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POLAND: Thousands join Holocaust remembrance march at Auschwitz

THOUSANDS of people assembled Tuesday at the former site of Auschwitz for the March of the Living, a yearly Holocaust remembrance march that falls this year on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Participants in the solemn event included Holocaust survivors who lived through the agony of Auschwitz or one of the other death camps where Nazi Germany sought to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe, and came close to doing so.

Some attendees, including people from Israel and the United States, came face to face for the first time with something that has long been part of their psyche: the watchtowers, remains of gas chambers and the huge piles of shoes, suitcases and other objects that the victims brought with them on their final journey.

German forces established Auschwitz after they invaded and occupied Poland, and killed more than 1.1 million people there, most of them Jews but also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, and others. In all, about 6 million European Jews died during the Holocaust.

Elderly survivors, some draped in Israel’s blue and white flag, assembled under the gate with the cynical words “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Sets One Free) ahead of the march.

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Naija Times