This year, American veterans that participated in the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz also joined in the annual march commemorating the memory of Holocaust victims.
Thousands of youth from Israel, the United States and other countries marched Thursday between Auschwitz and Birkenau, the two parts of Nazi Germany’s most notorious death complex, to honor the millions killed in the Holocaust.
Some 10,000 Jewish youths from Israel and 30 other countries participated in a three-kilometer march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the two sections of the largest concentration camp complex during World War II.
The annual march at Auschwitz, known as The March of the Living, was also attended this year by U.S. Army veterans who took part in the liberation of concentration camps such as Dachau, Buchenwald, Gunskirchen and Mauthausen. The oldest participating veteran was 94.
According to the Yad Vashem Holocaust institute in Jerusalem, 1.1 million Jews were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau, in addition to 70,000 Poles, 25,000 gypsies and some 15,000 prisoners of war.
“My grandparents were in Auschwitz and in the ghetto and if they had not been liberated by men like these, I would probably not be here today,” said 27-year-old Shani from Israel.
“My grandparents were murdered here in Auschwitz. Because the allied soldiers liberated the camp just in time I had a future and can now tell my grandchildren about the Holocaust,” added 83-year-old Irving Roth, who freed by U.S. troops when he was as a 15-year-old after the westward January 1945 death march from Auschwitz to Buchenwald.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, added three new names to its list of the most-wanted World War II Nazi war criminals: Hungarian Laszlo Csatary, a police chief of Kosice, in Hungarian-occupied Slovakia; Vladimir Katriuk, a platoon commander in a Ukrainian secret police unit which murdered numerous civilians in Belarus; and Helmut Oberlander, who served in the SS Einsatzkommando unit, a moving death squad, which carried out mass murders in southern Ukraine.