The afternoon sun shines on the old trees. Acorns dot the grass. A young woman stands with friends next to remnants of a red brick wall. She listens silently to a man talking about mass murder. He is describing how the crime took place. More than 70 years ago. Right here:
The murderers crammed their victims into freight trains to bring them here. They forced them to undress. Then they herded them into a nearby building. The air was filled with the deadly Zyklon B gas. Once the lifeless bodies were on the ground, the Sonderkommando (a work unit made up of prisoners that was forced to aid with the disposal of gas chamber victims) came through to cut their hair and search for any objects of value before taking them to the crematorium. “In the summer of 1944, there was nowhere near enough capacity to cremate all of the victims. The Sonderkommando comprised of fellow prisoners piled the dead on the grass, poured gasoline over them and lit the fire,” says Christoph Heubner, vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee. The Nazis murdered more than one million people between 1940 and 1945 at the former NS concentration camp Auschwitz and NS extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. The majority of the prisoners were Jews from several European countries. The Red Army began freeing the few survivors on January 27, 1945.