68 years after the 'liberation' of Auschwitz –lessons learned and unlearned
On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz Birkenau Death Camp. Actually “liberated” is the wrong word. Opened the gates of hell is more appropriate a term.
The numbers of murdered are staggering. According to the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust nearly a quarter of the 6 million Jews killed in Holocaust were mass murdered there, most in gas chambers. Of the 400,000 political prisoners brought to Auschwitz, only 65,000 left alive; of the 16,000 Soviet POWs, 96 returned home.
Stalin was reported to have said, “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic.”
But these statistics further illuminate the capacity of humankind to do evil:
Between Dec 1, 1944 and January 15th, 1945, 514,843 pieces of men, women’s and children’s clothing were shipped to Germany from Auschwitz. In the warehouses, Soviet troops found over a million men’s suits, women’s dresses and baby clothing, thousands of pairs of shoes and 7.7 tons of human hair.
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