Former prisoners of Auschwitz - Zdzisława Włodarczyk and Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda and diplomats from Israel and Russia will take the floor during the ceremony of the 76th anniversary of the liberation of KL Auschwitz. Due to the pandemic, the celebration will be held online only.
On January 27, on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust, established by the United Nations, falls.
This year, during the anniversary celebrations, the fate of children will be emphasized in a special way. The Germans deported them to Auschwitz at least 232,000. Among them, there were 216 thousand. Jews, 11,000 Roma, 3,000 Poles, over 1 thousand Belarusians and several hundred Russians, Ukrainians and others. About 23,000 were registered as prisoners in the camp. children and adolescents, from whom slightly more than 700 were liberated in January 1945. Over 200,000 were killed in Auschwitz. children, most of them Jewish children who were brought with their families for extermination.
Zdzisława Włodarczyk and Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, who will speak, were sent to Auschwitz as children.
Zdzisława Włodarczyk was born on August 21, 1933. She was deported to KL Auschwitz by the Germans on August 12, 1944, after the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. On January 27, 1945, she was liberated in the camp.
Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was born on July 17, 1925 in Wrocław, which at that time belonged to Germany. Her parents were German Jews. She was sent to Auschwitz in December 1943. She could play the cello and joined the camp orchestra. In autumn 1944, she was transferred to the Bergen-Belsen camp. There she lived to see freedom.
President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, will speak after the witnesses. Diplomats from Israel and Russia and the director of the Auschwitz Museum, Piotr Cywiński, will also speak.
The ceremony will be crowned with ecumenical prayers for the victims that will be said by Jews and clergy of various Christian denominations - Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Lutherans.
The final chord of the anniversary celebrations will be a webcast panel discussion "The influence of the war and the Holocaust on the formation of a child's identity". The talks will be between Lea Balint and Janina Rekłajtis and the president of the Kindertransport Association, Melissa Hacker. Director Cywiński will be the moderator.
"Kindertransport" is the name of a rescue operation undertaken just before the outbreak of war. Great Britain adopted nearly 10,000. Jewish children from the Reich or countries threatened by occupation. They hit, among others to foster families. The Kindertransport Association is a non-profit organization that brings together children who have fled the Holocaust to Great Britain, as well as their descendants. Ruth Brinholz, Melissa Hacker's mother, fled Vienna in September 1939 in one of the last Kindertransports.
The panel will start right after the main anniversary celebrations broadcast, approx. 17.
The Germans established the Auschwitz camp in 1940 to imprison Poles there. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established two years later and became the site of the extermination of Jews. There was also a network of sub-camps in the camp complex. In Auschwitz, the Germans killed at least 1.1 million people, mainly Jews, as well as Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and people of other nationalities.
In January 1945, the order to seize Oświęcim was given to the 60th Army of the 1st Ukrainian Front, which advanced along the left bank of the Vistula River from Kraków towards Upper Silesia. The aim was to partially encircle the Germans and force them to withdraw from an extremely important industrial region.
On January 26, the Red Army soldiers crossed the Vistula. A day later, scouts of the 100th Lviv Infantry Division entered the Monowitz sub-camp before noon. At noon, they reached the center of Oświęcim, and shortly after that, they headed for the main camp of Auschwitz I and the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp. During the first one, they encountered the resistance of the retreating Germans, which they broke through. The camps were liberated at approx. 15.
231 Red Army soldiers died in the fights with the Germans in the area of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, the Monowitz sub-camp and the city of Oświęcim, including 66 in the camp zone.
In Auschwitz, Birkenau and Monowitz, about 7,000 people lived to see liberation. prisoners. The Red Army also liberated half a thousand prisoners in the sub-camps in Stara Kuźnia, Blachownia Śląska, Świętochłowice, Wesoła, Libiąż, Jawiszowice and Jaworzno.
According to historians of the Auschwitz Museum, the Red Army was not able to reach Auschwitz earlier, as it did not receive more information about the camp until the occupation of Krakow, on January 18.
The President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, took the honorary patronage over the celebration of the anniversary of liberation. (PAP)
author: Marek Szafrański