On this day (January 27). The year was 1945, as Soviet forces on the eastern front pushed forward through the rivers of Vistula & Oder, it was known as the Vistula-Oder Offensive. After heavy fighting between the Soviets and Nazi Germany, Marshall Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front liberated the concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland.
The complex turned monument was one of the 40 concentration & extermination camps under the Fascist Reich in Poland. 1.1 million Jews, Polish, Romans, Prisoners of War of the Soviet Union, and others were executed by gas chambers, others died due to starvation, exhaustion, disease, individual executions, even medical experiments. The total death toll was almost 1.1 million deaths.
The 332nd Rifle Division entered the camp at 15:00 (3:00 pm Central Europe Standard Time). The moment they entered the complex, they were shocked by the treatment of the prisoners. They're calling them out and told them that they are free at the hands of the Nazis. The prisoners began to run towards them. Men, women, and the children were weeping, embracing them as the soldiers gave everything at their disposal. 7,000 to 9,000 prisoners were left behind, most of whom were seriously ill due to the effects of their imprisonment as the SS ordered their prisoners to march forward into Germany. Liberation forces with assistance from the Polish Red Cross tried to help the survivors.
After the liberation, the Red Army pushes forward to Berlin as they put an end to their misery. Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, in his Führerbunker near the Reich Chancellery to avoid capture by the Soviets. At the end of the war, SS Commandant Rudolf Höss, the longest-serving officer on Auschwitz was arrested and testified on April 15, 1946, at the Nuremberg Trials where he explained his term as an officer on the concentration camp. He was handed over to the Supreme National Tribunal in Poland on May 25, 1946, until he was sentenced to death by the gallows on April 2, 1947.
This day every year was recognized by the United Nations, and the European Union as an international day of remembrance, to commemorate the atrocities of Nazi Germany to the moment they were set free by the Red Army. In 1947, Poland founded the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, and years later in 1979, the complex was named a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Lead Image from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-happened-after-liberation-auschwitz-180974051/