WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today announced introduction of their bipartisan resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which is on January 27.
“The crimes perpetrated by the Nazis at Auschwitz and other camps across Europe were some of the worst human rights violations the world has ever seen. This resolution honors the memories of those who perished among the nearly unimaginable horrors of Auschwitz, as well as the survivors who embody the resiliency and strength of the human spirit,” said Senator Cardin. “A generation after the end of the Holocaust there are still Survivors among us. I was proud to secure funding to help meet the needs of such a vulnerable population in the Omnibus bill passed at the end of the 113th Congress. I will continue to work to make sure that the Holocaust is never forgotten and the dwindling number of survivors continue to be cared for.”
“[The liberation of Auschwitz] was a triumph for our allies, but a melancholy day as the world began to see the films and photographs come out of this hell hole. As someone who is very proud of her Polish-American heritage, I visited Auschwitz. I wanted to see it when I had the chance to learn more about my own heritage. I wanted to see what happened there so that I would remember. And I rise today so that the world remembers what happened there, and the heroic effort of the Allied forces who joined together to save Europe and save Western civilization,” Senator Mikulski said. “For the people who fought in the underground. For people who fought in the resistance. For people who participated in the famous uprisings. To thank God also for the other fighters, the ones who in the camp gave whatever they could to keep other camp prisoners going. And for the Allied troops, led by the United States of America. That when we stood together, we stood and stared evil down. And when we opened up the doors of Auschwitz, for freedom and the ability of the few to survive, it was indeed a historic moment.”
“The liberation of Auschwitz saved thousands of lives and marked the end of one of the darkest chapters in human history,” Senator Kirk said. “My own visit to Auschwitz, where over 1.1 million innocent men, women and children perished, strengthened my dedication to making sure the United States always prioritizes the promotion of human rights and dignity around the world.”
The Auschwitz extermination camp is one of the starkest symbols of the brutality of the Holocaust. Nearly 1.3 million innocent civilians, including Jews, Poles and other minorities, were deported to Auschwitz, and 1.1 million of these innocents were murdered. While there, the imprisoned were subjected to torture, starvation, rape and medical experiments. They were forced to carry out hard labor in inhumane conditions. Many were torn from their families upon arrival, never to be united again.
As Soviet forces approached Auschwitz in January 1945, the SS force marched nearly 60,000 prisoners from the Auschwitz camp system. More than 15,000 died during the death marches to Wodzislaw in Upper Silesia. On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces entered Auschwitz and liberated more than 7,000 prisoners who remained.
The text of the resolution is available below:
S. Res. 35
Whereas on January 27, 1945, the Auschwitz extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland was liberated by Allied Forces during World War II after almost 5 years of murder, rape, and torture at the camp;
Whereas 1,100,000 innocent civilians were murdered at the Auschwitz extermination camp;
Whereas nearly 1,300,000 innocent civilians were deported to Auschwitz from their homes across Eastern and Western Europe, particularly from Hungary, Poland, and France;
Whereas 1,000,000 of the civilians who perished at the camp were Jews, along with 100,000 non-Jewish Poles, Roma and Sinti individuals, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men and women, and other ethnic minorities;
Whereas these civilians included farmers, tailors, seamstresses, factory hands, accountants, doctors, teachers, small-business owners, clergy, intellectuals, government officials, and political activists;
Whereas these civilians were subjected to torture, forced labor, starvation, rape, medical experiments, and being separated from loved ones;
Whereas the names of many of these civilians who perished have been lost forever;
Whereas the Auschwitz extermination camp symbolizes the extraordinary brutality of the Holocaust;
Whereas the people of the United States must never forget the terrible crimes against humanity committed at the Auschwitz extermination camp;
Whereas the people of the United States must educate future generations to promote understanding of the dangers of intolerance in order to prevent similar injustices from happening again; and
Whereas commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp will instill in all people of the United States a greater awareness of the Holocaust: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) commemorates January 27, 2015, as the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp by Allied Forces during World War II;
(2) calls on all people of the United States to remember the 1,100,000 innocent victims murdered at the Auschwitz extermination camp as part of the Holocaust;
(3) honors the legacy of the survivors of the Holocaust and of the Auschwitz extermination camp; and
(4) calls on the people of the United States to continue to work toward tolerance, peace, and justice and to end all genocide and persecution.
# # #