
 
Auschwitz and nearby Birkenau, were the largest of the concentration camps and the epicenter of Adolf Hitler's "final solution."  It is estimated that more than one million Jews perished in the two camps along with hundreds of thousands of Poles, Roma and others who were considered undesirable by the Nazi state.  Most were gassed in Birkenau's gas chambers; others died from starvation, disease and physical abuse.
 
When the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, they found fewer than 8,000 survivors.  The Nazis had destroyed most of Birkenau in their retreat.  Today all that is left of the site are a few wooden barracks and a ghostly forest of brick chimneys where dozens of other barracks once stood.
 
Eva Mozes Kor, 75,  was one of the Holocaust survivors who attended the memorial.  She lost most of her family in Auschwitz, and spent nine months in the camp before being liberated. She was 10 years old at the time.
 
Despite her ordeal, Kor says she hopes the ceremony will inspire peace and forgiveness.

"I believe that the world has not learned how to heal, and that's the reason we keep seeing these tragic human events happening," she said. "Because victims pass on to their children pain and anger.  And many times, children of victims become victimizers.  If I am going to be lighting a candle today with the president of Poland, I would like to tell him that he and his people should forgive the Nazis for everything they have done.  Forgiveness, in my opinion, is a seed for peace.  Anger is a seed for war."
 
The sign over the gate to Auschwitz that reads "Arbeit Macht Frei," or "Work Makes You Free," was stolen in December.  Although the sign has been recovered, it has yet to be reinstalled.

Related report by Deborah Block

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More