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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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