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President Steinmeier to Travel to Auschwitz for 75th Anniversary of Liberation

Seventy-five years after the Red Army liberated the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will take part in two commemoration events. One of them will be taking place at the former concentration camp itself.

When Soviet soldiers entered Germany’s death camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazis had already murdered far more than a million people at the site. Most of them, 90 percent, were Jews of all ages. Gypsies. homosexuals and Soviet prisoners of war were killed there too.

Commemoration on January 27th, 2020

Knowing the Red Army was coming, the Nazis had forced 60,000 inmates to embark on a ‘death march’ through the cold winter of 1945. By doing so, they murdered many of them too. Around 7000 inmates were left behind. Some of them died after the liberation, due to illnesses and malnutrition. Hundreds of corpses the liberators found were buried.

Auschwitz stands for the worst genocidal campaign humans have ever been responsible for. The liberation of the camp on January 27th, 1945, is being commemorated on site. Frank Walter Steinmeier, the President of Nazi Germany’s successor country, namely the Federal Republic of Germany, will be taking part in the event.

Representatives from 20 Countries

He will be there with his colleagues and other representatives from more than 20 countries. They include Australia, Austria, Ireland, Israel, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, among others. The Dutchess of Cornwall is representing the U.K.. For the commemoration, a large tent will be set up close to the ‘gate of death’.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda is to hold the first speech, according to the event schedule. Ronald Lauder, the President of the World Jewish Congress and of his own Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, will be speaking too, on behalf of the Pillars of Remembrance. This group consists of private donors who support the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.

Ronald Lauder’s Support

Lauder himself has been supporting the conservation at the memorial. Preserving its authenticity is the main goal here. Recently, Ronald Lauder joined Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, for a visit to the memorial. He showed Merkel the Conservation Laboratory his foundation funded with huge amounts.

This time, he and the other participants will have the opportunity of 100 survivors. “I am honored to have the opportunity to stand alongside many of the last remaining survivors for this solemn occasion, as together we mark 75 years since the liberation of this terrible place”, Lauder said beforehand. “The memorial site remains forever a brutal reminder of the horrors unleashed through antisemitism.”

World Holocaust Forum

After Ronald Lauder, Piotr M. A. Cywiński, the Director of the Auschwitz Memorial, will hold his speech, which is scheduled to be followed by ecumenical prayers. Later, the participants will be paying tribute to the victims at a monument dedicated to them in Birkenau.

A few days earlier, on January 23rd, 2020, President Steinmeier will be taking part in the 5th World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The event is to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz as well. Fighting today’s increasing antisemitism is one of the subjects the guests will be discussing. Thirty-six world leaders are expected to participate, among them Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. He is not on the guest list for the event in Auschwitz though.

Antisemitism led to the Holocaust during which Nazi Germany murdered 6 million Jews.

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