Auschwitz was one of five death camps established by the Nazis in Poland where Jews were taken to be murdered during the so-called “Final Solution,” a euphemism for the their genocide. We know it through the horrific photos of trains filled with Jews, of men being split from women, parents from children, of the uniformed Nazi wagging his finger, and of the brick chimneys billowing smoke. But there is a much more intimate story still to be heard.
USC Shoah Foundation spent seven months researching the identities of every child in the liberation photo of the children behind the barbed wire, and reunited four of them yesterday in Krakow.
The sense of history in the making was palpable Monday in Krakow, Poland, where more than 20 staff members of USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education attended a reception to honor more than 100 Auschwitz survivors on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp.
Jewish survivor Paula Lebovics, Jewish survivor Howard Chandler, Jewish survivor Philip Helbling, Political prisoner Kaz Wolff-Zdzienicki, and Sinti and Roma survivor Julia Lentini recall their experiences of the evacuation and liberation of the Auschwitz camp complex in January 1945. Otari Amaglobeli of the Soviet Armed forces describes his involvement in the liberation of the camp complex on Jan. 27, 1945. This testimony clip reel was produced in partnership with The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz.
As the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, it falls to future generations to ensure their stories remain vibrant and strong.