On the 27th of January, 1945, the most infamous of all Nazi concentration camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau - where more than a million people were murdered - was liberated by the Red Army in the Vistula–Oder Offensive. Although most prisoners had been forced onto a death march, some 7,000 had been left behind. 76 years ago today, Soviet soldiers attempted to help survivors, shocked at the scale of Nazi crimes. Today is recognised worldwide as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
‘The Liberation of Auschwitz’ takes us back to that icy and harrowing Saturday in the streets of Birkenau and Monowitz where the Red Army general Vasily Petrenko first discovered these very inmates. "I who saw people dying every day was shocked by the Nazis' indescribable hatred toward the inmates who had turned into living skeletons. I read about the Nazis' treatment of Jews in various leaflets, but there was nothing about the Nazis' treatment of women, children, and old men. It was in Auschwitz that I found out about the fate of the Jews."
Composed for string octet, and to be adapted for string quartet later this year, ‘The Liberation of Auschwitz’ is available online now to preorder and scores will be released for download during March/April . An excerpt of the work will preview in February.