NPR

75 Years After Auschwitz Liberation, Survivors Urge World To Remember

"People should look at this place and think about our moral responsibility," says Pawel Sawicki, a longtime guide at the Auschwitz museum in Poland.
Auschwitz survivor Alina Dabrowska, 96, shows her Auschwitz prisoner number tattoo at her home in Warsaw. She was sent to Auschwitz after she was caught by the Nazis helping the allied forces in German-occupied Poland during World War II. Source: Rob Schmitz

Alina Dabrowska was 20 years old when she first heard about Auschwitz. She was an inmate at a prison in Nazi-occupied Poland — incarcerated for helping Allied forces — and one day in 1943, while walking the grounds, a new arrival warned her about it.

"She said, 'You're all going to Auschwitz! Do you know what kind of camp that is?'" Dabrowska recalls. "She told us that if someone is out of strength, they were immediately killed. She told us many horrible things. None of us believed her."

Of the estimated 1.3 million people sent to Auschwitz, some 1.1 million died at the camp, including 960,000 Jews. It was the largest extermination camp run by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II. The Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz 75 years ago, on Jan. 27, 1945.

Now 96, Dabrowska is among a handful of Auschwitz survivors still alive. For her, the importance of sharing her stories

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readWellness
Inmates In Washington State Protest After Fellow Prisoners Test Positive For COVID-19
More than 100 prisoners at Monroe Correctional Complex's minimum-security unit set off fire extinguishers in protest after six fellow inmates were diagnosed with COVID-19 in recent days.
NPR3 min readTech
'Zoombombing' City Hall: Online Harassment Surges As Public Meetings Go Virtual
Racist and pornographic attacks on video conferences are a problem for anyone holding online meetings, but especially for governments and organizations that must make their meetings public.
NPR3 min readWellness
Fauci Says U.S. Coronavirus Deaths May Be 'More Like 60,000'; Antibody Tests On Way
The predicted death toll has fallen, Dr. Anthony Fauci says, due to Americans' embrace of physical separation and other restrictions.