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Yad Vashem This Month in Holocaust History
January
January 1945, The liberation of Auschwitz

January 1945

The liberation of Auschwitz

Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army on 27 January, 1945. The camp was set up in May 1940 on the grounds of a former Polish military camp. Gas chambers started operating there in March 1942. Until the liberation in January 1945, at least 1.3 million prisoners were brought to Auschwitz, about 90% of whom were murdered in gas chambers on their arrival.

The liberators of Auschwitz found thousands of survivors, including children. This photograph is taken from a film shot at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp by Alexander Vorontsov, a Soviet photographer who accompanied the Red Army during the liberation of the camp. Thirteen children appear in the photograph, seven of whom have since been identified either by themselves or others.

For an article about the return of several of the children in the photograph to Auschwitz 60 years later, click here.