January 1945 - The Death Marches from Auschwitz commence
While there were many death marches, perhaps one of the best known is the death march from Auschwitz.
With the Soviet army advancing towards the occupied Poland, the SS began trying to destroy evidence of their crimes. This required evacuating camps, destroying papers, and other telling information. During the evacuations, only those expected not to live, or those who were incapacitated were left behind. The rest of the prisoners were evacuated by foot.
Approximately 60,000 prisoners were marched from the death camps at Auschwitz. They were headed to a rail station 35 miles away, in a southern area of Poland. Many of them were seriously ill, malnourished, and weak. An estimated 15,000 perished during this trek.
When Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops 9 days later, on January 27 – there were only a few thousand survivors left in the camp.
In 2005 the UN General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, every member state of the UN has an obligation to honor the victims of the Nazi era and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.