Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov has arrived in Poland to join events marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and International Holocaust Remembrance Day observed since 2005.
There are former Auschwitz inmates and those who liberated this concentration camp on the Russian delegation, Ivanov told reporters after arriving in Krakow. Representatives of the Russian Jewish Congress have arrived too, he said. "Oswiecim is the symbol of the Holocaust, and is a place where more than a million Jews were tortured to death and murdered, he said."
"In my opinion, Oswiecim is a symbol for the most appalling chapters in the history of Mankind, which probably embodies the horrors of Nazism and underscores the role of the Soviet Union and Red Army in ending this nightmare," Ivanov said.
"Therefore, it is our sacred duty to bow to the memory of the dead and of the 600,000 Soviet soldiers who fell liberating Poland from fascism," he said.
The events, to unfold in the former concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, are expected to be joined by delegations from scores of countries, including the presidents of Germany, France, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Malta, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Switzerland. Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands will be represented by the monarchs and prime ministers. Also, the crown princes of Denmark, Norway and Sweden will arrive.
The concentration camp in Oswiecim (German: Auschwitz) is one of the largest Nazi concentration camps. It existed between 1940 and 1945.
According to various sources, up to 2 million people had been exterminated there, including more than a million Jews, over 60,000 Poles and about 14,000 Soviet POWs.
Oswiecim was liberated on January 27 1945 by soldiers of the First Ukrainian Front under Marshall Ivan Konev's command. More than 230 Red Army soldiers and officers fell liberating Oswiecim.
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