Auschwitz is Liberated: January 27, 1945

By | January 27, 2020

[January 27, 2020]  It’s hard to imagine today that 75 years ago, a Nazi concentration camp called Auschwitz is liberated by the Soviet army.  What is impossible to believe is the horror of these death camps, that humans could be so evil, and that today people still deny it ever happened.  Leadership means rallying people to a cause and Adolf Hitler did that exactly.

I won’t be recounting the horrors in today’s article or how many died or how.  And I won’t be telling the story of the thousands of camps throughout Germany and the territories it controlled from 1933 to 1945.  Unlike some Holocaust scholars, I don’t distinguish concentration camps and extermination camps because often they were the same.

Concentration camps began as a place to concentrate political adversaries of the Nazi political party.  Dachau was the first camp founded in Germany in March 1933 and housed all Communists “where necessary” and those who “endanger state security of the Reichsbanner and Social Democratic functionaries.”1

“There our troops found sights, sounds, and stenches horrible beyond belief, cruelties so enormous as to be incomprehensible to the normal mind.” – U.S. Army Colonel William W. Quinn, 7th Army speaking about the Dachau liberation

In most camps that were liberated by the Soviets, almost all the prisoners had already been removed, leaving only a few thousand alive.  Nearly 7,000 inmates were found in Auschwitz, including 180 children who had been experimented on by doctors.

The three Auschwitz camps, called Auschwitz I, II (aka Birkenau), and III, and 40 satellite camps, had been abandoned by the Germans just before the Soviet troops arrived.  The evacuation of the prisoners had begun months before.2  Of special attention is the fact that when the Soviets liberated camps (not yet in Germany), the survivors were on their own.  Unlike the camps liberated in German where liberated prisoners remained in the camps and were cared for by the Americans and British.

Primo Levi was one of those survivors who wrote a book.  His long journey home to Italy took him many months.  He describes how the Jewish prisoners were greeted with hostility in every country along the way.  Levi wrote that “the people outside the camp, in the countryside and the nearby town – they didn’t celebrate when they saw us.”3,4

“We just ran away without permission.  No joyous celebration. I never heard the word ‘liberation’ back then, I didn’t even know there was such a word.” – Binjamin Wilkomirski, in his book “Fragments.”

The day that Auschwitz was liberated, January 27, 1945, is now an International Day of Commemoration of the Holocaust.

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  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_concentration_camps
  2. Anne Frank and her sister were on one of the first transports out of Auschwitz, which took them to Bergen-Belsen, where they both died of typhus.
  3. https://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Liberation.html
4.      This reference is a good source on these camps.  “Auschwitz-Birkenau: History of a man-made Hell, Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, January 27, 1945
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

22 thoughts on “Auschwitz is Liberated: January 27, 1945

  1. Shawn C. Stolarz

    We should all pay very close attention to this quote.
    “Dachau was the first camp founded in Germany in March 1933 and housed all Communists “where necessary” and those who “endanger state security of the Reichsbanner and Social Democratic functionaries.”” I say this because there are politicians in the US that are saying very similar things.

    Reply
    1. Albert Ayer

      I disagree. Just because a politician disagrees with you doesn’t mean they want to send you to a concentration camp.

      Reply
  2. Darwin Lippe

    So horrible what happened at Auschwitz and the other concentration and extermination camps. Just looking at the pictures makes me sick. I’m glad it was documented. For those who believe it can never happen again, just look at the gulags in China today. Of course, the Chinese just call them “job training centers.” Wow!

    Reply
    1. old warrior

      A ‘communist’ thing. No problem here, move along, nothing to see. /sarc off/

      Reply
    1. Gil Johnson

      Let us also never forget the communist gulags that killed for more than the Nazis ever did. There are many Western academic elites that would insist we forget about the communist abuses over the 20th century.

      Reply
    2. Tony Custer

      Yes, well placed on this special anniversary. I’ll bet you will find almost nothing on it in the news media. They are too focused on the trivial events of the day.

      Reply
  3. Kenny Foster

    Auschwitz, Polish Oświęcim, also called Auschwitz-Birkenau, Nazi Germany’s largest concentration camp and extermination camp. Located near the industrial town of Oświęcim in southern Poland (in a portion of the country that was annexed by Germany at the beginning of World War II), Auschwitz was actually three camps in one: a prison camp, an extermination camp, and a slave-labour camp. As the most lethal of the Nazi extermination camps, Auschwitz has become the emblematic site of the “final solution,” a virtual synonym for the Holocaust.

    Reply
    1. apache2

      Kenny, well said. The ‘final solution’ is like the final solution for us deplorables in the US. There are many who want us and would allow us to be exterminated.

      Reply
  4. Lynn Pitts

    Good men and women in our Armed Forces stand ready to engage evil when it is identified and the president orders us to take it on.

    Reply
    1. Yusaf from Texas

      Thank you Lynn for what you do for us and thanks for your service to the nation.

      Reply
  5. Valkerie

    General Satterfield, I appreciate this article. I never met anyone who was a prisoner of a concentration camp but I’ve read a lot about it and like the fact that you are willing to highlight it today.

    Reply
  6. Max Foster

    The Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz was a terrible place. But let’s not forget that there were thousands of camps throughout the region and that Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and other undesirables were sent there for forced labor, medical experimentation, and termination. These “undesirables” are like the “deplorables” that Hillary Clinton called so many of us. She is no different than Adolf Hitler in that way and we are lucky she was never elected president.

    Reply
    1. Wavy Girl

      Max, you are “da man” when it comes to hitting home hard and fast. Thanks for the Clinton reference, I’d forgotten about this.

      Reply
    2. Scotty Bush

      The idea that other “civilizations” are inferior to us (or to other groups of folks) is not new. Looking back into the darkness of human history, we will find this more common that not. That is why war was so common and peace was just a temporary pause in war.

      Reply
      1. Jerome Smith

        That is true and why we should all be ready to point to those who believe that those who believe they are morally superior should be called out. I see this trend common in the Democratic party of the US. Sad to see such a great institution falling for the Marxist way of governing.

        Reply
  7. Army Captain

    Well written and a timely reminder of the evil that exists and how good men must stand ready to defend others against it.

    Reply
    1. Tom Bushmaster

      Correct and this is why the killing of Iranian (terrorist) Sulemani was so important. Those who whined about it are the very ones who promote evil by failing to do anything about it.

      Reply
    2. Ronny Fisher

      Evil is everywhere and it is kept in place by strength and honor of good peoples. When we fail to recognize evil, we fail as a nation.

      Reply

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