Russian Putin in Israel to Mark 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and Victory over the Nazis

Israeli FM Welcomes Putin  as he arrives Israeli to Mark the
 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and Victory over the Nazis
Russian President Vladimir Putin has joined the gathering of other world leaders on Israel making   the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and of the Red Army's liberating the camp and victory over the Nazis.

Soviet Red Army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in German-occupied Poland. The Germans had already fled westward, leaving behind the bodies of prisoners who had been shot and thousands of sick and starving survivors in the concentrated death camp.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz welcomed the Russian leader at Ben Gurion Airport, He thanked thanked him for coming to Israel for the important conference marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and of the Red Army's part in liberating the camp and victory over the Nazis.

Katz told Putin, his own mother was taken to Auschwitz when she was 15 as he personally thanked him for the camp's release by the Russians army.

קבלתי כעת בנתב״ג את פניו של נשיא רוסיה פוטין. הודיתי לו על בואו לישראל לכנס החשוב לציון 75 שנה לשחרור אוושויץ, ועל חלקו של הצבא האדום בשחרור המחנה ובנצחון על הנאצים. ציינתי בפניו שאימי מלכה נלקחה לאוושויץ בהיותה בת 15 ואני מודה לו גם באופן אישי על שחרור המחנה.

President Putin has been invited by the Israeli government to speak at the Holocaust memorial conference in Jerusalem as Russia remained the successor to the Soviet Unions. Also the Jerusalem event is reportedly being orchestrated by Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress and a billionaire oligarch who is close to Putin.

German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier was also being allowed to speak to take responsibility for the perpetrators on behalf of his country.

In one of the events for today, Russian President Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu dedicate the monument in memory of the heroism of the soldiers and residents of Leningrad during the siege in World War II, at Sachar Park in Jerusalem.

The Soviets liberated Auschwitz, the largest killing center and concentration camp, in January  27th 1945. The Nazis had forced the majority of Auschwitz prisoners to march westward (in what would become known as "death marches"). Soviet soldiers found over seven thousand emaciated prisoners alive when they entered the camp.

On January 27, 1945, the Soviet army entered Auschwitz and liberated more than 7,000 remaining prisoners, who were mostly ill and dying. It is estimated that at minimum 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945; of these, at least 1.1 million were murdered.

Auschwitz is a town in the Lesser Poland (Polish: Małopolska) province of southern Poland, situated 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of Kraków, near the confluence of the Vistula (Wisła) and Soła rivers.

The Red Army also found gas chambers and crematoria that the Germans had blown up before fleeing in an attempt to hide evidence of their mass killings.

But the genocide was too massive to hide. Today, the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau endures as the leading symbol of the terror of the Holocaust. Its iconic status is such that every year it registers a record number of visitors — 2.3 million last year alone.

On Monday — 75 years after its liberation — hundreds of survivors from across the world will traveled to Auschwitz for official anniversary commemorations. In advance of that, Associated Press photographer Markus Schreiber visited the site. Using a panoramic film camera, he documented the remains of the camp in a series of haunting black and white photos.

Auschwitz today is many things at once: an emblem of evil, a site of historical remembrance and a vast cemetery. It is a place where Jews make pilgrimages to pay tribute to ancestors whose ashes and bones remain part of the earth.

Auschwitz is in fact not one camp, but two: Auschwitz I, built in an abandoned Polish military base, and Auschwitz II, or Birkenau, a much bigger complex that went up later about two miles (three kilomers) away to expedite the Nazis’ Final Solution.

Early on, Auschwitz I operated as a camp for Polish prisoners, including Catholic priests and members of the nation’s underground resistance against the German occupation. Later in the war Birkenau was created for the mass killing of Jews and others who were transported there from across Europe.

Prisoners arrived in cramped, windowless cattle trains. At the infamous ramp at Auschwitz, the Nazis selected those they could use as forced laborers. The others — old people, many women and especially children and babies, were gassed to death soon after their arrival.
Full Coverage by AP: Auschwitz

It is Birkenau that shocks more profoundly, a flat, vast space still ringed by the silver birch trees (Birken in German) that gave the place its name. Crematoria lie in rubble but still intact are the rail tracks and watchtowers and some of the barracks where prisoners slept in cold, cramped conditions.

According to History, Auschwitz was really a group of camps, designated I, II, and III. There were also 40 smaller “satellite” camps. It was at Auschwitz II, at Birkenau, established in October 1941, that the SS created a complex, monstrously orchestrated killing ground: 300 prison barracks; four “bathhouses” in which prisoners were gassed; corpse cellars; and cremating ovens. Thousands of prisoners were also used for medical experiments overseen and performed by the camp doctor, Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death.”

The Soviet Army had been advancing deeper into Poland since mid-January.  Having liberated Warsaw and Krakow, Soviet troops headed for Auschwitz. 

In anticipation of the Soviet arrival, the German Gestapo began a murder spree in the camps, shooting sick prisoners and blowing up crematoria in a desperate attempt to destroy the evidence of their crimes. When the Red Army finally broke through, Soviet soldiers encountered 648 corpses and more than 7,000 starving camp survivors. 

There were also six storehouses filled with literally hundreds of thousands of women’s dresses, men’s suits, and shoes that the Germans did not have time to burn.

Today, visitors can also see the suitcases, eyeglasses and other items they brought on their journeys. Especially haunting are the prosthetic limbs: Many of the Jews who were murdered had fought for their homelands, including Germany, in World War I.

At some parts of Auschwitz-Birkenau only dozens of brick chimneys remain on a vast field where once the barracks for detainees stood.

More than 1.1 million  people were murdered by the Nazis and their henchmen in Auschwitz. Most who were killed were Jews, but the victims also included Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, and others.

In all, about 6 million European Jews died during the Holocaust. When the Soviets liberated the camp, they found about 7,000 survivors.

In recent days, Poland's government has been defending the nation's record, recalling how its wartime government-in-exile sought to save Jews by warning the world, and listing cultural and economic damage that Poland suffered after Soviet troops took control of its territory at the end of World War II.

In drawing dozens of world leaders to the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, Israel had hoped to present a united front in commemorating the genocide of European Jewry and warning against the perils of modern-day anti-Semitism.

Israeli-Polish relations are still reeling over the Polish government's controversial Holocaust speech law in 2018 that sought to criminalize blaming the Polish nation for the Holocaust. I

t was part of its wider efforts to portray Poles primarily as rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust while seeking to play down the fact that there were also Poles who abetted the Germans in hunting down and killing Jews.

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