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Auschwitz - the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation (1945 - 2020)

The 29th Annual Yom HaShoah exhibit featuring materials from the collections of James P. Adams Library.

      Auschwitz- Birkenau is a former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp that was liberated on January 27th 1945 by Russian soldiers of the 60th Army of the First Ukrainian Front.  The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial-Museum has dedicated this entire year to the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The IAC ( International Auschwitz Council) also provided events and activities throughout the month of January to commemorate the anniversary. The activities included honoring Pianist Igor Levit with the "Gift of Remembrance" on January 12th and contributing to the new permanent exhibition at the House of Wannsee Conference. These events were created to honor the survivors of Auschwitz and other concentration camps and dedicated to the memory of those who perished.

      On January 27th of this year, Auschwitz- Birkenau Memorial and Museum commemorated two additional anniversaries : the 20th anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration and the 15th anniversary of the adoption of 27 January as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day by the United Nations General Assembly.  Auschwitz survivors were the most important guests for the Museum's events. As many as 120 Auschwitz and Holocaust survivors from the United States, Canada, Israel, Australia, and several European countries came to this event in order to honor the individuals who could not be there beside them. Each and every survivor was welcomed and honored during this event that was broadcast live.

       Most of the survivors had never thought they would see or speak of the camp again. This emotional experience provided closure for many individuals but also allowed for a more in-depth conversation regarding the Holocaust and the Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Jack Kliger, Museum President & CEO noted, "In a world of rising intolerance, antisemitism, and Holocaust denial, it is crucial for the world to come together to remember and to educate younger generations”.

       Along with Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, other institutions have created events or exhibits to honor the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberations. The National Archives of the United States held a four-part series related to World War II that commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz with a display of historic records and footage. While the exhibit was mounted from January 16th- February 5th 2020, it emphasized materials that focused on the liberation of the camps. The display held documents, including a letter that was written at the Dachau concentration camp, from U.S.Army soldier Harold Porter to his parents. In this letter he describes the concentration camp writing: “I even find myself trying to deny what I am looking at with my own eyes.”


Slide 6 of 8: Survivors of Auschwitz leaving the camp at the end of World War II, Poland, February 1945. Above them is the German slogan 'Arbeit macht frei' ('Work makes one free').    

Gladstone, Mark. 75th Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation Being Remembered,|6.