Auschwitz to mark 75th anniversary of liberation
Auschwitz is marking the 75th anniversary by the Red Army towards the end of the Second World War, although Russian President Vladimir Putin will be absent from the event.
More than 8.6 million Soviet soldiers died defeating the Nazis.
Of the 67,000 inmates at Auschwitz, about 56,000 were taken away but the ones who were too sick to move were left to die.
Auschwitz last year had a record 2.32 million visitors.
There is a pile of thousands of shoes and a huge bail of human hair that was due to be sent to the German textile industry.
The site was chosen, initially for political prisoners, because of its proximity to the main railway lines from Germany and Poland.
Prisoners had to pay their rail fares, based on the distance travelled. German utility companies could also claim compensation for lost earnings when their customers disappeared.
Auschwitz had five crematoriums custom made by German engineering firm Töpf and Sons, which said they could dispose of 4,756 bodies per day.
They contained changing rooms with numbered hooks, suggesting the inmates would return to collect their belongings after showering.
SS officers and their families were leaving the camp by early January 1945 with valuables from murdered prisoners.
Tomorrow (Monday), more than 200 elderly survivors will gather with world leaders to mark the 75th anniversary.
Putin will instead address an event on Thursday at the Yad Vashem memorial museum in Jerusalem,
The strongman president is preparing to mark the anniversary of the May 1945 fall of Berlin with a giant event in Red Square.
A recent row has broken out between Russia and Poland along with other Central European nations about the causes of the war and the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact that divided Poland between the two dictatorships.
In September 2019 the European Parliament passed a motion denouncing the pact and equated the Soviets with the Nazis.
Russian historians compared the pact to the Munich agreement of 1938 which handed Czechoslovak border territory to Nazi Germany.
They said Poland was an aggressor rather than victim by saying it was involved in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia after Munich by seizing disputed territory.
“By whitewashing the role of the USSR in the Second World War, Putin wants to legitimise the authoritarian regime in Russia and justify Russia’s aggressive actions on the international arena, including its illegal annexation of Crimea and invading Ukraine, done by the book written by Stalin,” said Slawomir Debski of the Polish Institute of International Affairs.
Picture credit: PXHere