Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Soviet army’s liberation of Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp complex established by Nazi Germany. Built in a swamp near the town of Oświęcim, Poland, it came to be comprised of three camps: a prison camp, a killing center, and a forced labor camp. Jews were transported by train to Auschwitz from 1942 to November 1944.

In mid-January 1945, as the Soviet Union Army approached the camp, the Schutzstaffel (SS) guards began evacuating prisoners from Auschwitz. Nearly 60,000 prisoners were sent west or northwest on death marches. All prisoners suffered from starvation, exhaustion, and exposure to the freezing temperatures that they were ill-prepared to withstand. Any prisoner who fell behind was killed. It is estimated that 15,000 prisoners died on these brutal marches. Those who survived were then transported on freight trains to other concentration camps, such as Buchenwald and Gross-Rosen. On January 27, 1945, the Soviet Army entered the three Auschwitz camps and liberated more than 6,000 prisoners deemed to be too ill or weak for the march.

In 2005, the United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day dedicated both to commemorating the genocide of six million Jews and the murder of Roma, homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others targeted by the Nazi regime, and to furthering a commitment to prevent future genocides.

The Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library’s LibGuide on “Holocaust History: Concentration Camps” is a starting point for general research on the camps, with resources on genocide, survivor memoirs, and primary sources. The guide’s primary goal is to provide resources and links to different types of research material in the Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library and Leatherby Libraries. This LibGuide contains tabs on various former camps.  Each book title links directly to the library’s online catalog.  In addition, there is a separate tab dedicated to direct links to databases that include the topic of the Holocaust.

For more information on the Holocaust, please visit the Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tiana Taliep is an Archivist for the Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library and Archive at Chapman University since September 2017.

Previously, she worked as a Processing Archivist at the New York Public Library. Tiana earned her B.A. in History from  Brooklyn College, and Master’s in Library and Information Science with a certification in Archives and Preservation of Cultural Material from Queens College. She is a second-year student in the War and Society Mater’s program at Chapman University.