Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp liberated

Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp liberated

On the eve of liberation, Himmler ordered the destruction of the crematoriums where the corpses were burned.

January 27 marks the International Holocaust Remembrance Day because on that day, in 1945, the Soviet Red Army released the detainees of the Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The camp was located in Poland near the town of Oświęci (Auschwitz), about 50 kilometers west of Krakow, not far from the Wisla River.

A few months earlier, as the Soviets approached, Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of the crematoriums in which the corpses were burned. The gas chambers were also destroyed during January 1945, just before the arrival of the Red Army.

The Germans forced about 60,000 detainees to leave Auschwitz and march to the Loslau camp (the so-called death marches). There are only 7,500 people left in Auschwitz who were sick or too weak to walk. About 20,000 Auschwitz detainees made it to the Bergen-Belsen camp where they were later released by the British in April 1945.

The camp was opened in 1940 and consisted of three main sections: Auschwitz I., Administrative Center, Auschwitz II. (Birkenau) extermination camp, and Auschwitz III. (Monowitz) Labor Camp. More than one million people have been killed in the camp over the five years, 90 percent of whom were Jews. Most were killed in Cyclone B gas chambers, others were killed by starvation, forced labor, lack of hygiene, executions and medical experiments.

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