On Jan. 27, 1945, the Soviet army entered Auschwitz. During its abominable existence, an estimated 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz; 1.1 million perished there. The death toll includes 960 thousand Jews; 865 thousand were gassed on arrival, 74 thousand Poles, 21,000 Roma (Gypsies), 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and 15,000 other Europeans.
That infamous camp has become the primary symbol of the Holocaust. To that extent, on Jan. 27, 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Victims of the Holocaust were deprived of their dignity and their humanity. Those who managed to survive the horrors of the Holocaust are truly inspiring. They endured and overcame the tribulations of atrocious captivity and, by doing so, taught the world an important lesson.
As the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, it is up to us to keep the torch of remembrance burning brightly, so it can serve as a guiding light for education, understanding, compassion, and tolerance.
The torch has been passed onto each of us. We cannot allow the flame of remembrance to ever be extinguished.
John Di Genio