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.
First Published: Friday, August 28, 2009, 09:29