Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi Death Camp by the Soviet Red Army.
The UN has named this the “International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust”.
South Africa will commemorate this day on Thursday, 29 January 2015 at 19:00 at the Ditsong National Military Museum in Johannesburg. I can arrange an invitation for this event, for anyone who wishes to attend.
During the war, my father-in-law was captured by the Nazi army occupying Denmark, and held in Dachau for some years (as part of the Danish resistance). The deputy head of the Swedish Red Cross, Count Bernadotte, convinced the Germans to release the Nordic prisoners of war before the end of the war in 1945. They were taken to Sweden, and cared for by the Swedish Red Cross, which saved many lives. Count Bernadotte was credited with getting 31,000 prisoners released by the Germans.
In 1948, Count Bernadotte was appointed by the UN Security Council as the first ever UN Peace Mediator, which was on Palestine. He was killed that year by Jewish extremists, in opposition to UN peace and mediation efforts on the Palestine partition plan.
As a Quaker, my father was a contentious objector during WW2, and did medical service.