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This Week in History

Listen to and learn about events that happened this week in history—including politics, war, crime, inventions, entertainment and fashion. An archive of events that have shaped history — for learners and teachers of English, with vocabulary, audio recordings and quick quizzes.

27 January 1945

Nazi Death Camp At Auschwitz Liberated

Red Army soldiers from the USSR liberate the largest Nazi concentration camp.

In 1945, Red Army soldiers from the USSR freed thousands of prisoners from the Nazi regime's largest concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland. Between 1940 and 1945, it is estimated that between 1,100,000 and 1,500,000 people died at the camp, with many being killed in gas chambers. The majority of the victims were Jews, but many other people were killed as well, including Poles, Gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war and tens of thousands of men and women who were killed because they were gay.

liberate (verb): set free
concentration camp (noun): a place where prisoners of war are held in difficult conditions
gas chamber (noun): room where people are poisoned to death with gas
Poles (noun): people from Poland
Gypsies (noun): travelling people who live by seasonal work, fortune-telling etc
gay (adjective): sexually attracted to members of the same gender or sex

Test your understanding:

Who were not among the prisoners killed at Auschwitz?

  1. German officers
  2. Jewish families
  3. Soviet soldiers

The Nazis targeted enthnic groups, including Jews and Gypsies, and also targeted people who were

  1. wealthy
  2. gay
  3. highly educated

The gas chambers made it possible for the concentration camp administrators to

  1. manage their prisoners more effectively
  2. feed their prisoners more economically
  3. kill their prisoners more efficiently
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Contributor: Matt Errey