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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » February 4, 2010
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Leaders Remember Auschwitz Victims
February 4, 2010   
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Poland's political leaders, Israel's Prime Minister and 150 former prisoners gathered at the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp in southern Poland Jan. 27 to mark the 65th anniversary of its liberation.

President Lech Kaczyński, Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remember the estimated 1.1 million who were killed at the camp during World War II.

"Those were crimes committed by the German state, the Third Reich," Kaczyński said during a solemn ceremony. "Those in power are not always right. We must remember that. We must remember to do everything we can to prevent crimes like those from Auschwitz-Birkenau and elsewhere from ever happening again."

After the main ceremony Christian clergymen and their Jewish counterparts said prayers together beneath a monument to the victims, while politicians and former prisoners lit candles.

Earlier, education ministers held an international conference of education entitled Auschwitz-Remembrance, Responsibility, Education. A mass was said for victims and survivors of the camp.

Auschwitz began operating as a concentration camp in 1940. The first prisoners were brought there on June 14 that year. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established two years later. The Germans killed at least 1.1 million people in the camps, most of them Jews, but also many Poles, Roma, Soviet and political prisoners.

The camp was liberated on Jan. 27, 1945, by Red Army soldiers. A total of 231 Soviet troops were killed in the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the nearby town of Oświęcim.
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