Auschwitz marks 70 years since inmates' revolt
PR dla Zagranicy
Commemorations were held at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau on Tuesday marking the 70th anniversary of a revolt by inmates.
Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum Piotr Cywinski (L) leads commemorations marking the 7 October 1944 inmates' revolt. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk
The October 1944 rebellion was held by the so-called Sonderkommandos, predominantly Jewish inmates whose tasks included the disposal of corpses of peers who had been murdered in gas chambers.
When a group of Sonderkommandos in the Birkenau branch of the death camp got word that they themselves would be murdered on 7 October, they attacked their captors, killing 15 SS men.
Chief Rabbi of Upper Silesia Yehoshua Ellis led the reading of kaddish (Jewish mourner's prayer) on Tuesday, and Polish actor Olgierd Lukaszewicz recounted excerpts from memoirs of camp inmates.
Some 451 Sonderkommandos were killed by the Nazi Germans on the day of the rebellion, including several who briefly escaped from the death camp.
Auchwitz-Birkenau was ultimately liberated by the Red Army in January 1945. It is estimated that 1.1 million inmates died there prior to the liberation. The vast majority of victims were Jews (about 90 percent), followed by ethnic Poles, Russian prisoners of war and Roma. (nh)