Oswiecim (Poland) (AFP) – Intense Emotions and contemplation, solidarity and willingness to act against anti-Semitism that goes: these are the sentiments expressed by survivors of Auschwitz and the heads of state gathered to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi death camp.
“I thought I was going to be cremated here and I will never live the experience of my first kiss. But, I do know how, I, a young girl of 14, I survived, “he told Halina Birenbaum, born in Warsaw in 1929 and had a child, four Nazi camps including Auschwitz. Emigrated to Israel in 1947, she became a poet and writer.
The Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, who opened the ceremony welcoming the survivors, expressed “respect and gratitude” to Soviet soldiers who liberated Auschwitz where about 1.1 million people were exterminated, one million Jews.
He corrected and the awkwardness of the Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna, who was assigned to the camp’s liberation “Ukrainians “incurring the wrath of Moscow.
But in the same breath, Komorowski seemed to put on an equal footing” both totalitarian “Nazi and Soviet, recalling the extermination Polish elites in Katyn by the special services of Stalin.
The ceremony attended by some 300 survivors, several heads of state, including French President Francois Hollande, German Joachim Gauck and Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and kings Belgian and Netherlands, took place at the entrance of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp covered by a thick layer of snow under a huge white tent. It was erected over the rails on which had passed trains carrying Jews from all over Europe to the crematoria of Birkenau
-. ‘Pillars of Remembrance’ –
One of the “Pillars of Remembrance” – generous donor of the Auschwitz Museum -, the American Ronald S. Lauder, warned against the rise of anti-Semitism, citing “recent events in Paris “. Evoking the Holocaust he launched the call again become the leitmotif of the ceremony. “Do not let that happen again,” he has said.
The world leaders had Tuesday looking towards Auschwitz.
Pope Francis tweeted a message in ten languages to his 7.5 million followers. “Auschwitz cries of pain of terrible suffering and calls for a future of respect, peace and bringing people together.”
US President Barack Obama pledged to “never forget” the six million Jews and many others killed by the German Nazis and called in turn the international community to ensure that “this would never happen.”
Before flying to reach Auschwitz, Francois Hollande denounced the Shoah Memorial in Paris “scourge” of anti-Semitism, which “led some Jews to question their presence in France. You French Jewish, your place is here. France is your country, “said Mr. Holland.
The anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp, January 27, 1945 is also the International Day to honor the victims of the Holocaust.
Neither Washington nor Moscow sent to prominent figures. Russia was represented by the head of the presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov. President Vladimir Putin did not want to move – as he did in 2005 – has not been officially invited
Speaking in Moscow, Putin called for. “unacceptable and immoral” any “attempt to rewrite history,” which often hides, he said, the “tacit complicity, passive or active with the Nazis”
-. Call of Czech President –
In Prague, the Czech President Milos Zeman called for international action under the auspices of the UN Security Council against the Islamic state group (EI) preparing, he said, a “huge holocaust “against all religions.
Twenty days after the deadly attacks against the jihadists French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher store, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) announced Tuesday that the number anti-Semitic acts in France was doubled in 2014 compared to 2013.
The main ceremony ended with a heartbreaking sounding of the shofar, a horn used in Jewish rituals and Jewish prayers for the dead.