His vision of hell still stings 60 years after Auschwitz (NEW YORK DAILYNEWS) BY VERONIKA BELENKAYA 01/28/05)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
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Sixty years ago, Maj. Anatoliy Shapiro stood before the gates of hell
on Earth with his Soviet Army battalion.
"I asked a Polish man in the city of Auschwitz what was behind the
gates," Shapiro, now 92 and living in Coney Island, said yesterday.
"That´s where they bake the Yids," the man replied.
Shapiro said the harsh reply, using the ugly slur for Jews, was a
prelude to the horrors he witnessed Jan. 27, 1945.
As the world commemorated the 60th anniversary of the liberation of
the Auschwitz death camp, Shapiro said, it was his duty to bear
witness on behalf of the 1.5 million victims - most of them Jewish,
Shapiro, who emigrated from Moscow 12 years ago with his wife and
five children, said the first thing he saw in the camp was "skeletons
standing in striped robes."
"They could not speak," he said. "They just stared into the ground
with empty gazes. I told them, ´The Red Army has freed you!´"
More horrors awaited Shapiro in the barracks.
"Bloody, naked corpses with shaved heads," he said. "We had to open
over 100 barracks. All were full of men´s, women´s, children´s
To this day, Shapiro said, he is haunted by what he saw.
"When we got there you could still see piles of human ashes," he
said. "The snow fell to the ground, but it was immediately mixed with
the ashes and the snow turned black." (© 2005 Daily News, L.P.
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