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Commemorations of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

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Among the survivors who came to attend the ceremony at the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Halina Birenbaum, 94, gave a testimony in a tent set up above the former barracks where she survived.

Associated Press

A group of Nazi extermination camp survivors marked the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp during World War II at a modest ceremony Saturday in southern Poland.

Around twenty survivors from various camps established by Nazi Germany in Europe laid wreaths and flowers in front of the wall of death in Auschwitz and lit candles.

Later, the group prayed near the Birkenau monument. Survivors paid tribute to an estimated 1.1 million victims of the camps, most of whom were Jews. The memorial site and museum are located near the town of Oswiecim.

Nearly six million European Jews were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust, the massacre of Jews and other groups before and during World War II.

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On the occasion of the International Day dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Shoah, marked on January 27 each year, the survivors were accompanied by the President of the Polish Senate, Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, the Minister of Culture, Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz, and the Israeli ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne.

The theme of these celebrations is the human being, symbolized by simple hand-drawn portraits. These sketches are intended to emphasize that the horror of Auschwitz-Birkenau lies in the suffering of those detained and killed there.

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Some survivors came to mark the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp by the Red Army on January 27, 1945.

The murder of the victims of the Shoah was commemorated throughout Europe.

In Germany, where people laid flowers and lit candles at memorials to victims of Nazi terror, Chancellor Olaf Scholz maintained that his country will continue to bear responsibility for this crime against humanity.

He called on all citizens to defend German democracy and fight anti-Semitism as the country commemorated the liberation of Auschwitz.

Never again, it's every day, launched Olaf Scholz in his weekly podcast. January 27 calls to us: stay visible! Stay audible! Against anti-Semitism, against racism, against misanthropy and for our democracy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose country is fighting to push back the full-scale invasion of Russia, published an image of a Jewish menora on the X network (formerly Twitter) to mark this day of commemoration.

Each new generation must learn the truth about the Shoah. Human life must remain the highest value for all nations of the world.

A quote from Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, on the X Network

Eternal memory to all the victims of the Holocaust! continued Mr. Zelensky, who is Jewish and lost family members in the Holocaust.

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Several people placed candles and flowers for the missing in front of the wall of death at Auschwitz.

In Italy, commemorations of the Shoah included a torchlight procession accompanied by official statements from senior political leaders.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has maintained that her conservative nationalist government is determined to stamp out anti-Semitism which she says has been reinvigorated due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Ms. Meloni's detractors have long accused her and her Brotherhood of Italy party, with its neofascist roots, of failing to sufficiently atone for their past.< /p>Open in full screen mode

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (File photo)

Later Saturday, left-wing movements planned a torchlight procession to commemorate all the victims of Nazism, including Jews, as well as Roma, homosexuals and political dissidents deported or exterminated in Nazi camps.

Police were also on alert after pro-Palestinian activists said they would ignore a police order and hold a planned rally for coincide with Holocaust commemorations.

Italy's Jewish community complains that such protests have become opportunities for the memory of the Holocaust to be co-opted by anti-Israeli forces and used against Jews.

In Poland, a memorial ceremony with prayers took place on Friday in Warsaw, at the foot of the monument to the heroes of the city's ghetto who fell fighting the Nazis in 1943.

Earlier this week, the countries of the former Yugoslavia signed an agreement in Paris to jointly renovate Block 17 of the red brick Auschwitz camp and to install a permanent exhibition there in memory of ;around 20,000 people deported and forcibly taken to this camp. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia will participate in the project.

Preserving the camp, a notorious symbol of the horrors of the Holocaust with its cruelly misleading gate reading Arbeit Macht Frei (Work sets you free), requires constant efforts by historians and experts, as well as substantial funds.

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Built in occupied Poland, Auschwitz-Birkenau, where a million European Jews were killed between 1940 and 1945, is the symbol of this genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany.

The Nazis, who occupied Poland from 1939 to 1945, first used the former Austrian military barracks at Auschwitz as a concentration and death camp for Polish resistance fighters. In 1942, the wooden barracks, gas chambers and crematoria of Birkenau were added for the extermination of Jews, Roma and other Europeans as well as Russian prisoners of war .

Soviet Red Army troops liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 1945. There were around 7,000 prisoners there, children and people too weak to walk. A few days earlier, the Germans had evacuated tens of thousands of other detainees on foot in what is now known as the death march, as many detainees died from #x27;exhaustion and cold in freezing temperatures.

Since 1979, the Auschwitz-Birkenau site has been included on the World Heritage list world of UNESCO.

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