The 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is being spoken of by the survivors who lived the horrors of the Nazi death camp. Over 1.1 million victims lost their lives in the most gruesome ways imaginable. One million of them were Jews.
Monday, the survivors gathered to tell their stories and sound the alarms of warnings of what hate can do to a generation. They are continuously warning the world of the rise in antisemitism.
Over 200 survivors came from all over the world to meet at the death camp built by the Nazis at Oswiecim, which was Poland at the time. They gave testimony to all they saw and went through warning everyone who gathered with them and to everyone on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
The survivors wore blue and white striped caps, which were symbols of the prisoner’s uniforms. The president of Poland Andrzej Duda and those in attendance placed wreaths on what is known as the Death Wall in Auschwitz. This is where thousands of prisoners were shot and killed inside the camp.
David Marks, a 93-year-old survivor, spoke as his voice cracked from the emotional memories. He said, “We want the next generation to know what we went through and that it should never happen again.”
Marks told of how 35 members of his family, both extended and immediate, were killed. Auschwitz was the biggest death camp owned by the Nazis and where most of the Romanian Jews were exterminated. There were over 6 million European Jews killed in the Holocaust.
Those who organized the event for the 75th anniversary say that politics is not the issue but rather the stories of those who survived the traumatic event in history.
Ronald Lauder, head of the World Jewish Congress, told reporters, “This is about survivors, it’s not about politics. We see anti-semitism rising now, and we don’t want their (survivors) past to be their children’s future or their grand children’s future,”
Prime ministers, presidents, and Royals from about 60 different countries gathered at the ceremony. Top world leaders refused to attend the event but showed up in Israel for a high profile Holocaust forum, which happened last week.
Some would say they must have been too good to attend the ceremony in Auschwitz. The world seemed to have always turned a blind eye and even went as far as denying it existed. Oh, but it happened, and it was very real.
Allies knew what was happening in 1942 at the death camp but did not know the full extent of the nightmares until the Soviet Red Army liberated the camp on January 27, 1945. In December of 1942, Poland forwarded documents to the Allies, which were titled, “The Mass Extermination of Jew in German Occupied Poland.”
Details were given in the documents as to everything that took place as per the testimonies of those who witnessed the horrors which occurred. The Allies refused to assist the Jews and the Polish when the request was made to bomb railroads leading to the camp and others like Auschwitz.
Professor Norman Davies, who is a renowned Oxford historian stated, “The military’s attitude was ‘we’ve got to concentrate on military targets, not on civilian things.'” He added, “One of the targets that the (British) military did bomb was a synthetic fuel factory near Auschwitz.”
Another Auschwitz survivor David Lenga, 93, told reporters, “It was one of the biggest crimes committed by those that were indifferent because they (the Allies) knew what was happening here, they could have done something about it, and they deliberately didn’t.”
Lenga continued, “People of this world need to be educated about the consequences when they become indifferent to evil; if you let evil raise its ugly head, this (the Holocaust) is exactly what is going to happen.”
Auschwitz-Birkenau was in operation from 1940 until 1945 and was known as “Hitler’s Final Solution,” which he tried to deplete the entire Jewish race. Roman Jews, European Jews, and Soviet prisoners of war, along with Polish prisoners were among those captured and killed in the camp.
Many people can pinpoint what the worst illnesses are in the world. There is no greater disease than hatred. Yes, the Nazis killed all of these people for no reason other than their ethnic heritage. Hate is the real reason behind it. Those who survived were among the lucky ones, but the nightmares still linger after 75 years of liberation.