It is 75 years since the Russian army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp, whose actual casualties are still unknown. Several victims still have no documentation or records or have been carefully destroyed.
The victims have deported from several countries; – Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia. Between 1939 and 1941 Jews fled to Hungary from Austria, Slovakia, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic with fake documentation.
Auschwitz had several smaller camps with a total of 1.1 million and 1.6 million victims. The prisoners were between 85% and 90% Jewish, including many children and women who had already died of starvation and torture. At the same time, the victims were not only Jews but also Russian-German and other nationalities POW, gipsies, gays and people with disabilities.
They were employed in labour camps and captured prisoners for the production of German military-industrial products, so industrialized genocide and human experiments were carried out.
More than 2 million victims of the Holocaust are still unidentified.
As the Nazis have succeeded in destroying evidence of mass murder, we still have no data on the exact number of the victims.
According to the remaining documents, the number of Hungarian nationals deported to Auschwitz by the Hungarian authorities exceeded 430,000. Of these, 325-330 thousand were executed almost immediately in gas chambers, while the others were executed in labour camps and later on they have been executed.
It is a sad fact, but about one in ten victims of the European Jewish Holocaust was Hungarian. The number of Hungarian victims are estimated at 600,000. So far, 80% of the dead, about 485 thousand people, has been identified by researchers.
What did the Allies and other European countries know about this at that time?
Only just some information only came to the Allies between 1941 and 1944. The reports were made by Jerzy Tabeau and Witold Pilecki, but the report of the mass killings was considered as exaggerated. It has changed later on, but we were in 1944 already, when it was clear from Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler’s very detailed report that there was no exaggeration to do, and something must have been done.
By mid-1944, the Allies had been persuaded by scouting evidence pictures, but the bombing was deemed too dangerous to save the prisoners, so they sought another solution. In May, the Slovak rabbi had already requested that the railway line to Auschwitz be bombed, to which Winston Churchill had given orders, but this was not done because the deaths of the prisoners could not have been avoided. To date, the subject of debate is that the bombing would have a resulting solution or a greater death.
Finally, in November 1944, the Germans detonated the gas chambers to hide the traces from the approaching Soviet soldiers. On 17th of January 1945, the camp staff began to resettle the prisoners and they set several prisoners on foot, heading west. The sick, the weak – numbered 7,500 – were left behind, and they were liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945.
This day, January 27, 1945, was declared by the United Nations as World Holocaust Day, when it was finally declared the Auschwitz-Birkenau II. concentration camp was finally liberated.
Almost all Central and Eastern European families were affected by the events, and each family had a painful memory of Auschwitz.
We hope that this horror will never happen again, when the walls of the barracks have kept the walls full of agony by the silent scream of the inmates and the expectant hope of those living outside.
As a Transylvanian girl, I have my own story too…. Fortunately not from Auschwitz, but both of my grandfathers were prisoners of World War II. My maternal and paternal grandparents lived 120 kilometres apart, but if there was no war they would never have met. But fate put the two grandfathers in one corps, and they were together in Russian captivity for months before they could escape. After many trials, they became friends, and so my parents could meet each other, who were born long after the war.