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Auschwitz event to honour victims
27 Jan 2015 18:06
World leaders have joined around 300 Auschwitz survivors at the site of the former Nazi death camp to mark 70 years since its liberation by Soviet Troops.
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The gathering in southern Poland marks perhaps the last major anniversary that survivors of the camp will be able to attend in numbers, given the youngest are now in their 70s.
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More than 1.1 million people, mainly European Jews, were killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945.
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The presidents of Poland, Germany and France were among hundreds attending the commemoration in a giant tent erected over the brickwork entrance to the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp, part of the complex that is now a museum.
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The railway tracks that bore Jews in wagons from all across Europe to their deaths were lit up gold, the countryside around covered in deep snow.
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The commemoration was held in the shadow of war in neighbouring Ukraine, a spate of assaults on Jews in Europe and a recrudescence of open anti-Semitism.
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"Seventy years later, the daily cruelty is still etched in my mind," former prisoner Roman Kent told the gathering.
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"To remember is not enough; deeds are crucial," said Mr Kent.
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"It is our mutual obligation - the survivors and world leaders - to install an understanding of what happens when prejudice and hatred are allowed to flourish."
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