Survivors honour Holocaust victims at Auschwitz

Above: An Auschwitz survivor dressed in a blue and white striped scarf symbolic of the uniforms prisoners wore. Right: Former prisoners at a wreath-laying ceremony in front of the Death Wall in Oswiecim, Poland, yesterday. PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE
Former prisoners at a wreath-laying ceremony in front of the Death Wall in Oswiecim, Poland, yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS, EPA-EFE
Above: An Auschwitz survivor dressed in a blue and white striped scarf symbolic of the uniforms prisoners wore. Right: Former prisoners at a wreath-laying ceremony in front of the Death Wall in Oswiecim, Poland, yesterday. PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE
An Auschwitz survivor dressed in a blue and white striped scarf symbolic of the uniforms prisoners wore. PHOTO: REUTERS, EPA-EFE

OSWIECIM (Poland) • Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, a dwindling number of elderly Holocaust survivors gathered at the former German Nazi death camp yesterday to honour its more than 1.1 million mostly Jewish victims and to share their alarm over rising anti-Semitism.

More than 200 survivors came from across the globe to the camp the Nazis built in Oswiecim, in then-occupied Poland, to share their testimony as a stark warning amid a recent surge of anti-Semitic attacks on both sides of the Atlantic, some of them deadly.

Survivors dressed in blue and white striped caps and scarves symbolic of the uniforms prisoners wore at the camp passed through its chilling "Arbeit macht frei" - German for "Work makes you free" - black wrought-iron gate.

Accompanied by Polish President Andrzej Duda, they laid floral wreaths by the Death Wall in Auschwitz, where the Nazis shot dead thousands of prisoners.

"We want the next generation to know what we went through and that it should never happen again," Auschwitz survivor David Marks, 93, said earlier at the camp, his voice breaking with emotion.

Royals, presidents and prime ministers from nearly 60 countries were to attend the ceremony, but no top world leaders, some of whom opted instead to attend a high-profile Holocaust forum in Israel last week.

Organisers had insisted that the memorial must focus above all on what survivors have to say rather than the bitter political feuds that had tainted the run-up to the anniversary.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2020, with the headline Survivors honour Holocaust victims at Auschwitz. Subscribe