27 January 2013 marked 68 years since the liberation of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz. The President of the Republic of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski, assumed honorary patronage over the anniversary ceremony. The ceremony began in a special tent set up at the former camp of Auschwitz I. The visual symbol of the ceremony was a picture of a former prisoner of the camp, a Polish Jew, Halina Ołomucka, entitled “Liberation”.
Xenia Olkhova, who was sent to Auschwitz when she was barely fourteen years of age, spoke on behalf of the former Russian prisoners: ‘We underage prisoners were placed in barracks fenced with barbed wire, where there were over one hundred people. Dim light, a clay floor, cold, dirt, fleas. They locked us in the barracks and would not let us out. Inside were bunks with three levels. I was on the bottom shelf, because of my sick legs I could not go higher. Each shelf of the bunks fit two - three people. No child was crying, not even the smallest ones; crying was severely punished,’ she remembered the time when she was imprisoned in the camp. She appealed to remember the past and ‘do everything to make these horrible experiences of ours never be repeated again’.