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Thursday, January 27, 2005

January 27, 1945

Poland



This article is posted by a participant of the January 27, 2005, BlogBurst to remember the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, sixty years ago, on January 27, 1945.


Sixty years ago today, the town of Oswiecim was liberated by elements of the 60th Army of the First Ukrainian Front. This ended nearly six years of occupation by the German Reich. With the liberation of Oswiecim was the capture of a chemical factory and the freeing of a number of prisoners from a local "prison camp".

Today, Oswiecim is better known by its German name.

Auschwitz.

From the town's official website:

The soldiers found 4,800 seriously ill prisoners of 18 nationalities. A part of the prisoners went out of the camp unaided after the information that the Germans had left Oswiecim. A lot of the prisoners went to the Convent of the Seraphic Sisters to find temporary help and care there. The first people who went to the former camp to help look after the men in Block 10 were 4 girls and 4 men from Oswiecim. The men in Block 10 had lived in terrible conditions. The group cleaned the rooms and the beds and brought the food. The dead ex-prisoners were taken to Block 11. The group worked during the day and during the night they were changed by the Seraphic Sisters.
It took many months for the last of these concentration-camp survivors to recuperate enough to begin the painful search for lost loved ones. The following never started:

270,000 Jews.
75,000 Poles.
23,000 Gypsies.
15,000 Soviet POWs.


Along with the victims, let us also remember those who risked much in trying to bring some comfort to those unfortunates.

A very important role in helping the prisoners was also played by the activists of the Polish Scouts (the local ones and the ones from Silesia) and the railwaymen. It should be emphasized that a lot of effort and heart was put into the help actions by the residents of Oswiecim, including women and children. Those, who took a very active part in the action, were the local clergy - the priests of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Oswiecim, the priests from the nearby villages, the Salesians and the Seraphic Sisters, who put bread under the piles of stones, in the ditches and on the walls for the prisoners working outside the camp, at the slaughterhouse in Dwory or near the convent. Apart from bread they left pork fat, butter, cheese, garlic, onion, sausages, sugar and the bottles of coffee; and for the workers of the Buna-Werke in Dwory they mainly sent bread and butter with the help of one of the civil workers. They also delivered food, medicines, vitamins and injections to the camp (by the people from Oswiecim working there). The nuns' underground work did not escape the Germans' attention. Because of this activity they carried out a lot of research in the convent in Oswiecim.

Nor should we forget the heroic example of the saint of Auschwitz, Saint Maximilian Kolbe.

Finally, let us never forget what happens when faith in the state supplants faith in God.

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