It is 68 years today since the liberation by Soviet soldiers of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz.
By that time, the Nazis had murdered around 1.1 million people in Auschwitz. Most were Jewish, but there were also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and people of other nationalities.
Primo Levi, an Italian Jew, was one of the few who remained alive on that day. In one of his books, he wrote:
The bells meanwhile went on ringing, no telling where: in some village the peasants must have been celebrating; for them the Nazi nightmare was over, the worst was over. I should celebrate too, and ring my bells, Mendel thought, clinging to sleep to prevent it from leaving him. Our war, too, is over, the time of dying and killing is over, and yet I am not happy, and I wish my sleep would never end. Our war is over, and we are sealed in a dirt cave, and we have to go out and start walking again. This is the house of Schmulek, who has no house, who has lost everything, even himself. Where is my house? It is in no place. Its in the knapsack I carry on my back, its in the shot-down Heinkel, its at Novoselki, its in the camp of Turov and in Edeks camp, its beyond the sea, in fairy-tale land, where milk and honey flow. A man enters his house and hangs up his clothes and his memories; where do you hang your memories, Mendel, son of Nachman?
Primo Levi: If Not Now, When?
Jan Karski risked his life every day of the War and tried desperately to tell a world that didn’t want to know about the horror unfolding in Poland.
Please listen to his testimony
While people who risked little, or sometimes nothing, preferred to look away, thousands of Poles risked their lives, the lives of their families, giving shelter to Jewish people. Many were killed by the Nazis. Among the 705 who have been added to the much longer list of Polish Righteous of the Nations were all the members of the Ulma Family.
Please find a moment also to remember them