USC Shoah Foundation and World Jewish Congress for the 70th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz
Thanks to the support granted by the USC Shoah Foundation and the World Jewish Congress, a group of a hundred former Auschwitz prisoners from all over the world will take part in the commemoration event of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp on January 27, 2015.
The main events will be held on 27 January 2015 in a tent set up in front of the Death Gate of the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp and it is the former camp prisoners who will be the guests of honour during the commemoration.
The visit of a hundred former prisoners is a part of an educational project Auschwitz: Past is Present, a partnership between the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, USC Shoah Foundation, the World Jewish Congress and Discovery Education.
“Those who lived through the Holocaust have carried the burden of remembering long enough. It’s up to us now, their children and grandchildren, to lift its heavy weight off their shoulders. We are ready to take on the responsibility of ensuring that this tragic chapter of human history is never repeated,” said USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen D. Smith.
“Auschwitz is not only the world’s biggest Jewish graveyard, it is also the primary symbol of the Holocaust, the biggest organised mass murder in human history. This will probably mark the last time that so many survivors will be able to join us there, and we must ensure that the unspeakable suffering they and many others had to endure at Auschwitz will not be forgotten once they are no longer among us,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer.
“All former prisoners are invited to the event, but for many of them, particularly those who live far from Poland, coming here is a big challenge, financially as well as otherwise. That is why the initiative is so valuable,” said Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Cywiński believes that the 70th anniversary of the liberation will be an event of special importance. “We have to say it clearly: it is the last big anniversary that we can commemorate with a numerous group of Survivors. For many of them, this anniversary will be the capstone of their personal victory over the dejection and oblivion. We want to spend this day with them. Therefore, for example, we encourage all official foreign delegations to include former prisoners from their countries in their members lists,” he added.
Moreover, Dr. Cywiński pointed out that the on-site presence of the witnesses of the history of Auschwitz on the day of the anniversary will have profound symbolical and emotional significance. “Until now, it has been them who taught us how to look at the tragedy of the victims of the Third Reich and the total destruction of the world of European Jews. Their voices became the most important warning against the human capacity for extreme humiliation, contempt and genocide. However, soon it will not be the witnesses of those years, but us, the post-war generations, who will pass this horrible knowledge and the crushing conclusions that result from it,” he emphasised.
The event of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is organised by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the International Auschwitz Council. For further information on the event, visit: 70.auschwitz.org.