Today, 27 January 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Auschwitz was established in Poland in 1940 by the Nazi party and was initially created for 3 main purposes: to imprison enemies; to use forced labour; and to kill certain categories of people. An estimated 1.1 million people were killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp between 1940 and 1945 and when it was liberated by the Soviet Army in 1945, fewer than 7,000 of the approximately 1.3 million deported there were freed.
The Germans had already moved 60,000 of their prisoners from Aushwitz-Birkenau to other camps and many of them died on those death marches.
Of the 7,000 liberated by the Soviet Union, nearly half were too ill, malnourished and exhausted to survive for long after they were given their freedom.
It is thought that up to 17 million people: 6 million Jews and 11 million from other groups such as the Roma, homosexuals, people with disabilities and those persecuted for their political or religious views; were killed from as early as 1933 and with an increasing intensity during the Second World War.
Zalmen Gradowski – Polish Jew, born circa 1910, transported to Auschwitz December 1942 and killed October 1944.
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