The 27th of January 2012 is the 67th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. This year, we are also commemorating the 70th anniversary of commencement of the mass extermination of Jews in the Birkenau gas chambers. During this year’s anniversary ceremony, a unique relic was presented: the only preserved door to a gas chamber, deriving from one of the crematoriums, blown up by SS members at the end of the final evacuation of the camp.
The first part of the ceremony took place in the Oświęcim Cultural Centre. All the participants honoured with a minute of silence Kazimierz Smoleń, an Auschwitz survivor and the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum 1955-1990 who passed away on that day.
Pnina Segal talked on behalf of the former prisoners; on January 27th, 1945 she was freed from Birkenau as a six-year-old girl. When recounting her story, she mentioned a metal camp bowl that she was clasping tightly, waiting for soup. “I already knew that I had to wait till the pot was almost empty to get more potato peels than water. I was also looking for bread crusts and ends, because I thought there would be more bread in them. Today, I still do this, and my entire family and friends know that the first and the last slice of bread belong to me. I would like to thank everybody who listened to the story of my life, and I will continue telling it to future generations,” she added.