Russian POW recounts Nazi death camp horrors in declassified newspapers – Reuters

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According to the memoirs of an escaped prisoner, there were days when about 30,000 people were burned at the Auschwitz-Birkenau facility.

A declassified report by a Soviet prisoner of war who escaped from Auschwitz-Birkenau gives shocking details of how thousands were executed at the notorious Nazi death center and how those who survived and were forced to work struggled to survive. .

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) dedicated the publication of the historical document to the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp by Soviet troops, which will be celebrated on Friday.

More than a million people, mostly Jewish, Polish and Soviet prisoners, were executed in the death camps in southern Poland between 1940 and 1945, and Senior Lieutenant Pawel Hawrisch witnessed many of these events in horror.

Thousands of Soviet prisoners of war brought to Auschwitz in late 1941 and early 1942 were used by the Nazis to build Birkenau – the largest of more than 40 camps and sub-camps that made up the center of the dead.

In an essay written shortly after Havrisch’s escape from Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944, he noted that out of 12,000 POWs, only 140 were Nazis. “Full of defamation of the Russian people”, sent to the site survived.


“Hungry, threadbare and drowning in the mud, they die by the hundreds every day.” he called again. “Birkenau camp was called the grave of the living. The foundations of this camp were laid by the bones and stones of Russian prisoners.

The Soviet officer also described the design of the infamous Auschwitz crematorium, which was equipped with his words. “Advanced Nazi Technology.”

This “Enterprise to destroy humanity” The gas container consisted of a closed gas chamber for 3,000 people with a window in place, and another room containing 15 furnaces, a Soviet officer wrote. The two regions were connected by railroads, and wagons were used to transport corpses to crematoriums.

“There were days when the number of people who died from the fire reached 25-30 thousand” Gavrish wrote. The victims, including the elderly, women and children, were told to go to a public bath when they were sent to die.

All Jews who arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau were killed, and some young and healthy Gentiles survived and became camp workers.

“The prisoner ceased to be a man, he became a slave with a number on his chest” the report was read. The daily ration consisted only of the following “Three-quarters of a liter of soup, 250 grams of ersatz bread and 20 grams of ersatz cheese, which were not always in full size. The most exhausted prisoners were collected by doctors, packed into stables, starved for several days, and then sent directly to the crematorium, Gavrish recalls.


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Up to a hundred people died in forced labor every day as overseers drawn from the ranks of German and Polish criminals were called in to reduce the number of prisoners. “Only a small part of the prisoners took part in the actual construction of the camp, and the rest of the work in Auschwitz-Birkenau has no practical meaning,” he said. he wrote.

All mistakes and disobedience were severely punished, prisoners were beaten, hanged or sent to the punishment cell, from which only a few returned. Fascists also often killed people “For sport”, Gavrish recalled that on Christmas Day 1942, guards marched prisoners around the camp with large stones, beating them with clubs and kicking them. “More than 3,000 people were killed or maimed” in the process, he says.

Auschwitz-Birkenau came under the military control of the Soviet Union on January 27, 1945, which was recognized as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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