David Dushman, Last Surviving Auschwitz Liberator, Dies Aged 98
i24 News – David Dushman, the last surviving soldier who took part in the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in 1945, has died at the age of 98.
Dushman, a Red Army soldier who later became an international fencer, died on Saturday, the International Olympic Committee said in a statement.
On January 27, 1945, he used his T-34 Soviet tank to mow down the electric fence of Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland, helping to set prisoners in the death camp free.
“We hardly knew anything about Auschwitz,” he said, recounting that day in an interview in 2015 with the Sueddeutsche daily.
“They staggered out of the barracks, sat, and lay among the dead. Terrible. We threw them all our canned food and immediately went on to hunt down the fascists,” he said.
Only after the end of the war did he learn about the scale of the atrocities in the camp.
Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, said Dushman’s death was “particularly painful.”
“Dushman was on the front line when the Nazi murder machinery was smashed in 1945; as the ‘Hero of Auschwitz’ he was one of the liberators of the concentration camp and saved countless lives,” she said in a statement.
“Today, he was one of the last to be able to recount this event from his own experience,” she added, describing Dushman as a “brave, honest, and sincere man.”