National Archives Marks 75th Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation
Press Release · Tuesday, January 14, 2020
The National Archives marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp with a display of historic records and footage. The display will be in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Museum from January 16 through February 5, 2020. Museum hours are 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Free admission. Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station. See the National Archives News web page highlighting Holocaust-related holdings and resources
This is the first of a four-part series of featured document exhibitions related to World War II. Upcoming displays will mark the 75th anniversaries of: V-E Day; the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and V-J Day. The rotating featured document display, located near displays of the original Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, is seen by more than one million visitors each year. Made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation, through the generous support of the Ford Motor Company Fund.
"In this year marking 75th years since the end of World War II, the National Archives is reaching into its vast volume of records to shine a spotlight on a few key events of the war," said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. "It is fitting that the first of our series of featured document displays coincides with International Holocaust Remembrance Day and highlights material relating to the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. The documentary record we hold in the National Archives ensures that we 'never forget.'"
Featured Document Display:
On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp complex in German-occupied Poland. Russian soldiers discovered thousands of sick, dying, and dead prisoners when they entered the complex of concentration camps, forced labor camps, and a killing center abandoned by the Nazis. The Schutzstaffel (SS), Hitler’s paramilitary organization, had attempted to destroy the camp before fleeing and forcing 60,000 prisoners on a westward “death march.” Their efforts did little to conceal abundant evidence of mass murder and other atrocities that claimed the lives of more than 1.1 million prisoners.
Auschwitz was the largest camp created by Nazi Germany and its collaborators to imprison and murder people they perceived as a “racial” or political threat, especially European Jews. By the end of World War II, the Holocaust had claimed the lives of over 6 million Jewish people—nearly two out of every three in Europe. This display of historic records and footage is presented in memory of all Jewish victims of the Holocaust and other victims of Nazism.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day designated by the United Nations to mark the anniversary of the January 27, 1945, liberation of Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp.
The Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust is an annual commemoration designated by the U.S. Congress to mark the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943. In 2020, Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 21.
The National Archives is the international epicenter of Holocaust-related research, holding millions of records created or received by the U.S. Government during and after World War II that document Nazi war crimes, wartime refugee issues, and activities and investigations of U.S. Government agencies involved in the identification and recovery of looted assets (including gold, art, and cultural property)—as well as captured German records used as evidence at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunals. Related online resources include:
Holocaust-Era Assets: A Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives at College Park, MD - Finding Aid by Greg Bradsher, senior archivist and World War II expert
“Safehaven Report Number Four,” National Archives document that ignited the Swiss Banks/Nazi Gold investigations
Records of the Interagency Working Group (IWG), created to assist in implementing the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998, the “largest congressionally mandated declassification project in U.S. history.”
This page was last reviewed on January 14, 2020.
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