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Protocol Office Article 2012.04.01 27 Jan­uary 1945

On 3 January 1996, Federal President Roman Herzog proclaimed 27 January as the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism. The Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Red Army on 27 January 1945. Auschwitz has become a symbol of genocide and of the millions of people deprived of their rights, persecuted, tormented and murdered by the Nazi regime.

Starting in April 1940, the SS oversaw construction of its largest labour and extermination camp in the town of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) near Cracow in southern Poland. It consisted of a main camp, a second camp three kilometres away in Birkenau, where the gas chambers and crematoria were located, and 45 forced-labour camps at factories in the vicinity. As many as 155,000 people were packed into the area at a time. An estimated 1.5 million Jews and many thousands of Sinti, Roma and Poles were killed in Auschwitz between the beginning of 1942 and the end of 1944.

The German Bundestag observes this day of remembrance each year with a special ceremony.

On 27 January flags are flown at half-mast throughout the country at the highest federal authorities and the agencies within their remit as well as at the public-law corporations, institutions and foundations under the supervision of federal authorities.

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