Friday, January 27, 2012

Auschwitz survivor dies in same town on anniversay

Kazimierz Smolen, a 91-year-old Auschwitz survivor who after World War II directed the memorial site, has died in the same town on the 67th anniversary of the camp's liberation.

A spokesman for Auschwitz, Pawel Sawicki, said Smolen died Friday in a hospital in Oswiecim, the southern Polish town where Nazi Germany operated Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Sawicki said that Smolen's death was announced to Holocaust survivors who were gathering at the site to mark the anniversary of the camp's liberation. They fell silent for a minute in his honor.

Smolen was imprisoned in Auschwitz in April 1941. He attributed his survival to good health and extreme luck.

From 1955-1990 he was the director of the memorial museum, and continued to live in the town in recent years.

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