Kneginje Ljubice 14, 11000 Beograd


75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

On January 27, more than 200 Auschwitz and Holocaust Survivors met in front of the Death Gate at the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp.

They were accompanied by leaders and representatives of over 50 countries who listened to their words – crowned heads, presidents, prime ministers, ministers, and diplomats as well as the representatives of numerous international institutions, social organization, clergy, the staff of museums and memorials devoted to this subject as well as – by intermediary of the media – all those who wished to honor the memory of the victims of German Nazis.

The guests were welcomed by Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, who took honorary patronage over the events commemorating the anniversary. He addressed former prisoners with the following words: ‘We have here with us today the last living Survivors, who have endured the hell of Auschwitz. The last of those who saw the Holocaust with their own eyes. And among them those who experienced the fate of the Jewish Nation as referred to in Psalm 44: "we are killed all day long, we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered"… We stand here before You, Honourable Survivors, in order to assume anew, in the presence of the Witnesses of the Holocaust, an obligation – thinking of those who perished, of You who have survived and of the future generations.'

During commemorative events, the most important words were presented by former camp prisoners: Batszewa Dagan, Else Baker, Marian Turski as well as Stanisław Zalewski. Batszewa Dagan, a Jewish woman of Polish origin born on September 8th, 1925 in Łódź as Izabella Rubinstein, said: ‘I am standing here and I don’t know whether it is real or not, that I am with you 75 years after my huge experience of suffering in this place. I was Schutzhaeftling number 45554.’

Former prisoner mentioned among others her work in camp repositories, were personal belongings of those murdered were sorted: ‘I had Hungarian clothes in my hands. First I would cry, but then I had to get used to it as my job. I found a photograph of my teachers from Łódź on these huge piles of clothes from all over the world.’

‘Teaching about it is really necessary and it is possible. I would like to cry because tears are the only way to flood this past, and when I see so many – we should feel comforted that all of you will take care of the memory of this place – and other places where people were led to innocent death, representing all nations – that you will be responsible for such misery not to repeat in the history of the world’, said former prisoner, currently living in Israeli.

'I would like to thank the Poles for maintaining this place and transforming it into the memorial and museum that it is today, famous all over the world', said Else Baker.

'In Auschwitz, I witnessed mass murder. There were long queues of people in front of the mass murder facilities like the gas chambers and crematoria which were not far from our camp's electrified fences. And then the ear-splitting screams started. Orders to stay inside our barracks with doors locked were disobeyed. And we saw a large area of open fires blazing. I as an 8 year old girl overheard adult conversations like; they must have run out of gas and are burning people alive now', said Else Baker.

'Those that were murdered and those that survived the camps must never be forgotten. Hopefully, this memorial site and museum will remain here for many years to come as a warning to people not to let insane ideologies, backed by wrong sciences like for example Eugenics, gain power again', emphasized Else Baker, a Roma who was deported to Auschwitz from Hamburg at the age of 8.

Another speaker during the ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was Ronald S. Lauder, who took the floor on behalf of the “Pillars of Memory”, individual donors who supported the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. He recalled the testimony from Adolf Eichmann’s trial: ‘there was one man who stood out because he spoke in an unusually non-emotional tone. He described arriving at this platform right here with his wife and little daughter. They were herded out of the cattle cars, and stood in line for the “selection,” right over there. A doctor decided who would go to the right to work and who would go to the left for extermination. The man was separated from his wife and daughter at that moment and they were pushed away. On the witness stand, he said: “There were so many people, I didn’t know how I could keep my eye on them.’

‘Do not be silent. Do not be indifferent. Good things great things can start with everyone one of us. And do not just do this for the Jewish people around the world. Do this for your children. Do this for your grandchildren but also do this for the little girl in the red coat. Her ashes lay beneath us. Along with over one-million other tortured souls. They are watching us and they cry out in one shattering chorus,’ Ronald S. Lauder emphasized.

Source:, Photos: Wojciech Grabowski


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