Friday, January 27, 2012

Auschwitz Survivor Dies Today in Oswiecim, Poland; Today Is 67th Anniv. of Camp's Soviet Liberation

Kazimierz Smolen -- a 91-year-old Auschwitz survivor who became director of the memorial site after World War II -- died today (January 27, 2012) on the 67th anniversary of its liberation, according to the Associated Press website.

Smolen died in a hospital in Oswiecim -- the southern Polish town where Nazi Germany operated Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II -- said Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum.

Today (January 27) is the anniversary of the camp's 1945 liberation by Soviet troops. January 27 was designated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day by the United Nations in 2005.

Two years after World War II ended, Auschwitz-Birkenau became a museum -- and Smolen served as its director from 1955-1990.