The Archbishop of Krakow and former personal secretary of John Paul II, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, represented the Vatican on Tuesday during ceremonies commemorating the victims of the Holocaust.
Organized by the Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the International Council of Auschwitz, the ceremonies took place in front of the “Death Gate” of Auschwitz II-Birkenau, in Poland. It was a call to tolerance, freedom and coexistence through one of the most horrible events in mankind’s history.
2015 also marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of those held in Auschwitz, which gathered a group of 300 survivors, prisoners during World War II, in this ill-fated place, in addition to other groups of survivors , who arrived along with delegations of more than 40 countries.
Data from the Museum of Auschwitz indicates that 1.1 million people were killed there, including: close to one million Jews, 64,000 Poles, 21,000 gypsies, 14,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and over 10,000 prisoners of other nationalities.
On January 17, 1945, with the arrival of Allied forces, some 56,000 Auschwitz prisoners were evacuated. It is estimated that between 9,000 to 15,000 people died during the “Death Marches.” The camp was liberated by the Russian Army seventy years ago, on January 27, 1945.
The Auschwitz Museum was created in 1947, thanks to the efforts of the surviving prisoners. It covers 191 hectares that include two sections of the Camp: Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
Kept in the Museum are human remains, ruins of gas chambers and two tons of hair, belonging to female victims. In 2014, over 1.5 million people worldwide visited the Memorial. Young people constitute 70% of the yearly visitors.
January 27 is the date established by the United Nations General Assembly to observe the International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.