The day Oswiecim concentration camp was liberated – level 3

27-01-1945

Discrimination against Jews began after Hitler came to power in 1933. The Nazis blamed the Jews for losing World War I. Hitler also wanted the money that Jewish families in Germany had. By confiscating their properties, the Nazi regime could gain the wealth it desperately needed. The Jews were step by step deprived of everything—property, rights, homes, and eventually, their dignity.

They were brought into overcrowded trains and taken to concentration camps. The gas chambers looked like showers, so those who went into them had no idea what was going to happen until the last moment.

At the beginning of 1945, it was clear that the war was coming to the end. The Red Army was advancing through Poland, liberating the occupied territories. On January 27, 1945, the troops arrived at the town of Oswiecim in Southern Poland. The Nazis were already gone.

The large complex of buildings they found there was at first considered a labor camp. However, what they then saw was horrible. They found the largest Nazi death factory. Over 1 million people died there, mostly Jews. When the Red Army arrived, only 7,000 starving humans were alive.

Difficult words: Nazi (a member of the National Socialist Party in Germany in World War II), blame (to say that somebody is responsible for something bad), confiscate (to take something), regime (a powerful government), deprive (to take something from somebody that they need), dignity (when other people respect you), chamber (a room used for a special purpose), labor (work).

What do you think about this day?

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