Liberation of Auschwitz
January 27, 1945
Heroic Deed of the Soviet Red Army
Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945 by the Soviet Red Army during the Vistula-Oder Offensive. This Offensive was carried out by the 59th and 60th armies of the First Ukrainian Front operating in coordination with the 38th Army of the 4th Ukrainian Front.
CPC(M-L) salutes the heroic deeds of the Red Army. It opposes the ongoing falsification of history that tries to deny these heroic deeds as part of an ongoing anti-Russia campaign. This falsification is very evident today in the denial by Anglo-American imperialism of the Ukrainian members of the Red Army and anti-fascist resistance fighters during World War II. The all-encompassing approach of the Anglo-American falsification of history is to justify the aggression and crimes of the imperialists in the present in their attempts to rehabilitate Nazi collaborators in Ukraine, Poland and other countries of Eastern Europe for purposes of encircling Russia, and furthering their striving for global hegemony.
Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps built and operated by fascist Germany. The 100th and 322nd infantry divisions of the 60th Army liberated Auschwitz III-Monovitz. At about 3:00 am on the night of January 27, the 454th regiment of the Lviv 100th infantry division (under the command of Major General F. Krasavin) breached Auschwitz (the original camp). The very same day one more concentration camp Jaworzno was liberated by the 286th infantry division (under the command of Major General M. Grishin) of the 59th Army. The next day the 107th infantry division (under the command of Colonel V. Petrenko) liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The names of Soviet fronts changed to reflect the directions of advance. The front that liberated Auschwitz was known as the First Ukrainian Front on October 16, 1943 when it took part in the Kiev strategic offensive operation. The First Ukrainian Front had the official name of the Voronezh Front prior to November 1943 and before that it was the Bryansk Front. The Red Army units were comprised of troops of numerous nationalities, with the exception of a few dozen of divisions comprised of troops of specific nationalities (the 201st Latvian, the 16th Lithuanian etc.), having received reinforcements from all parts of the Soviet Union.
The troops making up the First Ukrainian Front were no different. According to the study prepared by a group of Soviet General Staff researchers headed by Colonel General G. Krivosheev, the Front included troops of many nationalities: Russians, over 66 per cent; Ukrainians, around 16 per cent; Belarussians, around three per cent; Tatars, around 2.2 per cent; Jews, over 1.6 per cent; Kazakhs, around 1.5 per cent; Uzbeks, 1.4 per cent; and others from a few dozen other nationalities making up at least one per cent.
It is no coincidence, that on January 2015, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Poland’s then Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna suggested that Ukrainian troops should be celebrated for liberating Hitler’s death camp, and not the Red Army. “Since the Ukrainian soldiers were there on that January day, it was they who opened the camp’s gates,” Schetyna said in a January 21, 2015 interview.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Schetyna later doubled down on his disinformation, using it to justify why Russian President Vladimir Putin was not invited to take part in the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz that year.
Such disinformation was also spread at the time by a spokesperson of the Ukrainian government who said, “Ukrainians made up the majority of those who freed Auschwitz – the Ukrainian Front.”
The remarks by then-Polish Foreign Minister Schetyna were preceded by other attempts by Poland to falsify history. In April 2007, Poland closed the Russian exhibition in Auschwitz that had been part of the museum there since 1961. Only if Russia agreed to acknowledge the anti-communist disinformation about “the occupation of Poland by the USSR” would the museum administration reopen the exhibit. All of this is to cover up the appeasement of Hitler and the Nazis carried out by France and Britain that led to the invasion of Poland by the Nazis on September 1, 1939. It was only after the Polish state had collapsed, its army disintegrated, the government had ceased to function and its aristocratic leaders had fled, that the Soviet Red Army marched into the territory of Poland on September 17 to protect itself from the Nazis. It was also on this basis and to protect the people of Ukraine and Byelorussia that they marched into these regions that Poland had forcibly annexed during the Polish-Russian War of 1919-20, when Poland was one of the 14 invading imperialist countries that carried out the failed attempt to crush the nascent Soviet Russia.
CPC(M-L) denounces such activity which is integral to the disinformation aimed at justifying the attempts of the U.S. imperialists and their allies, including Canada, to use reactionary forces in Ukraine to foment an insurgency, accuse Russia of aggression and claim that the U.S. and NATO are the ones engaging in what they call peaceful diplomacy.
(With files and photos from the Hardial Bains Resource Centre, Strategic Culture Foundation and the Archives of the Soviet Union.)