76th anniversary of the liberation of German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau
Speech by the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda at the virtual commemoration ceremony of the 76th anniversary of the liberation of German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Honourable Survivors and Witnesses of the Extermination,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Every year, January 27 marks the Holocaust Remembrance Day. Today the memory of 6 million murdered Jews is revered by the entire international community. On this day, 76 years ago, the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was liberated. It constitutes the most important symbol of the Extermination as it was the biggest Nazi death factory. Germans established their genocidal industry on the occupied Polish land. Here in Auschwitz-Birkenau Jews, Poles, Roma and Sinti as well as the Red Army prisoners of war perished.
It is with profound emotion and reflection that I recall last year's commemorations at the Memorial on the grounds of the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, where the last Survivors and Holocaust Witnesses from all over the world gathered.
This year`s commemoration ceremony looks different. It is an unprecedented situation with the coronavirus pandemic preventing us from organizing a direct meeting. But it also is an important sign reminding us that we must always, whatever the circumstances, fulfill our duty as witnesses to memory and guardians of the truth about the Holocaust.
We live at a time in which virtual reality coexists with the real world and sometimes even strives to replace it. Modern technology allows us to pay our respects to the Victims under current circumstances.
However, this year`s commemoration makes us realize in a very powerful way the significance of the material evidence of the genocide as well as its horrendous reality. The crimes committed in German concentration and extermination camps were real, real people were suffering an unimaginable but genuine pain and they were really dying. They were really murdered. The suffering and the death of the Victims were, are and will remain real.
It is our obligation to preserve all material evidence, memorabilia and signs of Their existence, Their life and martyrdom to make sure that humanity never forgets about Them. To ensure that what happened here at Auschwitz and at other sites of German crimes will never be forgotten.
The authorities of the Republic of Poland are carrying out their mission of preserving the evidence of that biggest crime in human history. When the threat of the deadly disease has passed, we will once again stand in Auschwitz-Birkenau on this soil soaked with the blood of over 1 million Victims. What one can see here is an answer to oblivion, to the illusion of non-reality, to the lie of denial.
The remembrance and the truth of the Holocaust are going to last forever. We, the contemporary ones, will carry on and convey to future generations the message from this place: No more Auschwitz! No more genocide, hatred and racism!