Survivors, dignitaries to mark Auschwitz liberation 75 years on - Pakistan Today

Survivors, dignitaries to mark Auschwitz liberation 75 years on

AUSCHWITZ: Elderly Holocaust survivors will gather in Auschwitz on Monday, some for the last time, to mark 75 years since Soviet troops liberated the death camp where Nazi Germany killed more than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews.

Bitter political feuds loom over the memorial ceremony at the site of the former camp in Oswiecim, southern Poland, that will be attended by royals, presidents and prime ministers from nearly 60 countries, but no top world leaders.

Israel held a high-profile Holocaust forum marking the liberation anniversary in Jerusalem on Thursday, seen as rivalling the event in Poland.

While senior figures such as US Vice President Mike Pence, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin were in Jerusalem, none will come to Auschwitz.

Last month, Putin sparked outrage in the West after making the false claim that Poland had colluded with Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler and contributed to the outbreak of World War II.

In fact, the war erupted after Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded and carved up Poland in September 1939 under a secret clause of their Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, who has called out Putin for attempting to rewrite history, snubbed the forum in Jerusalem after he was denied the opportunity to speak there.

He will make an address on Monday in Auschwitz where survivors are to hold centre-stage at ceremonies honouring the six million European Jews killed in the Holocaust.