Survivors, Polish president mark Auschwitz liberation

Former camp prisoners laid wreaths in front of the Death Wall on the site of the former Nazi-German Auschwitz death camp. Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

Several dozen former camp prisoners and Polish President Andrzej Duda laid wreaths in front of the Death Wall on the site of the former Nazi-German Auschwitz death camp in Oświęcim, southern Poland, as part of observances of the 75th anniversary of the camp's liberation.

The main ceremonies, to be hosted by Duda, will take place in front of the Death Gate on the site of the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp, today a memorial to the camp's victims.

More than a dozen heads of state including German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenski will take part in observances starting at 3.30 p.m.

The Germans established the Auschwitz camp in 1940, initially for the imprisonment of Poles. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was opened two years later and became the main site for the mass extermination of Jews. There was also a network of sub-camps in the complex. The Germans killed at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz, mainly Jews, but also Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.

It was liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945. In 1947, the camp site was declared a national memorial site.