In 2005, the United Nations designated 27 January as an International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. The reason this date was chosen, is that on that day, in 1945, the Red Army liberated the concentration and death camp of Auschwitz. This was not the end of the slaughter of World War II, which cost the lives of some 35 million people, most of them civilians. The war was to continue for over three months more. Some ten days prior to the liberation of Auschwitz, 58.000 inmates were marched away because the Nazis did not want them to fall alive into the hands of the liberators; instead, they had to go on what has become known as the Death Marches. Over half of them would die as a result.
They left behind the ashes and bones of over a million human beings, more than 900.000 of them Jews, most of whom died by gassing, and some 7000 sick and dying inmates, including Jewish and Roma children on whom the German doctors had performed murderous medical experiments.