WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland has published the names of some 8,500 guards and commanders who worked at Auschwitz, as part of a government drive to remind the world the death camp was run and staffed by Germans.
The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, has complained that some foreign media have referred to Auschwitz and similar camps set up in German-occupied Poland as “Polish concentration camps”, possibly giving the impression that Poland was a partner in crime of Adolf Hitler, rather than a victim.
The list of Auschwitz staff, published online by the government-affiliated Institute for National Remembrance (IPN), includes camp personnel’s places of birth, service numbers, dates of arrival and departure and photographs.
“This database is a response to those saying ‘Polish concentration camps’ - go ahead, we are showing you who worked there,” IPN’s head Jaroslaw Szarek said.
The vast majority of the commanders and guards at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, around 70 km (45 miles) from Krakow, were German, but there were small numbers of people of other nationalities.
More than a million people, mainly European Jews, were gassed, shot or hanged at the camp, or died of neglect, starvation or disease, before the Soviet Red Army entered its gates in early 1945 during its decisive advance on Berlin.
Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Robin Pomeroy