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Survivors mark Auschwitz anniversary

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Survivors mark Auschwitz anniversary
Children at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photo: APA
10:43 CET+01:00
Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, ageing survivors and dignitaries are gathering at the site synonymous with the Holocaust to honour the victims.

The commemoration will be held at the site in southern Poland where 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, were killed between 1940 and 1945.

Around 300 survivors will be there - and it may be the last major anniversary event that many of them are able to attend.

Heads of state and representatives from many wartime Allies will also be present.

Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by the Soviet Union's Red Army on January 27th, 1945.

Marko Feingold was born in Vienna. Photo: APA/Gindl

Austrian survivor Marko Feingold, who is 101-years-old and still the president of the Jewish Community in the state of Salzburg, recently told the Kurier newspaper about how he fought to survive Auschwitz.

“When I arrived at the camp I had to hand over my money. A fellow inmate told me that I wouldn’t be needing any money as I would be dead within three months. I was tortured and beaten until I bled, but I survived.”

He weighed only 30 kilograms and was made to do hard physical labour. He also survived Dachau and finally Buchenwald, and was freed from there after the Americans liberated it on April 11th, 1945.

A joint statement issued on Tuesday by the Jewish, Islamic and Turkish communities in Vienna called for peace and solidarity amongst religions and warned against the dramatic increase of anti-Semitism in Europe. 

Salzburg city council recently launched a campaign against right-wing vandals and Neo-Nazis - called #88gegenrechts! - 88 stands for the Neo-Nazi code for Heil Hitler.

The city has experienced a number of right-wing motivated crimes over the past year, including the vandalism of several memorials for Holocaust victims. Just days ago a memorial for the victims of forced labour was taken from a bridge in Salzburg.

Deputy mayor Anja Hagenauer said the idea with the #88 hashtag is to reclaim a Neo-Nazi symbol, and thus make it less powerful.

On Tuesday two young men go on trial in Salzburg for desecrating a Stolperstein monument, which commemorates individual victims of the Nazis.

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