Auschwitz – 27 January 1945

75 years ago today, on January 27, 1945, over 7000 prisoners of the German Nazi camp were liberated by the Soviet Army. It was day 1,689. Nazis had deported 1.1 million Jews, 150 thousand Poles, 23 thousand Roma, 15 thousand Prisoners of war and 25 thousand others to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945. 1.1 million Jews were murdered. ( All images:@AuschwitzMuseum)

Sunday Seven – Liberation of Auschwitz

Arbeit Macht Frei – Work makes You Free. The sign was made by an inmate who put the upside down B as a gesture of defiance.

On Jan 27, 1945 – 75 years ago – the Soviet Army liberated over 7000 prisoners at Auschwitz. These quotes are from survivors of Auschwitz, with the exception of the first quote that is so powerful that I wanted to include it in this list.

  • Wenn es einen Gott gibt muse r mich um Verzeihung bitten. (If there is a God, He will have to beg my forgiveness). Unknown, Mauthausen Concentration Camp prison cell wall.
  • All of a sudden you are told to leave it all and walk out with a single suitcase. Irene Fogel Weiss, Survivor
  • I realize that loss of faith in people is more devastating than loss of faith in God. Irene Fogel Weiss, Survivor
  • I had survivor’s guilt. Edith Eger, Survivor.
  • So, let us be alert – – alert in a twofold sense. Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake. Victor E Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.
  • No matter what I accomplish, it doesn’t seem like much compared to surviving Auschwitz. Art Spiegelman, Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began.
  • To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all. Elie Wiesel.
  • Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. Elie Wiesel.


He carried these tattoed numbers on his arm for a lifetime, and on this day ltwo years ago, Elie Wiesel, an Auschwitz survivor, died at the age of 87. He took the holocaust out of history books, and with his powerful words, seared it into our conscience. I wrote this poem after reading his book Night, in which he talks about the last time he saw his mother.


In the cold winter months
with moonless skies,
She flew down from the clouds
to sit on my shoulder
and see me through the night.
I felt her gently
through the tattered fabric
that covered my shoulders and
Striped its way down to my knees;
a vain barrier between skin and snow.
The first time She came
was when I saw Mama last.
They dragged Mama away,
her feet making long tracks
in pure winter snow.
Mama’s body was theirs to kill,
Her soul was God’s alone.
She came from the blackness of the smoke
to light the fire in my soul
and soften the hunger in my belly.
My little sparrow held me up
when I was too weak to stand.
While they starved my body
She nourished my soul,
and stopped me from dying.
I had to live
for Mama, for papa, and Elsa too.
I was the fragment that remained
from the fabric of our lives.
The thread was mine to weave.
Night after night
She sat on my shoulder
to see me through till dawn,
and when I wanted to fly with her
She wanted me to stay.
When finally the gates of hell opened
And the air was ours to breathe
And the land was ours to roam  
It was then, and only then
that Mama stopped coming to me at night.

(Image courtesy of Baltimore Jewish life website).