It’s official: Vladimir Putin will not attend Auschwitz liberation anniversary

200 Auschwitz survivors, together with delegations from 24 countries will participate in the the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27 in Oświęcim, southern Poland. Vladimir Putin will not attend the ceremonies.

Auschwitz Museum announced that together with the survivors the anniversary will be attended by state leaders: Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as well as the royal couples from the Netherlands and Spain.

The ceremony will be hosted by the Polish President Andrzej Duda, who will give the opening speech. Another speech will be given by Ronald S. Lauder who will speak in the name of the private donors who support Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.

Russia, the successor to the Soviet Union which liberated the camp on January 27, 1945, will be represented by a delegation headed by the Russian Ambassador to Poland.

The Germans built the Auschwitz camp in 1940, initially for the imprisonment of Poles. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was opened two years later and became the main site for the mass extermination of Jews. There was also a network of sub-camps in the complex. The Germans killed at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz, mainly Jews, but also Poles, Romani and Soviet prisoners of war.

In 1947, Auschwitz Museum was established on the premises of the camp. Last year, it was visited by over 2.3 million people. The day of the camp’s liberation was adopted as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.