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World leaders pay tribute at Auschwitz anniversary ceremony

Roman Kent

Roman Kent delivering a speech to the survivors and world leaders in a tent erected in front of the entrance of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Kent is Polish born Holocaust survivor, President of the International Auschwitz Committee, Treasurer of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and Chairman of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants. Photograph: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images.

Holocaust survivors have urged the world never again to be bystanders to atrocities like the genocide, at a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Speaking in front of dozens of world leaders, survivors said they were determined that the memory of the horror of the Nazi concentration camps should live on.

The ceremony on Tuesday - held at the camp that has become synonymous with the Holocaust - is expected to be the last major event survivors will be able to attend. More than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed at the camp between 1940 and 1945 before it was liberated by Soviet troops on this day 70 years ago.

We have collated the key images from the day and recorded the comments of survivors and the thoughts of world leaders.

Holding back tears, Roman Kent said: "We survivors do not want our past to be our children's future."

He called for an 11th commandment. "You should never be a bystander", he told the ceremony.

Kent added: "We must all teach our children tolerance and understanding both at home and in school.

"A minute in Auschwitz was like an entire day, a day was like a year, and a month an eternity. How many eternities can one person have in a single lifetime?"

Follow this link to hear Roman Kent's complete address.


This article was published in The Guardian on Tuesday 27 January 2015. The complete article can be found on The Guardian's website.