Lodz: Aged Holocaust survivors commemorated the 65th anniversary of the last deportations from the Lodz ghetto to Nazi death camps, and Poland`s President recalled their suffering and praised Poles who risked their lives to save Jews.
President Lech Kaczynski dedicated a memorial incorporating a Polish eagle into a Star of David to remember Polish Christians who rescued Jewish neighbours during the World War II occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany.
Lodz was the second-largest city in pre-war Poland, after Warsaw, and home to the second-largest Jewish population, with 231,000 Jews representing more than one-third of the city`s population.
"The liquidation of the Lodz ghetto, the murder of some 70,000 people, was the last act in the annihilation of Poland`s Jews, who have lived here at least since the 12th century," Kaczynski told a crowd of hundreds, many who had come from as far as Los Angeles and Israel.
"Today we honour those who were killed and those who survived and those who -- showing the greatest courage -- saved their fellow citizens."
Yesterday`s commemorations began at the brown wooden Radegast train station, where about 145,000 Jews began their final journey to Nazi death camps. Wooden cattle cars with flaking rust-coloured paint, still stamped with the Nazi-era "Deutsche Reichsbahn," sit in the station as grim reminders of the death trains.