WHEREAS, January 27, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death and concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Nazi-occupied Poland; and
WHEREAS, Auschwitz-Birkenau, also known as Auschwitz II, one of the most striking symbols of terror and genocide in human history was established by the Nazi German Schutzstaffel (SS) in 1940. Initially planned as a prisoner of war camp to contain the mass arrests of Poles, it soon became the largest extermination center to be used in the Nazi plan to eliminate European Jews and all who opposed Nazi Germany’s agenda; and
WHEREAS, immediately upon arrival, deported Jews, non-Jewish Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, Roma, and others who bravely opposed Hitler’s regime were sorted into forced-labor camps, medical experimentation, or sent directly to the gas chambers; and
WHEREAS, between 1940 and 1945 the prisoners who were condemned to Auschwitz-Birkenau were subjected to beatings, medical experimentation, torture, and random cruel execution. It is estimated that more than 1.3 million victims were deported to Auschwitz and of those, only 200,000 survived. These numbers do not reflect the more than 40 other camps situated throughout Germany and Poland.
WHEREAS, on January 27, 1945, as the Soviet troops approached Auschwitz, the SS guards forced nearly 60,000 prisoners on death marches from the camp system. Those prisoners who fell behind or could not continue were shot. During these death marches, more than 15,000 prisoners died due to exposure, cold weather, and physical effects of starvation and harsh treatment. The Soviet troops were able to liberate more than 7,000 prisoners; and
WHEREAS, this was a brutal and demoralizing time in the history of humankind, yet we must remember and honor those who, during a time of great injustice, had the resilience to fight against anti-Semitism, inexplicable bigotry, and discrimination.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim January 27, 2020 as:
75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp
in Alaska, in memory of the victims of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, and in honor of the survivors, rescuers, and liberators, and ask that all Alaskans cherish the value of human life and unite to prevent all forms of hatred and oppression.