The commemoration was attended by 18 surviving camp inmates, representatives of the Polish authorities and delegations from several dozen countries, on the day when the camp was liberated 78 years ago.
According to the decision of the United Nations, January 27th is celebrated worldwide as Holocaust Remembrance Day.
At the central commemoration on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the director of the Museum of that camp, Pjotr Civinjski, said that “surviving camp inmate Marijan Turski warned: Auschwitz did not fall from the sky. Auschwitz arose from the thirst for power and megalomania.”
“We see how fragile our civilization is. It’s hard for us to stand here. It’s harder than in previous years. The war first uses violence on contracts, then on borders, and finally on people. Civilian victims, dehumanized, intimidated, humiliated, do not die by chance. They are hostages and war megalomania,” said Civinjski.
The Director of the Museum said, paying respect to the victims of the Holocaust, that silence means giving a voice to those guilty of crimes, neutrality means extending a hand to a bully, and indifference means giving permission to murderers.
“People are dying en masse again in Europe. Russia, which failed to swallow Ukraine, decided to destroy it. Today we see whose doors are opened, whose remain locked. Let’s remember that our every gesture counts as well as the absence of gestures. Today is election time has come again,” said Civinjski.
Eva Umlauf, who arrived in the camp as a child, addressed the dignitaries on behalf of the Holocaust victims.
“Auschwitz cannot be repeated. But it is not enough to say ‘Never again.’ , the public who is interested and remembers, given a personal example of peaceful coexistence, there are great chances for fair development in our societies,” said Eva Umlauf.
Zdjislava Vlodarčik, who was deported to Auschwitz when she was 11 years old, shared her memories of the day when Red Army soldiers liberated the camp, entered the barracks where she and her brother were hiding, and a Soviet officer asked, “Children, where are you from?” and sent representatives of the Red Cross to take care of them.
“We were free. Today, when I stand in the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial, I follow the news about the war that is so close. Russia, which liberated us, is now waging a war along our border in Ukraine. Why?” said Vlodarchik.
Due to the aggression against Ukraine, the Russian delegation did not receive an invitation to participate in the central commemoration in Auschwitz under the auspices of Polish President Andrzej Duda this year.
The Russian delegation laid wreaths and lit candles outside the camp, on the graves of the Red Army soldiers who died liberating it, and when the official commemoration was over, they also privately laid wreaths on the grave of the Russian inmates in Auschwitz itself.
Soviet military prisoners were the fourth largest group of Auschwitz victims, and the Soviet army liberated the camp.
In Auschwitz, founded in 1940 and expanded into the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex in 1942, for the monstrous Nazi “final solution to the Jewish question”, the German Nazis killed about 1.1 million people in gas chambers, mostly Jews, but also Roma and Sinti. 70,000 Poles, Soviet prisoners of war and members of other European nations.
On January 27, 1945, when the Red Army soldiers opened the gates of the camp, they found only about 7,000 barely surviving, exhausted and sick inmates and children.
Since 1947, the area of the former largest death factory built by the Nazis in occupied Poland has been turned into a museum that is visited annually by over two million people from all over the world.