In Auschwitz “We Saw Countless Unlit Bonfires with Layers of Logs and Corpses”

Russian soldier Genry Koptev, 18, was ordered to advance toward a point on the map marked Auschwitz in January 1945. He and his five comrades guessed they had come to some sort of prison camp. Then he saw 2,000 emaciated prisoners. Koptev, now 78, is one of the few surviving members of the 322nd division of the Soviet Army that liberated Auschwitz. “They only resembled people,” he told The Times. “Their skin was so thin, you could see their veins through it and their eyes were sticking out because the tissue around it had sunk. When they stretched out their hands, you could see every bone, joint and sinew.” As he advanced, the full horror of the death camp where about 1.1 million Jews were killed unfolded. He saw countless unlit bonfires, with alternate layers of logs and corpses, which the fleeing guards had not had time to ignite.

In Auschwitz “We Saw Countless Unlit Bonfires with Layers of Logs and Corpses”

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