Survivors visit Auschwitz a day ahead of 70th anniversary

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Survivors visit Auschwitz a day ahead of 70th anniversary
OSWIECIM, POLAND - JANUARY 26: Jack Rosenthal, who was born in Romania and at 14 was imprisoned at Auschwitz and other concentration camps, stands outside the former Auschwitz I concentration camp as he points to the number tatoo he received from the Nazis on January 26, 2015 in Oswiecim, Poland. International heads of state, dignitaries and over 300 Auschwitz survivors will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops in 1945 on January 27. Auschwitz was among the most notorious of the concentration camps run by the Nazis to ensalve and kill millions of Jews, political opponents, prisoners of war, homosexuals and Roma. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
At a gathering of Holocaust survivors in a Brooklyn synagogue, the music is upbeat, the memories haunting. It's been 70 years since the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, but Holocaust survivor Hy Abrams remembers his chilling conversation with a fellow prisoner on his very first day at the camp.
OSWIECIM, POLAND - JANUARY 26: Ihor Malicky, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, walks through the former Auschwitz I concentration camp, which is now a museum, on January 26, 2015 in Oswiecim, Poland. International heads of state, dignitaries and over 300 Auschwitz survivors will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops in 1945 on January 27. Auschwitz was among the most notorious of the concentration camps run by the Nazis to ensalve and kill millions of Jews, political opponents, prisoners of war, homosexuals and Roma. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
FILE - A view of a section of the Auschwitz concentration camp where thousands of Jews met their death at the hands of the Nazis in World War II. In the foreground is part of the electrified barbed wire fence. (AP PHOTO/FILE)
Visitors walk at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. A decade ago, 1,500 Holocaust survivors traveled to Auschwitz to mark the 60th anniversary of the death camp's liberation. On Tuesday, for the 70th anniversary, organizers are expecting 300, the youngest in their 70s. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
FILE - A train-load of victims destined for Auschwitz concentration camp, lined up on the railway station on arrival at Auschwitz. A picture taken by the Nazis in the early days of WWII. (AP PHOTO/FILE)
Visitors walk between barbed wire fences at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. A decade ago, 1,500 Holocaust survivors traveled to Auschwitz to mark the 60th anniversary of the death camp's liberation. On Tuesday, for the 70th anniversary, organizers are expecting 300, the youngest in their 70s. Sign in foreground is an electric fence warning.(AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Jewish prisoners are addressed by a Nazi commader in Auschwitz in a drawing by Holocaust survivor and artist David Olere. This is one of about 40 ink drawings by the French artist who survived the Sonderkommando, the unit of Jewish prisoners forced to work in the death camp s crematoria. On display at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Olere s pictures are the world s only visual record of the inner workings of the Nazi s factory-like killing machine at Auschwitz. (AP Photo)
Jewish prisoners insert the bodies of fellow Jews into a furnace in Auschwitz in an ink drawing by Holocaust survivor and artist David Olere. This is one of about 40 ink drawings by the French artist who survived the Sonderkommando, the unit of Jewish prisoners forced to work in the death camp s crematoria. On display at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Olere s pictures are the world s only visual record of the inner workings of the Nazi s factory-like killing machine at Auschwitz. (APPhoto)
Children behind a barbed wire fence at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in southern Poland. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
A doctor (centre) of the 322nd Rifle Division of the Red Army, with a group of survivors at the entrance to the newly-liberated Auschwitz I concentration camp, Poland, January 1945. The Red Army liberated the camp on 27th January 1945. Above the gate is the motto 'Arbeit macht frei' ('Work brings freedom'). (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
The gates of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, Poland, circa 1965. The sign above them is 'Arbeit Macht Frei' - 'Work Makes You Free'. (Photo by Keystone/GettyImages)
Jewish children, survivors of Auschwitz, behind a barbed wire fence, Poland, February 1945. Photo taken by a Russian photographer during the making of a film about the liberation of the camp. The children were dressed up by the Russians with clothing from adult prisoners. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
AUSCHWITZ, POLAND - JANUARY 15: A picture taken in January 1945 depicts Auschwitz concentration camp gate and railways after its liberation by Soviet troops. // Photo prise en janvier 1945 montrant la grille d'entrTe et les rails du camp de concentration d'Auschwitz aprFs sa libTration par les troupes soviTtiques. (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
LUBLIN, POLAND: A pile of human bones and skulls is seen in 1944 at the Nazi concentration camp of Majdanek in the outskirts of Lublin, the second largest death camp in Poland after Auschwitz, following its liberation in 1944 by Russian troops. (Photo credit should read AFP/Getty Images)
Crematorium III at Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland, January 1945. A freight elevator brought up the bodies from the gas chambers, to be incinerated. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
A 15 year old russian boy, ivan dudnik, who was brought to auschwitz from his home in the orel region by the nazis, being rescued, he has gone insane from witnessing the horrors of the camp, february 1945. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
Jewish children, survivors of Auschwitz, with a nurse behind a barbed wire fence, Poland, February 1945. Photo taken by a Russian photographer during the making of a film about the liberation of the camp. The children were dressed up by the Russians with clothing from adult prisoners. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
Survivors of Auschwitz behind a barbed wire fence, Poland, February 1945. Photo taken by a Russian photographer during the making of a film about the liberation of the camp. The children were dressed up by the Russians with clothing from adult prisoners. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
The arrival of Hungarian Jews to Birkenau station in Auschwitz-Birkenau, in German-occupied Poland, June 1944. Between May 2nd and July 9th, more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
Photo prise durant la seconde guerre mondiale de femmes et d'enfants juifs à leur arrivée par train au camp d'extermination d'Auschwitz.Picture taken during World War II of jewish women and children getting off the coaches at their arrival in Auschwitz extermination camp. (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
Incinerator in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Poland. Photograph. Ca. 1943. (Photo by Votava/Imagno/Getty Images) .
Child survivors of Auschwitz show their tattooed arms, Poland, February 1945. Photo taken by a Russian photographer during the making of a film about the liberation of the camp. Children were dressed up by the Russians with clothing from adult prisoners. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
The arrival of Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau, in German-occupied Poland, June 1944. Between May 2nd and July 9th, more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
The arrival of Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau, in German-occupied Poland, June 1944. Between May 2nd and July 9th, more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz. They are all wearing a star emblem to identify them as Jewish. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
Incinerator in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Poland. Photograph. 1943. (Photo by Votava/Imagno/Getty Images) .
Survivors of Auschwitz leaving the camp at the end of World War II, Poland, February 1945. Above them is the German slogan 'Arbeit macht frei' ('Work makes one free'). Photo taken by a Russian photographer during the making of a film about liberation of the camp. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
In this photo taken Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, Marta Wise holds a famous black-and-white photo, taken by the Russian liberators of Auschwitz, showing her, center, with about a dozen children in rags standing behind a row of barbed wire that has become one of the most iconic images of the Holocaust, as she poses for a portrait in her house in Jerusalem. Wise was ill and emaciated when she heard the distant sound the soldiers marching toward Auschwitz. The 10-year-old Slovakian Jew assumed it was German troops coming to get her but once she saw the red stars on their uniforms she realized they were Russian. Her nightmare was over. She was liberated. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
In this photo taken Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, Marta Wise poses for a portrait in her house in Jerusalem. Wise was ill and emaciated when she heard the distant sound the soldiers marching toward Auschwitz. The 10-year-old Slovakian Jew assumed it was German troops coming to get her but once she saw the red stars on their uniforms she realized they were Russian. Her nightmare was over. She was liberated. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
In this photo taken Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, Marta Wise poses for a portrait in her house in Jerusalem. Wise was ill and emaciated when she heard the distant sound the soldiers marching toward Auschwitz. The 10-year-old Slovakian Jew assumed it was German troops coming to get her but once she saw the red stars on their uniforms she realized they were Russian. Her nightmare was over. She was liberated. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
Survivors of Auschwitz behind a barbed wire fence, Poland, February 1945. Photo taken by a Russian photographer during the making of a film about the liberation of the camp. The children were dressed up by the Russians with clothing from adult prisoners. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
Some of the few surviving prisoners of ausschwitz concentration camp in oswiecim, poland, 1945. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
Men selected for forced labour from amongst the Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau, in German-occupied Poland, June 1944. Between May 2nd and July 9th, more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
Separation of Prisoners at Railway Station, Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland, Circa 1944
Sign in Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland.
Entrance building and railway line of the former Auschwitz II–Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland.
Auschwitz Memorial in Berlin, Germany at Weissensee Cemetery.
The Red Army liberated the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Artist: Anonymous
POLAND A party of orthodox Jews enter the Auschwitz Museum, formerly the Auschwitz 1 concentration camp
Auschwitz Mugshot, Mugshot of prisoner 57846 – a Frenchman. 1942. These sets of 3 photos were produced until 1942 to identify prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Early in 1943 the method of tattooing was adopted. Poland. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
Auschwitz Mugshot, Mugshot of prisoner 60287 – Russian boy. 1942. These sets of three photos were produced until 1942 to identify prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Early in 1943 the method of tattooing was adopted. Poland. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
Auschwitz Mugshot, Mugshot of prisoner 57846 – a Frenchman. 1942. These sets of 3 photos were produced until 1942 to identify prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Early in 1943 the method of tattooing was adopted. Poland. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
Auschwitz Mugshot, Mugshot of prisoner 32557 – a gypsie (Sinti or Roma) woman. 1942. These sets of 3 photos were produced until 1942 to identify prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Early in 1943 the method of tattooing was adopted. Poland. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
AUSCHWITZ CONCENTRATION CAMP children photographed by Russians who liberated the camp in January 1945
Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp at Oswiecim in Poland
World War II Auschwitz concentration camp Holocaust Germany March 1945 history historical historic Nazi German Second World War
Gas chamber at Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland
Pictures of prisoners in Nazi Concentration Camp in Auschwitz Birkenau, Oswiecim Poland
Jewish Star (genuine, recovered from Auschwitz Birkenau victim)
Poland, Oswiecim, Auschwitz I concentration camp. Shoes that had belonged to victims.
Gas chambers in Nazi Concentration Camp in Auschwitz Birkenau, Oswiecim Poland
Death wall in Auschwitz concentration camp (German: Konzentrationslager Auschwitz) - old photograph
POLAND - JANUARY 01: Holocaust: Selection at extermination camp Auschwitz, on the left German soldier with rows of men with Yellow Stars on their coats, in the front woman with Yellow Star. Poland. Photography. About 1944. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) [Holocaust: Selektion an der Rampe im Vernichtungslager Auschwitz, links ein deutscher Soldat mit einer Reihe von Maennern mit Judenstern an den Maenteln, im Vordergrund eine Frau mit Judenstern. Polen. Photographie. Um 1944.]
Women are separated after their arrival in Oswiecim (Auschwitz). The SS men - armed with revolvers and sticks - force the mothers and children to the gas chambers. Ca. 1943. Photograph. (Photo by Votava/Imagno/Getty Images) .
The arrival of Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau, in German-occupied Poland, June 1944. Between May 2nd and July 9th, more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
The arrival of Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau, in German-occupied Poland, June 1944. Between May 2nd and July 9th, more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
A young man checks the numbers tattooed on the arms of Jewish Polish prisoners coming from Auschwitz, in Dachau concentration camp after its liberation by the US army at the end of April 1945. Himmler announced the creation of Dachau on March 20, 1933. More than 200,000 people were detained between 1933 and 1945, and 31,591 deaths were declared excluding the victims of the evacuation march in April 1945. From December 1944 a typhus epidemic spread in the camp as many convoys arrived from other evacuated camps. The US troops of General Patton entered Dachau on the 29th of April 1945. At the liberation of the camp, the US army imposed a quarantine until May 25 to control the typhus epidemic. About 2.500 people died from 29 May to 16 June 1945 according to a French Memorial Association. (FILM) AFP PHOTO/ERIC SCHWAB (Photo credit should read ERIC SCHWAB/AFP/Getty Images)
Women Auschwitz prisoners stand in a line after the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz Poland was liberated by the Russians, January 1945. (AP Photo)
Concentration Camps Auschwitz in Poland, April 4, 1944.
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY DAPHNE ROUSSEAU - Holocaust survivor Shoshana Colmer, 95, (R) and her son (L) eat in the shared dining room of a building housing Holocaust survivors on January 21, 2015 in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa as part of a project launched in 2007 by the Israeli NGO Yad Ezer (Hebrew for 'a helping hand'). They call it 'Survivors' Street' - a small road in Haifa where around a hundred Holocaust survivors are living out their last days side-by-side as living witnesses of the Nazi genocide. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY THIBAULT MARCHAND A picture taken on January 23, 2015 shows Ivan Martynushkin speaking during his interview with AFP at his home in Moscow. It was silence, the odor of ashes and the boundless extent of Auschwitz that struck Soviet soldier Ivan Martynushkin when his unit arrived there in January 1945 to liberate the Nazi death camp. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY DAPHNE ROUSSEAU - Holocaust survivor Shoshana Colmer, 95, poses on January 21, 2015 in her apartment that is in a building housing Holocaust survivors in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa as part of a project launched in 2007 by the Israeli NGO Yad Ezer (Hebrew for 'a helping hand'). They call it 'Survivors' Street' - a small road in Haifa where around a hundred Holocaust survivors are living out their last days side-by-side as living witnesses of the Nazi genocide. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY DAPHNE ROUSSEAU - Holocaust survivor Judith Hershkowitz, 86, shows the 80-year-old only picture she has of her decimated family on January 21, 2015 in her apartment that is in a building housing Holocaust survivors in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa as part of a project launched in 2007 by the Israeli NGO Yad Ezer (Hebrew for 'a helping hand'). They call it 'Survivors' Street' - a small road in Haifa where around a hundred Holocaust survivors are living out their last days side-by-side as living witnesses of the Nazi genocide. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY DAPHNE ROUSSEAU - Holocaust survivor Judith Hershkowitz, 86, shows her concentration camp number tattooed on her arm on January 21, 2015 in her apartment that is in a building housing Holocaust survivors in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa as part of a project launched in 2007 by the Israeli NGO Yad Ezer (Hebrew for 'a helping hand'). They call it 'Survivors' Street' - a small road in Haifa where around a hundred Holocaust survivors are living out their last days side-by-side as living witnesses of the Nazi genocide. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY DAPHNE ROUSSEAU - Holocaust survivor Judith Hershkowitz, 86, poses on her balcomy on January 21, 2015 in her apartment that is in a building housing Holocaust survivors in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa as part of a project launched in 2007 by the Israeli NGO Yad Ezer (Hebrew for 'a helping hand'). They call it 'Survivors' Street' - a small road in Haifa where around a hundred Holocaust survivors are living out their last days side-by-side as living witnesses of the Nazi genocide. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY DAPHNE ROUSSEAU - Holocaust survivor Judith Hershkowitz, 86, poses in front of a painting of her parents and pictures of members of her family born in Israel on January 21, 2015 in her apartment that is in a building housing Holocaust survivors in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa as part of a project launched in 2007 by the Israeli NGO Yad Ezer (Hebrew for 'a helping hand'). They call it 'Survivors' Street' - a small road in Haifa where around a hundred Holocaust survivors are living out their last days side-by-side as living witnesses of the Nazi genocide. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali walks through a barbed wire fence in the former Nazi Death Camp Auschwitz - Birkenau, Saturday, November 11, 1995. Boutros-Ghali is on an official four-day visit to Poland. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
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OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) -- The voice of Auschwitz survivors praying for their murdered loved ones reverberated Monday amid the barracks and barbed wire of the former Nazi death camp, with one survivor crying out in a pained voice: "I don't want to come here anymore!"

The survivors were paying private homage to their relatives and the millions of others killed in the Holocaust a day ahead of official commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet army's liberation of the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

For some, it was their first time back since the end of World War II.

Marcel Tuchman, a 93-year-old survivor of Auschwitz and three other Nazi camps, reflected on the unspeakable suffering of the 1.1 million Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and others who were tortured and executed at Auschwitz, many in gas chambers.

"The overwhelming statistics are not the stories to be told," Tuchman said. "The stories could only be told by the victims. Unfortunately their voices were silenced by gas and the crematoria, so we are here, the survivors, to speak for them and honor the memory of their suffering."

Together, several of them said kaddish, or the Jewish prayer for the dead, next to the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign, hanging above the entrance to the camp. Many expressed shock at the recent killings of Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris, saying they fear the world still has not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.

Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet army on Jan. 27, 1945, in the last months of the war. The Soviet advance from the east forced the Nazis to retreat from occupied eastern Europe to Germany and they took many of their prisoners to kill along the way. However, they left several thousand behind, among them children and those prisoners closet to death.

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