David Dushman, the last surviving soldier who helped liberate Auschwitz-Birkenau, died on Saturday at the age of 98, the Jewish community of Munich and Upper Bavaria said in a statement on its website.
Dushman helped free prisoners from the notorious Nazi concentration camp as a soldier for the Soviet Red Army in World War II. The president of the local Jewish community, Charlotte Knobloch, called Dushman the “Hero of Auschwitz” and said in a statement that he saved “countless lives.”
“Every contemporary witness who passes away is a loss, but the farewell of David Dushman is particularly painful,” she said. “He was one of the last who could tell about this event from his own experience.”
Auschwitz-Birkenau, located in Nazi-occupied Poland, was the largest concentration camp run by Hitler’s regime. More than 1.1 million men, women and children were systematically murdered there, many in the camp’s gas chambers.
Some 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
In an interview in his apartment in Munich last year, Dushman told Reuters that his unit used tanks to bash through the facility’s fences.
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SOURCE: CNN, Maria Fleet