Remembrance Day / Tag des Gedenkens / Dia da Lembrança / Giorno della Memoria

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an international memorial day on 27th of January commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War.

It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jewish people, 5 million Slavs, 3 million Poles, 200.000 Romani people, 250.000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9.000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

The International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is thus a day on which we must reassert our commitment to human rights.

Soviet troops approached Auschwitz in January 1945 and most of its population was sent west on a death march. Himmler ordered the evacuation of all camps, charging camp commanders with making sure that not a single prisoner falls alive into the hands of the enemy.

On 17th of January, 56.000 – 58.000 Auschwitz detainees, of whom two-thirds were Jews, were evacuated under guard, largely on foot, in severe winter conditions.

Thousands of them died in the death march. The guards shot all prisoners who were unable to march at the imposed pace. A quarter of the detainees were thus killed. The surviving inmates reached Gross-Rosen concentration camp.

Throughout February, the terribly overcrowded camp was cleared, and all inmates were moved further west. Approximately 20.000 Auschwitz prisoners made it to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, where they were liberated by the British in April 1945.

The prisoners remaining at the camp were liberated on 27th January 1945 by the Soviet army. The soldiers found 7.500 prisoners alive and over 600 corpses.

Among items found by the Soviet soldiers were 370.000 men’s suits, 837.000 women’s garments, and 7.7 tonnes of human hair.

The Polish Red Cross hospital opened in blocks 14, 21, and 22 at Auschwitz I and  cared for more than 4.500 patients suffering from starvation, alimentary dystrophy, gangrene, necrosis and typhoid fever. At least 500 patients died.

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