Officials mark 71st Auschwitz liberation anniversary
Polish and foreign top officials, including Poland's and Croatia's presidents Andrzej Duda and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Israeli and Russian ambassadors to Poland and former Auschwitz inmates on Wednesday marked the 71st anniversary of Auschwitz liberation.
"Auschwitz is not just a museum. Auschwitz is not just a huge grave, because the ashes of those murdered here are everywhere and you can say that this site is one huge grave. It is not just about commemoration", President Duda said.
"It is a great sign and a warning against what can happen when those in power get confused and ensnare society ... what can happen when social, public, political life becomes dominated by hatred; what can happen if international law is violated and the international community fails to respond in time; what can happen if countries are aggressive towards other countries, if they annexe their territories, if they spread war and hatred", the Polish head of state continued. See also: Address at the commemoration ceremony of the 71st anniversary of the liberation of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau
Everything needs to be done to make sure that awful events such as those which took place at Auschwitz and other similar sites never happen again, Duda also said, adding that this was not just a matter of "abiding by international law" but also educating young people all over the world and reminding everyone that these had been German Nazi concentration camps.
The ceremony included joint prayers by Christians and Jews, after which the former prisoners, President Duda and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic placed candles at the monument to the camp's victims.
January 27 was also declared the International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust in a United Nations 2005 resolution.
The Auschwitz concentration camp was built by Nazi Germany in 1940 to imprison Poles. Two years later Auschwitz II-Birkenau was constructed and it became the place of extermination of Jews. Nazi Germany exterminated at least 1.1 million people there, mainly Jews but also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners and people of other nationalities. (PAP, own information)